Hello? These are your values speaking.

Can you hear me now?

“Revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new technologies.
It happens when society adopts new behaviors.”
— Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody

The past few days represent a learning time in our personal history on the earth. It’s almost impossible not to notice, and somehow participate in, the aftermath of our receiving the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in a U.S. wartime mission.

I used that word ‘receiving’ intentionally. We don’t just ‘hear’ news like this, we receive it somehow, each in our own way.

I’ve participated in the aftermath quietly too, for it’s been big enough to spill into the new book containment I’ve created for myself in recent days, despite the intensity of my concentration in wanting to finish that project soon, and finish it well. I’m not one to seek a public gathering somewhere, and frankly, those celebrations have concerned me greatly, especially to see their prevalent generational signature of receiving. I can’t help but wonder what parents have modeled for their children, and how current history has been taught in our schools, for most of the faces I see in those gatherings were so young when Osama Bin Laden’s notoriety in our collective consciousness began.

They’re still young now. One of the things so fascinating about all of this, is noticing how our world shifts and changes bit by bit, big by big while we are right in the center of it.

I’ve participated in two ways, primarily; watching way more broadcast news than I normally do (and reverting to old lurking habits on Twitter) and taking notice of the reactions within my own ‘Ohana, fully aware of how one’s closest family can affect each other. I was so grateful to know, even without having to ask them, that neither of my children wanted to be anywhere near those public gatherings either. Are we patriotic? Yes, we are. We just choose to be patriotic (and more) in a different way.

Then, when some of the noisiness of those two listenings abated, I sat down with my private journal, the one I handwrite in messily, for the very physical effort that particular writing process requires of me. Sometimes my hand skips lightly across the page in this notebook, with pen almost looking like pencil. At other times I’ve pressed so hard I skip writing on that page’s other side where the embossing has come through, making it bumpy. Both effects are the result of different degrees of intellectual honesty for me, where I’ve answered for myself, “Okay girlfriend, what do you really think about all of this, huh?” and allowed my emotional voices out too.

I won’t lie to you: I’m not always totally pleased with my answers to the question. But I’ve learned to accept my own truth at that point in time. I’ve learned not to beat myself up for it, nor overly celebrate it when it is pleasing. I just accept it as is, as the next point I’ll move forward from. That ability to move forward, and my resolution to do so with a measure of intentional diligence, is what I want to keep focused on most of all.

Daytime Thunder

We’re all in a perfect storm kind of time, but it’s one which comes with some quiet if you choose to step into it. It’s perfect for self-reflection and listening to your personal values talk to you. It’s a time to tell yourself the truth, and understand who you are at that particular moment in time. It’s a time to figure out what you’ll do about that knowledge.

I hope you do step into the quiet of your perfect storm too. Just do it for you.

You are probably getting bombarded with all kinds of opinions. Feelings are raw, and at times like these, people need to be heard, so they look for people like you, who they feel close to, and know will listen. You can be there for them, but be somewhere for yourself right now too.

How do you really feel?

When we talk about the values-based philosophy of Managing with Aloha, people will ask me, “Rosa, how do I truly know what my deepest values are in their pure me, at my own core state?” and all I can say is that, “You’ll know. Trust in your intuition, and you’ll know.” The best advice I can offer them is to learn to talk to themselves more, so they can hear themselves more too.

This is one of those times, I think, and I hope you take advantage of it. Listen to your own values, and receive them for what they are; you and your gifts.

Then, you can decide what you’d like to do about that.

No matter what they’ve been about, all these historical moments have that in common, don’t they: They become life markers we move forward from.

Ka lā hiki ola. Welcome the dawning of your new day, however you and your good values choose to define it.


  1. says

    This is a very touching post, Rosa.

    “How do you really feel?” is the question of the hour.

    And what is particularly beautiful, wise and loving is the absence of advice about what any reader should or ought to feel — which would defeat the entire process of self-understanding, learning and self-trust that you are speaking to here.

    As always, thank you.

    • Rosa Say says

      You’re welcome Dan, and thank you my friend, for coming by, reading, letting me know you were here (so important to me :) and sharing your own thoughts.

      Dear Readers,
      Dan has written a beautiful follow-up posting of his own as well: Click to his blog, Unfolding Leadership, to read “Say Their Silence.”

      • says

        I just want to thank you again, Rosa. I’ve read this post several times because it is such a wonderful example of a reflective process, stated in a heart-felt, passionate and encouraging way. It reminds me how much I have to learn and how closed some days my own heart is. Seems to me this post very much reflects that spirit of generosity from your new book. Best wishes always, my friend. Mahalo

        DSC_0410 - Version 2

        • Rosa Say says

          That is such a gorgeous photo Dan! Thank you for its striking imagery, and for the spirit woven into your words as well.

          btw, I just got a new camera, and so hope it will help me capture more of our world’s beauty, just as you have! A very early result was this passion flower test :)

          Passion Flower 1

  2. Anne says

    Beautiful post, Rosa. Thanks for reminding us that “people need to be heard”, that we need to be willing to listen to their personal truth, their story, their “take” w/t judgment or even voicing your own (unless asked)…and to journal or at least take the time to think about what you (I am) feeling about this latest “storm” of news.

    Getting Osama might not mean the same to us as it does to those who lost loved ones on 9/11. There’s “more” Osama’s out there, coming up the ranks, but still, to those who lost someone, this was huge. People need to be allowed to share their reactions to this news, again, w/t judgment.

    Thanks for reminding us to stop, step back, listen to our selves as well as others.

    We each matter, and THAT is what matters. Aloha and mahalo once again.

    • Rosa Say says

      Thank you Anne, for what you have shared with us.

      I’ve always thought that the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” usurped passing judgment in a very wise way, at least the out-loud speaking of those judgments, for I think we all do judge, and can’t help that we do.

      It is very difficult for me to personally wrap my thoughts (and arms) around the concept of justice, always has been. That said, I do feel there may be there is some good within the act of judging, to hold up examples we’re willing to take a stand on as either right or wrong for us. So it helps me to think of it as the self-reflection; to contain it, and consider it on my own as another voice of my own beliefs and convictions – especially where it is very difficult for me to be empathetic enough, as where you point out, for I did not lose a loved one on 9/11.

      Just now in this moment you have given me, I guess I can say that I struggle with the noun (justice) but can see some value in the verb (judging), itself a self-reflection I can move forward with.

  3. Rosa Say says

    Caught this from the LA Times in my news feed this morning: Osama bin Laden’s death removes a cloud that enveloped a generation and it helps a wee bit with the empathy I am trying to gather up better, in regard to the “generational signature” I mentioned in my posting.

    A quote on the article tagline:

    For the generation known as the millennials, young adults born after 1980, the 9/11 attacks and the wars that came out of them created a climate of foreboding that shaped their youth.