Emotion is as important to our professional lives as thinking. For far too long, emotion has been discounted out of the American concept of professionalism. This makes sense since by simple observation, emotion would appear to be the more complex element of humanity between the two, and regardless of whether we pay attention to it or not, it is there. It informs us when something isn’t right and needs to be corrected, resolved or redirected. It underlies our decision making, and so much more not readily delineated.

It has also been observed that some personality types are more subject to, even driven by, emotion. So, there are at least two development tracks when it comes to emotion. One either needs to develop attention to emotion in order to be more consciously informed by it, or one has a need to separate from emotion in order to manage one’s response to it, to move away from reacting to it.

Neither is new. The practice of meditation in yoga has been around longer than American society, and one of the great many benefits yoga provides is the practice of observing the physical body, thoughts in the mind body and feelings of the emotional body. In my experience, emotion has been the most difficult to observe simply because I am one of those on the emotionally reactive side of the equation. For a good length of time I confused emotion with my intuition and proverbial gut instinct, which made it harder to come to terms with the separation required to observe and consciously apply it.

Emotion is much less simple than thinking, and it needs great care to develop awareness of it and a conscious response to it. Truth is, it is always there, underlying intuition, gut instinct, decision-making and even informing our thoughts, so we would do well as a society to take heed and incorporate emotion rather than continue to deny and combat its existence.

Fare thee well,
~ Jacqueline

No doubt, many sense that not is all right with our society. What some do not seem to realize is a wave of civil terrorism afoot, and not by those we are being led to believe through “hitleresque” propaganda and fear mongering. Do we really think the likes of the KKK and Skin Heads have simply gone away? It is my observation that no, they have simply made their way into religion and politics, continuing to drive an agenda of hatred, preying on existing fears that all is not right with the world, seeking their sense of entitlement to supreme power.

The tyranny our forefathers saw to obstruct by creating a constitutional republic was not, in fact, that of government but of the existing governing body, a ruling class of royalty – a class of the financially and power entitled. Our forefathers sought, with the constitution and the formation of a democratic republic, to obstruct the ability of tyranny against the individual by any organized power. They sought to build a governing body elected and thereby in essence ruled by the citizenry of this great country. Our constitutional government has, over its mere two centuries, existed to preserve the rights of the individual, and still seeks to do so for the most part, but in more recent decades has been slowly infiltrated by the likes of civil terrorists, often in the name of religion, looking to undo the rights of the individual so that their agenda of entitlement to superiority might be driven.

So, in this effort, the likes of the KKK and Skin Heads have joined ranks with what is too quickly becoming a ruling oligarchy, preying on our fears with rhetoric of a tyrannical government when in truth it is their ruling class form of tyranny they espouse and pursue. Have we not all heard the phrases, “takes one to know one” and “the pot calling the kettle black”? We left a ruling class of elitist royalty but have now entered an era of an elitist oligarchy supported by an elitist army of white supremacists. This, too, unfortunately, is an historical part of our founding, given the machine of slavery for which our forefathers and this country are infamous, yet perhaps too forgiven.

Why else does our education system continue to lag the rest of the free world? Perhaps to enable a tyrannical class to infiltrate and upend the very system our forefathers put into place to avoid, that this would-be ruling class would have us believe is the very problem. And perhaps it is indeed becoming so?  It has been a slow coup, and many probably haven’t even realized their part in it. It can be seen in the erosion of politics as a short-term service to the populace into a long-term career opportunity; in the gerrymandering of voting districts to remain in power; in the likes of Citizens United – which is, I would hope obvious by now – a uniting of the ruling oligarchy and supremacists by making ownership of business representative of those they employ. Really? Do we really think that everyone in an organization would knowingly support the wishes of an entitled would-be ruling class? Well, we do. Our fear is great enough, and they are wily enough to convince us to do so, because in truth, it is simply human nature at work. They may not, excepting a few, even recognize themselves as the civil terrorists they are. Power simply has an unruly effect, and when the same had already been hiding out in the name of religion, our sensibilities on that front had been eroded, except where – in our primary case – Christ’s own anti-tyranny message has gotten through despite best efforts otherwise.

It has been more than a few times that someone from an earlier generation has begun a diatribe on the calamities of a later generation. Each time, I have stopped them with the phrase, “We are from whence we came.”

