From a fellow SWOG:
Let It Go from Danna Faulds Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold: the holding of plans or dreams or expectations – Let it all go. Save your strength to swim with the tide. The choice to fight what is here before you now will only result in struggle, fear, and desperate attempts to flee from the very energy you long for. Let go. Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes through your days whether you received it gently or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders. Take this on faith; the mind may never find the explanations that it seeks, but you will move forward nonetheless. Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry you to unknown shores, beyond your wildest dreams or destinations. Let it all go and find the place of rest and peace, and certain transformation
Trust and surrender dear SWOGs.  Trust and surrender.
OK, after working at Ten Thousand Villages for almost four weeks now, I have become an absolute Fair Trade convert.  And, of course, I have to put in a plug for Ten Thousand Villages whose founder--Edna Ruth Byler--is recognized as the Fair Trade movement's originator. You, too, can be part of the story. View online: http://www.tenthousandvillages.com Of course, I can't help but put Edna Ruth's story in SWOG blog--after all, she sure sounds like a Strong Woman of Grace.  You can read how she got started here:  http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/about-history/ And check out their wonderful blog called "Mosaic," which can be accessed on their site or at: http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/mosaic/categories/fair-trade/ It won't take you long to see where swog lady is spending her paycheck!!! Enjoy!
OK, get out the tissues.  This one was powerful--in many ways.  Because I read slowly, I had trouble reading his whole message while the video was playing.  You might not suffer the same pokiness, but in case you do I'm going to include below, after the video, the exact words written on this gentleman's sign.  As always, I'm interested in your thoughts!   [embed]https://youtu.be/lCy8Cfvoe6g[/embed]  
Hello.  My name is Karim and I am an Arab-American.  Like many people who are black, brown, women, LGBTQIA, Latinx, Muslim, Jewish, Immigrants and Other, I am very scared.  We are anxious and uneasy in our own country and it's difficult to see what lies ahead for us.  But I have HOPE that I am SAFE with YOU.  Together we can build a community of caring rather than one of fear.  You can trust me to care for you no matter who you are, what you look like or where you are from.  ?Will you embrace me as willingly as I embrace you? Will you shake my hand and/or HUG me and/or take a photo with me and post it as a sign that I am safe here with you? I TRUST YOU.  #youaresafewithme    #safetyinnumbers
  There is so much to say and do.  Let's make sure our voices are heard.  Feel free to pass along the video, the post or whatever.  Write your congressmen and women.  We can promote safety and security without promoting racism, hatred and exclusion.  It does not have to be one or the other.  Our policies can protect ALL Americans, no matter what their religious beliefs or skin color, and allow for a reasonable approach to immigration.  It does not have to be dualistic, polarized and all or nothing.  Hatred is not the way, and now is not a good time to be complacent. Please remember, as I know my dear SWOGs and SMOGs you do, that we are ALL descended from immigrants (unless you are 100% Native American).  Irish, English, German, French, Spanish, Greek, African, Vietnamese, Chinese, Mexican, Brazilian, Japanese, Iranian, Israeli, Saudi's, Russian, Eastern European, Scandinavian, and the list goes on and on and on.  We are a melting pot of people.  Our heritage is rich and deep.  And, as one of our greatest Presidents (a Republican, I might add) reminded us in a very famous speech a long time ago:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers bought forth on this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal...that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.  And that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the Earth.      ~Abraham Lincoln
One man OR woman should not have the ability to put actions in place that are essential unconstitutional.  And, I know there are friends of mine reading this blog who struggled through the Obama Presidency for the same reason.  So, clearly something has to change with the way Executive Orders work, because it seems to me that EO's have become a way for one individual to circumvent the Constitution and the principles by which we were founded.  In addition and most importantly, those same EO's should not give that President's followers the right or rationale to spew hatred toward our fellow men and women.  THAT is actually the most disturbing part of all of this. OK, that's enough politics for this week.  It's not my intention for this blog to become a voice for one political party over another.  In my heart, I'm an independent anyway.  I subscribe to ideologies from both major political parties.  I was just struck by this video which I actually received via email a few days ago on my Georgetown listserv.  Then came the events of this weekend, and I just had to vocalize my deep concern over what I see happening in a frenzied pace.          
