I am revisiting this list of “Nine Lessons I am Learning” from about a month ago, now that we have reached the 40-day mark in my home. I am adding one lesson after these five weeks, a lesson that focuses on the dynamic of leadership. So, here are “Ten Lessons I am Learning at the 40-day mark.”
- We will resist important lessons with every ounce of our being if they make us feel like we are losing power. Remember every time you fought to get your child to clean their room. What if the trashed room made them feel more powerful? Now expand that globally. This a deep spiritual lesson.
- The fallacy of a zero-sum worldview is laid bare these days. Any sense of denial that persists is shown to be what it always was: blatant arrogance and pride that flows from a cultivated ignorance kept in place by certain persons “in power” that want to remain that way.
- We forget that the root of the word “economy” dealt with the health and stability of the entire household—a wholeness that has since been perverted to such an extent that we now accept being categorized as “the American consumer” rather than be acknowledge as the meaning-seeking, complex human beings we are in God’s eyes. Shame on us if we forsake this opportunity to reorient toward a healthier and more sustainable way of live.
- We are being invited (actually shoved) into a deeper awareness of our interdependence as human persons. For too long we have denied our deeper identity, and now our shared vulnerability is teaching us the truth of things. This is a deep spiritual lesson.
- Remember that “compassion” means “to suffer with” and that we have an opportunity to remember what the heart of our community life looks like.
- I am aware that the sense of powerlessness I feel is the typical state of existence for far too many people in this world. This awareness makes me very sad, but it also makes me resolved to live in another way.
- I am curious if this is true: those who primary motivation is “to go back” to the way things were are those who had power, while those who want “to go through” this moment to a more grounded, sustainable pace of life are the ones we need to pay attention to. What do you think?
- Can we see the wisdom in our awareness of our union with each other and the entire world? This global experience of uncertainty and suffering is uniting us in a shared vulnerability, and we should recognize the importance of being good stewards of our resources. For those who argued “this is just how things are” or “this is the only way things can be done,” such an argument has been proven patently false.
- Back to the image of “the American consumer:” we’re going to sit here for a while and feel the tension in this experience. At some point, we are going to see if we are comfortable with being objectified as “a consumer” in such a dispassionate system or if we see the hope in a reoriented economy that places value on the dignity of every human being: living in community, sharing more fully of ourselves, seeking meaning, and celebrating the wonderful gift that life really is.
- Lesson ten: When it comes to leadership, a belligerent unwillingness to acknowledge any shortcoming in a decision–even when it was based on a momentary lack of information–yoked with a persistent pattern of blaming others for their own (even perceived) shortcomings while only tolerating praise for your own leadership is the ultimate mark of narcissism. Authentic leadership must be able to tolerate the vulnerable space of encountering others’ anxieties without taking advantage of those fears and anxieties to further advance your own agenda.