I cannot experience WWII as my grandparents did simply because they created an experience absent of  World War.  My generation brought forth technology and consumerism which created the experience of more current generations.  In this, we cannot deny the influence each generation has upon the next and all those that come after.

We would do well not to abdicate the role we play as a generation in what we see as the demise of those that come after us.  Quite simply, “We made it possible.”

Most respectfully,

~ Jacqueline

I purposely decided to watch the Oscars on Sunday night, as I had not done in years, and was excitedly surprised to find Seth MacFarlane hosting.  Knowing Seth’s tendency toward irreverence did give me pause as to how he might be received.  But that was it, my concern wasn’t whether he would do the event justice – which he did, brilliantly, in so many ways – but whether we as a society are ready for the poking of our human foibles Seth does so impeccably.

In my mind, unlike all things Divine, our humanity deserves less of the reverence we give it and more of a reality check and appreciation.  We would do well to let go the expectation of human perfection.  In fact, and I may have written of this somewhere before, our pursuit of political correctness, though I am sure well intended, has actually caused detriment to our society in that rather than be challenged to learn how to discuss and work through our differences of perspective effectively, it drove our differences underground where they have been left to being acted out in ridiculous and too often dangerous ways.

It is a farce to think we as humans must act in a God-like manner to be appreciated.  Godliness is an ideal to which I am a huge advocate of pursuing, and like God, it is, in our human form, infinitely distant to our understanding.  Religion, to whichever one subscribes, serves to guide our practice to affect Divinity in our lives, a practice that remains ongoing.

So, what Seth so divinely provides us in his brilliant authentic way is the poking of our humanity that we might see it more clearly and learn to appreciate it in its own right; to replace our reverence for appreciation, because, in my mind, our reverence for our humanity has led us to profound judgment of one another and requisite non-purposeful suffering.

I read many a suffering comment of Seth’s performance.  As one colleague shared with me, “It wasn’t my cup of tea.” And that should be it.  He doesn’t have to be your cup of tea, but that is all. It truly amazed me how many people thought that the reactions of Naomi, Charlize and Jennifer to “I Saw Your Boobs” were actually in real time.  Just goes to show how many of us remain out to judge others, however unwittingly, with little regard for our own filters.

The thing to remember is that our reactions say infinitely more about us than anything or anyone to which we react.  This leads me to believe that we, as a society, have a great deal of reflection to do on our own humanity and divinity.

Enough said,

~ Jacqueline

No question, a business must maintain a profit to remain in business.  I question, however, the concept that making a profit is the purpose of business.  For me, the purpose of business is to serve its community, both internally – those who serve the purpose of the business – and externally –  whether local, national or global.   The sustainability of a business is dependent upon whether it continues to serve a purpose to that community.

In my own work experience, I have witnessed businesses lose balance and topple because they lose sight of their purpose, favoring investors (or the proverbial shareholder) over the internal and/or external community (otherwise known as stakeholders).  Likewise, I have seen businesses prosper because they keep sight of all stakeholders even in the face of investor scrutiny.

In this discussion hosted by American Public Media and the BBC – http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/marketplace-live/marketplace-live-what-difference-four-years-does-not-make – two themes arise:  1) We must return to living within our means and 2) the financial industry must return to a purpose of stewardship.  How have we lost the sense in too many cases that business be the steward of purpose and expertise, be  trusted advisers, in our communities?  And, how do we find that purpose once again?

The way I see it, our choices are between a candidate who is globally savvy and a candidate who is America-Centric. As a self-professed Air Force brat turned global citizen, I most identify with and support the views of our globally savvy candidate. I know from experience that globally reared “brats” of any kind are typically misunderstood and sometimes incomprehensible by our fellow citizens.

When I was in high school at Ramstein AFB, Germany, and even upon my return to work and live during the Summer between undergrad and graduate school as part of a German-American Business Exchange program, I recall conversations in which I expressed my view of America as being a spoiled, rich teenager, as in all kinds of power and money though lacking life experience. America is a powerful culture, yet one of the most isolationist in the world. Our general population is one of the least traveled, at least outside our borders, so “we, the people” as a collective have very little idea of what has gone and currently goes before us.  We are a truly independent civilization based on our heritage.  I will concede this may be a fundamental foundation for the valued and admirable creativity we bring the world.  As Winston Churchill described, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else.” Very telling of a need to go it alone, figure it out on our own, because “our parents don’t know crap.”

