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In the cycle of the ancient Celtic Year,
we come to New Year’s Day.
The harvest is over in the northern hemisphere,
even the gleaners have left the fields
to the small animals preparing for hibernation.
Today we welcome the Samhain, the winter quarter.
You are welcome to use these words (or your own)
at the front door of your home:
Come you in, Steadfast Peace.
You who tenderly unfold blessing,
wrapping creation into
silence of waiting,
softness of snowfall,
darkness of dormancy,
starkness of landscape,
strength of trunk,
depth of roots,
vision of dreams,
stamina of endurance,
healing of hibernation.
Be you welcome
to the candleglow of my soul.
Two years ago, I was musing on the start of the winter quarter
and I observed,
We have been gathering in and storing up our harvests.
But as we have been doing so,
it is possible that we have just been tucking them in
around a lot of other stuff that is leftover from long-ago harvests….
This is not necessarily a healthy habit to cultivate.
We have all had the opportunity to note
that our nation (indeed, our world)
is revisiting a lot of ‘leftover’ beliefs
that are long past their “Use By Date.”
While we are trying to breathe deeply
and make it through next Tuesday,
let’s do a little self-reflection about our own beliefs –
especially the ones that need to be discarded
before they make us sick
with something every bit as deadly as botulism.
[And if you would like to read the whole post from which
the quotation was taken, you can find it HERE.]
Where is your confirmation bias at work?
I like to think that I am the most rational of beings:
thoughtful, wise, reasoned,
carefully weighing all the evidence before making a decision.
the truth of the matter is that I am every bit as human
as my neighbors, loved ones, colleagues, friends,
and the strangers I pass in the grocery store or on the street.
That means that, about 86% of the time,
I respond emotionally and then set about
finding reasons to justify my emotions.
Which bring us to confirmation bias.
This is the process by which I take notice of all the facts,
news, statistics, and anecdotal evidence
that support my emotional choice…
…and ignore anything that contradicts it.
We are watching this at work all around us, all day, everyday,
from everyone we listen to in the media, at work,
and in personal conversations.
To move beyond confirmation bias, we need to be willing
to listen to ideas with which we do not agree,
from people we find irritating…
and allow that new information to transform us.
It’s called ‘enlightenment.’
I’m giving it some serious mind and heart practice right now.
These words These words – written by woman who broke barriers in her day –
resonate in my heart right at this very instant:
What people often mean by getting rid of conflict
is getting rid of diversity,
and it is of the utmost importance
that these should not be considered the same.
Fear of difference is dread of life itself.
We must face life as it is
and understand that diversity
is its most essential feature…
(Mary Parker Follett)
I am grateful to a colleague who introduced me to the term,
Pattern interrupt is one of the principal ways
we avoid Confirmation Bias –
it is the intentional practice of breaking out of the status quo.
It can be something as simple as taking a different route to work,
wearing your watch on the other wrist,
going on retreat (or going on a silent retreat).
It can be something as massive as marrying (or divorcing),
entering a 12-Step program,
training for a new vocation,
moving to a country where you do not know the language.
Pattern interrupt is what transforms societies and cultures.
It is what leads to new inventions and new behavior.
Pattern interrupt is the hope of the marginalized,
the oppressed, the outcast, the refugee…
because unless we (on the inside) are willing to
change our lives deliberately and generously,
to open our hearts and minds to new ideas and new people,
there will be no welcome for the stranger,
no justice for the poor,
no equity for the hungry and homeless.
We need to interrupt the pattern of hostility and retrenchment
that has marked the last years and last few months.
Let’s start today.
Text © 2016, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2015, 2016 Immram Chara, LLC