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Taking a Stand

--by Lynne Twist (Aug 29, 2016)


Over two thousand years ago, the mathematician Archimedes said, “Give me a place to stand and I’ll move the world.” Taking a stand is a way of living and being that draws on a place within yourself that is at the very heart of who you are. When you take a stand you find your place in the universe, and you have the capacity to move the world.

Stand-takers have lived in every era of history. Many of them never held public office, but they changed history through the sheer power, integrity, and authenticity of who they became as a result of the stand they took. Remarkable human beings such as Mother Teresa, Dr. Jane Goodall, Marion Wright Edelman, President Nelson Mandela and President Vaclav Havel lived their lives from stands they took that transcended their identities or their personal opinions.

Anyone who has the courage to take a stand with their life joins these remarkable figures. You may not become famous or win the Nobel Prize. Your work may be centered on raising children or any of the other tasks that contribute to the evolution of humanity. Whatever you do, your stand gives you a kind of authenticity, power, and clarity.

[...]

When you have taken a stand with your life, you see the world as the remarkable, unlimited, boundless possibility that it is. And people see themselves through your eyes in new ways; they become more authentic in your presence because they know you see them for who they really are. The negativity, the dysfunction, the positionality begin to fall away and they feel “gotten,” heard, or known.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks about the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which he chaired. During the commission’s sessions, people had the courage to forgive the person who murdered their daughter, or amputated the arms and legs of their son. They forgave horrible atrocities and rose above the sea of hatred and entered a new place where they could take a stand for life. In the presence of a stand such as we witnessed in South Africa, positionality dissolves and people find a place in their hearts and souls for forgiveness.

Buckminster Fuller once said, “When you discover the truth, it is always beautiful, and beautiful for everyone with no one left out.” This is also true of taking a stand. Taking a position does not create an environment of inclusiveness and tolerance; instead, it creates even greater levels of entrenchment, often by insisting that for me to be right, you must be wrong.

Taking a stand does not preclude you from taking a position. One needs to take a position from time to time to get things done or to make a point. But when a stand is taken it inspires everyone. It elevates the quality of the dialog and engenders integrity, alignment, and deep trust. Taking a stand can shape a person’s life and actions and give them access to profound truths that can empower the emergence of new paradigms and a shift in the course of history.

Lynne Twist in Find a Place to Stand.

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On Sep 4, 2016 jenn wrote:

 Taking a stand means what you believe is what you become.Its a strength within you that no amount of discouragement  cannot beat. There are a lot of ups and down in life that sometimes pushes me to go and pushes me to slow down but in every phases of each struggle, taking stand on what I believe to where I am going remains.



On Aug 31, 2016 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 Taking a stand means being who you are, what you believe in, and live accordingly. When a person takes a stand for a noble cause, his life becomes his message. People listen to him/her, join hands with him/her and brings about a transformation in the lives of many. There are many examples of such daring people who have taken a firm and radical stand against injustice. There are also people who taken a strong stand for an unholy cause. History is full of such demonic people who have ruthlessly tortured millions of people. When I was a child, we lived in a cooperative housing society. Whenever an important issuescame up, my father took a clear and strong position that would serve the entire community and not a few chosen ones. His position was at times was not popular but he remained steadfast and did not cave in.He was well known for being impartial and bold. People respected him for his integrity and courage. He was a good role mode for us. I have followed in his foot print  See full.

 Taking a stand means being who you are, what you believe in, and live accordingly. When a person takes a stand for a noble cause, his life becomes his message. People listen to him/her, join hands with him/her and brings about a transformation in the lives of many. There are many examples of such daring people who have taken a firm and radical stand against injustice.

There are also people who taken a strong stand for an unholy cause. History is full of such demonic people who have ruthlessly tortured millions of people.

When I was a child, we lived in a cooperative housing society. Whenever an important issuescame up, my father took a clear and strong position that would serve the entire community and not a few chosen ones. His position was at times was not popular but he remained steadfast and did not cave in.He was well known for being impartial and bold. People respected him for his integrity and courage. He was a good role mode for us.

I have followed in his foot prints. There have been times in the community where I lived in, I took a firm position for electing a president of the organization not because he gave a big donation but  on the basis of his merits. Sadly money talks and silences right voices. I persisted and eventually convinced others to do the right thing.

When we take a position for the right cause, we derive a lot of strength from within. And we leave a mark behind. That's why people who have taken a clear and strong position for a noble cause dwell in our hearts.

May we cultivate inner strength to take a position for a noble cause to serve others!

