Here's an intelligent article byabout the nature of decision making, the way our minds work, and why disasters like BP keep happening.
It's worth a read:
Here's an intelligent article by Deborah Mackin about the nature of decision making, the way our minds work, and why disasters like BP keep happening.
It's worth a read:
In complex systems, cause (action taken) and effect
(impact on people, nature, environment, product quality...) are often separated in time (sometimes years) and across space (different
Intervening in a system (cause) often results in unintended consequences or effects not anticipated. Since the person or organization taking action usually intends to gain some benefit from their action, there is often great resistance to acknowledging that something is amiss.
It is easy to point at them (Monsanto for example, or the farmers) and shake our heads in dismay.
We are living in a special time when we can do more with technology then ever before. And, because of technology including our ability to collect data and communicate, we are seeing the effects of what we do. We are no longer innocent but we are still young in our understanding of what it means to live and work in complex systems.
We read almost everyday the story of someone, some company or some government agency faced with the choice of what to do when the feedback loop says "oops, here's an effect we didn't expect." There is no blame but there is responsibility. At times like these we need the morale courage to think about the well-being of the whole, not just the short term impact on the part that is "us". It is getting harder to ignore the fact we are interdependent in so many ways."Them" and "us" - it is our future together.
Louise van Ryhn told this story during her presentation, "Creating an alternative future for South Africa" hosted by "A Small group: Restoring & Reconciling Cincinnati." I'd like to paraphrase it here:
After a lecture (in South Africa), a woman came to me and asked if I’d like some feedback. Now presenters often expect the worst when someone asks to give feedback so, a bit reluctantly, I said, “Yes, I’d like to hear your feedback.”
The woman then said, “You are very certain. When you are that certain, do you know what your certainty does to me?”“No” I said.
“When you are that certain, I lose my voice. I need you to be a little less certain so there can be room for my voice.”
As these words washed over me, I knew them to be true. At the same time, I also knew we live in a world where certainty is king.
As a culture, we reward holding a strong position: "It's better to be wrong than indecisive." The certainty espoused by media pundits and in political sound bites is valued and rewarded. If a politician changes his/her mind, its derisively called, "flip flopping."
On a personal level, certainty makes us feel in control, it quiets our fears and insecurities. As a consultant I was often rewarded for my certainty. People wanted me to know the answers so they would be more comfortable. I used to joke I had answers to anything, whether or not I know what I was talking about.
Yet such certainty precludes any meaningful exchange of different perspectives and experiences. Certainty excludes differences. It lets people off the hook of having to engage. And in these times of massive change and of complex problems, certainty stops the conversations needed for new solutions to emerge. After all, If I'm so certain that I know, why would you bother to add your thoughts?
So, I'm committed to being more skilled at being a little less certain. I want to invite your voice into the conversation, to know what you think. I want to stay curious. I want to choose to ask questions even when I think your voice is threatening mine. I want to act on my belief that we are in this world together. I want to experience hearing all the voices I can, because they can only enrich me. It is, as Louise* says, the "symphonia" of life.
*'Symphonia' literally means the sounding together of voices and this is the ethos of our work and our vision for this country. Engaging people in their work and enabling people to live remarkable lives starts by creating opportunities for all the voices to be heard (Symphonia).
Picture by Simon Marshall
I was going to write about Goldman Sachs: about how, now that Corporations are considered people, maybe they should be prosecuted as such; about how wealth generated in ways that harm others may indeed be immoral.
Spring is about the budding of what is beautiful and of what is nourishing to the soul. It's a reminder that it's when we lose sight of what is truly life giving that we settle for what is only wealth giving.
I'd like to share a poem I read in Ian Berry's recent newsletter. It's about life, connection and contribution.
I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open to me,
to make me less afraid,
to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance:
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
What else is there to say...
Last night I watched the TV movie Amish Grace with my husband. I was familiar with the story. Oct. 2, 2006, a man walked into an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania and shooting, left five girls dead and five seriously wounded before taking his own life. What was remarkable about the story was the fact the parents of the children and the Amish community forgave the shooter and befriended his widow and children. They forgave so that bitterness and anger wouldn't turn into hostility... they would not close their hearts.
The movie brought me to tears so many times. The level of forgiveness that was given in the midst of such profound pain touched the depths of my soul. My heart opened and I wondered had I forgiven all that I needed to. This was the potential of the human race....to rise above our violence, our personal pains, our desire for revenge and justice, to choose love no matter what. Forgiveness is not easy, as the Amish at the time said,
"...forgiveness is a journey, that you need help from your community of faith and from God, and sometimes even from counselors, to make and hold on to a decision to not become a hostage to hostility. "
Bill Moyer covers this remarkable story in his 6 min. review of the book, Amish Grace. It's worth a look.
"Dear Friend, The devastation from the earthquake in Haiti has caused me to feel such compassion in my heart...
[However] At times our attempts at true compassion slip into feelings of gloom, pity and remorse. This often drains our energy and vitality that’s needed to sustain our personal health and well-being. I experienced this throughout my life until I learned the importance of balancing my care. If we employ our heart intelligence, we can feel compassion while deeply caring about what others are going through – yet we learn to do this without experiencing the emotions that drain and devitalize our personal energy....We cannot change the devastation and human tragedy caused by events like the Haiti earthquake, but we can find peace and compassion by becoming genuinely aware of how we feel. Are you feeling hurt, angry or confused about this event or something else? Focus on your heart area and breathe in love, appreciation and compassion and breathe out the feelings that compromise your balanced care for one to three minutes...Objectivity will help to ease your feelings toward a state of neutral. When you rest in neutral and soak and relax in the compassion of your heart, you gradually dissolve hurt, anger and confusion. Do this daily until you feel you can send a few minutes of compassionate heart to a person, issue or situation. Continue sending heart whenever these feelings surface. In this way, you will begin to re-pattern yourself to become neutral when these feelings arise."
