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Contents

Richard J. Leider Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781576755846

22 A Strategy of Peace

The Arbiner Institute Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“Do you remember yesterday morning when I drew a pyramid and divided it into two levels?” Yusuf asked. “I called one level ‘dealing with things that are going wrong,’ and the deeper level ‘helping things go right.’ Remember?”

Everyone nodded.

“Then you’ll remember how we agreed that we normally spend most of our time dealing with things that are going wrong, even though that isn’t ideal.”

Again, the group nodded.

“I’d like to give you more detail around that pyramid,” he said. “It forms a structure that governs everything we do here at Camp Moriah with the children, with the staff, and with you. It shows not only how to find peace, but how to make it. It shows how to replace conflict with cooperation. Yesterday we called it the Change Pyramid because it guides all attempts to get others to change or improve. Since the change we at Camp Moriah are most interested in is the change from war to peace—first within us, and then without—we often call the more detailed version the Peacemaking Pyramid.”

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Medium 9781576751329

3. Recognize Failure as the Lifeblood of Success

Charles C. Manz Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

21

We can take a variety of roads in the pursuit of success. One obvious route is to work toward a goal as unerringly as possible until it is achieved. Success is measured by our clear progress toward this end. Failure is not only left out of the equation but it is avoided above all else. It is seen as incompatible with success.

Unfortunately, this all too dominant perspective can create some real problems in terms of our ability to learn, to grow, and to take the necessary risks we need to be fully alive. In his book The Active Life, noted author Parker Palmer powerfully addresses this concern. He points out that in the West our fixation on success (or what he refers to as “instrumental action”):

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discourages us from risk-taking because it values success over learning, and it abhors failure whether we learn from it or not . . . [it] always wants to win, but win or lose, it inhibits our learning. If we win, we think we know it all and have nothing more to learn. If we lose, we feel so defeated that learning is a hollow consolation.

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Medium 9781576752630

18. Miracles, Telephones, and Serendipity

John B. Izzo Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

144

I am asked “Do you believe in miracles?” and it occurred to me that no one had asked me that question since my days in ministry. I was taken aback. Did I believe in people being spontaneously cured of cancer, virgin births, raising of the dead, parting of seas, burning bushes, and so on? Did I believe in serendipity, synchronicity, and moments of seeming happenstance that wind up being instrumental to our path?

At one time, most of us believed in miracles just as we believed in “magic.” Surely part of our childhood innocence was recognizing and appreciating the wonderful serendipity that seemed to exist in the world around us. Most of us believed in miracles when we were children, but now that I am a (sometimes) grumpy middle-aged man, long past the innocence of youth, how would I answer the question: Do I believe in miracles?

What is a miracle anyway? A working definition might go something like this: An event out of the ordinary, an event that is unique, something that defies our logic and causes us to feel awe and wonder. A miracle is, above all, something we simply cannot explain, but that somehow gives us hope.

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Notes

Jules Evans New World Library ePub

Letter to Francesco Vettori, December 10, 1513.

1. I do not mean to single out my college tutors for criticism. They were exceptional academics who steered half of my year to Firsts. My criticisms are of the British university system as presently constituted. The number of undergraduates reporting mental health difficulties rose 450 percent over the past decade, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, while the dropout rate for undergraduates in 2011 was over 20 percent. Pastoral care in British universities is far behind what is provided in American universities. I also think the education provided at British universities is narrower and less conducive to human development: I would like to see less specialization forced on students, greater opportunity to study subjects other than one’s degree (along the lines of the American system), more obvious support for students’ mental health and well-being, and also the opportunity to consider and debate wider questions of life and how to live it well. Students have a great desire to discuss such questions: that’s why two of the most popular courses at Harvard are Tal Ben-Shahar’s Positive Psychology course and Michael Sandel’s course on Justice. My ideal course would combine the best of these two courses: useful techniques from the science of well-being, combined with the opportunity for ethical reasoning about the meaning of life.

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Medium 9781576753293

4 Level One Resiliency: Optimize Your Health: A Practical Action Plan

Al Siebert Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Dr. Hans Selye, the physician who conducted the pioneering research about “biological stress,” apologized after he retired for making a serious mistake. In his autobiography, he confessed that “stress” was the wrong term. He said he should have called his research findings the “strain syndrome.”1

The widespread belief about jobs having harmful stress is an artificial “consensus reality.” Articles, books, and workshops about stress, while well-intentioned, sustain an illusion that something called “stress” is constantly assaulting and harming us.2

The difference in meaning between stress and strain is an example of how our minds can put up barriers or build bridges to resiliency. What most people call stress is really an internal, physical feeling of anxiety or strain that they don’t like. This is not just semantics. Stress is the external pressure, strain is the internal effect.

One consequence of false beliefs about stress is that many employees have been misled into blaming their working conditions for their feelings of distress and do not try to develop resiliency strengths. Your ability to hold up under pressure is strengthened when you understand that unpleasant strains experienced at work or in your private life are your personal, subjective reactions. In a high-pressure job, you can choose to cope well with the strains and work with strength, or you can allow yourself to react like a weak, helpless victim.

