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In the current climate of “freedom of conscience”, I have been pondering what freedom means.  I can’t help but return again and again to words of Byron Katie in Loving What Is: “There is my business, your business and God’s business.”  For the less religiously or spiritually inclined, it might read, “There is my business, your business and nobody’s business.”  And, as George Constanza so eloquently bellows, “You know, we’re living in a society!!”

Living in a society, how do we preserve “my business” or the freedom of the individual?  When it comes to “freedom of conscience”, have we the freedom to apply our conscience to the actions of others?  The answer for me is, quite simply, no.  I apply my conscience to my choices and allow others their conscience and their choices.  This is the freedom to be legislated and what I believe our forefathers were after, a freedom of individual conscience and choice within a societal context despite the conscience of others.

Add to this the application of pragmatism, which has been suggested to be the  foundation for our context of freedom. Pragmatism, as I understand it, recognizes the individual experience.  When individual experience is common to the majority, i.e. killing each other is not acceptable, then laws are made to address the killing of one another.  However, even within these laws, experiential allowances are included.  For instance, the determination of intent is broken down into degrees of murder and manslaughter.  We are allowed to be angry, we just aren’t allowed to infringe on the being of another with our actions.

I hear the cry that conscience is being infringed upon if I have to support the choices of others.  To me, supporting the choices of others has everything to do with living in a society.  We preserve individual choice, mine and yours.  I choose to make a wrong turn on a one-way road and get into an accident.  I have insurance that helps amend that mistaken choice.  Universal healthcare is the preservation of societal finances and well-being by allowing each other our choices while pooling our resources to amend individual mistakes in the least financially detrimental way for both the individual and society.

Because, here’s the thing, though we each have an experience of God’s intent, we are not any one of us God or, in secular terms, all-knowing.  There is enough discrepancy of experience of life and its meaning that we have not entered a common experience of it, so how can we be to a point of legislating it?  In fact, it begs the question, is not life and its meaning fully in the hands of God, or certainly outside the realm of human understanding and no one person’s business?  Does any one of us truly have our mind around life and its meaning?  Seems to me that cannot be the case in as much as the meaning of life is the ultimate human inquiry.

In support,

~ Jacqueline

I have been giving a lot of thought to the concept of political correctness.  I say the concept because I don’t hear the phrase spoken much anymore, and it seems this may be due to the fact that it has literally permeated society.  And, I wonder what it has done, and does, to our ability to be honest and trustful.

I am learning that protecting and caring are not mutually inclusive.  For instance, with my children, I strive to do less of keeping the world from them than supporting their understanding of it.  I don’t see the point in protecting them after the fact from anything to which they’ve been exposed.  I believe we are meant to have the experiences we do and that trying to save my children from their experiences by not addressing the truth of those experiences does not serve them.  If I think for a moment that an experience is “not allowed”, I may shy away from addressing it with my children.

Along these lines, I find that political correctness more often perpetuates the same misunderstanding and intolerance it may have meant to resolve.  If I am told to be a certain way, if the choice is not mine – to be more respectful for instance, am I really more respectful?  I may appear more respectful, but do you really have my respect? 

I can see where political correctness sought to bypass the time necessary to empower people’s choices through awareness, understanding and practice.  Such a process takes time and effort.  By bypassing the opportunity to have people understand and make better choices for themselves, we now have, all too many perhaps, people who have actually become disconnected from how they feel or what they think about things because it “isn’t allowed”, it isn’t “politically correct”.  Being so caught up in the need to appear “politically correct”, prejudices and hatred have been buried into subconscious and reveal themselves in the active polarization of groups and society.

If we cannot be honest with ourselves about how we feel or what we think, how can we be honest with others?  If we cannot be honest with others, how can we possibly work through our differences?  For me, polarization is symptomatic of the need for honesty toward working through real differences.  If we are living a “politically correct” existence, how can we be real and truly make a difference in the world?

Most graciously,

~ Jacqueline

I must reveal that I had a serious lack of appreciation for the conspiracy theories spun by Glenn Beck.  It occurs to me, though, that he might have generally been on to something.

I read, years ago, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Dr. Christiane Northrup.  One of many observations and recommendations she shared was to “turn off the media”.  Her reasoning, which still rings true for me, was that we have enough in our own lives to be concerned for and about.  Think about it, our families, our health, work, friends, the list goes on.  It’s just too stressful to know about so many things over which I have no control whatsoever!

