In the final round of my favorite posts I look back slightly as I completed the program on the 10th yet I am wrapping up those last few reflections which weren't fully formed enough (nor did I have the energy) to complete while I was low crawling to the finish line. Is this disciplined effort really at its closure? It's sad for me to say yes (although I want to say no). Graduate school has been such a whirlwind of learning and self-management that I know right now I want to keep these lessons and discipline close to me, yet I also know that I will grow slightly undisciplined and take a breather. I deserve one. But will I get back up on my feet again and continue onward? These are the thoughts weighing on my mind as I review my remaining favorite posts.
Leadership, Justice and Forgiveness was likely the most painful class I have ever taken. Learning about forgiveness wasn't so difficult but opening my heart to atrocity was. I re-learned a truth about myself: I am willing to bear witness. This class ran me through the ringer. As an extrovert I constantly found myself going out and engaging (even amidst great fatigue) in regular social activities because it was the quickest way I could process this pain. Of course asking for forgiveness and readily shedding my ego to forgive others was no picnic in the park, but I am grateful I did. Beyond anything to do with leadership, my life has been radically transformed by the ability to forgive and ask for forgiveness.
By embracing the servant leadership philosophy I began to seek out ways to heal others. Full body listening was a great place to start but when I asked questions and tried to redirect people away from hostility, anger and self-defeatism I found that my traditional understandings of motivation left me rarely able to penetrate the armor of hardened civil servants. So many government workers act as if they are prisoners (I regularly remind them where they are is a choice) and some even hold murderous thoughts (as well as cruel and really, really petty ones). In Murder(ous Thoughts) and Meditation I was deeply moved by the ability of meditation to serve as a space for sacred healing. While I usually don't recommend meditation practice (it truly is too personal of a choice) I do share the stories and outcomes of the prisoners who have completed meditation. So far it has brought a new understanding to many people.
Finally, the latest in my warrior series, Warrior Hall of Fame -- Abbot Phra Acharn Phusit (Chan) Khantitharo speaks to me on so many levels. The ability to know yourself so well that seemingly nothing phases you is exactly what I am trying to develop. This leader also enforced a message in me that peace can tame far more than I have ever given it credit for. From this example I too will continue to face adversity with a gentle approach--perhaps it will become not only my preferred way to resolve adversity but a style which provides little fodder for difficult people.