At a recent dinner party I attended, the conversation was abuzz with personal strife and national calamities: the death of a mutual friend, a newly discovered cancerous tumor, and a hellacious divorce, as well as the stock market crisis, high school shootings, and weather storms of biblical proportions. Eight of us sat around the table, sharing moments of our lives, perceptions of the global village, and our visions of the next decade. With each new topic of the conversation, we tried to make sense of the rapidly changing world we live in, as well as determine our best course of action while individually navigating the shoals of impending disaster. It didn't take long for us to realize that stress was a recurring theme in every aspect of our lives. In the midst of our apparent abundance and prosperity was the inherent knowledge that things were terribly amiss.
Mark put down his wine glass and asked, "Is it me or has anyone else noticed that the planet earth has become a runaway train?" His question went unanswered for a few moments. Then the dining room became vibrant with conversation on how to take command in a situation where control is a tempestuous illusion. With a wary eye on the future, we came to a simple consensus that the only way to deal with the turbulent times ahead was to have a clear mind and a brave heart with no trace of fear, for it made no sense to either fight with anger or surrender in disgust. We had too much living to do. Before we drove back to our respective homes, we made a pledge to return to the same dinner table in a few months, like knights returning to King Arthur's round table, to share with the group how we had slayed a personal dragon or two, found the mythical Holy Grail, and, in doing so, made the world a better place to live.
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