Archives for the month of: August, 2011

According to a recent study reported in an article by David Kocieniewski in today’s NY Times, 25 top US companies paid more to their leaders in 2010 than they paid to the federal government in taxes.  What’s wrong here?

The companies that include eBay, Boeing, General Electric and Verizon averaged $1.9 billion each in profits.  A variety of shelters, loopholes and tax reduction strategies, however, allowed the companies to average more than $400 million each in tax benefits.   Verizon, which earned $11.9 billion in pretax US profits, received a federal tax refund of $705 million.  The compensation package of the company’s CEO was $18.1 million.  EBay reported pretax profits of $848 million and received a $113 million federal refund.  EBay’s CEO collected a compensation package worth $12.4 million.

A spokesman for the research group that conducted the study, commented: “Instead of sharing responsibility for addressing our nation’s fiscal challenges, corporations are rewarding CEOs for aggressive tax avoidance.”

What’s wrong here in terms of the values that drive certain leaders?  What’s wrong here in terms of shared “sacrifice” for closing the deficit?  Do you think the Congressional committee of 12 will recommend adjustments to this situation as part of their package of recommendations?

Like many people I have been deeply troubled in the past several months by the behavior of politicians in this country and the entourage of special interests that feed them.   If not lost already, we seem to be losing our way as human beings, citizens and leaders.  If this is the model of our democracy, we should not be surprised that others turn away.

During this time I have read Dan Millman’s Way of the Peaceful Warrior.  In the book Dan’s mentor asks two questions.   What time is it? and Where are we?   He accepts only two answers as correct —  Now and Here.

Warrior energy is often associated with fighting and violence.  Examples abound, from the literal warfare being waged around the globe today to the virulent polarization between political, religious, economic and cultural camps.

Fortunately, the warrior archetype also includes qualities that may be harnessed for peace — showing up, being aware and taking compassionate action.  Peace begins here and now within each of us, as we commit to being mindful in the moment, clear in establishing the yes and no boundaries of what we will tolerate, courageous in acting and loving in the way we conduct ourselves.

In her book The Four Fold Way Angeles Arrien identifies three kinds of power — the power of position, the power of communication and the power of presence.   The archetype of the Warrior requires us to use power in an enlightened way that incorporates integrity, alignment of speech and action, honor and respect and serves humanity fairly and justly. 

Arrien leans to the power of presence, which draws on our spiritual wellsprings within.  It is the energy of the peaceful warrior.  It is the place where each of us can begin.  Empowering ourselves now and here may just inspire others to do the same.