Society & Culture

Buried Treasure: Three Essays from Three Anthologies

Last week, I discovered three essays I had written for three anthologies, and I believe they are among the best writing I have ever produced. The themes are authenticity in public speaking, values in the workplace, and self-awareness as the foundation of leadership. I have made them available for free download on this page. Below are brief descriptions of each. Enjoy!

THE WORKPLACE AND SPIRITUALITY
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON RESEARCH AND PRACTICE

Edited by Dr. Joan Marques, Dr. Satinder Dhiman and Dr. Richard King

Robert’s essay makes a strong case for speaking in public with authenticity. We need to speak with authenticity, predicated on vulnerability, honesty, empathy, transparency, and love. Authentic speaking is beneficial to our soul, the vitality and future of our organizations, and even the fate of our world.

 

12 STEP WISDOM AT WORK: TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFE AND YOUR ORGANIZATION

Edited by William C. Hammond, III

The revolutionary concepts in this anthology have been developed by the internationally renowned Hazelden Foundation, one of the world’s leading recovery institutions. The co-authors show how the program that has helped millions of individuals can be used to dramatically change organizations, achieving greater efficiency and resulting a shared set of values that will propel the organization to new heights.

Robert’s essay is “The Answer to our Prayers,” in which he discusses the importance of integrating one’s most authentic personal values with those of the organization in which one works.

 

LEADERSHIP IN A NEW ERA: VISIONARY APPROACHES TO THE BIGGEST CRISIS OF OUR TIME

Edited by John Renesch

This anthology is a collection of vision and wisdom for tomorrow’s business leaders, presented by a group of outstanding men and women in a joint collaboration. This rare combination of business executives, professional consultants, successful authors, and leadership scholars has come together with a common theme: new times call for new leadership.

Robert’s essay is “The Koan of Leadership,” in which he advocates the development of self-awareness as a core leadership capacity.

A HEARTFELT MESSAGE TO MY BROTHERS — ABOUT WOMEN

A HEARTFELT MESSAGE TO MY BROTHERS ABOUT HOW WE TREAT WOMEN

I first thought I should wait to write and post this, because I am having some real issues with chemo brain— a common term used to describe thinking and memory problems that can occur after cancer treatment, which I had a few days ago.

Chemo brain can also be called chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment. I like this one, because it is so significant-sounding. Write or wait?

You be the judge. Maybe if I waited, I’d be more articulate, coherent, and persuasive. Maybe not. I feel drunk, stoned, and exhausted. Chemo brain sucks. I should wait.

But, I don’t want to wait. I’m clear enough on this now. My cancer treatments remind me that life is live TV: no reruns. It’s now or it’s not. So, here it is.

I have been around. I have done, seen, and heard a lot of stuff. Truly. Trust me. So, it takes a lot to make my mind spin out of control behind a massive WTF. But it does happen, more often than I’d like to admit.

Sometimes this happens in the wake of a big thing, like a whistleblower-inspired revelation of governmental or corporate misconduct. I confess to being particularly susceptible to ideas and actions motivated by greed, cruelty, and deception. Sometimes, this WTF-head-spin happens in the wake of a small thing, in terms of social media coverage or cultural outrage.

This is what I want to talk about. A small thing. Seemingly. It’s about how we men sometimes treat women. Not our women, but women. Hear the difference?

In her talk in one of my Speaking Truthfully classes, this brave woman told us that her significant other had forbidden her from attending an event that he had not been invited to. He said that she could not go, that she could not defy him. No discussion. No negotiation. No reasons. Just: You cannot go. Do not defy me.

Read the rest of this article at Rebelle Society.

A Lesson from Nazi Concentration Camp Survivors

I lived in Israel for a year in 1972. I was working my way to India. I had come from six months in Frankfurt, Germany, where I worked in a bakery under the supervision of Herbert, who had been a drummer in Hitler’s private marching band; so he said. In Israel, I worked as a civilian employee of the Israeli Air Force. I lived with soldiers in tents in the Sinai Desert, close to the Suez Canal. We dug underground ammunition bunkers all day.

During my year in Israel, I met many Nazi concentration camp survivors. The stories they told me, quite honestly, were so horrific as to defy belief. Some people today do not even believe the Holocaust actually happened! How could it? How could human beings descend into such a hell as to do this to other human beings?

How could our very humanity be corrupted such that we became monsters, betraying everything good and beautiful and decent and caring and loving that is within our true heart, our living spirit? Hitler?

camps

No, I was told. Not Hitler. Us. The people. How? Why?

A Heartfelt Message to my Brothers Regarding Women

I first thought I should wait to write and post this, because I am having some real issues with “chemo brain” — a common term used to describe thinking and memory problems that can occur after cancer treatment, which I had a few days ago. Chemo brain can also be called chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment. I like this one, because it is so significant-sounding. Write or wait? Post now or later?

