Fear & Courage: Leadership, Chap.3



“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” 

~F.D. Roosevelt, 1932, Inaugural Address

“The true democracy, living and growing and inspiring, puts its faith in the people ~ faith that the people will not simply elect men(people) who will represent their views ably and faithfully, but will also elect (people) who will exercise their conscientious judgment ~ faith that the people will not condemn those whose devotion to principle leads them to unpopular courses, ~ but will reward courage, respect honor and ultimately recognize right.”

~J.F. Kennedy, 1956, from Profiles in Courage

Fear is an incessant force today: Fear of a T. presidency. Fear of an H. or a B. presidency. Fear of revolution. Fear of complacency. Fear of change. Fear of no change. Fear of intolerance and injustice. Fear of diversity and equality. Fear of leaders and media who incite more fear, violence, hate. Fear of those without an answer, without a path of trust. Fear of knowledge.

Can we demand courage? Courage to create new paths to ancient ideals; courage to put passionate ideas into action, to solve problems rather than revolt against them? Courage to see the world as connected ~ not me against you, or us versus them? Courage to be an actual “instrument of peace”, while being an agent of constructive, compassionate change?

BALANCE essential elements of change. Make INTELLIGENT CHOICES that help the world.  Can this young democracy, this United States of America, remember and demand more courage and less fear in our leaders? Courage to listen and to learn while serving. Courage to teach peace, while standing up for what is right. Courage to stop fear by respecting every voice in the democracy; to find compromise that brings about conversation based on learning. Courage to humbly serve.

“The kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsibilities. We, the people, are the boss, and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve.”

~J.F. Kennedy~

BE the change. All of us MUST. This dramatic, challenging time in our country demands our attention and engagement. Face the difficult conversations. Look for the truth behind appearances. Email the campaigns, the congress, and give them your direction and demands for a country based on “true democracy, living and growing and inspiring”.(JFK)

Thanks for all you are courageously doing, no matter how insignificant it may seem. WE ALL will make a difference in the lives of so many, through our choices of action or non-action, conversation or silence, fear or courage.


Humility: Leadership, Chap. 2


Why is the sea king of a hundred streams? 

Because it lies below them.

If you would guide the people, you must serve with humility.

If you would lead them~ you must follow behind.

The whole world will support you and will not tire of you.

from The Tao Te Ching, verse 66


Understanding and being open to all…

Giving birth and nourishing,

Bearing, yet not possessing,

Working, yet not taking credit,

Leading, yet not dominating:

This is the primal virtue.

from The Tao Te Ching, verse 10


The highest good is like water. Water gives life and does not strive.

….Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things.

from The Tao Te Ching, verses 8 & 13

(all quotes from the Gia-fu Feng/Jane English translation of the Lao Tsu ancient manuscript; all photos taken 5/10/16)

On the edge:Leadership in Democracy


He has the right to criticize, who has the heart to help.

~  Abraham Lincoln ~

The people of the United States of America are on the edge of dramatic, possibly dangerous, leadership choices within this democracy. When we vote for a leader, we are voting FOR principles,standards, and philosophies of that candidate.  With our vote, we become a representative of that candidate. When you vote, vote FOR your choice, NOT AGAINST the opposition.

Will you vote for bigotry, racism, misogeny, narcissism, bullying, violence, hatred, alienation of national and international leaders?  Will you vote for someone praised by tyrants and dictators, condemned by U.S. allies and the UN Security Council? Can you vote for false leadership, based on flagrant,inflammatory hate speech on the world stage? Can you vote for a history of greed and little philanthropy; egotistical branding, numerous bankruptcies, lying and cheating, shape shifting in order to receive praise?

Will you honestly vote for someone who many people over 80 have compared to Hitler of the 1930’s?

Democracy is the gift of the citizens of the United States. It is our gift, but also our greatest challenge. Voting is our right and our responsibility. It can be used and misused, powerful and empowering,  destructive or creative. Why do we vote? It is our right and responsibility to vote RESPONSIBLY, not just RIGHTEOUSLY.

Your vote and my vote represent our values, wherever we are coming from. When any one of us votes for a candidate who embraces and proclaims all the aforementioned dangerous characteristics & priorities, then  by our vote we demonstrate what WE are and believe in.

Try this, if you will: an exercise in defining leadership ~ Write a list of the attributes you would hope to find in a great world leader. Let your list be idealistic, while also realistic. Then, identify  leaders in the world who come closest to your vision. Next, who is the antithesis of your definition? If no qualified world leader emerges in this present conflagration of presidential politics,then consider this with me: should you vote? When does our responsibility to vote become dangerous rather than helpful? When does our criticism cease to empower positive change? When we choose to vote, we are voting FOR a world leader, not just AGAINST the opponent.

Study ALL the sources. Read and listen to ALL sides, across the globe. Watch and really see and hear. Then trust what YOU know to be TRUE and JUST. We ARE a global, inclusive community; not an insular exclusive country. Our voting right and responsibility reaches far beyond the borders of state and country. This is a dangerous time. How will we embrace our power to help?

The Dalai Lama said: “My religion is compassion.”

Pope Francis said: “Build bridges; not walls.”

Lincoln said: “He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help.”

Christ said: Love one another as I have loved you.”