Things I Remember From Bill Clinton’s Talk on Sustaining Community, Economy….
On November 29, 2010 I was blessed with a free ticket to attend the biggest name ever appearing on the Guilford College Joseph M. Bryan speaker series. The mood was expectant and hushed as he took the stage. With the lights low except for a white beam that caught the silver head of our former president, his arrival on stage sent a surge of positive vibrations through the crowd.
To the enjoyment of this particular group, he began by saying how much he liked Quakers. He reminded them that Chelsea attended the Sidwell Friends School, that he lived in a town founded by Quakers, and that he loves their philosophy of community service.
In short, he made sure to begin by reaffirming his f/Friendship with those gathered to listen.
(Note to self: If you want to captivate people and encourage listening, it is important to begin by spreading some love.)
During the talk, I found myself wishing I had a pen and paper. Not having this aid, I made a conscious effort to memorize bits that either reinforced my beliefs in a positive way, or helped me to think about how to navigate this crazy, big, unstable world.
I discovered what interests Clinton. As he spoke, I absorbed these key words and phrases: biochemistry, energy, the economy, the nonprofit sector, America, The World, optimism, systems that work. I gathered that he believes America has a chance to grow into a great nation where prosperity abounds if we would stop “assuming that the next five years will be like the last five years.”
He said that “change is an occasion for grief”.
Perhaps a stab at the current administration’s campaign motto, this quote spoke to me on a personal level.
It’s not new news, but our world is unstable because of the changes it’s experiencing at such an alarming rate. And I feel unstable too.
Lately, everything in my life is unbalanced because of decisions I’ve made. I’m not living on the rock of my old beliefs. I’ve had to reevaluate the way I think about life, education, career, love, family and community. I’m at this place were nothing feels orderly or comfy in my psyche.
Even being in the physical presence of our smooth talking former President did not make this feeling of recurring uncertainty go away.
But I left the event feeling uplifted. On the drive home, I remembered what he said about abandoning our focus on the “big picture” and shifting to the small frame. Microeconomics is something that I can do. I plan to “get caught trying” to grow my small business, educate my son, care for my home, build and maintain relationships. I plan to learn more about solar energy, systems, non profits, manufacturing and finance. One small step at a time.