Namaste.

Jagdish P Dave


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1 reply: Amy | Post Your Reply
On Aug 30, 2016 Abhishek Thakore wrote:

 In this really powerful passage, I find the distinction between stand and position very important.

In the social change space, finding my own voice (in presence of so many beautiful and authentic voices) has been a journey in itself.

As I do that, the 'stand' is a choice that I am makig...how close is it to Universal principles and how close it is to what the local 'me' embodies? 

And from that stand, am I comfortable taking a range of positions on issues, consciously choosing the tones and framing of what I communicate?

This is a delicate and nuanced journey that I have found can't be copied or faked....it is lots of digging and meeting the implications of different choices.....it is all a wonderful work in progress :)



1 reply: Thank | Post Your Reply
On Aug 30, 2016 Sunil,Bangalore wrote:
Taking a stand means You believe in your beliefs, in your innate soul,in your love for what you do.Holistic child welfare in India is possible by judiciously deploying what we already have in terms of resources($ 35 billion per annum) and the humane power(10 Million).Count your blessings.There is enough to achieve the benchmarks to disrupt the system.Implementation and execution is a burning issue to be resolved with head,heart and hands.Manifest the latent Insaniyat/humanity to reap the dividends. World conspires for all spiritual realities and realizations.
Truth + Team + Trust + Transparency = Transformation are the practices encouraging this self discovery.

On Aug 29, 2016 James Smith wrote:

Two companies are merging I'm in the "bigger" one. I'm told that to create a new team I will need to interview all internal candidates to align them to their roles. I find out days before the interview this is a ruse to get rid of the "smaller" companies employee who is "problematic" and has "an attitude problem" which is short hand for she is standing her ground to retain the terms and conditions of her contract. I refuse to connive in the grand plan pointing out that this is unethical and contrary to the long term interest of the company who could find themselves on shaky ground in terms of labour law. The CEO rounds on me accusing me of disloyalty; again I reiterate I have everyone's best interest at heart, including the company's. The interviews do not go ahead and the employee eventually leaves due to the hostile environment where trust is a stranger. The company's external lawyer is later consulted and my position is confirmed that this would have been a costly exercis  See full.

Two companies are merging I'm in the "bigger" one. I'm told that to create a new team I will need to interview all internal candidates to align them to their roles. I find out days before the interview this is a ruse to get rid of the "smaller" companies employee who is "problematic" and has "an attitude problem" which is short hand for she is standing her ground to retain the terms and conditions of her contract. I refuse to connive in the grand plan pointing out that this is unethical and contrary to the long term interest of the company who could find themselves on shaky ground in terms of labour law.

The CEO rounds on me accusing me of disloyalty; again I reiterate I have everyone's best interest at heart, including the company's. The interviews do not go ahead and the employee eventually leaves due to the hostile environment where trust is a stranger. The company's external lawyer is later consulted and my position is confirmed that this would have been a costly exercise for the company in terms of litigation and also reputation in the labour market.

The next opportunity to pay me off the CEO take great pleasure in telling me due to cutbacks he has to let me go. To this day that is the defining moment when I refused to be compromised and it has given me the resolve to stand up to bullying and bad management ever since. No pain no gain!

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1 reply: Madhur | Post Your Reply
On Aug 26, 2016 david doane wrote:

Taking a stand means to firmly assert in words and/or action a position.  We are often taking a stand on small matters.  I recently took a stand on a major issue and I did it with trepidation as to the response I will get.  I wrote a couple page statement about an issue about which I have strong feeling, and for me it took courage.  I expect some agreement and a good deal of disagreement.  I debated with myself whether to do it, I even lost some sleep over it, and I did it.  My action is so new that I haven't yet received any response, but it will come.  What helped me find the courage to take the stand was my strong belief in my position, my belief that it's important that it be said, my wanting the issue to be more out there to be thought and talked about, my knowing that my position is my truth and I have a responsibility to express it, and knowing that my regret for not taking a stand would trouble me more than taking the stand. 



On Aug 26, 2016 Mariette wrote:

I deeply resonated with Lynne Twist's differentiation between taking a stand and taking a position.  So many of us believe that if there is a winner, there must be a loser, that uplifting a truth means making others wrong.  I've loved learning that this does not have to be the case.  By taking a stand, I speak my authentic truth and honor that others speak their authentic truth as well.  It's creates so much space for all to be heard.  And it is actually in speaking my truth that I create that safe space for others to speak theirs; that's the deep irony here.