Friday, January 05, 2007

Flipping the Switch

Nick Smith at Life 2.0 has written an eloquent post called Why Are Our Leaders Messing Up So Badly? As I read his post and the comments by some very thoughtful readers, it occurs to me that perhaps we are seeing leaders as "messing up" because that is what we are looking for. Nick talks more about this in his post when he says

"... maybe the problem is not with our leaders but with us. I don't think it's so much that we've made poor choices in electing our leaders, but that we seem to have developed a greater willingness to project the blame for our ills on others, so as to relieve ourselves of our own responsibility. It's as though 'blame' is the purpose we subconsciously want to give to our leaders, and that is the one they are fulfilling for us.... and perfectly so."

As I commented on Nick's blog, I believe what is causing the distress and dis-ease we are witnessing can be culled down to fear and I believe the first step to eliminating fear is to shed light on and acknowledge 1) that that's what it is and 2) that we actually do feel it. When I was a little kid, dark rooms were very fearful because my imagination made up all kinds of stories about what could be lurking in the corner or under the bed. But as soon as I turned on the light in the room, the fear went away. Light shines away darkness - or, as Nick points out in his original post, "forest fires start from just one match, and all the darkness in the world cannot put out the light from just one small flame."

I'm reminded, too, of Edith Wharton's quote: "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." If I'm committed to the light, I don't always have to be the candle - I can sometimes be the mirror. Both situations result in light.

When I remember that there really is no "out there" "out there," and there is no "us" or "them" only "we," I can bring my own light to the government, to education, to religion, and to business and commerce whenever I notice. What I realize is that my attention begins to shift from what is "wrong" or "right" to "what works" or "what doesn't" and the energy automatically shifts from judgment to observation. My seemingly inadequate or insufficient attitude or thought now becomes my commitment to BE the change I wish to see in the world.

I heard Deepak Chopra once say leaders are elected or appointed by the collective consciousness of those they represent. If that is true, then we really have no one to "blame," but have an outstanding opportunity for dialogue - suspending assumptions for the purpose of learning something.

And to me, that's like flipping the switch - helping shift the focus and bringing the light - shining away the darkness and the fear. What would our schools, our churches, our goverments and our businesses look like if we flip the switch and turn on the light? I can BE that change. I WILL be that change - I AM BEING that change.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
- Marianne Williamson

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At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."

Jodee, who cares?
The Truth you speak is so bright I have to wear shades each time I come visit here. ;-)

At 8:43 AM, Blogger Jodee Bock said...

Ah, here we are, the two members of the Mutual Admiration Society! I feel exactly the same way about your site. I'm so thrilled that we are in synch, though an ocean (and half a continent) separates us.

At 5:37 PM, Blogger Craig said...

Hey Jodee -- great post!

I thought the last quote was from a speech Nelson Mandela gave in South Africa? Just wondering. It's my favorite!

Thanks for being so insightful!

At 6:30 PM, Blogger Jodee Bock said...

CB: Thanks for stopping by! You're right - Nelson Mandela used Marianne's quote as part of his inauguration address. The book it came from is really wonderful - it's called "A Return to Love" and I'd highly recommend it!

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Martin-√Čric said...

I'm not so sure about leaders being elected by the collective consciousness.

Years after year, I keep on noticing that the concept of casting a ballot is, in itself, a poor embodiment of democracy, because doesn't truly empower the nation; it only allows it to chose among one of the lesser evils.

Granted, some political systems allow giving a few seats to minority parties who represent different groups of voters, but then those elected as members of those parties barely have the power of divergent voice to effect change; they don't hold any real power, the way members of the ruling coalition do.

I also keep on noticing that no matter how well-intent someone might have been when they got involved into politics, they soon face the choice of keeping with the party line or otherwise be cast asides. Most politicians eventually fall in line, rather than be expelled.

Most importantly, I keep on noticing how I'm not the only one who would have done things differently, but who also realizes the futility of changing politics by joining its game.

There's always been people who can see where things are going, but who fail to attract critical mass into doing what must be done, because they are perceived as bearers of bad news, rather than as preventive medics.

At 9:17 PM, Blogger Jodee Bock said...

Martin-Eric: Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I'm the last one to get into a dialogue about politics - I just don't think I'm that well-informed and, to be honest, not that interested in traditional politics. As you've said, you realize the futility of changing politics by joining its game, so maybe that's the challenge our current political system has: the ones who vote are those who aren't yet cynical and resigned, and so we end up with those elected officials who are chosen by those who aren't yet cynical enough not to vote. So maybe Deepak's statement should have said we get the political candidates who represent the collective consciousness of those who vote. If we care enough to vote, we will stay engaged - otherwise the cynicism and resignation will win.

If perception is reality, it would appear that the way to get beyond the current situation is to address the perception. If we're really committed to making a difference in politics, it might start with different dialogue.

Thank you for providing a great dialogue here!


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