A funny thing happened to me yesterday on the way to trying to live life wholeheartedly. But, let me first digress.  Wholeheartedly?  What in the world are you talking about SWOG-blogging lady? About a month ago I started listening to Brené Brown's book, The Power of Vulnerability.  Thanks to a fellow SWOG (you know who you are--DGK), I latched onto Brené a few years ago when her book, The Gifts of Imperfection was recommended to me.  She's a qualitative researcher that does work on topics like shame and vulnerability.  If you haven't read any of her work, try watching her out on YouTube in one of her many TED Talks that she's done over the years. Anyway, one of the things she's discovered through interviewing thousands of people during her career is there is this small percentage of people who have found a way to embrace vulnerability and live in a very, what she refers to as, "wholehearted" way.  As I listened to The Power of Vulnerability I found myself thinking--Eureka!  That's it!!!  This is kind of all over the strength with grace thing.  I need to get me some more of this wholehearted stuff! The way she describes "wholehearted" is by referring to ten sort of principles or ways these people choose to live their lives.  I do pick the word "choose" intentionally, by the way.  My Georgetown mentor told me, "We are always at choice.  We can choose for ourselves different ways of thinking and behaving."  So these wholehearted people, Brené found, do something interesting.  They cultivate certain things on one hand and they let go of certain things on the other.  So instead of striving for more, more, more they do what makes more sense.  They do more of something and less of something else.  They do more of the good wholehearted things and less of things that get in the way of living a peace-filled and joyful life.  I'll be laying out more about these ten principles in my blog over the next few weeks/months. So, I did as I so often do...jumped straight into the deep end of the pool.  I went out three days ago and bought myself one of those wee little pocket journals--the size and nature that could literally fit in a man's dress shirt breast pocket.  And I took every one of of the ten principles and I wrote on the left side of one spread of two pages the things I needed to "cultivate" and on the right side, the things I needed to "let go of."  I made a vow that I would get up every morning-- before I did anything else--and I would read one of the ten principles, in successive order of course, and I would practice cultivating and letting go of those particular things on that day.  I would do this everyday and maybe by 60 to 90 to 120 days, I would have wholehearted living absolutely figured out. You just KNOW where this is going, don't you??!! So, Day 1 I get up and read my little journal and the notes that went along with the first principle.  It was about authenticity.  I was all over it.  This is cool!  I did a fairly good job of keeping the lessons in the forefront of my mind all day long.  I really felt good and like I was onto something important. Day 2 comes--which was yesterday-- and I bound out of bed.  I had a ton to do...I had a bunch of phone appointments.  I had company coming for dinner and staying to help me with genealogy research I was doing on my extended family (you know who you are SWOG-lady and thank you DS!).  I had some pre-work I wanted to do for that meeting ahead of time.  I had about three potential SWOG posts competing in my brain cells for wanting to be posted next.  I had some clean-up work to do.  I wanted to fit in a work-out.  You get the picture.  I was off and running to what promised to be a very busy day. And, yes, the little diary was TOTALLY forgotten.  Did not give it a moment's thought.  Did not even think, "Oh, and I need to read my little diary and see what I need to practice today." Somewhere around 2:30 pm I remembered it and the conversation in my head went something like this:
GEEZ Louise, Bev.  I CANNOT believe it's only Day 2 and you've ALREADY forgotten what you committed to doing.  What is the MATTER with you?!?  You can't commit to anything and see it through!
So, I scrambled to find my little diary and opened it to the second principle for wholehearted living.  It is as follows:
Cultivate Self-Compassion and Let Go Of Perfectionism.
I LAUGHED OUT LOUD.  So much so that I doubled over and snorted a few times just for good measure.  And, do we think that was a coincidence?  Naw.  Probably not. Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?    
