Leadership for the Fresh and New
Fresh Thinking, Inspiration, and Vision on the Process of Spiritual Transformation
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
These verses from Revelation have a mystical tone, and still, in a poetic way they are a precise description of time and reality. As this moment is completing, “passing away,” another is appearing, “coming down,” bringing the opportunity for something fresh and new to be born. This is constantly happening. What I just said is in the past and what I am going to say is still coming. We have the choice to hold a space for the creative use of what the next moment will bring.
When we speak or act from that place, we can invite people into the new. The wonder we are seeing and experiencing can be an invitation to a creative opportunity; and when another person sees that possibility and joins in, we get to welcome the “new heaven and new earth” together.
This week a disaster happened in Oslo, Norway. Eighty-nine people were killed by someone impersonating an authority figure. The shooter donned a police uniform to create a false sense of security before carrying out a despicable act. In response to the coming together of the people in Norway who were offering loving support to those affected by the tragedy, my friend Tessa Maskell shared this quote from George Trevelyan, who is the father of the New Age movement in Britain:
Out of the confusion of a crumbling society will emerge individuals touched by Higher guidance. These will inevitably flow together with others of like inspiration and a new quality of society will begin to form. This is the true adventure of our time.
A new quality of society will begin to form when we are paying attention to what is coming out of heaven, when we are touched by Higher guidance. It has always been true that the new heaven is available to any human being who is willing to pay attention and let it be born through them. These individuals emerge as leaders bringing a different kind of authority. A friend mentioned a book he was reading, entitled The Way of the Weirdo, by Jason Gregory. I expect anyone who brings this new form of society may be labeled a weirdo. I have had to ask myself, “Are you willing to stand in your authority and look different?” Are you willing to look weird?
While in college, I wrote a research paper on a study reported in a 1976 article, entitled “Fear of Success.” The article proposed that women of that day had a fear of being unattractive if they became authority figures. They might look too strong or too independent. So the fear was that they would be shunned, and denied the support of men in their world, which was familiar and expected. They might have to live their life alone. That was thirty-five years ago. Today there are many professional women in Western society who have proven that it was worth it to stand in their own authority and bring their own wisdom.
What about bringing the authority and the wisdom of a new paradigm—the authority and wisdom that comes when we are touched by a Higher guidance? Is there a fear of being successful in that? “My life might change, and so might my friends.” “I might be seen as someone who is trying to be an authority.” “People might think I’m weird if my message to the world is ‘The world the way it is is falling apart. It doesn’t make sense. We must do something different.’”
If a new paradigm is to come, someone has to confront the filters through which the world is currently seen. Those filters are composed of a belief about the world, preserved from out of the past, which prevents us from seeing the world fresh and new, as it really is. The verses from Revelation speak of the newness coming as a bride adorned. That is a beautiful image that portrays excitement and magic. In the human ceremony of marriage, the bride and groom begin a fresh cycle, ready to create together. I was at a wedding recently and the minister encouraged the man and woman to remember how full of beauty and potential they appeared to each other at that moment, knowing that at some time in the future they may lose sight of that as the pressures of life appear. If we are to see the potential and beauty that is present, we have to stay open to it. We have to pay attention to what is coming down out of heaven.
To walk The Way of the Weirdo, a person has to face the discomfort of being different. This came home to me in what became one of the most difficult and profound experiences of my life. In 1992, I was in a room full of people who were in agreement, but not in the truth. It was a lunch meeting of my local Rotary Club. There was an amendment to the State Constitution of Colorado proposed, now famously called Amendment 2. The effect of the amendment would have been to allow discrimination against gay people.
The group proposing the amendment presented their arguments. There was no representation from those opposing it, which is definitely against the premises of Rotary, which is a nonpolitical organization. So I had to stand up. It was my choice, but I couldn’t live with being quiet on the issue. My knees were literally shaking, an experience I had never had until that moment. I declared it was unfair not to have equal representation of both sides of the issue and that the facts were skewed. I felt I could say, “What has just been presented is untrue.”
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to present the opposite of what the mass believed or was saying? Sometimes those situations seem large and dramatic, as my Rotary Club meeting seemed to me. Sometimes the situation seems less volatile, and the beliefs involved more subtle. But it can be the subtle, hidden beliefs in things that aren’t true that cripple people. Here are just a few I am aware of:
I’m too busy. I don’t have time for what is really important to me.
I don’t have enough money to live a happy, fulfilled life.
I’m too old to do anything meaningful.
After I spoke at my Rotary Club, three people who didn’t necessarily agree with me came up to thank me for what I said. One said, “Thank you for your courage. I can count on you to speak what I know you believe is true. And I’ll look into that.” And another one said, “Thank you, because I thought the person had the facts, and now I’m not so sure.”
Amendment 2 was passed into law by Colorado voters that year. It was struck down by the United States Supreme Court in 1996, which was quite an embarrassment to the State of Colorado. Years later, I became president of that Rotary Club.
Sometimes the facts can be looked up in Wikipedia or elsewhere, but we have to develop the ability to listen for the truth, and when we do we may be considered weird. We may have to face being alone in the matter. This is part of the true adventure of our time. It is part of accepting Higher guidance and welcoming the new. There has to be a large enough collective saying yes together so that large patterns in this old paradigm, this old earth, can change. It starts with our individual transformation—that is our responsibility. For there to be a real paradigm shift in our world, there are everyday beliefs that need to change. I have had the experience of large things happening when a critical mass of people said yes to the same thing, when a critical mass agreed: “We will bring the new heaven, like a bride adorned, coming down from God out of heaven into the earth.”
August 11th, 2011
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