My going on 9 year old daughter was told at school to not believe anything on the internet.  With its advent and the ability of anyone to post anything, this actually makes a lot of sense.  Whatever we read, we must consider the source, and often times, we would do well to do some of our own comparative research.  Well, folks, I would suggest doing the same with our news media.  And here are some reasons why…

1) In Reagan’s years, the Fairness Doctrine that governed news media was done away with in the United States, though not necessarily in other parts of the world.  BBC still presents news like they always have and similar to how the US did prior to Reagan’s era.  Anyone else recall?

2)  In order to gain a profit, news media must compete for our attention.  To do this, generally speaking, each entity chooses a market, and then proceeds to tell that market what we want to hear in ways we want to hear it in order to gain our faithful attention, and, er, market share.  In this case, no pain, no gain.  When we aren’t being exposed to both sides and – truly – being given the opportunity to decide for ourselves, what’s the personal growth in that?  Most of our news media in the US not only gives us the news but interprets it for us as well.  Saves us time and gets our attention if its the interpretation that immediately makes sense to us, but doesn’t this make us akin to cattle?  I, personally, find it rather condescending.

3)  How many times have we, and more importantly our children, been exposed to information that might have been better left alone and dealt with on the local stage rather than on the national or global stage?  I’ll leave it at that.

4)  I, personally, voted for my politicians because they know politics better than I and generally trust their views align enough with mine that the outcome will work for me.  I am ok to let them do their job and make the compromises necessary to get things done.  So, the bombardment in the news media of every little step our politicians takes is, for me, way too much information.  And, it certainly speaks to our current seeming standstill.

Bottom line, politicians aren’t our biggest issue.  I dare say they’d get a lot more done if the media hadn’t created a whole slew of micromanagers with whom they need to contend.

‘nough said.

Make it a discerning day,

~ Jacqueline

I have heard an enormous amount of news running about the eoncomic crisis. This week, I have heard about Greece, the EU in general, the US housing situation, our national debt, to name a few. I take the perspective that money must be well-managed though not the goal of what we do. How many of us hold a job in which we are anything from mostly to completely unsatisfied just to make a buck?

One of my more recent posts had to do with the creation of our reality. Our economy is one thing I believe is pure creation on our part, a necessary creation, but a human creation all the same. For this reason, I can’t help but wonder, what is it we are missing? What is the lesson to be learned? If not for money, why do we exist?

Well, I tend to put value in the idea of trustful relationships. If we are building these, it is my experience, and many others I have read, that the money to be managed well comes when are doing what satisfies us and building trustful relatinonships in the process. It is troubling to me that those I believe are essentially gamblers, whose focus is obviously on the accumulation of money, have indulged their habits in the economy, only to weaken it for everyone. Speculations on our housing and oil markets are top of mind.

This is not to say that anything we do with regard to money is wrong or bad on the whole. It might just serve us well, though, to check our involvement with money, with what we do and why we do it, and the relationships we build in our lives. If money is at the top of our priorities, well, it’s up to each of us to make that choice.

“Many can argue that reality is as it is, but my experience
is that the opposite is exactly true, reality is ours for the making.”
— Asara Lovejoy: Human potential author and coach

I appreciate that much of “reality” isn’t actually reality at all. So much of it is truly our creation. I’ve noticed my own ability to create a good day simply by setting an intentional attitude at the beginning of the day.

What I also notice in my own life and observe in others is an undercurrent of absolute truth. This absolute truth is truth that is evident to every being on the planet and that speaks to us through our constant struggles, showing us when we are not being true to ourselves or our purpose.

We create, and we create either with this truth, or reality, and are in harmony, or we create against it and are in strife.

Do you experience creating with or against this absolute reality? What is your experience?

Yours truly,
~ Jacqueline

In my early days at A.T. Kearney as an Operations Assistant, VP Ron Seger saw talent in me and within the year had me moved into a national position looking after the development of a couple of systems / processes we eventually implemented globally. To this day, I am thankful for his trust in me to see and support the pursuit of his vision. I have just started reading “Appreciative Intelligence: Seeing the Mighty Oak in the Acorn” by Tojo Thatchenkery & Carol Metzker. It strikes me that Ron was abundant in this type of intelligence.

There appear to be a combination of ways to view our human assets. There are those who have deep experience; there are those who have talent for quickly learning what interests them; there are those who have a talent for building on their experience. I imagine there are as many combinations as there are people on Earth.