So, when are we going to grow up and realize that those who have gone before us, some long before us, might have some wisdom to share?  It doesn’t mean we have to become any other country, we will always be America – the free, the brave, the creative.  We might just get farther faster, though, if we were to tap into pearls of wisdom out there that could fit our needs and trajectory.  There is also something to be said for graduating to interdependence, which I see as a natural maturation of our independence in which we appreciate who we are enough to appreciate that we do not and cannot bring it all and need our fellow man.

We have such an opportunity to mature into a respected – not by demand of others but by command of ourselves – effective partner in the world. What say you to taking that bull by the horns?

Sincerely,

~ Jacqueline

I will admit upfront that I am by no means any kind of fiscal wizard, nor do I wish to be.  I will also qualify that for me science is the quantifiable analysis of God’s creation.  And, finally, I can only speak from that of which I am aware, so welcome more information.  That said…

I have continuously questioned economic growth.  I am primarily a feeler, in Meyers-Briggs terms, and it has never felt right to me that an economy should continually grow.  Oh, it feels better, for sure, than an economy in recession, but it seems to me the “feel goodness” of a growing economy has perhaps become a social addiction and one that has caused us to create economic bubbles to feign continued growth?

Beyond my feelings, I look to nature and science for information on the matter, and here are some thoughts based on current awareness.

1) Matter that continually grows, eventually destroys.  Ivy, bacteria, cancer cells come to mind.  David Suzuki speaks to this in his book: The Legacy: An Elder’s Vision for Our Sustainable Future on which I heard him interviewed recently.  Fascinating.

2) Has anyone noticed that as we grow the economy so do we grow our fiscal debt? I should also confess that I do not see economy as part of or based in nature but a human construct subject to laws of nature.  So, conceivably, what we’ve created we can adapt or even undo, assuming we put our collective minds to it.  And when we do, I propose doing so in a way that does not undermine society nor disrespect laws of nature.  Since it has taken us at least decades if not a century to reach this point, is it wise to think we can fix it in the near term without detrimental side effects?

3) How far exactly can we stretch a rubber band before it breaks or snaps back?  Are we perhaps in the throes of an economic breaking point or  snap back?  Are we prepared to release it gently or will we continue to let it smack us?

4) I wonder, did the concept of the Tao come about from centuries of a collective people witnessing the ebb and flow of life and living?

These are the thoughts that pass through my mind on the matter of fiscal responsibility, and as mentioned, not my area of expertise.  Given this, I am open and willing to becoming more informed by welcoming alternative perspectives.

Respectfully,
~ Jacqueline

I am hearing again that we need a businessman to lead our government. I am not sure this is the case for a number of reasons.

For one, government does not work like business, and it isn’t supposed to do so. When it works efficiently – and you’ll get no argument from me that there are plenty efficiencies and adjustments that could be pursued in government programs – it acts as a counter-balance to our private sector.

Reason two. Good people are in business. However, there is much to indicate that America is permeated with the need to win. Winning in business translates to making the most money.  As humans, good people fall prey to this ideal, and when they do, they lose sight of their fellow Americans, indeed their fellow humans, and our need to support one another. In fact, as Christian Americans, we are called to do all things in love for – in service to – one another.  Unfortunately, as humans, we fall prey to the idea that winning is a competition of one against another.  If we are a Christian nation, in my view, we should be pursuing ideals that win for us all.

Reason three.  As I recall, Bush was a businessman, as were many on his cabinet.  There are plenty of indications, Halliburton for one, that led good people in government to capitalize on their position and subordinate duty to country.  We see it also in legislation passed that removes our government bodies from the laws they make.

Being in service to our fellow Americans, in fact humans, is a tall order, and too many well-intended people, simply either never know this concept out of lack of experiential context or lose sight of it all in the name of winning the money game.  It happens in the private sector, and it happens in government.  Our perspective can draw us to see this issue to be in either the private or government sector, but its really an issue of our humanity.  There are plenty able to voice their interpretations of the Word of God, but as in all things, the doing of God’s Word – through whomever S/He has spoken – is key and the most challenging of tasks.

When we find our religious practice, in truth, I have faith that we’ll find our way to evolving the greatness of our country to put each other before the dollar.

Respectfully,

~ Jacqueline

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