Follow-ups are important for a number of reasons. Understanding, closure, clarity, answering un-answered questions to name a few. Sometimes (read here--"many times") we make assumptions about communications that we shouldn't.   There's that tricky judgment thing again!!!   Below is a follow-up post from Rohr to my last one on the Grace of Humility:
Contemplative Christianity Is the Great Tradition Thursday, January 19, 2017 I believe the teaching of contemplation is absolutely key to rebuilding Christianity, otherwise our very style of “knowing” is off base and everything that follows is skewed. Our untransformed brains are hardwired to focus on the negative and to dualistically label and divide, it seems. While rational critique and logical judgment are important for practical matters, they can only get us so far. We need nondual consciousness—the mind of Christ—to process the great questions of love, suffering, death, infinity, and divinity and to be unafraid of diversity and welcoming of union at ever higher and more expansive levels. We will explore contemplation and nondual consciousness more in a few weeks, but for now let me briefly define the practice of contemplative prayer: In a silent posture of self-emptying, we let go of habitual thoughts and sensations and connect with an Inner Witness (Romans 8:16)—God’s presence within—that gazes back at ourselves and out at reality with an Abiding Love. Contemplation is learning how to offer “a long, loving look at the Real.” [1] Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy have a long but intermittent tradition of teaching contemplation. Catholics today may know the word contemplation, but that doesn’t mean we know the actual how or the important why. Instead of teaching silent mindfulness, in recent centuries the church emphasized repetition of rote, wordy prayers, and “attendance” at social prayer. Even most of the great contemplative Orders (Cistercian, Carmelite, Poor Clare, etc.) now recognize that they stopped directly teaching the practice of silent prayer to their own members. Contemplative prayer was largely lost after the dualistic, tribal fights of the Reformation and the Enlightenment. The utter vulnerability of silence did not allow us to “prove” anything and so was no longer attractive. The Protestant tradition does not have a strong history of contemplation beyond a few isolated individuals who discovered it on their own. The Orthodox tradition had it well-documented on paper and in a few monasteries, but it was far too tribal go where contemplation always leads—toward universal compassion, inclusivity, and nonviolence. So most traditionalists today are not traditional at all! They know so little about the Big Tradition beyond their ethnic version since the last national revolution in their country. That is what happens when you move into a defensive posture against others. You circle the wagons around externals and non-essentials, and the first thing to go is anything interior or as subversive to your own ego as is contemplation. Of course this is precisely what is essential for true transformation. Without it, we have the French and Spanish Catholic hierarchies largely opposing their own needed revolutions and reforms, English and German bishops blessing all their wars, and the majority of Orthodox hierarchies co-operating with communist dictators against their own people. This is the bad fruit of non-contemplative Christianity, which Thomas Merton was one of the first to be public and vocal about in the 1950s. Christians need to retrieve our own tradition of accessing and living from an alternative consciousness. First we have to know that the Christian contemplative tradition even exists and once flourished. We’re not simply borrowing from Eastern religions and modern neuroscience. It is very clear in the Desert Fathers and Mothers, many of whom fled to the desert in the fourth century so they could practice what they felt was authentic Christianity, unhindered by the priorities of the new imperial religion that was based largely on externals. The alternative contemplative tradition persisted in Celtic Christianity (outside the Roman Empire); in the Eastern Church’s collection of texts, called the Philokalia; and in the monastic history of all the ancient Orders of the East and West, which only sometimes taught it directly or indirectly (e.g., Dionysius, John Cassian, the monastery of St. Victor in Paris, the Franciscans Bonaventure and Francisco de Osuna, and the final explosion in the Spanish Carmelites). Otherwise, it was more exemplified in highly transformed people who came to it through conscious prayer, love, or suffering. There were anomalies like the Jesuits, Jean Pierre de Caussade and Teilhard de Chardin, and very many women foundresses of communities who show all the fruits of a contemplative life. Women and lay people had more easy access to contemplation precisely because they were not seminary and liturgically trained. Like Julian of Norwich, they learned it on the side and on the sly and often through suffering!
  Enough said for today.  
So, who cares about this adult stage development stuff, SWOG lady?  Well, let me make the case for why we should all care. Take a look at this chart, and focus on the difference in percentages between the UK and US when it comes to the earlier vs later stages of adult development (you can click on the picture to see it more clearly): adult-stage-distributions-us-uk Knowing the little bit I do about the differences in how people behave in those earlier stages versus the later stages, the fact that the US has over 58% of US managers and supervisors operating at the "Expert" stage or earlier is concerning to me.  We wonder why the country is polarized and divided.   I think the following information taken from the Cook-Greuter work will help shed light on some of the behaviors demonstrated at those earlier stages:  
  • Morality: When Opportunists lose a test of will, or overstep a boundary, they see the cause as outside themselves. They get frustrated and tend to show free-flowing anger and hostility. Others are to blame, never oneself. Their own anger towards the world is projected outward.
  • Interpersonal: Self-protective individuals especially the Opportunist type tend to cause much friction and hurt feelings wherever they go because of the “I win, you lose” mentality. This is especially so in relationship to others at more conventional stages. In turn, others describe Opportunists as unpredictable, unreasonable, manipulative and exploitative.
