Monday, November 14, 2016

Dear Mr. Trump

Nov. 13, 2016

To: Donald J. Trump
From: John Thomas Wood

            I am a white, retired male who voted for Hillary Clinton for President. I am one of those many, many people who are angry at the process of the elections and at the job the so-called Washington establishment has been doing, especially Congress.

I am writing you to try and influence your thinking and behavior.

            I’ve got lots of opinions about issues: climate change, fracking, pipelines, campaign reform, rights for minorities, security, the police and minorities, cyber-security, Supreme Court appointments, health care. It’s a pretty long list. But I am not writing you about issues. I want to talk about personal qualities and values. I believe these are foundational for choices we make on issues.

            This letter may sound arrogant. Perhaps you can accept that. It’s the best way for me to get my wishes across in a direct way.

            Authenticity is one of the qualities people admire most in public figures and you apparently scored high on that with your followers. I hope you can balance your habit of being spontaneous and honest in your comments about others with a sense of empathy and compassion for those you’re talking about. Surely the presidency will humble you and that may make for a nice balance for ‘telling it like it is.”

            I mentioned compassion. I hope it’s something you consciously cultivate. It is perhaps the single most quality and practice that the world needs now. It is something a great leader must have; without it he cannot truly relate to the people he leads and serves.

            Please dedicate yourself to continual learning. If you see that asking questions and truly learning about the people and the issues that will surround you, you will begin to see learning as an act of leadership in itself and you will emerge from conversations with a new sense of respect.

            I feel certain that you want to be a great President. I also think you are heavily invested in power. You can consciously invest in a study of power and discover that you can use your considerable personal power to collaborate, nurture others and join in synergetic efforts. You do not have to compete in order to succeed, either at a personal level or politically.

            I hope your surround yourself with people who will both support you and challenge you. Choose carefully for individuals who value people over politics and know, that in the long run, leading this country is not about winning and losing. It is about doing things together. Any organization, including the federal government, is a series of relationships, a community of people working together and relating openly with each other.

            Leadership, in my view, is the shaping of power, my own and others. That means I help the others around me bloom.

            To realize our goals as a nation we must have shared values and priorities, an open, authentic way of communicating and solving conflicts, an interdependency where diversity of every kind is celebrated as a strength and the belief that reaching our goals will be beneficial to everyone involved.

            Ask for help, especially from women.  You will not be able to succeed alone. I know hundreds of people who can help you succeed, if you ask.

            I am writing this not for you and not for myself but for my grandchildren and millions of other young people who will be living in the social and physical environment that you and your administration will help create.

            Finally, you have been chosen by an electoral college representing half of the registered voters in the United States. As you know, nearly half of the country did not vote. Our country, as all democracies, depends on informed participation to be healthy. Your policies and your behavior will do a tremendous amount to either alienating people or bringing them back into the social/political process.

            Thank you for your valuable attention.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

This Is Who You Are

            We are blind to this fact, that we are in possession of all the necessary faculties that will make us happy and loving towards one another. All the struggles that we see around us come from this ignorance… When the cloud of ignorance disappears… we see for the first time into the nature of our own being.”    D.T.Suzuki

            You are by nature a loving, bonding being. This is how you started out. This is how you came out of the womb, reaching for another human in order to make contact and get your wants and needs fulfilled.
            Picture yourself hours old. You are not yet critical, self-defeating, cynical or discouraged. You do not believe that you are unworthy of real love. You are gazing into the eyes of your mother and father, loving what you see, and looking at the first human you see-- bonding.
            This is who you are. It is easy to look at yourself now, years and years later, and deny that. Even when you affirm it, the journey back to that self may seem unlikely. You have thousands of reasons and rationalizations for not loving and not being loved. You have scores of fears and ways you discourage yourself.
            Somewhere on your journeys things happened that told you to be wary, afraid, hurt, angry. You formed a belief about the world and, more importantly, about yourself. The creation of this belief about who you are is perhaps the most important thing you have ever done in your life. Out of that belief springs your attitudes and behaviors in your love relationships and your work.
            You have decided what you are capable of, how much you can give, how you love someone and what you do and don’t deserve, among other things.  You have gone through life mostly unconscious of this. You have been driven by the past, operating with some vague notion that things could be so much better.
            They can be. First you must choose. You can decide to change your belief about yourself. You can re-educate yourself; just as you educated yourself for all these years that you were one person, you can learn to be the “first” person you were—your original self.
            Think about walking into a room and seeing and hearing things that frightened you. People criticized you. They walked away. They told you you were not good enough. You stayed in that room. You lived there with those people.
            Realize now that all those things are not true. They were not true then and they are not true now. Those were things that knocked you off of your loving nature, your original core self, like being knocked down in a game of dodge ball.
            Your work now is to change your belief about yourself. Now you are a conscious, self-responsible human being who is much more powerful than you have imagined. It is now time to take a full assessment of who you are and what you want for yourself and begin the deliberate process of becoming a fully loving, grateful, graceful human being.
            That’s how you began. You can do it. 
                                                                                            John Thomas Wood