We’ve made it. After a year of surprises and upheaval on global, national and personal scales, a new cycle dawns and with it, we turn our awareness to our intentions and how we are going to set the tone and foundation for the coming times.
While so many themes swirled around in the beginning (Resist!), I began to look around at what and who truly embody what it means to be a leader. Who do I see in the world—whether they are on a large platform or a leader in their own personal life, family, community—that I respect for how they are using their resources (money, talents, influence, time) for the enrichment of others; for the protection of our home planet and her beings; for justice. Who do I look to and see dignity, honor, compassion, revolutionary thinking? And what do these extraordinary beings have in common?
Our 2017 Theme Is: Noblesse Oblige
In 1960, when John F. Kennedy was inaugurated President of the United States, he spoke it: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” His mother, Rose Kennedy had cultivated the quality of noblesse oblige (“nobility obliges”) in her children, teaching them, “To those whom much as been given, much is expected.”
We live in a culture and time when self-centered celebrity makes is mistaken for leadership—a time when entitlement to take what isn’t ours (corporate theft, rape culture) leaves the land and lives in ruin.
In ancient Celtic times, the LAND was sovereign and the leader (king or queen) was put to many tests in order to hold the title. If the land started to falter, the ruler was replaced. Upon coronation, there was a Triple Marriage. The King took a life oath and vow protect the land, her waters and her inhabitants or his life was forfeit. The Queen took a life oath and vow to serve the people.
To take on the mantle of noblesse oblige is a dedication that each one of us—out of our privilege, whether it is the privilege of wealth, race, gender, talent, access—vow to use it honorably and for the highest and deepest good for all beings everywhere. It is Angelina Jolie serving as a UN Ambassador and going into refugee camps. It is Dolly Parton pledging $1000 a month to 1200 families who lost their homes in the Smoky Mountain wildfires. It is Barak Obama going quietly and without the full press corps to Walter Reed hospital regularly to visit and be with vets who had lost their limbs. It is Oskar Schindler, an industrialist who saved the lives of 1200 Jews in Nazi Germany. It is the white woman standing up for the black man who is being harassed. It is the straight man who stands up to protect a trans-gendered woman. It is anyone who is devoting their particular resources to something beyond your own interests.
Noblesse oblige is about being a dignified and compassionate person who stands for truth in the face of lies, even if those lies don’t hurt us personally.
When we cultivate noblesse oblige, we become the leaders that we are looking for and the leaders the world so desperately needs. We teach our children to serve and respect others and the Earth. We show leadership by example.
I look forward to cultivating our nobility together in 2017. We’ll explore examples living or from history who exemplify true leadership through their service and their devotion to truth and love. We will look for opportunities to serve as a community, as well as each to our own talents and resources. This is our journey on the Sovereign Path. May we rise to the occasion of this privilege of being alive in such extraordinary times.