Now, more than ever, we are called into the serious, but uplifting work of cultivating inner peace, so that we can demonstrate and cultivate peace and love in a world rocked by hatred, violence and bigotry.
All my life I’ve had deep disdain for war and violence. There was plenty of brutality in my family of origin, and my father was impacted by his time in the Navy during WWII in ways that completely closed his heart to his children. War is a tool of industry, and perpetrated on countries that we, as the US, wish to exploit. I formed my thinking at an early age, as I moved through the Vietnam War era with a torn heart: passionate with the message to end these wars on foreign soil, and deeply compassionate for those of my generation who went to that horrible war. And each generation since has had its own wars. The bodies are just more hidden and thus, less protested.
In any conflict, someone has to step out of the back and forth of aggression and defense. Non-violent protest was a tool used in the Vietnam era. The masses that showed up for protest would overwhelm the police and justice system. Few people were injured, perhaps because it’s hard to hit someone in a posture of collapse. We practiced going limp, becoming ‘dead bodies’ and making it difficult for officers to move us. We had lots of examples of dead bodies from the newscasts of the war. It felt like a sort of solidarity in death, in a way.
So, what does this have to do with entrepreneurship? Mindfulness has become a popular buzzword in this time of distraction and attention deficit. What does mindfulness really mean, and how do we cultivate it? The practices of meditation, prayer and contemplative practice are ancient tools for modern times. Introspection helps us learn where our ‘triggers’ are, and believe me, they’ve been installed by those closest to us, by how we were treated and what was around us as children and young adults.
The good news is, as we learn these skills, we start to value civil dialogue over shouted slogans. We create collectives that are focused on calm, peaceful but passionate process to go about the business of creating systems that serve us all. As the old patriarchal paradigms collapse, businesses have the opportunity and responsibility to recreate their companies in ways that serve everyone involved, not just the people at the top of the pyramid. See my Projects page for more about some of the ways I envision that this can happen.