Talking Integral & Walking Integral
"Going to Israel? Wow..." That's all I could intelligently say to Don to express the myriad of emotions and thoughts I experienced in that moment.
A glimpse into my Arab psyche …a snapshot into the unexpected
All the lines, levels and stages in me went into a state of euphoria mixed with deep introspection and anticipation. Although I would like to think of myself as a "Global citizen" and a proud American citizen now, you have to remember that I am at the same time an Arab woman who carries the impressions of Arab 'DNA' of ideas and feelings about the State of Israel and the Zionist movement, some of them are justified and some of course not...
I called my Israeli friends in the US for Hebrew lessons and my Jewish friends for discussions about Munich, their feelings about Israel and more...I also met with many Palestinians discussing the conflict with them, their feelings and aspirations. In one day I sided 10 times with Israelis and 10 times with the Palestinians.
I needed to get this out of my system. So it was time I refer back to my spiritual practice of non-duality, detachment and one taste. Meditate! nothing worked, well…maybe after a while!
If I “the detached one” can carry that much emotionally, how much are we carrying collectively in the Middle East, Arabs and Israelis? Can a “systemic Peace-making” an Assimilation-Contrast effect, an evaluation of the vMemes activated etc…, do the trick?
Well, I could have waited few days and saved myself a lot of brain and heart ache until I saw Don ‘walking integral’ and met the three Tel Avivians(as Rafi put it) Neri Bar-On, Oren Entin and Rafi Nasser. Our hosts from Integral Israel are some of the brightest minds in the SDi constellation and some of the most delightful human beings one can meet. Susan Vance, our charming companion on this trip, who has been to Israel before as an US Air force Colonel, and now representing the generous sponsor John Smith, added direction and support to this integral initiative.
If you want to know if SDi works in the real world, you only have to observe a Spiral Wizard like Don at work. At moments, when an academic, Israeli or Palestinian, had a blue-resistant argument, or someone on either side was playing the ‘we tried many times in the past card,’ I held my breath to see how Don would react to such resistance. He masterfully turned that situation into a yellow, ebb and flow movement and facilitated the emergence of an open system where one was ripe.
Looking beneath the surface was helpful. On this trip, I learned more in one week then I learned in years about a conflict that I thought I knew a lot about. The Resilience that we saw in Israelis and Palestinians is one of an epic proportion that will no doubt support Building the Arc.
What Happened in Israel…
Israel has an Orange center of gravity with a swell of Green that regresses during crisis, and there is an obvious democratic dialogue that is refreshing and a far cry from anything I see in the Arab world, except some in Lebanon and some starting in Kuwait and Egypt. A healthy Blue pride is common among Israelis; most citizens serve in the Army for 2-3 years and learn the ethos of discipline, respect and love of the country. I faced a different version of Blue-red once on our trip with our Jerusalem guide who kept pointing at Arab quarters with a lot of criticism and brought up my red; thankfully Neri calmed it easily with deep fried Falafel and Fava beans from the Arabic quarter.
As Rafi mentioned Don met with Key people in Israel; his meeting with Gilead Sher (Chief negotiator in the 1999-2001 Camp David summit, author of The Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations; Within reach)was one that left a big satisfactory smile on his face. Gilead offered to promote Don’s work in his Israeli-Palestinian-Arab circle. Don’s presentations at Tel Aviv Univ. and Bar Ilan Univ. were highly academic and it was a pleasure to see him basking in his old glory! At Bar Ilan social psychology department they teach Muzafer Sherif’s theory on intergroup-relation and they had a chance to listen to a more in depth account from Don who worked with Sherif and his wife at Oklahoma Univ. It was interesting to see academics in Israel being more open to new ideas than some of their counterparts in the West. My explanation is that academics there are dealing with survival situations and can recognize practical technologies that work.
A short but enlightening meeting with Rabbi Mark Gafni sparked a conversation about how we ca connect on a yet deeper level of consciousness, a much needed Mystical dimension where Islam, Judaism and Christianity and other spiritual paths meet.
The Feb 10th Tel Aviv presentation was a pinnacle for all of us, especially for Neri, Oren and Rafi, who were thrilled to see their efforts rewarded with much eagerness from the attendees to learn more about SDi and join Integral Israel. Don introduced the theory and showed how the color codes change under stress and ended with a piece from “Time” the musical… "The Time is Now!”
What can I say about the Israelis I met? The response they had to me as an Arab woman, was overwhelming. I felt an earnest wish to mend the historic divide in each and all of them; from the officer who stopped us for 2 hours at the airport (because I was born in Lebanon:) to the young people we chatted with on the street, to academics, and most of the people who attended our presentations.
What happened in Palestine:
Our Feb 7th Trip to Bethlehem was facilitated by Tom Christensen , a fellow SWIT, who met with many Israelis and Palestinians on a Peace Initiative trip to the Middle East. Tom was getting ready to send Spiral Dynamics books and Theory of Everything books to his contact people and told them that Don himself will be there. Our contact person in Bethlehem was Nafiz Rfaee, a truly inspiring human being. Nafiz is a Fatah leader well respected by his party as well as by other parties. He says “I am one of a Third generation who fights to develop and modernize the movement.” I asked him if we can arrange for a meeting with the Mayor who was elected with Hamas’ support and expected a negative reaction. On the contrary he had a great attitude and offered to set up meetings with every party and all Palestinians. We met with The Governor of Bethlehem, Salah Al-Tamari with whom we had an interesting conversation and who at the end mentioned an affinity to Richard Bach’s books and some other South African poet (will find the name)!
A meeting with three members of the Parliament from Fatah was an eye opener. One of the members, Mahmoud Laham, explained that they have been meeting and negotiating with Israelis for many years. But their problem was that they teamed up with the Liberal Party in Israel, and because of that party’s weakness in Israel, they were weakened too. Of course, that is one explanation and one shade of color in the rainbow of circumstances that got them to this stage.
Don had said to me at the beginning of the trip that we are here to listen. We listened to them and they listened to us. I was particularly pleased to see an openness and humility coming from Arab brothers. (my purple)
We went on a tour of impoverished Bethlehem and saw some of the camps there. It reminded me of a familiar sight in Lebanon, Palestinian camps, poor, narrow streets, kids with happy faces, no shoes, cold…an ‘almost normal’ painful thread in the fabric of our daily life…
Nafiz invited 40 people to attend our presentation at the Center for Arab Women Unity in Bethlehem. The center offers many social and healthcare services to the community. I was told-much to my delight- that it was started by another Maalouf woman in 1947! The president of the center, Mrs Julia Dabdoub, gave me a copy of their Golden anniversary book.
Professors from Bethlehem University, City councils, activists and peace organizations presidents and representatives attend the SDi over Bethlehem presentation. Some heated debate flavored our presentation, with more people open and eager to know more about the theory and how they can apply it, than the few of them who resisted. The Palestinian women we met are a force to reckon with!
The Hard Truth is what Don addressed with all parties on this trip, and a seed was planted.
Walking Integral never looked better!
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