“Live your beliefs and you can change the world.“
— Henry David Thoreau
Maybe it’s the other way around. Living in this world changes our beliefs. Which of your beliefs changed over the course of this tumultuous year? Glancing backwards over the past months of 2020, what strikes me are the links between our beliefs, our politics, the on-going pandemic, and its economic fallout. Americans have been shaken to our very cores. Sadly our beliefs and behaviors have caused us more suffering than many other nations. Prior to this December 9th would you have believed a novel coronavirus could claim 3,124 American lives in 24 hours? That is more than we lost on D-Day, Pearl Harbor or 9/11. Over 2,000 souls are departing each day now.
Would Thoreau be surprised to see our United States today? When he died in 1862, at age 44 of tuberculosis during our civil war, his passing went unnoticed. His writings did not catch on until the next century. Yet his focused time alone on Walden Pond, for instance, remains a prime example of what it means for an individual to consciously choose which beliefs to live by, and bear the consequences. In his “Civil Disobedience” essay he wrote, “I cannot for an instant recognize the political organization as my government which is the slave’s government also.” An abolitionist, Thoreau was protesting more than slavery by making the case that we citizens are obligated to refuse to cooperate with political injustice, even when it is the current law. Thinking deeply about the outcomes of his beliefs convinced him of the need for evolutionary change. The same can happen for us. Read more about Thoreau here.
At least the first Covid vaccine shipments are on their way. My nurse daughter in the Rhode Island field hospital will be among the first to receive it. I worry about any unknown, long term side effects since it was rushed to market. My beliefs, and my experiences in corporate ranks, leave me suspicious about ‘for profit’ medicine, and exploitive value systems, whether it’s big pharma or big oil.
During my decades in executive education – as a global management development consultant – I was stunned to discover how few business leaders could write a list of their beliefs or link them to their behaviors. This is another reason why I developed the Wisdom Wheel in 1996. I knew we needed help to do this work to clarify our values. Unless we understand the bedrock of our own beliefs, how can we know which ones we share with others, and discuss them?
One thing we can do at home, to improve things in our world, is to begin taking inventory of our beliefs. On a blank sheet of paper you can write down at least ten of your core beliefs. Then connect them to your behaviors. What behaviors have your beliefs produced? For example, by choosing to believe, “I could never write a book,” our actions will tend towards making this true. By the same token, we are free to believe the opposite, “I can learn to write a book.” And voilà we commit ourselves to the work and the books get written. By taking stock of your inherited value system, you can trace how all your words and deeds spring from those rocks and roots. And you can decide to make new choices.
News & Events
A hearty thank you to each person who has already ordered our Return to Wisdom 2021 journal planner, co-created with graphic artist, Rosanne Romiglio. More copies are still available for $27, plus shipping, as soon as they arrive from the printer. This agenda book will make a unique Christmas or birthday gift. It gently guides users on a 12 month tour of the first 12 Laws on the Wisdom Wheel, starting with Balance in January, ending with Integrity next December. Contact me to order.
Complete with directions, quotations and lunar cycles, this exploration of beliefs can be combined with our twice monthly Zoom discussions, a members only Facebook group, and series of emails. Resolve to track your behaviors in 2021. See if this theme of the month Journey helps you synchronize your inner hopes and outer actions. Contact me to attend our Question & Answer Introduction session on Zoom. We appreciate your interest. Reserve a seat.
Apologies for any difficulties you may have with the previous link to the Company Matters musical in last newsletter issue. Try this link now. Watch for the 50% off Cooped Up Covid Christmas sale, on the recording of my husband Malcolm’s brand new musical comedy. The upbeat music and satisfying storyline will cheer you up. A Russian theatre producer has expressed interest in a stage performance. Yes, Malcolm had his musical translated into Russian because he worked there often in the last few years. Stay tuned for more about this.
The online Zoom version of my popular workshop, Would I, Could I, Should I Write a Memoir? is coming in 2021, around March 15th. This six-week series is designed to give you an overview of the entire process. We won’t do much writing, although we may form an on-going group at the end, for those who decide to go for it! Bring me your questions and concerns, and I will help you make an informed decision, about the commitment to write book about your life. My course will take you from understanding the memoir genre, through conception, the (many!) drafts of the writing process, plus publishing, marketing and distribution options. I will tell you the unvarnished truth about what it took to write my award-winning memoir, The Importance of Paris. Email me to reserve your spot.
Despite the pandemic our Westerly writing group managed to get our 2020 anthology published. This year our title was HOMELAND. Each of us has about five pieces inside. Kudos to Wendy Bradford and Dyann Boudreau. They did so much work behind the scenes to make this happen. This is our second year publishing our own work and we’re planning next year’s already. This was our 2019 issue.
Email me if you are interested in any of our ongoing Zoom groups.
- Every Saturday morning 10:30 am Westerly Writing group
- Every other Wednesday evening 6pm Book Writers group
- Every Monday evening 7pm Zoom Lodge
We sadly canceled our traditional Winter Solstice (sweat lodge) Purification ceremony, planned for Sunday December 20th. The ongoing surges, in coronavirus cases, continue to make it unsafe to include anyone. Our prayers will be joined with yours from afar. We will retire the Bear song until the Spring equinox. By then we hope to be able to celebrate the annual four day Bear Fast. As this hibernation season begins, don’t be afraid to go deep into dark, rich, fertile loam of the mythic imagination. On the Wisdom Wheel, this is the Renewal time of year, along with the birthdays of our Capricorn friends. Mark the start of the return to light. Check HOPE HOUSE Facebook page for any updates.
“I think of you as a voyager, someone who has to travel, to explore, to try something new and different and maybe explore the past to preserve the wisdom of what was – to match the wisdom of what is – to build the wisdom of what will be. I’m glad to be part of the exploration.“
— Dawn Robertson, founder of Strategic Change Resources