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Medium 9781887208086

CHAPTER 20: BUILDING A POLITICAL MAJORITY

David C. Korten Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations.

The Great Law of Peace, Constitution of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Nation

The state of the world is most visible in the state of its children.

Raffi Cavoukian, singer, author, founder of Child Honoring

Few contemporary nations seem more divided politically than the United States. Beyond the partisan rancor, however, polling data point to a broad consensus on core values and suggest that if the institutions of governmental and corporate power were accountable to the public will, the United States would be pursuing very different policies both domestically and internationally. These institutions have been so at odds for so long with the core values and interests of the nation that most people have given up hope of any change. The residual frustration, however, runs high and represents a powerful latent political force.

There is near universal agreement among adult Americans (83 percent) that as a society the United States focuses on the wrong priorities.1 Specifically, polling data affirm that the substantial majority of Americans share a desire for strong families and communities, a healthy environment, and high-quality health care and education for all. They are likewise concerned about the unaccountable power of corporations and government, and they prefer to live in a world that puts people ahead of profits, spiritual values ahead of financial values, and international cooperation ahead of international domination.

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Medium 9781609945367

1 Seeing What Is

Margaret J. Wheatley Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

 

I’m sitting on the banks of the Virgin River in Zion National Park, my favorite place on the planet. The river is confidently, casually flowing through this magnificent canyon that it has been carving out for about two million years.

The canyon has created one of Earth’s most sacred places. It has been a dry winter, so the river is low, ambling peacefully along. I’ve been here at other times when it’s fierce, flooding, destructive. Next time I’m back it will be different again.

I’ve learned a lot from rivers, starting with the teacher stream I wrote about in Leadership and the New Science. That lovely mountain stream taught me about process structures, things that have clear identity and intention yet constantly adapt to circumstances and conditions, changing their form as needed. Streams take many forms yet never lose their way, which is unerringly to the ocean. Along the way, they create magnificent canyons, wreak terrible destruction, provide sustenance to farms and communities, provide pleasure and pain to those who live along their banks. This is the pattern of life—changing, adapting, creating and destroying.

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Medium 9781576753521

Appendix B Live-Withs

Michael Ray Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

SOMETIMES WHEN I give people live-withs, I just give them the title without any instructions. They relate to the admonition with a sense of discovery based on what they know and need. They then create their own way of practicing the live-with. In many ways the results from this no-instruction approach are more profound because people are more resourceful and creative.

So below find a list of live-withs that you can use in this way, perhaps on the basis of the challenge it represents, or a need you have or maybe just because you like the sound of it. You’ll see some that are already in this book, so you can get instructions for those. But in most cases, you’re on your own.

To Develop Faith in Your Own Inner Resources

Have No Expectations

I Don’t Know

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Surrender

Let Go

To Diminish Your Inner Voice of Judgment (VOJ)

Psych Out the VOJ

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Medium 9781576756300

The Mystery

Thomas Crum Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Angus turned the car onto his home street. He drove slowly, trying to actually be present in his neighborhood rather than rushing through it. The heavy snow made the lights in the homes glow with a feeling of safety and warmth.

His eyes caught sight of the sign he had driven by every day for years:

SLOW: CHILDREN PLAYING

“There might be some wisdom in that for me!” chuckled Angus to himself.

He pulled into the driveway, and took a long look at his home. He took the first breath, the Centering Breath, and felt gratitude for his family. He took in the second breath, the Possibility Breath, and simply asked, “Let the highest level of me as parent and spouse show up.” Then he took out a pen and added the third breath to the card on the dashboard.

When he opened the door, Carly rushed past him to leave.

“Sierra’s eaten. She’s doing homework. I’ll be back around ten.”

Angus remembered that this was Carly’s weekly yoga class and dinner-with-the-girls night.

“See you then. Have fun.”

He watched her as she hurried out. He wanted to say much more, but he knew it wasn’t the right time.

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Medium 9781576754566

Chapter 2: How to Die Happy

Richard J. Leider Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

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Believe that each new day that dawns will be the last for you: Then each unexpected hour shall come to you as a delightful gift.

Horace

Our group of 14 has risen at dawn in the Nou Forest, our tents scattered through a thickly wooded campsite 7500 feet high in the hills above the Rift Valley in northern Tanzania. We have taken a long and invigorating hike through the forest and have spied numerous exotic birds and animals and have even, for a while, tracked an elephant through the surrounding hills and valleys. We have been guided by a trio of men from the local Iraqw tribe, an agrarian people whose tidy farms, nestled on the steep hillsides all around us, we have admired yesterday on our journey here. These men, in their thirties and forties, while not yet official elders in their communities, have begun to assume greater authority among their people. Certainly, the competence and confidence with which they guide us speaks volumes about their readiness to take on full leadership roles.

