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Day of reconciliation

In 1980, on this date, John Lennon was murdered. In remembrance, Yoko Ono asked that today be a day of reconciliation.

Reconciliation technically means, "the act or condition of being reconciled." It asks you, the dictionary does, to see "penance." Penance includes the horrifying concept of self-mortification, along with contrition, confession and absolution.

Believe it or not, I believe the first step to reconciliation is actually self-mortification. Then I believe the next step is self-acceptance and self-forgiveness.

I believe this because, as Cindy Wigglesworth says, the ego plays games of superiority, victimhood, and judgement. You need a level of self-awareness to be able to forgive and reconcile, because first you must understand and forgive these things within yourself.

You've heard that we most despise in others what we most despise in ourselves, right? This is called projection. When you have reconciled within yourself, you make space for understanding and forgiveness.

Forgiveness and reconciliation are actually acts of self-indulgence in the end.

When you reconcile, you restore to friendship or harmony, you settle, you resolve.

Imagine how important it is to resolve, to restore harmony. Imagine how much we could get accomplished in that case.

At home, with my children, when we are in conflict---fighting over wearing a jacket, what to eat, who gets which toy, etc.---our time and energy is focused on the conflict, and generally the main attention is on the concrete, when the real issue is the feelings. How quickly we can settle things when I ask, "What about this bothers you? How do you feel?" Both sides have a point, and in conflict resolution, it is so key to acknowledge both points of view, address them and find an acceptable solution. I frequently find that once we've validated the feelings, suddenly, the toy or object battled over is no longer so important, and usually the kids find a solution on their own. I wonder, in the end, if the toy or jacket or green beans were ever really the issue at all, or only the excuse, the outlet.

I wonder that about larger issues in our world today.

I heard Cindy Wigglesworth on the radio. She was talking about the Day of Reconciliation today. I did a little reasearch to learn more about her, and found some really interesting points by her about the necessity of spiritual intelligence for mature leadership.

She says:

The life conditions and problems we face as a species, as countries, as organizations and as individuals demand increasing complex/elegant solutions. The type of mature leader who can respond to such situations is a "Tier 2" leader—embodying an advanced stage of personal development. These high levels of adult development are inseparably linked to spiritual intelligence. Thus, mature leadership requires spiritual intelligence development.

She goes on to list some of the issues we face through them and tellme what you think might realy be the underlying cause of some of these issues, which cause so much of the conflict in the world right now:

Our life conditions on Earth today are amazingly complex and stressful.

* The demand for oil and other fossil fuels is rising as India, China and other countries industrialize and become high growth high consumption economies. Competition for energy resources increases tensions in the Middle East. Other oil supplying countries like Venezuela and Nigeria become larger political players than they would be otherwise. Thus energy, economics and politics are tightly linked and tensions are magnified.

* The US has been a dominant world power since WWII. Its economic power has led to US tastes from food to fashion permeating even remote and poor parts of the world. This creates a feeling of being “taken over” by everything American. It adds more irritation to the mix—a greater sense of threat is felt by other cultures and other value structures—perceiving that they are “under attack” by “Western” values.

* There is continuous contact with many different cultures thanks to travel, television, Internet and other media that create the opportunity for exposure to “foreign” ideas and the result is a lot of irritation and even outright aggression toward the people carrying the “toxic” ideas.

* Polarization of viewpoints has increased in US and global politics. Filters preventing people “hearing” each other have strengthened along with the feeling of threat that these other ideas are “toxic.”

* Climate change is creating disruptions of old patterns and will eventually cause migrations of people away from rising water levels, away from areas no longer having acceptable weather patterns (e.g. drought ridden) or to safer or cooler climates. The opportunity for conflict will be enormous as survival fears are triggered.

* Other ecosystem changes create more pressure as fishing stocks are depleted and some farmland—especially in underdeveloped parts of the world—has been degraded by poor farming practices.

* Poverty, political instability, civil wars and dictatorships or theocracies in some countries create hot beds of disease (e.g. some parts of Africa), devastating genocides and a readiness to go to war (Iran, Korea).

