Have you ever seen those memes come around about being spanked with hand, belt or wooden spoon and how it means one learned respect for elders?  Well, that was not my experience.  I learned deference perhaps, but no respect was generated within such encounters.  Respect is either granted or earned not demanded or enforced, at least not in my experience and observation.

According to the definitions of each, deference may be granted respectfully and respect may be exhibited through deference, but there exists a difference, doesn’t there?


                – esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability:

                 I have great respect for her judgment.

Respect is esteem granted.


respectful submission or yielding to the judgment, opinion, will, etc., of another.

Deference is the submitting or yielding that may be done in a respectful manner but not necessarily involving actual esteem for another.

                 – deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment:

                  respect for a suspect’s right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.

Deference is an outward behavior associated with respect.  But the two, true esteem and outward acquiescence are not necessarily always entwined.

When Confucius observed the respect and obedience of the senior by the junior, he also observed consideration and protection of the junior by the senior.  Elders may choose to respect youth to enhance their self-esteem despite their outward manner revealing a lack thereof and perhaps earn respect in return.  But this seems to have been lost in Western culture during earlier generations where “children should be seen but not heard” was one of several such expectations of the day.  Deference to authority via behavior modification tactics, like spanking and emotional manipulation, had been the norm, and this had cascaded into most authoritative relationships, whether patriarchal structures in business and religion or police and school teachers.  But I will continue to argue that deference is not respect.  It is deference, an outward behavior of acquiescence regardless of whether true respect is involved.

In later generations, parents are learning new ways to treat children as their own people, as emotional beings who deserve guidance and support versus punishment and behavior modification.  We now have the opportunity to model consideration and vulnerability to the enhancement of our parent-child relationships.  Therefore, positions of authority – elders, police, business leaders and management – are less granted the deference to which they may be accustomed or expecting, for all their years of deference to their own authority figures.  They are faced with having to exhibit consideration and protection of their subordinates and underlings to earn actual respect.  And this is a tough space to be.

In social science terms, we discuss personal and positional agency.  There is a greater requirement now for personal agency even within authoritative positions because the position itself does no longer necessarily command deference.  The person in authority is more required to exhibit respectful behaviors themselves so that respect becomes a reciprocal aspect of a relationship based in mutual esteem.  This is where love resides and productivity excels.

If you are one of those in authority – a parent, manager or leader of some kind, it will do everyone well to let go expectations of deference (or in some’s terms, respect) and rather develop mutually respectful relationships.  For despite the agency we may have traditionally afforded positions of authority, is it real or beneficial to keep faking it through mere deference?


I awoke this morning with the thought: let go of all that does not serve your purpose.

Upon pondering this thought and in the context of my own experience and in the experiences that I witness being played out by others, I came upon a realization that although we are always who we are at our core (where our purpose resides), we are either living in awareness of what that is or have it hidden from us based on whether we were molded to be, in myriad ways, or whether we were guided through our choices. This is, of course, nothing new. I am simply catching up more deeply to something discovered in a series of workshops back in 2007-2008.

Like many, perhaps most, children, I was required to behave in a manner conforming to societal expectations. This has been the acceptable mode for generations. Some of us are lucky enough to at some point, usually later in life, begin shedding that behavioral programming. One of the simplest examples I can give of this programming is the expectation of altruism, the concept of doing for others. I still witness this, this programming our children to think of others first. Now, don’t get me wrong, the concept is a good one, just not when it is programmed through typical behavior modification. The concept is best applied and most effective for all concerned when we arrive at it by choice. And, it is sad, really, because children can be very altruistic. There are, in fact, plenty of opportunities to nurture this tendency, but we seem to miss those and, instead, force the behavior in situations where it is not naturally present. Or, we miss asking the right questions to invite the choice.

