Essay submitted by Gerry Labossiere
Board Member (2012-2020), The Winnipeg Foundation
“Nothing in the Universe ever grew from the outside in.”
– Richard Wagamese, Ojibway author born in Northwest Ontario.
We all generally aspire to a world of peace and unity. With much of the chaos, crisis, and catastrophes in the world, it often seems like we are further away from unity and harmony than ever before. We have but to look at our current pandemic, our out-of-balance eco systems, the increasing pace of everyday life, and the happenings with our neighbour to the south to acknowledge its seriousness. How do we re-create balance?
A small group of Elders from countries throughout the world were asked recently, “What does the world need to hear right now”? One wise woman from Jalisco, Mexico replied: “The animals, the minerals, the plants and vegetables – they know who they are. We humans have forgotten who we are. That is the question.”
There is a global conscious awakening to the beliefs and teachings of peoples from times and places all over the world that we are all connected, that we are not separate from nature, Mother Earth, our cosmos and each other!
We are part of a whole! Without this connectedness, we do not exist as our truest selves.
Witness the collaboration and cooperation in the circle of life of the animal world, of our forests and in the cells of our own bodies. As Einstein put it, “Holistic approaches do not only affect our physical body but also the mental, spiritual and emotional parts. Each disturbance is approached from the whole entity. The healing process is a consciousness-raising process, in which it concerns the total harmony and balance of a human being. The key element is not one symptom, but the focus is on the person as a whole.”
Our systems of today do not reflect this approach to the whole. As an example, three “hot topics” of the day include mental health, addictions, and reconciliation – they are often discussed separately, organized separately, and funded separately. How do we evolve our systems discussion to include them as a whole?
To focus on the whole then becomes a matter of learning to become more and more deeply connected. It starts with “me” but focuses on “we.”
For the “me,” it’s about learning to become vulnerable, to go deeper within myself and bring me closer to truth. It’s about using humour and stories. It’s about seeing my neighbour as an equal. It’s about letting go and creating space within myself. It’s about practicing kindness and compassion every day.
For the “we,” it’s about focus. It’s about building and realigning our structures that are seemingly “stuck” in control and wealth accumulation. It’s about empowering communities and creating a movement. It’s about learning from organizations in our midst such as The Winnipeg Foundation that have been on this path. And it’s about reconciling and building relationships between all of us, and learning from the structures that existed many generations ago that were focused on the whole.
It’s about People! It’s about Building Community!
Do we have the courage to go engage in thought-provoking and deeper conversations on Reconciliation? On Black Lives Matter? On our Pandemic? On…
What are our next few steps for “me” and “we?”
Gerry Labossiere is a retired CPA and holds a B.Comm Honours and a BA from the University of Manitoba. He has held numerous positions in business over the years including Winnipeg City Auditor, CEO of Deposit Insurance Corp for the Caisse Populaires, and Principal Consultant with Coopers and Lybrand. In 2000, he founded AIS, a company that he helped grow into an international leader in the health assessment eLearning world. Over the years he has been active on boards/committees for community organizations in culture and health care, primarily with the Grey Nuns (now Réseau Compassion Network). Gerry is passionate about his family, his cottage, reconciliation, personal growth, assisting young adults in our everchanging business world, the Habs and Notre Dame college football.