  • Cognitive style: Thinking is concrete and dichotomous, based on global, undifferentiated judgments, and simple ideas. Things look black or white. Others are either for me or against me.
  • Language clues: Experience is described in simple dichotomies - good/bad, right/wrong, fun/boring or with concrete, physical words such as in “life is hard.” Often strong negative affect is expressed.
  • Morality: Conformists adhere to a simple rule: “everything goes into two piles. The good, or correct, and the bad, or incorrect.” Knowing the distinction makes it easier to make sense of the world. Every decision, every idea, every person, every action, fits in one pile or the other. There are few, if any, shades of gray, no irony, and no intangibles. Actions are carried out with conviction. This is how it is done around here. “Either you are with us and agree or you are against us.”
  • Feelings: Blind conformism, fundamentalism and prejudice can be expressions of this early conventional frame of mind.
  • Interpersonal style: Because Conformists so desperately want to belong, they will conform to the rules and norms of whatever desired group, gang, political party they belong to.
  • Conscious preoccupation: Conformists put great value on appearance, status symbols, material possessions, reputation and prestige. They are concerned with social acceptance and attempt to adjust to group norms. They deeply care about other’s opinions and evaluations although they are not likely to ask for feedback.
  • Coaching-Counseling style: Conformists like to give lots of advice telling others what to do or not to do. They also tend to compare and evaluate others according to their own preferences where the way I manage or we do it here is the right way while other ways are simply wrong and need to be corrected.
  • Cognitive:  Experts tend to focus on doing things right or correctly, not yet on doing the right things. That is they offer single loop solutions, rather than questioning their preferred approach. Indeed, their own way of doing something is seen as the only right way.
  • Social: Experts may reject their family of origin or their childhood beliefs, yet they still need a reference group that accepts and respects them. Only now they want to be accepted by others because of how they are different and special. Expertise and knowledge are ways to distinguish oneself. Professional peer groups and organizations thus supply the need for approval and belonging. Degrees, authorities, and reference books in the field also provide the needed support for defending one’s approach. However, feeling special can easily lead to feeling superior as one wants to stand out from the crowd.
This is a small sample from her work but you get the idea.  And we wonder why we're polarized?  If you have access to HBO, I would recommend you watch the special, "VICE Special Report:  A House Divided."  See what you think about whether the above information is reflected in that report. I'm not sure exactly what to do about this except push ourselves to continue developing broader perspectives, other ways of looking at things, realizing we're not always right and our way isn't the only way to do things.  Seek to understand before being understood.  If your natural inclination is to judge, I would encourage you to work on suspending judgement and conclusions in the interest of understanding.  And, of course, demonstrating that behavior to others you lead is an important consideration, as well. I used to be drawn to intelligence and accomplishment.  Now I find myself drawn to open-mindedness and away from polarizing judgments.  I love the "what if" discussions instead of "this is the way--the only way--the right way."  I also find myself admiring humility.  You know the person in the room who is the world's expert on whatever and you would NEVER know it because of how unassuming he/she is;  the people who have grown beyond having to prove themselves to everyone or anyone who will listen to them; the people who don't need to be the center of attention and tell people how special they are. Maybe I'm just old and tired.  Maybe I'm onto something.  I'll let you decide for yourself.  Next up is how to recognize (potentially) if you're going through a transformation to another stage of development. In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!   img_1745  
OK, well I said I was going to stop commenting on the election, but this is about broadening my/our collective perspectives on how others view this phenomenon.  And since many have compared the recent Brexit situation in the UK with Mr. Trump becoming the American President-Elect, I thought it would help to share this author's perspectives.  I have another HBR article I may share tomorrow as well, which somewhat serves to complement what you'll read below. The author of the below blogpost is Richard Barrett who is Founder and Chairman of the Barrett Values Centre based out of the UK.  I attended a webinar he conducted a few weeks ago and was immensely impressed with his research and ideas on human development.  And, yes, I know the UK would likely be considered Social Capitalists so this article won't come as a total surprise.  Here are his thoughts in a recent blog post:
Dealing With the Shock of the Brexit & Trump Votes On the 24th June and the 9th November 2016, approximately half the population of the UK and half the population of USA awoke to the shocking and painful news that their current lifestyle was under threat and their future needs might not be met. Meanwhile, the other half of the population of the UK and the USA awoke to the joyful and hopeful news that their current lifestyle might improve and their future needs might be met. The same event in each country triggered fear in one group and hope in another group. The fear of the first group is that they will not be able to meet their aspirations. The hope of the second group is that they will be able to meet their aspirations. Why this difference? The answer is simple—inequality. One group was presented with opportunities to evolve and grow so they could take care of their survival, safety and security needs, and the other group, mostly for reasons beyond their control, never got those opportunities. They got left behind. Their life is a daily struggle for survival, safety and security . The system was stacked against the group that got left behind because those who were able to evolve and grow became the political elites who controlled the policies that enabled them to further enhance their own survival, safety