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A creative blog by Lisa Schultz on The Whole 9

Lisa Schultz has spent a lifetime observing the human parade. Now at the helm of The Whole 9 and The Peace Project, she reports in on her findings and asks that you join in.


“There are two ways to bring light. One is to be a candle. The other is to be a mirror that reflects it.”

Several years ago, introduced by Joann Lima Cella, Pepi Leistyna became part of The Peace Project’s story. Recently widowed from the love of his life who passed away suddenly from cancer, Pepi used The Peace Project’s 3rd Annual Call for Artists as one of the methods to help him work through his grief. Posting a photo daily — whether it was from a special place that he and Susan had visited on their worldwide travels, or simply a shot of something that once again called forth a loving memory and revealed the truth: those we love are never gone and they speak to us in mysterious ways — Pepi graced all of us with the story of his and Susan’s unconditional love. I was just one of few that was inspired by this gentle reminder that there is a different way to be in this world.

Although we were separated by time and distance, Pepi quietly became part of the fabric of my life of service…and I paid attention to his valiant quest to create unity and bring more beauty and peace to this world. A renowned scholar and associate of Noam Chomsky’s, Pepi seemed to have endless energy to champion the rights of those whose voices have been neglected — Palestinians were part of this list.

Despite his Jewish heritage, Pepi fearlessly revealed what he had witnessed on his many trips to Israel, but rather than focusing on all of the things that keep us apart, Pepi used his perspective and unique gifts to reveal the common humanity that brings us together and makes bridging the unbelievable chasm that has been created seem a little more possible.

This shot that Pepi took is on the wall that separates Israel from Palestine in Bethlehem on the West Bank and is a startling reminder that in the midst of hate, division, and decades of monumental misunderstandings and violence, a tiny seed can flourish to bring light and hope for a brighter future.

I learned several days ago that Pepi had transitioned unexpectedly — from this world onto whatever is next — hopefully a place where he will be reunited with the one he loved so much. I felt a sense of loss that one of the good ones…one of the peace warriors, and one of the few who is willing to put words into action to create a more loving world that he could see and sometimes touch, was gone. My condolences go out to his family including Tracy Leistyna Carey.

I will be ever thankful that Pepi touched my life, shared my journey and helped me to believe that ultimately (despite often overwhelming evidence to the contrary) if we believe and act with grace and courage, love will prevail and win the day <3

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