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Lions Roar : March 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN MArcH 2009 79 Hope and fear Have been in tHe news—and in our experience—a great deal of late. we had watched for years as the future disappeared under disabling clouds of fear. then sudden- ly, we again could see the sky, bright with hope and the possibil- ity of change. president obama’s election was heralded as the triumph of hope over fear. but since that glowing dawn of last november, the world’s dilemmas and terrors have again cast their long shad- ows. we continue to be confronted by the complexities of our interconnected fates, resisting solutions. our hearts continue to be challenged by the terrible things that humans should not be doing to other humans. our western worldview of material ease and endless progress has been shaken. economic failures have worsened life not only for ourselves but everywhere in the world, among those who knew abundance and those who knew only poverty. Many of us have worked hard for many years to create a better world. we have worked for a world where more people would be free from suffering—the physical suffering of poverty, disease, and loss, and the emotional suffering of ignorance, mispercep- tion, and invisibility. in this time of rekindling hope, we must also acknowledge that suffering everywhere, both material and spiritual, has increased. for me and most of my colleagues, life these days is a roller coaster ride between hope and fear, oscillating wildly between what’s pos- sible and what is. Like all roller coasters, this one is both exhilarat- ing and terrifying, often simultaneously. we are fully engaged in being part of the solution, and then we plunge into despair at the enormity of the challenges and the fear that our efforts will fail. The Place Beyond Fear and Hope In difficult times it takes effort to stay grounded in the present, but it is only there, says Margaret Wheatley, that we will find a place unclouded by hope and fear. Margaret Wheatley, ed.D, writes, teaches, and speaks about how we can organize and accomplish our work in chaotic times. She is co-founder and president emerita of the Berkana Institute, a charitable foundation that works in partnership with people around the world to strengthen their communities using the wisdom and wealth already present in their people, traditions, and environment. among her books are the clas- sic Leadership and the new science and, most recently, finding our way: Leadership for an Uncertain time.