"It all started with the apology that I made to my father."

Smile for Peace! (c) Mohammed Ghabriss
It is one thing to choose to be peaceful in life. It is another thing to devote your life to peace, being peaceful, and to passing the warmth of peace along to those around you. Mohammed Ghabriss, a young peace worker of Lebanese origin, has changed the world around him, one person at a time. Here’s his story as a peace worker.

I believe what got me into peace work is my passion towards working with people and connecting with complete strangers and make them part of my life. That sense of responsibility towards people from different communities and religions to brighten their spirits and do the best I can to light that candle of love and self-appreciation in their hearts. 

For two years, I've been associated with a movement called Initiatives of Change, and it's all about bringing change to your heart and inspire others through your personal change, simply by bringing peace to one's soul by putting things right in one's life. 

It all started with the apology that I made to my father. I apologized for being rude, disrespectful and unappreciative to any of his hard work. I reconciled my relationship with him, and that unblocked something that was in my heart, it allowed more space for love within me, and more peace that made me believe that I am able to bridge the gaps between my separated communities in Lebanon and bringing people together, simply by filling the gaps in my own personal life that empowered me to look beyond. 

Since childhood, I grew up with a sense of curiosity. I grew up always wanting to know and to understand the world around me. In order to do so, I learned that there are some risks that are needed to be taken. I just love to meet people, understand them and get to know them, have a taste of what their lives would look like. I love the arts and literature. That repertoire includes drawing, photography, writing and reading. I am very passionate about travelling and discovering new places.

I was born in Lebanon but been raised in Saudi Arabia for almost 14 years. I studied in an international school, and was surrounded by people from different countries, backgrounds, and religions. I went back to Lebanon where I studied my 12th Standard, and did my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. 

Soon after my graduation a friend of mine told me about a 6-months-long internship happening in India with an organization called initiatives of change. So we both applied, not knowing what to expect but knew for sure that it's going to be an unforgettable experience. We also knew that it's going to be challenging, yet full of learning and discoveries. 

And indeed it was an unforgettable experience that exceeded our expectations. The beauty of it that it didn't offer anything special or extra, it was what we made out of the experience and what meant to us personally. I am back again associated with an outreach-based program in India for the first year and around the world in the coming two years. Visiting places and interacting with tribal and rural people no one thinks of visiting or considering.

I think the main challenge that I faced, was myself. In terms of setting myself free from being self-centered and focusing only on my own needs. Instead of thinking of others first, which blocked my compassion and love towards others, blinding me from caring fully for others and sensing their needs and requests.

I'm in the process, constantly being aware when a certain act or behavior I'm conducting is coming out of a selfish or selfless space. And I think what makes me rise above my personal needs is that sense of satisfaction that I get when I m able make a difference in somebody's life, by the simplest acts of kindness coming from the heart,. And that is what motivates me to keep on doing what I am doing and to be constantly thinking of how can I always give my best, and what is it that I can do for others.

My dream for individuals all over the world is for them to realize their true-selves in whatever they're doing and wherever they are. To be able to light their sparks within, and have the courage to follow their hearts, find their gifts, and give them away for others. 

Imagine if every single person in this world cared for others instead of oneself only. What would our world look like?


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