Bennette Grace D. Tenecio at Canadian Mennonite University ( CMU), Winnipeg, Canada


The capacity to imagine something rooted in the challenges of the real world yet capable of giving birth to that which does not yet exist” (J.P. Lederach, 2005).


Going to Canada is beyond my imagination and just what Lederach said, moral imagination is rooted in the challenges of what’s happening in the real world and yet, it’s capable of giving birth to the unknown. Faith comes in, without it, I think, I will not be able to travel and experience another journey of my life. The process of going to Canada was a faith-stretching for me. Prayer is essential and believing to what does not exists matters. After all, this trip started with a prayer and faith.

Peacebuilding is like facing the challenges of the real world and yet anticipating and looking forward of what’s invisible or which does not exist.

The five elements of life inspired me in this journey of learning about peacebuilding and about life.

Air.  Without it, we will not survive. We share air with other living creatures, although it’s invisible, we can see its motion when leaves sway and a brush of wind passes through our face. We breathe in Oxygen and it helps us survive and exhaling Carbon Dioxide gives life to plants and trees, there is sharing and energy is transformed and life is in a cycle and thus, there’s balance. Learning is like air, it gives us life and we will pass it to people in any directions and motions. It gives life.

Studying in Canadian School of Peacebuilding is like experiencing the motion of the wind. Meeting diverse personalities and learning different cultures made me realized that like air, it is essential to human existence and building healthy relationships.

Water. Composed of Hydrogen and Oxygen. Our body composed of water. It quenches our thirst. Like air, we need water to survive. It represents our feelings and emotions. It flows through us. In Winnipeg, they have problems with flood. In the Assiniboine and the Red Rivers, I paused and think of the issues and problems of our country and individual concerns and problems, water finds it’s way. Peace finds it’s way and so with learning. I remember during our closing activity, we talk to the water, reflect on it, command it to the direction it will go. Being peacebuilders, we are like water, the ripples we are making makes a difference, it depends how much energy or the effort we put into it.

Fire. It represents energy. Sometimes its destructive when not properly used. Learning new concepts in the Canadian School of Peacebuilding gave me energy. Energy to think, to believe and to be passionate to the calling of what God has given me. Creative Arts and Cross-Cultural Conflict Transformation and Peacemaking Circle; Philosophy and Applications were the two courses that inspired me to do and continue what I’m doing in this peacebuilding ministry. Sharing what I’ve learned to others is important in keeping the fire burning in my heart, which is the passion to help other people especially dealing with their psycho-social issues, traumas and problems and I can’t do this without the grace and mercy of God.

Earth. It is where we stand. Our bodies depend on earth, without it, plants and animals have no place to live. Just like earth, our body is sacred and we must take good care of it. In my travel to Canada, I observed that the government is very strict in protecting the environment, the earth. I appreciate the beauty of the parks, body of waters and even the animals. The parks are so green and flowers bloom. I felt so bad to compare our parks which are mostly made of concrete.

Like the soil, building peace gives life and is sacred. We must cultivate it and protect it.

Lastly, Spirit. The fifth element. I added this because I think its very important. It’s the reason why we exist. It’s the center of all the elements. It gives meaning to what we are doing as peacebuilder or being followers of Jesus the Christ. Our moral and core values, relationships, prayers, meditations, what matters to us depends on the work of the spirit.

Peacemaking circles’ concept is new to me and I appreciate the importance of being still and sensitive to the work of the spirit. Healing needs the spirit and as we contemplate on each other’s feelings, emotions and energies, I experienced how it is essential to have a peaceful and contrite spirit.

I just want to share this Haiku of Cole Christine Park which is an inspiration in doing peacemaking circles:


the circle helps us

in our collective journey

to learn what we know


coming together

we explore the power of

endless beginnings


the path is made clear

are we brave enough to try?

with faith we dive in


one initiates

but everyone is equal

in this sacred shape


layer by layer

our facades begin to fall

what will be exposed?


sorrow, pain, and joy

questions, fears, hopes, desires

there is space for all


in every circle

is an endless supply of



if you have been harmed

or if you have caused the harm

you are welcome here


when there is conflict

(for it most surely will come)

trust in the process


be patient and watch

transformation transpire –

change. is. possible.


we listen and share

as the talking piece is passed

understanding grows


our stories reveal

the deep connections we share –

healing. can. happen.


in this mystery

we are bound to discover

the secret of life:


there is a wisdom

to be found in each of us –

our truth rests within


Air, water, fire, earth and spirit are not only the elements of life but the wellspring of life.



Permanent link to this article: https://peacebuilderscommunity.org/2011/07/wellspring-of-life/

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