I spent the first half of my life as a strident hater of liberals. Then, upon losing a risky bid for Congress, my marriage, business and political reputation disintegrated. After struggling with and for political power for almost a decade, fueled by an undercurrent of anger and righteousness, I left Republican politics. Exhausted and disillusioned, I retreated to a mountain cabin in rural Virginia.
No longer feeling so sure of myself or my world view, and having been humbled to the point of living well below the poverty line, life delivered an unlikely set of teachers. The small town I had chosen was a haven for 1960’s and 70’s back-to-the-landers. For someone whose nickname in the military had been “starch,” this community of hippies was not my first choice for neighbors.
Slowly, I began to understand that the underlying values motivating their behavior – sharing, interdependence, equality, compassion for the weak, a strong sense of justice, freedom, creative self-expression, and a reverence for nature – were the heart that had been missing from my politics.
I Have A Dream
Have you ever worked for companies with Mission Statements or written your own? You don’t have to raise your hands but, how many of you have found them filled with wonderfully sounding ideas that were rarely practiced? In many of the companies that I served as a business consultant, the mission statement had become the symbol of the hypocrisy in the organization.
The heart of mission statements is respect. Most mission statements include this most essential element for a nurturing and peaceful environment. Unfortunately, our yearning to live in a safe and supportive sanctuary becomes dashed by the reality that when push comes to shove “Power Over” is used to get things done or to get one’s way. Disrespectful behavior then results in eroding the second essential element for peace, trust. (Click Respectful and Disrespectful Behaviors for a more detailed comparison.)
Peace Dove by Lee Shapiro
“Imagine” is one of the most popular songs of all time because it speaks to the heart of one of our most basic desires. When you allow John Lennon’s words and music to fill your heart, what does your heart tell you about your desire for peace? Not just living in a peaceful world but peace in all your communities, including your home, workplace and/or school?
Take a few minutes to READ or LISTEN TO “Imagine.”
Real peace is not what masquerades between nations or in families as a time between wars. It is living with a perpetual sense of serenity and security. Conventional thinking will never bring about that kind of peace. For real peace to become a possible dream a radical paradigm shift is required.