and security. Now, those who benefited from this situation, and took their opportunities, are in shock. There are three possible reasons for this shock, all of which have to do with fear: They are afraid that they will no longer be able to manage their current survival, safety and security needs; They are afraid that they will no longer be able to manage their future survival, safety and security needs; They cannot make meaning of what happened and have defaulted to their greatest fear. Whenever we cannot make meaning, we always assume the worst. This inbuilt survival mechanism lies at the root of all traumas. If you are experiencing any of these fears, here is what you can do. First, try to see the bigger picture; this will help you to understand what happened. If you cannot understand what happened, then you will not be able to give meaning to the situation, and you will live in your greatest fear. *************************************************** Second, recognize that this is a transformational moment: an opportunity for you to move beyond “us and them.” The truth is we cannot move forward unless we all move forward together. We must shift our attitude from “What’s in it for me” to “What’s best for the common good.” We must individually and collectively embrace those who got left behind and help them to meet their survival, safety and security needs. Only then, will we all be able to move forward/ We either move forward together, or we don’t move forward at all. **************************************************** Third, understand that the world is in turmoil because billions of people on the planet are not able to meet their survival, safety and security needs. We will never find the peace and stability we are all yearning for by focusing on our own needs. We will only find peace when we can embrace empathy and compassion for those who are less well off than ourselves and by doing whatever we can to contribute to the good of the whole.

~~

If you are living in fear, you are part of the problem. When you move beyond fear, you become part of the solution. For further reading: Love, Fear and the Destiny of Nations A New Psychology of Human Well-Being Written by Richard Barrett Chairman and Founder at Barrett Values Centre  
I do want to bring my commentary on the election to a close but I do not want to stop the dialogue on the valuable lessons we must learn from the experience.  So, let the discussion continue! I couldn't help but wind down the topic with a special post that Richard Rohr put on his blog last Friday morning.  You will find it below.
Rebuilding from the Bottom Up: A Reflection following the Election Friday, November 11, 2016 Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM Beside the streams of Babylon, we sat and wept, trying to remember Mount Zion. —Psalm 137:1 Every four years a significant portion of the United States is disappointed with the outcome of our national election. Still, this election has felt different. There was a palpable fear and anger leading up to Election Day, and for many it has grown even stronger. This fear is felt deeply by those who are most vulnerable in our country. As a follower of both Jesus and Francis, my primary moral viewpoint is not based in the wellbeing of those who are on top but first in those who are at the bottom. For the vulnerable who have now been rendered more vulnerable, I lament and pray and promise to stand with you. A time of national introspection must begin with self-introspection. Without our own inner searching, any of our quests for solutions and policy fixes will be based in shifting sands. I suspect that we get the leaders who mirror what we have become as a nation. They are our shadow self for all to see. That is what the Jewish prophets told Israel both before and during their painful and long Exile (596-538 BC). Yet Exile was the very time when the Jewish people went deep and discovered their prophetic voices—Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others—speaking truth to power, calling for justice. Their experience laid the solid foundation for Jesus’ teaching and solidarity with the poor and the outcast. Maybe some of us naively thought that we could or should place our loyalty in any political agenda or party. Remember, Yahweh told Israel that they should never put their trust in “princes, horses, or chariots” (Psalms 20:7, 33:16-17), but only in the love of God. We must not imagine that political or programmatic changes—of themselves—will ever bring about the goodness, charity, or transformation that the Gospel offers the world. Do not be afraid to allow conventional wisdom to fail and disappoint you, which is often the only path to wisdom. Imperial thinking focuses on judging who is worthy and who is unworthy, who is in and who is out. We who know about universal belonging and identity in God have a different form of power: Love (even of enemies) is our habitat, not the kingdoms of this world. Our message is not primarily political, it is much more pre-political and post-political—with huge socio-political implications. We thus need to rebuild from the bottom up! This election has solidified in us an urgent commitment to CAC’s work of action and contemplation, which now seems needed more than ever before. Grounding social action in contemplative consciousness is not a luxury for a few, but surely a cultural necessity. Both the Christian religion and American psyche now need deep cleansing and healing, and I do not say that lightly. Only a contemplative mind can hold our fear, confusion, vulnerability, and anger and guide us toward love. Let’s use this milestone moment to begin again with confidence and true inner freedom and to move out into the world with compassion. May God grant us both courage and peace!  A Prayer All vulnerable and merciful God, We do not know what is ours to do. We feel scared and alone today. We are tired of taking sides. We cannot hold any more fear or anger or rejection. And yet we know so many of our friends feel unheard and unwanted. Help us trust that no feeling is final, And that YOU will have the full and final word. If You are indeed a Suffering God, may we hold this suffering with You for those who voted for Hillary Clinton, for those who voted for President-elect Donald Trump, and for the many who have felt excluded by our politics in the many ways that we do indeed exclude. We offer ourselves as best we can to hold this Love outward and open toward all, just as You never cease to do toward us. We believe You are praying this prayer through us. Amen.
