Yang: Having Bitten Off More Than I Planned…

Having Bitten Off More Than I Planned…
By ELENA YANG

I don’t understand why people complain about the “shorter” period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It matters little to me since I don’t shop for stuff or go into all-out decorative mode. I like minimalism; a couple of bare branches (with lights and a few ornaments) and pretty lights in the front yard do just fine … when I get to them. However, I do like making goodies as a “thank you” gesture for some friends and a few acquaintances. So I have been cooking and baking up a storm. In that regard, time does feel short.

I am stating these points to deliver this apology for eating my words. I do not have the time to compose my mind for the tricky “group polarity to embracing paradox,” as I intended. That will have to wait till 2014. 

For now, I present to you the study of Nelson Mandela as the epitome of someone who had learned the art of embracing paradox. He was a true warrior, from the physical to the mental, and he could make peace with old enemies. He was principled in his fight against apartheid, and he welcomed and worked with communism for pragmatic purposes. He was both innocent and Machiavellian … depending on what he wanted to achieve. And he was someone possessing abundant humility, a genuine leader rare on the world’s stage. Bill Keller of New York Times wrote a beautiful tribute to Mr. Mandela’s career (link below.)

Mr. Mandela’s example should be all the more poignant for us at this time of the year when we should be, more than at other times, contemplative, reflective, peaceful, and giving. Instead, the now-all-too-familiar quarrels about “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” still receive too much MSM (mainstream media) attention.

I think anyone who wants to pick a fight around Christmas time and about Christmas should first recite some of Howard Thurman’s words:

“The Work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers and sisters,
To make music in the heart.
Then indeed we shall be blessed!”

So, please –

Happy Holidays.

Merry Christmas.

Enjoy doing whatever you do, and celebrate in whatever manner you choose.

And if you prefer not to do anything special for the holidays, have a jolly good time anyway.

Let’s welcome 2014 with more peaceful and generous minds.

Till next year,

Staying Sane and Charging Ahead.

Direct Contact: taso100@gmail.com

Referenced Link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/08/opinion/sunday/keller-nelson-mandela-communist.html

Editor’s note: Dr. Yang has a PhD in Management from the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania. She taught at Wharton for a number of years, and consulted for small groups and small organizations and on cross-cultural issues. Her professional worldview comprises three pillars: 1. All organizations are social systems in which elements are inter-related. 2. To improve organizations, the focus should be on the positive dimensions on which to build. This philosophical foundation is Appreciative Inquiry. 3. Yang subscribes to the methodological perspective that she is part of the instrument from which to gain quality data from respondents, and with which to compare and contrast with others’ realities.

 

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