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Last Wednesday night, a sold out audience at SFU's Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema were treated to an evening of wisdom and music at Perseverance: Leadership in Turbulent Times. Renowned author and speaker Meg Wheatley came to Vancouver to give hope to those who are struggling through these tough to "keep their head above water". And as she points out, in the midst of the Occupy Movement, this group of strugglers includes pretty much all of us.
Meg was joined on stage by the talented singer and songwriter Barbara McAfee. She complemented the inspirational words of Meg with songs that inspired the room to sing out loud.
The theme of the evening, not surprisingly, was perseverance. Meg encouraged all of us to embrace the difficult times that lay before us and discover that there are many ways we can get through it without, importantly, add to the fear and aggression that presently exists.
"If we look reality right in the face, then we have the potential to know how to serve," she said.
And while our financial resources and time resources are at an all-time low, Meg encouraged us to explore some of the many other resources we have at our disposal, such as relationships and community.
Meg quoted a prophecy of a Hopi Nation elder, addressed "To my fellow swimmers," in which it says:
Here is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift,
that there are those who will be afraid,
who will try to hold on to the shore,
they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.
Know that the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore,
push off into the middle of the river,
and keep our heads above water.
For Meg, this is where we stand today. We are in times of uncertainty, but we have to stand amid this uncertainty and keep our heads above water.
Meg also encouraged us all to become what she calls spiritual warriors. For Meg, the word "warrior" takes on a meaning many of us may not be used to.
"Some people are really put off by this word 'warrior' because it sounds so aggressive," Meg said. "But the Tibetan word for warrior is pawo and it means 'one who is brave'. One who never uses aggression."
"Can we be spiritual warriors whose act of bravery is not to add to the fear and aggression of this time? This is very practical, but also very, very difficult."
If you'd like to learn more about how you can become a spiritual warrior, stay tuned for the complete video and audio podcasts we'll be soon releasing. We'll also be sharing some reflections from last Thursday's daylong event held with Meg at the Segal School of Business.