The Nature of Change

I talk about progressive change a lot, yet that idea does not fully capture my ideas about how change occurs.

I like the word progressive because it indicates forward movement. It is also nonpartisan, or at least it can be understood in that way. Yet, progress is linear, logical, and rational. There is a beginning and an end. Yet, change does not always occur in this way. In fact, change is an ongoing, continual process. Every breath is a potential transformation.

When I was an undergrad, my theology professor shared two views of history with us. According to him, a line with a set starting point represented the Western view while a circle represented the Eastern view. Not being satisfied with either, I developed a third idea – a spiral with no beginning and no ending, with cycles that build upon what has occurred in the past.

Social change happens in all three ways, reflecting the multiple understandings that humans have about the nature of history. Social change also occurs in quantum space when openings are created through chaos.

So how does one become an advocate for quantum change, rather than progressive change, without being physically or psychologically violent?

I think this can be achieved by detaching, opening up to possibility, and flowing.

So how does one effectively do this in a politically tenuous environment?

By focusing on our intention, trusting, and being love.

Releasing our unrealistic desire to control everything in the universe leads to an increased sense of self-control.

I think that the concepts of progressive change and quantum change are complementary, perhaps even paradoxical. Activists can simultaneously employ different means toward the same ends either inter- or intra-personally. The important thing is to be aware of what we are doing, our purpose, and to do something to express our deepest values in the social sphere.

My Week: Letting Go

I have been working and going to school full time for about 11 years, the majority of my adult life. In the beginning it wasn’t really a choice; if I wanted to go to college, I was going to have to work for it. But then it became a habit. If I wasn’t in school while also working I didn’t feel happy—I felt empty and unfulfilled.

For the past three years, I have been working toward a doctorate in organizational leadership. The plan was to begin my dissertation this summer. For a variety of converging reasons, I have decided to withdraw from the program with the intent to re-enroll next fall.

This program has become so much a part of my life. I have worked harder than ever, and have pushed open many intellectual and emotional boundaries along the way. It was a labor of love, and every successful moment was well worth the many difficult periods of time that preceded.

Next week, others in my cohort will be enrolling in their final semester of classes. Their dissertation committees are formed, their concept papers are written, and they will walk through a congratulatory procession among our colleagues. I won’t be there in body, by my heart will sing for each of my classmates as they advance to candidacy.

This weekend, I completed work for my research assistantship and turned in my final timesheet. Tomorrow I will submit my official withdrawal form. It’s official.

Yesterday, I felt a deep sense of inner peace that I haven’t felt in a long time. I didn’t feel hurried or full or obsessive thoughts about everything I need to do. I felt like everything was flowing beautifully.

I hope to sustain these feelings into perpetuity and to cultivate increased awareness and lovingkindness as I go about my day – every day. That clarity and peace will lead to a dissertation topic that I can fully embrace by choice, rather than submit to one that I develop under the pressure of limited time. But most of all, these feelings will contribute to a better, more beautiful, and more complete life that is not dependent on the rush of academic pursuits.

Three New Leadership Books from The Fruition Coalition

The Fruition Coalition has three new leadership books available: Affirmations for Mindful Leaders, Limitless Loving Leadership, and Incandescent Leadership. All three books have been designed to expand the awareness and strengthen the effectiveness of leaders in all fields. These books are available in print or as eBooks at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/fruitioncoalition.

Affirmations for Mindful Leaders (ISBN 978-1-300-65919-8, 76 pages, $9.99) is a collection of 50 affirmations for leaders who are mindful, ethical, intentional, authentic, and transformational. The affirmations span ten areas: vision; purpose; passion; power; relationships; innovation; risk; responsibility; balance; and transformation. Each affirmation has been carefully designed to help leaders feel more motivated, inspired, purposeful, and connected.

Limitless Loving Leadership (ISBN 978-1-300-65933-4, 92 pages, $12.99) is a collection of essays that explore the intersections of personal and professional life. Author Jessica R. Dreistadt examines some of her life and leadership experiences to reveal lessons about humility, authenticity, appreciation, flexibility, intention, trust, and wisdom. The original 2009 essays from The Activist’s Muse are updated with renewed insights and reflections. Each section also includes reflection questions for readers.

Incandescent Leadership (ISBN 978-1-300-65928-0 , 80 pages, $12.99) is a workbook that helps leaders become more warm, bright, and clear. This book presents a model of leadership, but more importantly it is also process of structured self-discovery through which readers can identify and build upon their distinctive radiance and brilliance. Brief statements and focused questions help readers explore ten areas: purpose, becoming, connection, compassion, energy, wisdom, inspiration, responsiveness, creativity, and transformation.

Check back over the next three days for excerpts from each book.

Social+ Updates

The Social+ Boutique has two new designs inspired by my beautiful, precious cats:

My dharma is to hear the birds singing

All we need is to breathe and be

My overriding goal for 2013 is to live an uncluttered life full of light. I am hoping that these simple messages will inspire all of us to focus on what is truly important in our daily lives.

You can save $10 off your order of $50 or more through January 2nd at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific Time) by entering promo code CONFETTI at checkout.

all_we_need_shirt

Gender Blindness

While race blindness is becoming so taboo that it is almost a cliche (at least in my mind), gender blindness does not seem to share this social understanding. Is there a difference? Why or why not? Do you think we should strive to be aware rather than blind in these and other areas, or are there times when it is better to homogenize (I really do welcome dialogue on this horribly loaded question!)?