Boston and Denver


Off to Boston last week, and Denver this week.  All of a sudden I'm traveling!  I managed to get to Boston with a toenail clipper in my carryon bag, but they found it when I was returning.  The told me I could keep it if they broke off the file part.  I said OK, so they did.  Seems rather extreme, I must say, but if it makes people feel less frightened I'm OK with it.

Is it just me, or is there a thaw?  Just starting, of course.  The Anthrax thing is starting to look like a Unibomber thing rather than the opening wedge of a bioterror attack.  Some investors are starting to dust off their decision-making capabilities.  Some new business ideas are being proposed and not met with that 'deer in the headlights' look that they have received over the last several months.

The Boston trip was quite nice, although I agreed to save the company $1500 and not fly direct (ripoff city!  When people moan about the poor airlines, I think about things like this...).  So I spent plenty of time in airports on the way.  Got four paperbacks read on the way out.  Nice to have a day to veg out and do that--it's just a shame I couldn't do it in bed, rather than in airports.  Had a great visit with the Boston company--I think they will make me an offer.  Their business seems healthy and very well run, and the people are wonderful.  Pulling up my roots, though, will be hard.

Diana and I went to a Unity church last weekend, and we both enjoyed it greatly.  I'm very comfortable there, with the people and the ministers and the message.  If we stay in the area, I think we will join it.  One more tie to be broken if we leave...

Sam had some disturbing news.  In not one, but two of the organizations I have been part of, there are rather sordid goings-on at the top.  In one case, a long-term relationship of the two co-leaders has split messily, and in the other case, the blatant abuses of power of the top dog have become impossible to ignore.  Sam is seriously bummed about the first case, much less so about the second.  In me it's more the other way around.

When I teach someone something, I am keenly aware of the extent to which I do it myself, or, often, fail to do so.  I teach communication, but often fail to communicate as well as I could, for example.  I do believe that if one were to do what I teach, communication improves.  However, I'm also real clear within myself that it's harder than it looks and what I teach isn't the whole story.

So if an organization teaches mastery of your spiritual and/or emotional development, shouldn't the people at the top, the people who have been through the whole process for many years, be masterful?  I think, to some degree, we all expect this.  And the evidence is overwhelming that it is never the case.  Perhaps never is too strong a term--I don't know Gandhi or Mother Theresa that well--but I think of the Christian leaders, up to and including Martin Luther King, whose personal life included sexual goings on.  The various sects where the leaders began sleeping with their students, and worse.  Even the strange moral and sexual behavior of the leadership of the US and England.

The rule seems to be that we expect this kind of perfection from people, and we are certain to be disappointed.  In fact, people are avid for the details of this disappointment.  Where does the energy for this come from?

If I beat myself up about not being perfect, then I feel a certain release of tension within myself when someone "important" is also not perfect.  "Well," I say to myself, "if he can't be perfect either, that lets me off the hook!"  Of course, it's me who put myself on the hook in the first place.  With judgment.

Increasingly, I'm coming to feel that the question isn't "Are they good people, worthy of emulation?" but rather "Do they have things to teach me?"  Interestingly, Sam and I differ on the answers to that question--I have things to learn from the first organization, and don't feel I have much to learn from the second organization.  She is feeling the opposite, despite having been personally treated shabbily by the second organization and rather well by the first...  Go figure... 

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.