Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. – Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Writer
The union election is over. We are a house divided. Divided in philosophy, priorities and style. The aftermath is a combination of grace and crow, of hurt feelings and bad feelings, of acceptance and the need for revenge. The next three years will show what kind of leaders we really are.
We have choices to make. We can choose to spend this term of office in battle with each other, struggling to preserve and claim power and turf. Or we can choose to try to understand each other, to respect differences, to seek common ground.
We can dwell on what’s past or focus on moving forward. We can choose peace or conflict.
In the grand scheme of things, this sounds terribly dramatic, I know. We are, after all, a small group representing another relatively small group.
But the choice will have a direct impact on the working lives of those we represent. About 5000 people. We have an obligation to think and act responsibility.
My friend Lynn gave me a powerful little book recently. It’s called, “Perseverance” and it’s written by Margaret Wheatley. It’s a series of essays that offer guidance on how to persevere through challenge. It’s quite beautiful. Margaret doesn’t preach. She acknowledges her own weaknesses. Margaret reminds us that how we react and respond to everything in our lives is a choice, that every situation has many possibilities for interpretation and action. “Why, in this world of infinite freedom and choice,” she writes, “would we lock ourselves into one petty story, no matter how much time, attention and creativity we’ve spent on composing it?” Why indeed.
If you want to know more about Margaret, and there’s much to know that’s both fascinating and inspiring, click here. http://www.margaretwheatley.com/perseverance.html
Whatever I think I know about human dynamics and resolving conflict will be tested. I know I will need to be honest with myself and my own motivations, and try to put aside my own pettiness and frustration. I will need to remember Margaret and actively seek what I can learn from others. I will need to find compassion. I will do my best. I’ve tried already to extend an olive branch. So far, no response. Maybe it’s too soon.
While I’ve been writing, I’ve been listening to the album, ‘Playing for Change‘. There’s a fire going. Outside, big fat snowflakes have been falling all day and the yard is layered in white. It feels peaceful. This song has a particular personal resonance today which I won’t go into, but it also connects to my words and if I may be so bold, to Margaret’s.
In latin, a person who perseveres is ‘one who sees through to the end’. Surely with all the serious conflict in the world, we should be able to figure this out. We need to stand together. We need to become a house united. We need to persevere.
- The Power of Perseverance (psychologytoday.com)