"Only a contemplative mind can hold our fear, confusion, vulnerability, and anger and guide us toward love. Let’s use this milestone moment to begin again with confidence and true inner freedom and to move out into the world with compassion," Rohr states above.  This my friends is the key.  See Timi's comment from yesterday.  We must do all AND; not see either OR.  This is a foreign concept for many of us who experience the world in polar opposites. You can hold all these emotions--anger, fear, confusion AND compassion, hope and love.  I urge you not to demonize those who voted for the other side--whichever way you voted.  Now is the time for gracious winners and losers and the recognition that our country had an almost even number of people who voted for each candidate.  AND, we had a huge number of eligible voters who didn't vote at all.  We should examine what each of those statistics tells us. Most importantly, now is not the time to be complacent. img_1777      
Here are the Georgetown email thread remarks, a great Rohr quote, and my thoughts which are a bit dated now, but were "penned" on Thursday after giving myself some time to ponder last week's election outcome. In addition, I want to preview coming attractions in this blog.  I've been wanting to address a more civil way of being in relationship with one another for some time now.  There seems to be no time like the present to discuss that topic.  So look for that theme in coming weeks. As always, I appreciate your readership and perspectives.  Some of you choose to share your thoughts when we speak and that's great.  Some choose to share them here on the blog via comments and that's great, too.  My goal is to share my journey and my learning which includes all of you and, fortunately for me, your wisdom makes me think and grow. And now for more perspectives on last week's election: The following emails came from the Georgetown thread: #14 To my esteemed colleges in the Georgetown community, I live outside of the beltway, outside of the Washington-New York power corridor, and my offer to each of you is to see that much of the country’s rejection of the status quo was a rejection of the vast influence peddling and dealing involving both political parties, that seems to marginalize all of us and our values who live in the heartland. We are the people who appeared as red on the map last night. All of us have a local perspective and we naturally assume that because we, our neighbors and our friends see the world one way that all must see the world that way. Ask yourself if you even knew anyone who voted for Trump? Or for me did I know anyone who voted for Clinton? My take from way out, west of beltway, is that those of us in the rest of the country rejected the media, government, industrial power complex that does not represent us. ******************************************************************************* #15 My husband said something that struck me last night. He said, "ok, now I can make the space in my life to do something purposeful." What he meant was, he was voting Democrat, but besides that he hadn't done much or put time into furthering the values he holds dear or pushing forward the policies he believes in. Now, instead of just gliding by on a win, he is in a position where he feels compelled to rise up and bring purpose into his life. He felt empowered by that opportunity. Our house is very saddened by the election, but I'm joining him in a desire to work harder and be more active in creating the changes we believe in. ******************************************************************************* #16 Greetings Peacemakers and Bold Change Agents, Wow. What a week. As this political election train pulls away from my station, I'm left wondering what now? Oh wait, here comes another mid-term election train. Wait - that's too soon. I'm not ready. And I close my eyes. As I sit in this silence and darkness, the clarity about my purpose becomes more clear. As a Coach and Facilitator, I know I am in the right place to help our country move forward. I am also starkly aware that I am somehow one rung removed from the real work of my Clients and participants and that actions speak louder than words. I can't just sit here. I've got to do something. I open my eyes. I commit to everyday fighting the society that PET (President Elect - who he shall not be named) espoused to create. I commit to "standing next" to those who are bullied, isolated and marginalized and hearing their stories and providing space for them to share, learn and grow. I commit to learning more about the rural communities that are really suffering. For example, recently I read about a story where a small business owner's healthcare out of pocket ceiling went from $9k to $26k in three years. That would swallow a family financially and if you're in a rural area with no other job options, what choice do you have but to vote for change? I plan to read the Hillbilly Elegy (NY Times Bestseller) to