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Chapter 6 Step 2—Imagine the Future

Peter Neuwirth Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

STEP 2—IMAGINE THE FUTURE

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the future and after reading my first Robert Heinlein book at age eight, I became a science fiction fanatic. For the next ten years, I read almost nothing else. It was not what I would call a balanced approach to literature, but it did expose me to a wide range of theories about the nature of time and the relationship between the past, present, and future. At various times, different paradigms felt more or less “true” to me. There was Kurt Vonnegut’s theory of being “unstuck in time” (or more specifically that our lives are set in stone and our consciousness just moves through them),12 there was the idea that multiple futures exist simultaneously (e.g., Fritz Leiber’s The Big Time13), and of course there were dozens of books that contemplated time travel and the ability to change the future by going back and changing the past. I voraciously consumed them all and considered each theory in turn.

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Appendix 2: The Socratic Tradition and Non-Western Philosophical Traditions

Jules Evans New World Library ePub

IN THIS BOOK I have put forward what I would call a “soft universalism,” which claims that the cognitive theory of the emotions which Socrates and his descendants put forward fits with the biological facts of human nature, regardless of our particular culture. However, I have also been at pains to show that the tradition goes off in several different directions when it comes to a theory of the good life, and that it’s dangerous to argue that any comprehensive theory of the good life is objectively true and should be imposed on a whole society.

Nonetheless, some readers might take issue with the limited universalism, essentialism, and ahistoricism of my claims. Am I really suggesting that the Socratic tradition fits, always has fit, and always will fit with human nature? Isn’t that to impose Western, individualist, rationalist ethics onto the infinite variety of human experience? I would make three points in response. Firstly, my theory is not entirely ahistorical or universal: I don’t think a Socratic approach to the emotions is appropriate in primitive, animist cultures. Socrates represents a key moment in the very recent emergence of a post-animist worldview in Western culture. He marks the shift from understanding one’s passions as experiences caused by spirit beings, as animist cultures do, to understanding one’s emotions as the product of one’s own beliefs, which are under one’s own control. This moment is the birth of the “self ” and of individual responsibility. In an animist culture, emotional disorders are externalized and attributed to spirits, and the cure is also externalized, and carried out by a shaman. In a post-animist culture, emotional disorders are attributed to one’s own beliefs, and the cure is carried out by yourself, or perhaps by yourself in partnership with a psychotherapist. Both these paths may work just as well, and it wouldn’t necessarily be appropriate to try to import a post-animist worldview into an animist culture. So in that sense, the Socratic tradition is not universal and ahistorical, but rather emerges at a particular stage in human evolution (and it’s quite a recent moment, only two thousand five hundred years ago).

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Medium 9781855750173

CHAPTER FOUR. The question of blame and responsibility

Elsa Jones Karnac Books ePub

In working with adult survivors it seems to me important, as early in the therapy as is practicable, to make a clear statement about the issue of blame and responsibility. This comes from the experiences of colleagues working with children who have been or are being abused. It may not seem like a major issue to readers who are not systemic family therapists; however, within the family therapy community this statement initially elicited some criticism. It seemed to family therapists not possible to make such an apparently “linear’ statement, while still retaining the possibility of working “neutrally” with all family members, and while intending to consider the parts played by all family members within the system within which abuse occurred. In my experience it has indeed been possible to combine these two apparently incompatible attitudes.

Within the first or second session, once at least an outline of the childhood abuse has been given, I will look for the opportunity to say the following: ‘There is something I want to say to you, which is based on my experience and that of many other colleagues working with the children who have been sexually abused. When a sexual act happens between an adult and a child, regardless of what the child may have done, the child is not to blame. It is the adult who is responsible for what has happened/’ I will then expand on this by saying that in our culture children are taught that they must obey adults; they learn that when something uncomfortable happens between adult and child the usual interpretation is that it is the child who has been naughty.

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5. Lunchtime Lesson: Epicurus and the Art of Savoring the Moment

Jules Evans New World Library ePub

I ENTER THE IDLER ACADEMY in Westbourne Grove, and browse the bookshelves, while a young shop assistant offers me a cup of tea and a biscuit. Shortly afterward, a slightly rumpled figure in a blue suit and plimsolls emerges blinking from the basement. “Oh, hi,” says Tom Hodgkinson, the forty-three-year-old founder of the Academy. “I was just having a nap.” As part of the recent revival of ancient philosophy in modern life, some enterprising thinkers have tried to establish philosophy schools in the ancient mold, where ordinary people can gather, eat, drink, and learn about the art of life, just as they used to do in Athens, Rome, Alexandria, and elsewhere. One such school is the Idler Academy, which Tom set up in West London in 2011. He wants his Academy to combine the buzz of an eighteenth-century coffeehouse with the sort of leisurely philosophical enquiry practiced in the ancient schools of Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and the Stoics. It’s still early days, and the Academy is slightly chaotic — in a good way. Last week, the sewers burst. This week, the boiler is on the fritz. A customer’s order has gone missing (the Academy includes a bookstore), and everything still needs to be set up for this evening’s philosophy workshop. Setting up a small business is hard work — “It’s stressful!” sighs Tom — but the local businesses are, on the whole, friendly and helpful to this unusual venture set up in their midst.

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