As a result, we end up with many of our adult society begrudgingly living life for everyone else, self-molding to external expectations. This was my experience, and one that I witness now as fairly common, perhaps because I am on my journey of breaking free from it. I find it sad that so many are living a life of conforming to others’ expectations and suffering in the process. This has led to a great victimization cycle in society – meeting expectations then subconsciously begrudging and blaming everyone else for programmed choices. The rules have changed, and are changing, and those programmed to the old rules are struggling, simply because we have not learned how to make choices based in our own (guided) experience and wisdom.

Now maybe, if you’re following me on this, some have less programming to shed than others, but this has been the norm, subconscious in many ways, for all this time. There is hope, though. Recent generations are revealing a shift, generally speaking. The problem is that it is a shift to extreme, so that many are confounded by what is happening, and younger generations appear a bit lost because, as usual, parents come with good intentions but a lack of know-how. We haven’t developed the most effective process for nurturing our children to choose wisely and within the context of existing societal rules. The result seems to be a generation of rebellion against those societal norms. I remain hopeful, though, because the problem has been so changed up that we are looking at it differently, and it provides us opportunity to affect a more effective solution.

Previous words still pertinent, perhaps more, today.

Nurture the Goose

In the current climate of “freedom of conscience”, I have been pondering what freedom means.  I can’t help but return again and again to words of Byron Katie in Loving What Is: “There is my business, your business and God’s business.”  For the less religiously or spiritually inclined, it might read, “There is my business, your business and nobody’s business.”  And, as George Constanza so eloquently bellows, “You know, we’re living in a society!!”

Living in a society, how do we preserve “my business” or the freedom of the individual?  When it comes to “freedom of conscience”, have we the freedom to apply our conscience to the actions of others?  The answer for me is, quite simply, no.  I apply my conscience to my choices and allow others their conscience and their choices.  This is the freedom to be legislated and what I believe our forefathers were after, a freedom…

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Emotion is as important to our professional lives as thinking. For far too long, emotion has been discounted out of the American concept of professionalism. This makes sense since by simple observation, emotion would appear to be the more complex element of humanity between the two, and regardless of whether we pay attention to it or not, it is there. It informs us when something isn’t right and needs to be corrected, resolved or redirected. It underlies our decision making, and so much more not readily delineated.

It has also been observed that some personality types are more subject to, even driven by, emotion. So, there are at least two development tracks when it comes to emotion. One either needs to develop attention to emotion in order to be more consciously informed by it, or one has a need to separate from emotion in order to manage one’s response to it, to move away from reacting to it.

Neither is new. The practice of meditation in yoga has been around longer than American society, and one of the great many benefits yoga provides is the practice of observing the physical body, thoughts in the mind body and feelings of the emotional body. In my experience, emotion has been the most difficult to observe simply because I am one of those on the emotionally reactive side of the equation. For a good length of time I confused emotion with my intuition and proverbial gut instinct, which made it harder to come to terms with the separation required to observe and consciously apply it.

Emotion is much less simple than thinking, and it needs great care to develop awareness of it and a conscious response to it. Truth is, it is always there, underlying intuition, gut instinct, decision-making and even informing our thoughts, so we would do well as a society to take heed and incorporate emotion rather than continue to deny and combat its existence.

Fare thee well,
~ Jacqueline

I purposely decided to watch the Oscars on Sunday night, as I had not done in years, and was excitedly surprised to find Seth MacFarlane hosting.  Knowing Seth’s tendency toward irreverence did give me pause as to how he might be received.  But that was it, my concern wasn’t whether he would do the event justice – which he did, brilliantly, in so many ways – but whether we as a society are ready for the poking of our human foibles Seth does so impeccably.

In my mind, unlike all things Divine, our humanity deserves less of the reverence we give it and more of a reality check and appreciation.  We would do well to let go the expectation of human perfection.  In fact, and I may have written of this somewhere before, our pursuit of political correctness, though I am sure well intended, has actually caused detriment to our society in that rather than be challenged to learn how to discuss and work through our differences of perspective effectively, it drove our differences underground where they have been left to being acted out in ridiculous and too often dangerous ways.

