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zen leaders and social change

Before last November’s U.S. midterm elections, I felt a familiar hope rising up. I was excited about the women and people of color running for office – theirs are the voices we need leading our country! – but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. And I wondered, “Am I doing enough to create the change the world needs?” I’ve considered running for public office, but am turned off by divisive politics.

Then I read about Rep. Suzanne Harvey who centers her politics on her Buddhist practice and I thought, “Yes, that!” Her Buddhism informs her stance on issues, and on her colleagues. She recalls a defining moment: one of her colleagues–someone who was hated by many and was often on the “opposite” side politically–was being screamed at by a gathering throng outside the statehouse after a seminal vote.

“I realized that I didn’t want to be yelling at another human being, someone I don’t really know, who somewhere in there has Buddha nature,” Harvey recalled. “I just stopped cold and walked away.”

Our systems are broken. Our people are broken. Our body politic is broken. How can Zen Leadership resolve, heal, and reaffirm our interdependence?

What do you think? Drop me a line and let me know.

This question, What does Zen Leadership offer to social change, racial justice, equity and inclusion is our central query for our April 11-14 Zen Leader 1 program at our dojo in Spring Green, WI.


Rebecca Ryan

Institute for Zen Leadership

Instructor | Board Chair

Read more from Rep. Suzanne Harvey:



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