I wonder, though, do we as readily recognize the talent as the experience? I think we can agree that resumes reveal experience, and what of talent? Is talent for a new endeavour apparent on a resume, and if so, how so? Or is this why networking to make personal connections and build relationships is so important?

I am curious. Care to share your thoughts on the matter?

1. Why did anyone stay home? Why does anyone stay home during an election? “We the People” just don’t speak unless, well, everyone has spoken…

2. What is this notion that the government is “other”, in some cases “the enemy”? (I actually know the answer to this, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.) Are we not a Democracy, which by definition is “by the People for the People”? Are we not all in this together?

3. How is a 1-2% majority a “landslide”, “tsunami”, “rebuke”? Those who won by the skin of their tail feathers had best acknowledge the half that did not vote for them! Quite simply, you are not serving the will of all the People with such slim margins.

I envision a country that serves ourselves, each other and those beyond our borders. I envision a country where we take the responsibility to pay for the amazing infrastructure and services we receive. I envision a country where we recognize our connection to one another despite our apparent differences and find the common ground that we inevitably share then move forward to build an amazing tomorrow.

Sincerely,
Jacqueline

I’ve been listening to NPR / WBEZ several times a day as usual.  Seems every two to three stories has something to do with the oil spill in the Gulf.  I’ve heard how experts are trying different tactics to cap the exit point, talks with oceanographers and those who were able to learn something from the Exxon-Mobil disaster, chats with locals about the losses of livelihood and lately it’s been an inquiry into what caused this to happen.

Are we really there already?  Don’t get me wrong, BP owes a great whopping contribution to what is being deemed the greatest ecological disaster the world has ever known, and my hope is that this is all this is.  My fear is that it will give plenty of angry, fearful people a witch to burn, that we’ll enter the long disastrous spiral of a blame game so that we needn’t recognize the part every single one of us has played in leading us to creating a gaping wound under the sea on mother Earth.  We have no idea what this means for our existence on Earth in the coming decades, centuries, quite possibly the next millennium.  I find it hard to believe that we no longer suffer effects from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  But I digress.

What comes to mind is some words of Christ I’ve always found quite poignant.  Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…  When we are hurt, it is our human nature to “throw stones”, look for blame, reject any responsibility we have for a situation.  It is also human nature to overestimate the positive and underestimate the negative, and I would venture this point is key to just about any disaster of this kind.  We anticipate all the “great” we can get out of a venture and completely overlook the possible damage we could cause.  Let me say again, this is human nature, folks.  Yes, BP has an inordinate amount of responsibility for this situation given it is their rig that buckled.  All I want to get across is that it could have happened to any of the oil companies, and although the others claim surprise that BP lacked in its precautions; they have also gone so far as to say that none of them would have been prepared for such a situation.

Yes, every single one of us should be worried and recognize the part we have played simply by owning a gas-powered vehicle or using plastic for that matter.  I’m not saying we should ban all carbon-based products.  Any extreme is ludicrous in my mind.  I’m just wanting us each to take responsibility for the part we have played as individuals, communities, societies and cultures by the simple use of these products.

I am also of the mind that when it comes to a solution and clean-up, it should involve both BP and the government.  And, we might look to BP and its peers to create a panel of folks who know the most about both to lead the effort.  Only because I’ve also heard the debate of whether BP should continue to lead the charge or the government should take over.  And in this case, no one, as far as I can tell, has the sole knowledge, skills or capacity to deal with this crisis.  I’d like us to recognize that both, plus many more, heads in this are better than either on its own.  I’d like us to focus on the solution more than solve “who done it”, because that’s the only way I see us getting out of this mess as a global society.

I’ve been pondering for some time now, since my Global & International OD class at Benedictine back in March, the first of four key principle’s of Confucius’ “pragmatic rules for daily life derived from Chinese history.”  (Hofstede, Cultures & Organizations: Software of the Mind, p. 208)  It reads:

The stability of society is based on unequal relationships between people.  …[Confucius] distinguished five basic relationships (the wu lun):  ruler-subject, father-son, older-brother-younger brother, husband-wife, and senior friend-junior friend.  These relationships are based on mutual and complementary obligations: for example, the junior partner owes the senior partner respect and obedience, and the senior owes the junior partner protection and consideration.

I have to admit that the concept, what I’ve always known of it and upon initial readings, left me rather uncomfortable.  The word “obedience” leaves me cold to be honest.  So, I’ve re-read and re-read and pondered and soul searched, and something has occurred to me.  But first, let me mention that there are those, plenty I’m sure, and including my mother who will say – something to the effect of – “We had respect for our elders back when I was growing up.  It was the me generation that screwed everything up and now children no longer respect their elders.”

Ok.  So I’m not sure how prolific this disrespect is though it is certainly perceived.  Here’s the thing that has struck me.  Reading the last half of the last sentence is of incredible importance, because like others, I get hung up on the respect and obedience of elders bit.  Let me reiterate:  the senior owes the junior partner protection and consideration.  I really think this should come first because if we think of the parent child relationship, the older should be the wiser and should give the protection and consideration that would stir the respect and obedience Confucius obviously observed in healthy working relationships.  And this, I feel, is where the respect broke down, culturally and in the broadest sense for us here in the US, and perhaps in broader Western societies.

Consider the breakdown of the closeness of our extended families.  With this breakdown toward nuclear families, parents lost a natural source of learning to be a parent from experienced, knowledgeable and wise older family members.  We are left to figuring it out amongst ourselves, by trial and error, over the internet and through reading of books.  As humans, though we have the capacity to learn visually and aurally, we forget that we are foundationally kinesthetic learners who learn at first, and throughout life at the core, through mimicry.  So, without models, we lost what it means to protect and consider our children, or junior roles.  What I get is that consideration is the respect we give our junior counterparts and how they learn what it is to respect.  But when parents who lack this understanding live by “do as I say not as I do”, what other outcome could there possibly be than rebellion and disrespect?!

That said, I’m still not sure about the husband-wife concept.  For me, true consensual partnership is the goal in my relationship.  I just truly believe there is great learning here for a good number of relationships, especially the parent-child relationships.  Elders/Seniors need to realize that respect must be earned and find every opportunity to learn the how of doing so.  If you’re interested, let me know.  I’m happy to share options that have worked for me.

Further thought… It has since occurred to me that senior/junior can merely represent the level of knowledge or wisdom comparatively holds in relationship to another.  With regard to my marriage, there are times when I am more “in the know” on a matter and times when my husband is.  In this way, we compliment one another, drawing on our respective strengths.  So, though this comparative wisdom piece may perhaps be more skewed in age related relationships, it occurs to me that any partnership might be served to recognize the wisdom and strength of both parties.  What parent has not learned from their children?

Until next time, make life marvelous!

Hugs out to ya…

Something has got to give.  If you haven’t read it, Hofstede’s Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind has a lot of great insight.  I’d like to share a piece with you here.   Hofstede refers to differences between cultures that have either a short-term or long-term orientation.  One of these differences is the axiom that serves as the code to how cultures approach differences.  The axioms are that we can look at our differences in two ways:  1) If A is true, it’s opposite B must be false or 2) If A is true, it’s opposite B can also be true.  Within the broader text, the second axiom goes further to say … and together they produce a wisdom superior to either A or B.

There are a number of interpretations that might be drawn.  Win-Lose vs Win-Win being one.  When we are able to accept another’s perspective and appreciate both our own needs and those of another or others, with time, attention and effort, we are often able to produce a greater solution.  One could argue that such ability is key to innovation.  Perspectives come together to find a solution taking into account as many angles as exist perspectives.  This brings to mind how valuable diversity of thought can be when we are able to transcend our need to win at another’s expense and appreciate and assimilate alternate viewpoints.

The question is raised, how does this happen?  How do we create such a situation?  I submit it starts with creating a foundation of trust, starting with self trust, which inevitably builds our trust of others.  Because we see the world as we are, when we trust ourselves, we in turn trust the world around us.  Such trust enables us to approach others and situations trusting unknown intent.  We drop the assumption of bad intent and replace it with good.  Just following the 80/20 rule, a vast majority of the time, especially within communities, whether neighborhood or professional, we are going to encounter trustworthiness.  I would go so far as to argue that even half of the 20% encompasses misinterpreation and miscommunication.

Folks, there is more positive than negative in our world.  It is simply our focus on the negative that magnifies it.  We want more of the same than our need to “win” will let us realize.  So next time someone has a different view than you, practice listening with heart.  You might just hear something familiar.  I’m willing to bet on it.

Hugs,

Jacqueline

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