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Leading for Quality of Life Published: Sunday, October 31, 2004 By: Dr. Manuel Ángel Morales

For many years now, we have been researching, studying and working with the concepts of selfhood, calling, vocation and legacy as seeds that are planted in the world at our birth and become fundamental as we progress in our institutional journeys through darkness and toward the light. Our personal growth, development and maturity deepen our understanding of others and help us move through different life stages, in a journey that can last a long time.

Letting our lives speak, and listening to the voice of vocation give us a new scope and purpose to our everyday reality. The idea is to get deeper into our inner life, out beyond human community and to the call of leadership to be demonstrated into the visible and practical world in which our lives are embedded at different historical junctures.

As part of this “inquiry into our human prospect” it is important to cultivate ideas as something more than literacy devices and use them more as constructs that have the power to transform our experience of life. Ideas help us describe reality in a different way and they animate our imagination (one of the most vital powers we posses) for transmuting themselves from language into the living of our lives.

Let us reject the simplistic proposition saying that life is a game of chance and that people win some and lose some. This interpretation creates a kind of fatalism or tragedy about losing and an obsession with beating the odds. It also favors playing with the “Gambler’s Fallacy”, claiming that even if we lose today, tomorrow we can win without doing anything new. Other people can say that life is a battlefield, implying that either you get the enemy or the enemy gets you. This is an unfortunate “dog-eat-dog” mentality. The danger of entertaining this sort of language is that it can result in enemies around every corner and constant sense of siege. We do well to choose our words wisely, for overcoming a reduced paranoid interpretation of reality.

We support the perspective that suggests that life is neither a battlefield nor a game of chance, but something infinitely richer, more promising, more real. This is not to deny the struggle or the joy, the loss or the gain, the darkness or the light of some moments of our living, but to encourage us to show tenacity for embracing it all, and finding in this mosaic of experiences opportunities for growth and maturity.

If we use the language of agriculture we quickly approach reality with concepts such as planting, cultivating and seasoning in order to promote growth and development. If our language comes from manufacturing we will not say that we grow our lives, but stress that we can make them. If we listen to the use of words in everyday speech they sound like: make time, make friends, make meaning, make a living and make love. That is why a Chinese child will ask, how does a baby grow? Our children will ask, how do you make a baby? But we have to be very carefully at insisting, against all evidence that we can make whatever kind of life we want, whatever we want of it. Deeper still, we run headlong into our own egos, which want desperately to believe that we are always in progress.

We need to challenge and overcome these distortions of culture and ego and work toward ways of thinking, doing and being that are rooted in respect, dignity and peace for the living surroundings and for the institutional environments of life. We are not only to transform reality but also to be transformed. Transformations is a very complex and difficult task so it is good to know that there is comfort as well as challenge in the interpretations we make of life.

So, “there is in all visible things a hidden wholeness” that suggests that we are all participants in the vast communion of being. If we open ourselves to this kind of guidance, we can learn anew how to live in this great community of truth. We should do this if we really want our sciences to be humane, our institutions to be sustaining, our healings to be deep, and our works and our lives to be meaningful.

 


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