The spiral is a theme in my life right now. The spiral is a symbol for my soul journey. The soul is that part of me that is eternal and lives forever. I have had profound experiences in the Reconciliation Spiral, (pictured above) that my husband, Joseph, made for my birthday one year. We each walk in from a connecting path to the Center to reconcile any division. As I walk into the Center, I notice what I need to release or forgive. I prayerfully open up to receiving a message from the Holy Spirit. As I walk out, I am integrating the message.
The unity that I feel is as if my soul is connected to all the souls in the world even as I celebrate our differences. When I walk into the United Nations Meditation Room, I sense the same oneness of all humanity’s souls as I do in the the spiral. The Room was designed by Dag Hammarskjöld, Second United Nations Secretary General. In Markings, Hammarskjöld’s private journal, he reveals his intent that his life be a “white paper with God.”
My Soul’s Journey to Redefine Leadership: A New Phoenix Rises from the Ashes of 9/11 is my white paper with God as I am given the experience of the oneness of humanity by the spiritual figures that have come to me in meditation. At the same time I celebrate humanity’s differences. Thirty-seven years ago, the Holy Spirit revealed to me a new definition of American leadership and way of doing business. I was on a sabbatical year, spending much of the time on Mt. Tamalpais, in Mill Valley, just outside San Francisco.
In this book, I write about a spiritual experience, given to me by God, through a dream of a new Phoenix for the United States of America rising out of the ashes of 9/11, when I was in New York City during the World Trade Center attack. The Phoenix is a transformative and regenerative bird of resurrection. My experience showed me a new way to look at 9/11, encouraging me to envision a post 9/11 America.
Looking back, I have redefined leadership in six steps, drawing on the Mt. Tamalpais experience in 1986 and Phoenix visions of 2001:
- Restoring faith in myself
- Redefining leadership and faith in the family and the relationship of man and woman
- Restoring faith in business
- Developing Reconciliation Leadership and the Peacebuilding Process of Reconciliation to develop political will as a way to empower ordinary people
- Restoring faith in the United Nations
- Restoring faith in the United States
I have always brought the spiritual to the practical through my spiral journey. On that day in 1986, the Holy Spirit invited me to develop a leadership approach definition for this country that would reflect the Constitution as an evolving document. I now help others redefine their soul journeys in the way that is best for them. My goal is that ultimately they may join me in an experience of the oneness of humanity and restore faith in America.
I respect everyone’s individual path to redefinition. We the people of this country—our life’s work and passions–are desperately needed to join the patchwork quilt of life–every patch is important.
This book is about my path to redefinition, how I stepped up to my patch to join those who are already part of the quilt, with no one above or below me, just next to me. I feel a sense of expansiveness and global vision. Given the time I have spent over the last 25 years meditating, praying and reflecting in the meditation room that Hammarskjöld built while he was Secretary General, I feel a spiritual kinship with the man and his room. He designed the room with all spiritual traditions in mind—very simple.
I invite you to listen to Paulette Meier’s chant of Hammarskjöld’s definition of security from within–from the center of silence surrounded by stillness.
In this book, readers may react to some of the words I use for the Divine because of the horrible things people and nations have done in the name of God. Please feel free to use your own word–Spirit or Mary or Allah or Buddha, higher self or Universe, among others. What is your word?
Since 2007, I have showcased human goodness and service through interviews with more than 100 people on my television show, Imagine Worcester and the World. I have learned so much about both human goodness and becoming more conscious through our shadow sides. [http://www.wccatv.com/video/imagine-worcester]
“By showing the world that it is possible to resolve conflict without the long lasting destruction and devastation caused by war,” said Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese healer and teacher, in a letter to the United States about the Iraq invasion in 1991, “Please reveal the great strength and wisdom of the USA. We will all be very grateful.”
It is possible to resolve conflict without devastating war. My past 25 years of using the resources of business to develop and train Reconciliation Leaders have shown that.
My evolution as a leader can be described visually as steps in a spiral, a metaphor for my spiritual life integrated with the practical through each step of my life’s work since 1986. The center of this Celtic symbol is soul consciousness. The spiral has helped me find my inner Voice and has brought me to unity with God with my personal purpose, vision and mission. I have used my business experience to develop personal, interpersonal, systemic and global competencies for all the programs I’ve developed.
Just as I have offered the competency steps to the United Nations community over many years, I offer the spiral to the United States today with the help of the Phoenix, which appeared to me in New York City on that fateful day. The spiral has helped me to know who I am so that I could help people be who they are. I have included several spirals in this memoir to illustrate how important it is to show that my journey to redefine leadership is intertwined with my journey to God.