You be the judge. Maybe if I waited, I’d be more articulate, coherent, and persuasive. Maybe not. I feel drunk, stoned, and exhausted. Chemo brain sucks. I should wait.

But, I don’t want to wait. I’m clear enough on this now. My “cancer treatments” remind me that life is live TV: no reruns. It’s now or it’s not. So, here it is.

I have been around. I have done, seen, and heard a lot of stuff. Truly. Trust me. So, it takes a lot to make my mind spin out of control behind a massive WTF? But it does happen, more often than I’d like to admit.

Sometimes this happens in the wake of a “big” thing: a whistle-blower-inspired revelation of governmental or corporate misconduct. I confess to being particularly susceptible to ideas and actions motivated by greed, cruelty, and deception. Sometimes, this WTF? head spin happens in the wake of a “small” thing — in terms of social media coverage or cultural outrage.

This is what I want to talk about. A small thing. Seemingly. It came up in a Speaking Truthfully masterclass I did a while ago. It’s about how we men sometimes treat woman. Not “our” women; but women. Hear the difference?

In her talk to the class, this brave woman told us that her significant other had forbid her from attending an event that he had not been invited to. He said that she could not go, that she could not defy him. No discussion. No negotiation. No reasons. Just: YOU cannot go. Do not defy me.

That did it. My head spun, and then I groaned — maybe growled — a very guttural WTF? Again? Come on! The objectification of women.

Brothers: we do not own women. We may not forbid them anything. They are not our property. We may not take; we must ask. While most societies today still are ruled and run by the values of patriarchy — a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it — we can see the tide turning, and I could not be happier. You should be happy. Truly. It is essential that we rejoice and that we all facilitate and expedite this evolutionary trend whereby men realize that patriarchy is more than obsolete. This ideology is, existentially, criminal. All forms of it. All rationalizations for it.

The issue isn’t even one of gender-equality. In my view, that belief-system argument is too general and broad and, perhaps, inaccurate. I do not want to argue in this way. I do want to say this. Brothers, listen up. Seriously.

We do not own women. We are not superior to women. We do not control women. We may not take from them anything without asking and without permission. We may not harm, debase, degrade, imprison, bully, intimidate, or threaten any woman at any time for any reason. We CANNOT AND WE MAY NOT DO THIS.

If you do this, stop and get help. If you see this being done, get involved and stop it. All the time. This ideology of patriarchy and its behavioral corollaries are criminal, sinful, horrible. We must stop this, right now. Everywhere.

When we consider the dictionary of words — of thoughts, beliefs, actions — that support and inform how we relate to women, do we see words like: love, adore, worship, elevate, celebrate, empower, serve, honor, respect? Do we listen, learn, and grow in their presence? Are we open, curious, and patient in our exploration of women’s mysteries and riches and dimensions? I hope so.

We need to open our eyes on this. It’s great that Elizabeth Warren can blow away The Donald with her “nasty women” speech” but that is plucking low-hanging fruit. There are so many ways, maybe less graphic and visible than The Donald’s exercise of patriarchal privilege — that haunt our society. Look around. Let’s open our eyes. Let’s understand this. Let’s acknowledge this. Let’s change this.

RIGHT NOW. NO EXCUSES.

A Short List of Leadership Qualities

In a recent interview by Judi Neal on her Edgewalkers Teleconference, the topic of leadership came up. That is one of those tricky words that, to me, does not have much meaning unless put into a context. Leading a firefight in a war zone and leading a mindfulness walk through a meadow require different leadership mindsets, skills, and competencies.

However, I do think that there are a few of these that are universal and apply to all “leadership” definitions.

In my view, this is a short but critical list of leadership capacities. These need to be embodied and manifest behaviorally; otherwise, they have no potency.

A clear mind. An open heart. Present-centered attention. Deep listening. Truthful speaking. Self-awareness. Honesty. Curiosity. Creativity. Empowering. Socially conscious. Service-oriented.

See if you can add to this list. A leader is not a leader simply by virtue of social or organizational position. A leader must earn that designation by virtue of embodied, manifest qualities and behaviors.

The 10% Project — Radical Conversations about Social Action

I would like to introduce you to “The 10% Project: Radical Conversations about Social Action by the Global Consciousness Community.”

The 10% Project invites the community’s millions of members to become personally involved in this unprecedented initiative to meld our various spiritual paths and explorations of higher consciousness with outer civic engagement.

The guiding spirit of this Project is a simple, heartfelt question: “How can we embody our spiritual practice and demonstrate our evolving awareness of higher consciousness in our everyday life so as to make a positive impact in our community and society?”

Please click on the icon just below to watch the 10-minute video I produced to describe the Project.10percentproject-sidepic

This Project does not advocate a particular form of activism or cause or issue. This Project does advocate the conscious, purposeful participation in any aspect of civic life that naturally activates our heart and irresistibly calls to us as our responsibility. Key talking points in the video include: