“Become like bamboo and bend with the wind.
Where we are fixed is where we can be broken.”
(Old Chinese proverb)
In these heated times of unprecedented challenges on so many fronts – locally to globally, home fronts to environments and societies – we are compelled to find better solutions to ingrained problems and business-as-usual ways. The above Chinese proverb speaks to creating better ways instead of fixating with the usual stance – ‘my way is best and you’re stupid or ignorant or egotistical to not follow or submit’. This unbending attitude of ‘might or right over everyone else’, happens at all levels and arenas of society from family systems, to parliaments, governments, businesses, schools and even churches. Some of you may have seen ‘Compass’ (ABC TV, 25/10/09) where due to longstanding disagreements, it seems likely that the Anglican Church may split into two organisations or Churches.
Fierce polarisation and overly aggressive adversarial conduct seems to be how many of us conduct the business of our lives. We see this style of ‘non-communication’, derogatory relationships and cat or dog fights in the daily discourses of parliament, both State and Federal. Over the years it has bred within us (nationally and internationally) an automatic reaction to authority figures and governing systems – criticism, cynicism, skepticism and pessimism. We the public can’t trust ‘them’ to sort things out and we don’t even want to care anymore for it will never change. Human creative capacity appears to be reduced to power struggles, slanging matches and endless conflicts where there are a few winners, many losers and ultimately much brokenness.
Denmark has just had a Council election process. In the few years I have been present to local politics I have never seen the level of ‘advertising’ and the number of candidates for few positions. The interest in our community affairs is great, how wonderful. The next challenge beyond turning up is to support the Council, who are our representatives, to be effective, efficient and ‘community-friendly’. The real task besides the obvious, is about enhancing and enabling relationships for better governance and for a healthier and more inclusive community. Whether people have beliefs along ‘pink, green, blue, yellow or purple lines’, we need to find that creative ‘Middle Way’ which moves us forward and which is respectful of all people and positions. The time for cool, artful negotiations and a renewed way of listening and inclusive responding is sorely needed in all arenas and concerns. We all belong to this family or community in ‘living the dream’, rather than perpetuating the habitual stuckness, fights or disinterest. We all want to have the best solutions which nurture a well, neighbourly and sustainable community. To become ‘well’ or like ‘bamboo’, we need to move with and honour every aspect of our community life – people, environments, systems, processes and outcomes. As that old Jewish saying goes, “If not now then when!”