learning more about the poor white community. I commit to learning more about systemic racism that I recently read about in Waking Up White which is a tremendous read, by the way. So good that I recommended it to my daughters' public high school English Team leader. I will continue my learning by reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I commit to learning more about the Muslim communities and their unique challenges to living and thriving in this country. I will read Love InshAllah on a recommendation from a progressive book club I recently joined. I commit to opening my heart and mind to new possibilities for all people, all religions, all loves, all families, all people. There is room, in my world, for all to coexist. And I am noticing that the next generation, is far more open to possibility than who voted for the outcome earlier this week. Their world is already a blend of all types - though agree that I live in a diversity bubble in the outskirts of Washington DC. I commit to becoming more engaged in local politics so the skill sets needed at the national level are honed and grown locally. Like a baseball team's farm system of growth for politicians. I view politics as an arena for gladiators - and after one is left standing, they have to shift their skills to connection, agreement, empowerment, service to others and the greater good. It is not an arena for all and for those that choose to flourish in that space, they will need my support. I'm percolating on ideas on how to serve my community to provide a space for healing and moving forward. I can no longer sit and wait to see what comes and what happens. I can and will make a difference in the communities in which I serve. And when I donate, I plan to support organizations that serve my commitments and also saving my planet because I believe that PET won't. WE ARE stronger together and I will do that with or without the PET behind me, next to me or in front of me. Thanks for making it to the end of this long note. Wishing you all a peaceful day. Bring goodness into the world and let your light shine bright! ******************************************************************************* img_1749   A few random thoughts from Bev: I remember a board member who sat on one of the bank boards where I worked back in the 2000's spoke about the erosion of America's middle class and how it was only going to get worse. The income disparity has only grown over the years. I have watched this firsthand in my hometown community in PA. I am a product of a middle class upbringing where both parents were high school degreed but not college educated. They both worked outside the home--my father in a factory job at Firestone Tire & Rubber (on the factory floor) and my mother in a department store. They both needed to work to make ends meet and even so, our resources were modest, at best. The neighboring town where my father's factory job was housed was also home to approximately 5 other major factories. All of them are gone now. Most of them closed in the 1980's and 1990's. All those jobs now gone. I'm not saying that trade agreements are to blame. As consumers we have benefitted by lower costs on consumer goods because jobs have moved overseas. Perhaps we can't have it both ways. But, this erosion of the middle class was clearly seen in this week's vote. Think about the midwest; think about the rust belt (PA, Michigan, Wisconsin). The "Change Platform" has probably won several of the last 30-40 years worth of Presidential elections. Carter when he beat Ford. Reagan when he beat Carter. Clinton when he beat George H.W. Bush. Bush 43 when he beat Gore (kind of). Obama when he beat McCain and now when Trump beats Secretary Clinton. The desperation of this last change started during the primaries when a slate of 15+ Republicans--many indisputably qualified to hold the top job--all lost to a swashbuckling outsider. So people don't see their lives get better--perhaps many of them actually lose financial ground--even after 8 years of a Democratic White House (yes, I know we had a Republican congress). Health costs are out of control, school taxes keep increasing, corporate loyalty to employees has eroded, regulations have increased and placed burdens on small businesses and corporations alike, and so on. You get the picture. There are so many more reasons. Are there racism and sexism issues? Of course. We would be naive to think otherwise. People essentially look at their own lives--have they gotten better or worse and if they're worse off, the candidate who offers the hope of change---I don't know. Maybe? OK...this post is already VERY long. I agree with so much of what's been said. Compassion. Open minds. Open ears. Fighting for values and causes we believe in. Prayer. Listening to understand first before seeking to be understood. Peace and blessings to all of you and thank you again for your heartfelt and insightful perspectives. With much love and gratitude, Bev