Sunday, March 17, 2013

Love, Respect, Create

Several times this week, I noticed how many differing opinions were voiced either publicly or in private conversations, but all were based on "us vs. them."  I felt it more this week as I watched the news and even in my own conversations with friends, colleagues and teachers.

Women vs Women and Women vs Men - With Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In," it stirred quite the conversation among my peers and of course, all over the news.  (Disclaimer: I have not read the book.)  Last year, my organization had Gloria Steinem come speak and it was clear that with 500 women in the room, all could not collectively share gratitude for what Gloria had done for women.  Some women were quick to criticize her for her speech, her politics, and even her clothes.  And now, the same happens to Sheryl Sandberg.  And there are the rest of us, the "regular, non-famous, working every day" women who have been discussing this for years.  My colleagues and I manage to lean on each other so that when we are around the table, our best self promotes those equally who work hard and with a generous spirit.  And we are not always perfect.  The frustrations of the workplace can hinder creativity and productivity.  However, in my experience creativity is sparked by men and women.   I have been led by great men and women and have always worked along jealous men and women as well.  Both genders exhibit strong qualities and also have weaknesses.  Working together, we can enhance everyone's strengths and not let the weaknesses deter us.  After reading Carol Dweck's book Mindset, top leaders can be either gender and what makes them a top leader is how they lead, nurture and inspire their employees to foster creativity, teamwork and productivity. 

Faithful vs Non-Believers - As I continue to deepen my spirituality and am no longer a non-believer, I clearly see there are two sides on this.  My routine for the past year has been to participate in my meditation class on Saturday and watch Super Soul Sunday on every weekend.  I have taken an interest in documentaries with these themes including the late Debbie Ford's The Shadow Effect, Jenny Phillips' The Dhamma Brothers and Beth Toni Kruvant's Heart of Stone.  I also read Daily Gratitude books by Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, blogs by Rabbi Mark Borovitz, Rabbi Shefa Gold, Rabbi Adam Kligfeld, and have learned with Rabbi Ruth Sohn, Rabbi Arielle Hanien, Rabbi Sara Zacharia and Rabbi Jill Zimmerman and many others.  Each of these teachers have their own powerful perspective which I greatly admire.  By doing this, I have learned to incorporate compassion, gratitude, kindness, and mindfulness into more of my daily life.  This journey has no end.  Everyone is on their own path and walking at their own pace.  Sometimes I am ahead and sometimes I am behind.  As Dr. Brene Brown said today on Super Soul Sunday, "Being authentic takes work every day."  Like Goldilocks, some pieces of my learning is too much, some not enough, but I have learned that while on this journey, if you are trying and learning, then you are just right.

While I encourage everyone to continue the conversation with kindness and compassion, I also encourage to take action with mindfulness and loving attention.  We need to continue to see positive change being made for women in every area and men and women are both responsible for making those changes.  I hope people bring more faith into their lives if they want it.  Regardless, I hope that people of faith and non-believers continue their own conversations so that we are all part of one community. 

This is my pray for this week - Love one another, respect each other's work and create more positive environments at home and at work.  Wishing you a beautiful week.

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