It is a farce to think we as humans must act in a God-like manner to be appreciated.  Godliness is an ideal to which I am a huge advocate of pursuing, and like God, it is, in our human form, infinitely distant to our understanding.  Religion, to whichever one subscribes, serves to guide our practice to affect Divinity in our lives, a practice that remains ongoing.

So, what Seth so divinely provides us in his brilliant authentic way is the poking of our humanity that we might see it more clearly and learn to appreciate it in its own right; to replace our reverence for appreciation, because, in my mind, our reverence for our humanity has led us to profound judgment of one another and requisite non-purposeful suffering.

I read many a suffering comment of Seth’s performance.  As one colleague shared with me, “It wasn’t my cup of tea.” And that should be it.  He doesn’t have to be your cup of tea, but that is all. It truly amazed me how many people thought that the reactions of Naomi, Charlize and Jennifer to “I Saw Your Boobs” were actually in real time.  Just goes to show how many of us remain out to judge others, however unwittingly, with little regard for our own filters.

The thing to remember is that our reactions say infinitely more about us than anything or anyone to which we react.  This leads me to believe that we, as a society, have a great deal of reflection to do on our own humanity and divinity.

Enough said,

~ Jacqueline

No question, a business must maintain a profit to remain in business.  I question, however, the concept that making a profit is the purpose of business.  For me, the purpose of business is to serve its community, both internally – those who serve the purpose of the business – and externally –  whether local, national or global.   The sustainability of a business is dependent upon whether it continues to serve a purpose to that community.

In my own work experience, I have witnessed businesses lose balance and topple because they lose sight of their purpose, favoring investors (or the proverbial shareholder) over the internal and/or external community (otherwise known as stakeholders).  Likewise, I have seen businesses prosper because they keep sight of all stakeholders even in the face of investor scrutiny.

In this discussion hosted by American Public Media and the BBC – http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/marketplace-live/marketplace-live-what-difference-four-years-does-not-make – two themes arise:  1) We must return to living within our means and 2) the financial industry must return to a purpose of stewardship.  How have we lost the sense in too many cases that business be the steward of purpose and expertise, be  trusted advisers, in our communities?  And, how do we find that purpose once again?

I will admit upfront that I am by no means any kind of fiscal wizard, nor do I wish to be.  I will also qualify that for me science is the quantifiable analysis of God’s creation.  And, finally, I can only speak from that of which I am aware, so welcome more information.  That said…

I have continuously questioned economic growth.  I am primarily a feeler, in Meyers-Briggs terms, and it has never felt right to me that an economy should continually grow.  Oh, it feels better, for sure, than an economy in recession, but it seems to me the “feel goodness” of a growing economy has perhaps become a social addiction and one that has caused us to create economic bubbles to feign continued growth?

Beyond my feelings, I look to nature and science for information on the matter, and here are some thoughts based on current awareness.

1) Matter that continually grows, eventually destroys.  Ivy, bacteria, cancer cells come to mind.  David Suzuki speaks to this in his book: The Legacy: An Elder’s Vision for Our Sustainable Future on which I heard him interviewed recently.  Fascinating.

2) Has anyone noticed that as we grow the economy so do we grow our fiscal debt? I should also confess that I do not see economy as part of or based in nature but a human construct subject to laws of nature.  So, conceivably, what we’ve created we can adapt or even undo, assuming we put our collective minds to it.  And when we do, I propose doing so in a way that does not undermine society nor disrespect laws of nature.  Since it has taken us at least decades if not a century to reach this point, is it wise to think we can fix it in the near term without detrimental side effects?

3) How far exactly can we stretch a rubber band before it breaks or snaps back?  Are we perhaps in the throes of an economic breaking point or  snap back?  Are we prepared to release it gently or will we continue to let it smack us?

4) I wonder, did the concept of the Tao come about from centuries of a collective people witnessing the ebb and flow of life and living?

These are the thoughts that pass through my mind on the matter of fiscal responsibility, and as mentioned, not my area of expertise.  Given this, I am open and willing to becoming more informed by welcoming alternative perspectives.

~ Jacqueline

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