* There are more stages of development simultaneously existing on the planet than ever before. In Spiral Dynamics language we have cultures at center of gravity Purple, Red, Blue, Orange and Green interacting with each other and finding each other’s value systems appalling (see Table 4 and Spiral Dynamics by Don Beck and Chris Cowan for more information).

* Even within the “developed world” an organization has to deal with employees who are at various stages of development: Red, Blue, Orange, Green and perhaps a few at Yellow. This makes being a leader and communicating to all levels incredibly difficult.

* Secular scientific (Orange) worldviews have tended to reject spirituality (Green) and traditional religion (Blue/Purple) with the result that those who consider themselves spiritual or religious are pushing back against “cold capitalism” and insensitive science and medicine. In some cases the sense of Blue alienation is leading to increasing demand for religious government (Iran) or for war against the secular (Orange) world.

* People will generally only be “led” by people at their same level of development or just a half stage above them—or by someone who can speak effectively to their stage (unless they are forced to comply by brute force or other coercion).

You've probably heard about emotional intelligence. Spiritual intelligence is one more level up.

Go read her article. It's fascintating and provides insight into the spiritual intelligence we all need to achieve reconciliation.

My biggest hope and wish---what I really want from Santa and what I pray for---is that our leaders today develop the emotional and spiritual intelligence we need for them to lead us and our world the right way, to build the best world possible for us and our children and so on.

In the words Cindy uses to conclude her article, I wish for this type of leader:

[a] leader who will be able to navigate the difficult times, to encourage and inspire others, to speak so they can be heard, and to stay peaceful in the midst of it all. ...[a leader with] spiritual intelligence - since the skills of spiritual intelligence are intricately linked to the higher stages of development. Such leaders will be able to act with love (Wisdom and Compassion). Mature leadership, high SQ leadership, is not about warm and fuzzy feelings. It is deep compassion manifesting in wise action. It is a profound personal integrity—an alignment with purpose and values. The high SQ leader understands the natural emergent processes at play and can work with them for the best outcomes, all while he/she stays focused on the big picture—remaining untriggered by old egoic reactions.

So, on this day of Reconciliation, I can think of no greater gift for Mad Hatter and Jen than this: peace and reconciliation through spiritually intelligent leaders.

With that, we can have a firm foundation to improve on the resulting issues such as homelessness, inadequate medical care, disease, human trafficking, starvation, war, and so forth.

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

By Julie Pippert
© 2006. All images and text exclusive property of Julie Pippert. Not to be used or reproduced. R.E.S.P.E.C.T that. Please. If you want to use something, write me.

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thailandchani said…
Excellent! :) Thank you for taking the time to write this in such a memorable way.


~Chani (Thailand Gal)
Mad said…
Julie, thanks for this complex and well-thought-out post. I hadn't really thought about the "spiritual" component to leadership even though the leaders I have most admired in my life (e.g. Tommy Douglas) have possessed it in spades. I find it ironic that as both our countries move further to a fundamentalist vision of right-wing politics that true spirituality seems to be the quality most lacking in our leaders.

Thank you for this banquet feast of food for thought.
Julie Pippert said…
Mad, not to be punny, but AMEN! I agree that the more we Flaunt Flashy Spirituality the less true spiritual intelligence we see. I really, really do hope to see better leaders for a better future. The thing that chills my blood is this, "People will generally only be “led” by people at their same level of development or just a half stage above them—or by someone who can speak effectively to their stage (unless they are forced to comply by brute force or other coercion)."

That is why one of my personal goals is to continue to grow and evolve and develop my emotional and spiritual intelligence, and to hopefully raise children who will raise the bar even higher.
Julie Pippert said…
Chani, thank you! And you are welcome!
Girlplustwo said…
Thank you for such a articulate and complex post. I absolutely agree that these elements are critical if we ever expect to see any real societal change.

What a wonderful post.

See you on Sunday!
kim said…
Letting go of ego and caring for others more than yourself is the only way to have reconciliation. Which on the larger scheme I can do, it's the day to day that needs a little work.

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