Archive for From the Publisher
By Lavinia Gene Weissman
Moving Beyond Today’s Spiritual Vacuum
This past week, I have been exceptionally frustrated. My frustration grew out of an observation that many of the men and women, I know, have become unconsciously resigned as a result of the today’s economic challenge or the do not break from the mechanical nature of doing more of the same – looking for a job or living simply in response to stress, to find a point of transformation to shift local economies and learn new approaches to problems they share with their friends that can impact the health of the economy, people, environment and habitat to measure lasting social impact for the welfare of all.
Author, JK Rowling has taught us so many times, in how she lives and has lived her life while imagining every Harry Potter chapter, success grows from failure and recovery from failure grows from imagination. Her learning took form from her own journey as the daughter of a chronically ill mother, who became an abused wife. Freedom from abuse took her with her imagination through the journey of an impoverished single mom, living on services with her daughter to becoming a teacher, and then magic beyond words shaped her life today growing out of her rich inner childhood imagination that birthed Harry Potter and friends.
I see many woman using spiritual practices of being positive and expressing and claiming gratitude as a way to accept a diminished life and circumstance for which they are unable to abound. I have organized a prayer group for numerous of my acquaintances called Monday Circle of Prayer. Many members of this group have very compromised life experiences due to illness, single parenting, job loss, declined sources of income, care-giving sick family members and more.
Each week, I offer a prayer to these women through a private group on Facebook, called Monday Circle of Prayer. It is my way to inspire myself by inspiring others by building a new view of who we are and what we represent. It’s about creating a faith practice that inspires hope for those of us who carry a burden that the socio-economic authorities have served to us a cloud of resignation that has translated into a life challenged by poverty, poor health and economic strife. For me I have survived by finding the faith to persist at my own life and work in these difficult times and find a new path that improves their capacity to sustain themselves.
I curate this group and invite conversation and contribution. I archive the prayers in a protected group on Facebook, so as to assure privacy. I have introduced some of the women to each other and some have begun to talk by phone to each other about problems they may share in common, perhaps to seek a new view.
Last week the conversations with a number of these women fueled my frustration to see how to easily they are using their spiritual practice to fuel a form of resignation and not work to alter their life, but to use the positive ways and expressions of gratitude almost like a form of accepting this diminished form of life.
This group has helped to alleviate isolation many feel when living in poverty or challenged. The group has not yet found the courage or imagination to author a new view that is fueled by all its members and not driven by me. All I can do at this time is author a reflective prayer each week or an link or two of inspiration.
There is a change in this country over the past six months, since the stand by Occupy Wall Street. A much greater number of people have moved the pervasive denial that pushes so many to do more of the same and not recognize the need for change that the 2008 Global Financial Meltdown implied.
As part of my own grappling about the lack of understanding in our economy of what is implied to care about the welfare of others, I decided to read Hillary Clinton’s autobiography, Living History, written in 2003
Reading this bio has prompted me to rethink what it means to embrace your own personal power. I continue to believe that power is inside every potential leader at birth and if prompted in by family, educators and friends, it can mushroom into something remarkable over time that has nothing to do with position or authority.
Embedded in Hillary’s life story is this kind of pattern. Yet while reading the book, I had to ask myself how does she lift herself beyond failure and difficult times, which for Hillary like many woman in my prayer gropu have been numerous, brutal and life altering.
Hillary discovered the power of intangible prayer during her first month as First Lady. This was to carry her through her first 6 months as First Lady of the United States, which were filled with loss, disappointments, failures and infringement of her family’s privacy.
By the end of six months, the task force she chaired for health care reform failed. She experienced numerous significant deaths of her father, mother-in-law and her close friend and law partner committed suicide as a result of clinical depression. The Clinton living quarters had been searched with out notice.
In April of that year, Hillary was invited to make a speech at the University of Texas as her father lay at death’s door. On the plane to Austin, she found an article authored by Lee Atwater, Age 40, political adviser to Presidents Reagan and Geroge H.W. Bush, who was dying of cancer. Hillary embedded this passage from the article in the speech she gave in April 1993 at University of Texas, Austin.
“Long before I was struck by cancer, I felt something striring in American society; it was a sense among the people of the country— Republicans and Democrats alike—-that something was missing from their lies, something crucial… I wasn’t exactly sure what the “it” was. My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what is missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood.
The 80’s were about acquiring — acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth and, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn’t I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn’t I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with the truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught you in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime….
I drew on different sources to put together a statement about the need to “remodeled society by redefining what it means to be a human being in the twentieth century, moving into a new millennium.
We need a new politics of meaning. We need a new ethos of individual responsibility and caring. We need a new definition of civil society which answers the unanswerable questions posed by both the market forces and the governmental ones, as to how we can have a society that fills us up again and makes us feel that we are poart of something bitter than ourselves.”
Who will lead us out of this “spiritual vacuum?”
After reading Lee Atwater’s perspective, Hillary answered Atwater’s question for her audience, stating, “The answer is all of us.”
The answer remains unchanged today from 1993. But shifting our behavior as a country from the individual, political, business and citizen perspective has to integrate an understanding of what is implied by the word, “welfare.”
