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A Deep Collaboration in the Making?

Photo:  Ai Weiwei's Forever Bicycles alludes to the Forever Brand of bicycles that flooded China's streets during the artist's childhood yet remained financially out of reach for many.

We must all suffer from one of two pains.  The pain of discipline or the pain of regret.  The difference is; Discipline weighs ounces while Regret weighs tons.   Jim Rohn

My good friend, Jake, shared this quote with me and I immediately recognized my own motivation for continuing to vote in municipal, provincial and national elections.  If I don’t cast my vote as a means of voicing my opinion, I will live with regret.  So, for 46 years, I faithfully participated in Canada’s political systems by casting my vote.  Until this year, I adopted that discipline with optimism and without regret.  However, this particular vote for the leadership of my country left me feeling regretful.  I regret having to vote for “who will do the least damage” rather than who represents my values.  Given the mudslinging nastiness during the political debates, none of the parties or leaders appeals to what holds significance for me — personal integrity, social responsibility and the quest for expanding freedom, virtue and good sense for all.

Canada’s, Britain’s and the U.S.’s unraveling democratic processes led me to be reminded of another passage I recently read from a different source —

… as long as there were willing followers, there would be exploitive leaders.  And there would be willing followers until humanity reached that philosophical plateau where it recognized that its great mission in life had nothing to do with any struggle between classes, races, nations, or ideologies, but was, rather, a personal quest to enlarge the soul, liberate the spirit, and light up the brain.  On that quest, politics was simply a roadblock of stentorian baboons.  Tom Robbins

If you are like me, I had to look up the meaning of stentorian — loud, booming, thunderous, trumpeting, blaring, roaring, ear-splitting, deafening — which sadly affirmed many of the political processes we witness globally.  The “squeaky, mean-spirited wheel” does appear to get the ear of the populace.  Unfortunately, when we are screaming and yelling at each other, we forget this ancient truth — As you sow, so shall you reap.  By scattering seeds of blame and fear, we are feeding negativity and pessimism rather than cultivating honesty and harmonious communication.  

I wrote the first part of this blog prior to the Canadian election results when my disappointment may have coloured my perspective.  Today, Canadians are awakening to the fact of a minority government.  In Canada, this typically necessitates a coalition or alliance where two or more parties must collaborate in order to legislate.  Aah, me thinks, there is a silver lining in every dark cloud.  One might also say that the universe has a sense of humour.  In spite of our political leaders not playing well together in the sandbox of debate, they are going to have to shore up their emotional intelligence skills and learn how to hold hands, if they truly want to bring forth a better life for all Canadians.

Even though political pundits are saying that last night’s Canadian election was a loss for everyone, I am optimistically proposing that all is not what it seems.  As Canadians, we are being invited to participate in a social experiment where collaborating means putting away ideologies, classes and races.  And instead, we can choose to pursue deeper, more meaningful ways of bettering everyone’s life including that of our planet.

I leave you with another thought from Tom Robbins on this matter.

What is politics, after all, but the compulsion to preside over property and make other people’s decisions for them?  Liberty, the very opposite of ownership and control, cannot, then, result from political action, either at the polls or the barricades, but rather evolves out of attitude.  If it results from anything, it may be levity.

May our light-heartedness, light-mindedness, good cheer (after a good night’s sleep) guide us deeper and deeper into collaborating with those near and dear as well as far and fearful.