To read the rest of Sarah's letter, click here.
If you would like to participate in sending care to the people of Haiti, please join us at the Global Coherence Initiative
One day I went to wash out an "unmentionable" in the bathroom sink, and low and behold the stopper wouldn’t work. I pried it out since it wouldn’t come up and looked down the drain...nothing. Where did the little lever go?
So I decided "how hard could this be?" I’d fix it. (My husband, Joseph, went on record saying we could get someone in... but I was determined.) I went to Home Depot and found a wonderful man in plumbing who showed me the part I needed, as well as how it should fit into the other pipe. Got it!
I went home and eventually pulled everything out from under the sink. I put Joseph's master tool kit within reach and got ready to start. BUT WAIT! What is this water here. Hmmmm...looks like a leak. Darn....
Joseph suggested I look at all the pipes because if one is bad the others are probably wearing out as well. At this point I thought, "you have to be kidding?" He wasn't. I took the trap off (the offender it turned out) and the straight pipe going into the wall which looked shabby. I carefully looked at the washers so I knew what went where. The pipe going into the sink seemed ok. Back to Home Depot with my bag of old parts.
About this time I wondered, "What was I thinking?" This is way more then I bargained for. OK...I told myself, this didn't involve soldering. Surely I could do this.
Again the man in plumbing was helpful. I found a kit that had most of what I needed and located the other odd pieces required. Plumber man suggested I tape the threads to ensure a tight fit so I splurged on a $.99 roll of plumbers tape.
Back home, Joseph was encouraging but left me to it. With some trepidation I started. Once I got into it, I found I was enjoying figuring it all out. Some time later, after a few re-dos, I finished. And, I have to say I was quite full of myself.
Plumbing is Just Like life:
These days I think about my retirement. If you depend on investments, you know most of us are looking to make money and, because we can shift our money so easily, this encourages the Corporation's focus on short term results... often to the detriment of workers, community and environment. What is one to do?
I know buying organic affects not just my health but that of the workers who are spared having to live with toxic pesticides. But buying local is also important. What if local is not organic? What if buying local puts other farmers out of business and next winter I have to rely on those things you can store in a root cellar, the way my mother did when I was growing up. (The reason salads were scarce and always iceburg lettuce). What is one to do?
I just bought a car battery at WalMart because the battery was highly rated by Consumer Reports and cheaper. I know WalMart is a lightening rod for mixed feelings and reviews because of their size, the way they've treated workers, and their mixed impact on the environment and communities. What do you believe? How much change makes a company ethical or green? What is one to do?
How do we chose?
I have no solutions but I'm interested in hearing what others are saying. There is a series starting that may be of interest in this regard. The Conscious Money Speakers Series has a range of speakers addressing topics such as our personal attitudes toward money, taking back your time, and alternate economies.
The series runs Mondays 8:15-9:30 pm EST through April 5th. Vicki Robin, author of Your Money or Your Life, is doing the free introduction tonight (sorry about the late notice).
I received a gift yesterday. I was speaking with Kellie Frazier about the Leaders Cafe Foundation, a group on LinkedIn. I was trying to better understand their purpose and get some clues as to how to participate. Being new to the whole area of "social media" I am overwhelmed. What are the rules of engagement? What are they trying to accomplish in these groups besides self promotion?
She talked about Kwai Yu founder of Leaders Cafe Foundation and his dream of making a difference and his intention of being true to his own purpose as he works in the world. She talked about the US chapter that is just starting, and said "no, she couldn't tell me what would come out of it. It was evolving." Kwai's over-all vision is to provide courses, e-books, and information to those in the world who would not normally have access to such information. He wants to encourage people to be leaders, to be self-led. So they are producing webinars on topics related to being a leader and producing e-books. Where it will go? Unknown.
The Leaders Cafe Foundation is modeling out what co-creating might look like....messy, evolving, innovative (check out Kwai' Prezzi presentation linked above), and supportive of each other. Not very comfortable if you want order and predictability. It takes faith in the people involved to let go of control like that.
But I still wanted to know, "What are the rules of engagement?" Herein was the gift! "Trust yourself...just put yourself out there", Kellie said.
She asked me what my work was. It took awhile to admit that my real work is creatorship, shifting our way of thinking, our languaging and the systems we put in place to support the creators we are. A common thread with Kellie was the importance of tapping into and trusting our guidance (heart intelligence, intuition, the small voice within,...).
I also saw, only too clearly, that my reticence to "put it out there" is a reflection that I'm STILL TRAPPED by my need for approval in order to to be safe. I'm still looking to others for permission, for others to tell me that what I care about is OK. WOW! I am mindful again of how my old needs to be accepted and approved of limit my contributions in this world.
So I walk away a little lighter and I'm thinking this is a good group.
I am thankful to Kellie, Kwai and everyone else in this world who are courageously living their own purpose and truth.
"A 10 unit real estate package is coming together; a seller calls me with a great brick ranch that she wants to unload at wholesale pricing; a rehabbed house we are selling continues to pass the FHA loan hurdles for our buyer; and last but not least, I receive a phone call from a realtor we've employed to sell my father's condo in Ohio. He shares the good news that the condo is now under contract, one week after being listed, with an offer for more than we expected. Considering that the town my father's condo is in has the lowest real estate sales in the entire state of Ohio, I am blown away."
Setting intention is a skill and an art. Debbie Call does a beautiful job of sharing the role of feeling in this process.