This requires a new understanding and view, voice this past September by Jan M. Morgan, President of CSRwire, LLC. Jan offered this statement in a publication, GLOBAL COMPACT COMMUNICATION ON PROGRESS, September 2011, prepared for the United Nations Global Compact:
“I am terribly ambitious where the world is concerned and feel a personal responsibility to contribute to the welfare of all. I try to take responsibility for my own actions and I believe the work we do at CSRwire benefits society and communities all over the world.”
Whether a commercial enterprise, a government activity or a non-profit initiative, it has always been my belief that within those institutions that people can take the kind of responsibility that Jan Morgan describes can be done by anyone by investing time, energy, thought and funds to measure a return on investment of lasing social impact.
We can no longer afford to think of “welfare” in the context of charity or government services that only serve to diminish people and obstruct their capacity to sustain personally and empower their children to do the same by redefining the idea of, “No Child Left Behind,” to mean educate, inspire, mentor and encourage intelligence and health.
As of late, my own belief and values in this regard have been challenged and I have been trying to find my way out of my own spiritual vacuum from a very reminder personally of what it is life for anyone when difficult times are imposed on you that you could not counteract or protect yourself from.
Since last June, a few event in my life have had me reach out to numerous friends, leave behind some old friends and make some new friends.
My outreach has been primarily to women, who are also experiencing challenge. Before the 2008 financial meltdown, I usually knew 1 or 2 women challenged by illness, lost job, challenging social circumstance. But in my life at this time, I now know over 14 women experiencing a combination of challenges and the size of the group continues to grow rather than decline.
In Living History, Hillary describes her introduction to the National Prayer Center, founded by Ken Wilde. This non-profit invites participation of people of all backgrounds and political representation to offer the gift of service to others in need. After Hillary’s first month as First Lady, she was was presented with a book of messages, quotes and scriptures give to her to sustain her tenure by members of the National Prayer Association. Hillary joined with a prayer partner to pray for her as she prayed for others.
The National Prayer Center, located in the Beltway of Washington DC, reached out beyond the Washington divide to anyone in need of support by providing gifts that are intangible and so meaningful – discernment, peace, compassion, faith, fellowship, vision, forgiveness, grace, wisdom, love, joy and courage.
Prior to Thanksgiving, when my own situation of challenge escalated, I only had prayer left and then I realized as I talk to more of and more of my friends, prayer was all that many of us had left.
While at the present time, I do not have many answers or ability to impact concrete measurable change that assures intelligent hard working women jobs or single mom’s the ability to care for their family or cures for children suffering from chronic illness and disabilities that overtake the day of a family trying to care for itself in these stressful times.
I know the unity and benefit of what can serve from prayer. Whether you believe in G-d or not, I know combining higher thought and sparking a direction of goodness that can impact a societal change that assures the health of people, environment, economy and habitat is something we need now.
You are all welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have interest to join a group of people in prayer in this way or join our virtual group, Monday Circle of Prayer and support it with a modest donation or simply as a sponsor.
Recommended donation is
$30+ two income household
$100+ non profit sponsor
$100+ entrepreneur sponsor
$250-500+ corporate sponsor.
Donations are confidential and any contributions that exceed recommended amounts are used to offer access to people living in poverty or without income. These donations support my work and writing and this community of practice associated with The Story of Meaningful Use Magazine and companion page on Facebook.
As I return to reflecting on the progress that so many have fostered, globally in #csr, #socent, #sustainability and #health communities of men and women, who are not resigned and have formed this tipping point of change to accelerate and translate practices through out the world, I am reminded each other them also works each day like me to grow beyond the difficulties that impose personal challenges to each of us. Prayer is the foundation by which we can each inspire ourselves and others to do our best to just continue to do our work for the greater good and the welfare of all. Prayer can open our channels to discover new ways to talk and work with other people.
Prayer is an intangible when offered in the presence of others as witness and partners, can inspire a change we could not see during times of great uncertainty, like how we are living now.
Live from the UN Press conference –
UN Global contact outreach through 6,000 companies over 130 countries. This is a small fraction of companies to impact societal scale change for sustainability.
Goal to increase this outreach through 20,000 companies by the time RIO is launched.
For Immediate Release
By Lavinia Weissman
Source: Press Conference Live @ UN Global Compact Press Conference
Written Report: Press Release fro UNGC
George Kell, Executive Director of UN Global Compact provide this overview summary and analysis of UNGC progress over 2010.
Of the 6,000 members surveyed,
1. The percentage of UNGC member corporations bring about change as a result of UNGC engagement is up to 80%.
2. The 6,000 have the power of 25% influence at the front end of issues of the 80,000 total multinational companies.
3. 75% of multinationals are only beginners building awareness.
4. Ownership form a great influence
- Public owned companies have 57% of impact;
- State owned – 32%
- Private owned – 18%
5. Size matters; Large companies working the issues the most, although within their subsidiaries there is only a 28% implementation.
