Thoughts from Linda:
I think if I could invite two women over for dinner in some imagined future, how terrific it would be to include Lucretia Mott and Melinda Gates together!
This 2019 book by Melinda Gates, wife of Bill Gates and co-founder of The Gates Foundation is well told and illustrates her journey from a young technologist from Duke (previously from Dallas where she grew up and attended Ursuline Academy) to the youthful days at Microsoft. What a consequential decision she made when she chose Microsoft over IBM! Melinda Gates writes with authenticity and appropriate humility and I especially appreciate her own values that are explicitly expressed and revealed by her actions.
She takes us through her own journey as a reluctant ‘front stage’ player, as she grows her own voice and presence, finally moving the Foundation to embrace gender as a major issue if not THE major issue to address in order to get lift on the planet. You’ll understand how the Foundation emerged, searching for the ‘huge missed ideas’ to find their focus.
You’ll get to know many of her contacts and mentors in seven specific chapters, surrounded by an introductory chapter and a terrific closing chapter, entitled “Let Your Heart Break…The Lift of Coming Together.”
While the book is filled with her learnings and much wisdom, I especially like these:
1. “Many successful social movements are driven by the same combination--strong activism and the ability to take pain without passing it on. Anyone who can combine these two finds a voice with moral force.”
2. “There is a big difference between a loud voice and a strong voice. The loud voice of a man who has no inner life and is a stranger to his own grief is never a voice for justice; it’s a voice for self-interest, dominance, or vengeance.”
3. and from Dorothy Day, about how to bring about a revolution of the heart…” you have to let your heart break…letting your heart break means sinking the pain that’s underneath the anger…”
Melinda goes on to say--evoking sentiments from Lucretia Mott, “The most radical approach to resistance is acceptance--and acceptance does not mean accepting the world as it is. It means accepting our pain as it is.”
“Great leaders never combine a call for justice with a cry for vengeance. Leaders who can master their pain have taken self-interest off their agenda, so their voice rings with moral power. They are no longer speaking their truth. They are speaking the truth.”
4. And finally, in the days of immigration issues and ‘the other’…she goes on…” Every society says its outsiders are the problem. But the outsiders are not the problem; the urge to create outsiders is the problem!”
At DNA, our work is to bring people together. We have values which guide us and truly want to be a part of “changing the way the world works” by helping individuals learn additional tools and ways of being that will help all of us become better human beings.
We agree with Melinda Gates’ last line of the book: “Love is what makes us one.”
Read this book…it is all about lift as it pertains to a global population, but trust me, it will also lift your spirits.