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April 29, 2011

Do You Know When to Leave Your Ego At Home?

 I went to the United Church on Salt Spring, Wednesday night, to hear Makere Stewart Harawira speak. She's from a tribe in New Zealand called the Waitaha. Apparently, they have existed for 2,000 - 3,000 years. Dr. Stewart-Harawira said the word Maori is a generic term that means essence; the natural peoples.

The talk was hosted by the Child Honouring Centre and its founder Raffi Cavoukian was there to introduce her at which point she sang a beautiful song in her language and began to speak about how we are at a critical juncture in human evolution where we can either make decisions that have the potential to lead to huge evolutionary leaps or we will make decisions (as we have been) that will lead to our extinction.  Nothing new in that statement unless you really digest the information and say it to yourself  and truly hear it at a cellular level.

"The sacred needs to be returned to our economic and political structures." For me, that was the most significant insight she shared becauseI feel that everyone feels a lack of "the sacred" every day even when they can't put words  to the angst they might be feeling at any given moment.

When the talk was over, it was question period.

How many times have you been to a talk where someone, usually one or two people, interpret question period to mean, let me bring out my soapbox. Let me challenge the speaker. Let me reveal my own brilliance read, my ego needs stroking, please see me and acknowledge me and help me to feel superior.

Most significantly, this man represented a way of being that would be beneficial to move away from at this point in human history. Instead of a listening and an open spirit, he brought antagonism and his own sense of rightness seeking affirmation and acknowledgement for himself in place of respect for others; not just the speaker but for the mainly female audience.

When I worked at UBC Computer Science, one of the professors  there who was Mormon once said to me, "If it doesn't add anything positive to the conversation, you really need to ask yourself whether it should be said."

So many people (including myself more often than not) are incapable of assessing that and unfortunately this man brought a negativity and a violence (as a result of the interchange it evoked between Raffi and him) to an evening that had been rooted in peace and soft energy prior to his serious error in judgment.

Suddenly, there, in that beautiful little church, what played out replicated what too often plays out in boardrooms, around kitchen tables, in casual groups. The collective anxiety his way of being evoked was palpable.

It was a really useful (albeit inappropriately-timed) lesson for everyone there to reflect upon.
1. Is the thought I just had necessary to articulate out loud?
2. Will this information add to the conversation or merely bolsters my ego?
3. Is this the right time to bring our concerns to the forefront?
4. Would a private conversation be more appropriate?
5. Am I coming from a place of love or a place of judgment?

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