6. Huge gaps on policies and supported by CEO’s and actual implementation and specific action, corruption, human rights, environmental issues and cuts across all areas of implementations. Awareness is high on material, risk and compliance sides. Execution and implementation continues with very high gaps.
7. Supply chain continues to be one of the most significant gaps. Details on this at pp. 24-25.
8. Good news in 6,000 participants in survey taking action with NGO”s, MDG’s and 70% increase in concrete actions.
9. Response on environmental issues accelerated.
Projection for the future: UNGC is going strong,
Challenges: implementation to drive quality.
Priority: Accelerate attention on human rights, corruption and environmental programs for implementation and execution.
Leadership foot print most critical in commercial domains for societal long term goals.
Lavinia Weissman is an sustainable market leadership coach, journalist, and publisher of thestoryofmeaningfuluse.com. As a speaker she describes the new emerging patterns of markets shaped by sustainable market leaders and the social networks they work with and employ. As a coach, Lavinia works with all her clients to inspire professional development that assures a person the opportunity to embed sustainability as a leader into the network and culture of people they work with.
Letter from the Publisher
This next series of articles to be released into our new magazine format for thestoryofmeaningfuluse.com examine the thought leadership and new practices coming into use to build new metrics of health for the environment, economy, people and habitat.
This new format of preparing a series of articles for a cycle of publishing was a bit overwhelming this first round; it pushed me to think and organize my work differently. When I go into a learning cycle, I often have to find some real inspiration and within a few days the inspiration came to my door. This inspiration was about repair of harm, I began to learn about through 3 major media events – a live broadcast, a outstanding interview and a sneek preview of film;
- 60 Minutes Correspondent Lara Logan’s interview about her sexual assault during the Egyptian disturbance of political unrest;
- My preview of the film, ‘The Whistleblower, ” the story of UN peacekeeper cover up in Bosnia as experienced by US Peacekeeper, Kathryn Bolkovac.
Given the events, it provoked much discussion and debate in the mainstream press and social media. Yet by the end of a week, I found myself pushed by these events to rethink the sustainability practice of “transparency.” Transparency is any person’s or institution’s power to adopt. If you don’t practice transparency, you are diverting energy to “privacy, privilege and secrecy.” Yet if you practice transparency you are opening the door to the very human aspect of life that “nothing is perfect.” Transparency implies failure as lessons learned and opportunities to take those lessons and innovation change.
To me this is the essence of the world of people and communities practicing the discipline of “capacity building.” From wherever I sit and draw my perspective, I continue to see a growing need for capacity building – in terms of recognition of need, resource and investment identification and a more common understanding that there is a need for a “cycle of capacity building.
Convening a group of people, who have the intention to innovate change requires a cycle or sustained capacity building. Capacity building is about breaking down the systemic barriers that re-enforce old patterns of behavior that keep a dying system perpetuating as that system ceases to serve more and more of the people who live in that system.
The community begins its learning when a small group of people recognize they need to budget and allocate resources to beginning an investigation int new responses to unmet needs from which a healthier society can take form to serve people into perpetuity. This means authoring a method of exercising precaution that addresses systemic harm that cannot be stopped by continuing in a form of “business as usual.”
These 3 events also implied a strong position that physical and violent harm, in particular to women and children should not be part the global future.
Yet the progress for achieving the UN Millenial Goals of 2000 to end poverty by 2015 is not sufficient. And for the most part, according to the 2011 GreenBiz.com report on the State of Green Business, the world is still treading water in its progress to become a Green Society.
I am finding more and more – that what I publish, facilitate as change and build social media practice for is about “capacity building.”
Thee 3 media events inspired me to renew my faith and belief that a majority of people can convene to discern, learn and act to build a healthy sustainable economy so all species can live in health; this is the focus and context for anything I think about, work on integrate with into my work with others.
Over the next two weeks, please enjoy the roll out of articles for the May/June 2011 cycle of publication for thestoryofmeaningfuluse.com. All these articles provide a basis, a perspective, a briefing from which to learn how to engage in capacity building and monetize its development and ongoing capacity to su
|Lessons Learned||Carol Sanford||Business Can Make Life Easier|
|Research Note||Lavinia Weissman||#pharma Beyond Business as Usual|
|New Normal Brief||Dave Wann||Treasure Hunting for Clean Tech
|Ethical Markets Media||Rosalinda Sanquiche||Update from Hazel Henderson|
|Capacity Building||Lavinia Weissman||Can Sustainability Sustain?|
|Book Review||Lavinia Weissman||The Responsible Business by Carol Sanford|
Watch for a new post on CSRWiretalkback as part of the SanofiAventisStoryCapture on how CEO Chris Viehbacher is leading a mission to guide Sanofi’s mission beyond the mindset of pharmaceuticals to becoming a global health leader.
And finally learn about WorkEcology.com’s new learning community, WorkEcology’s Women in Sustainability.
The core value that aligns women to join this professional association is based on the value for sustainability. This implies you wish to discern and learn with other women how to live a healthy life in a healthy world.
Groups can form anywhere for a size of 6- 10 members.
To learn how to become a group leader or join a group already meeting click “contact,” on this page.