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