Psychologists and spiritualists alike tout the importance of having a purpose in life. Those of us who are lucky enough to find ours seem to be happier and more focused people. But not all of us were born with a single purpose for our lives. It is only in looking back at a life, our own or others--that it becomes crystal clear that there is someone we were always meant to be.
In Hillary's case, it was to be President.
I met Hillary in 1996 at an event sponsored by the Women's Leadership Forum, a division of the DNC. I had met DNC Chairman, Steve Grossman, through Ed Rendell, a lifelong friend, at my neighbor's house in Bryn Mawr. Steve's vision and enthusiasm were infectious, and he implored me to get involved beyond my role on Rendell's Finance Committee. Steve was, by far, the best Chair the DNC was lucky to have--Harvard trained, a devout Democrat and a consummate organizer. So he set me up with Hillary and a small group of professional women. And the rest is history.
Unlike the cold calculating conniver portrayed by the media, Hillary is a warm, demonstrative and funny person. She is a loyal and caring friend for life. She is also an extremely bright and focused person--the smartest woman of my generation. Her intelligence, however, is not intimidating or daunting--until you spend some serious time with her in the backseat of her car when she is prepping for an appearance or event.
But I am getting ahead of myself here.
My interest in meeting Hillary was due to my passion for a model of organizational transformation that I had developed early in my career. This idea of mine had launched a global business and delivered millions of dollars of services for Chief Executives worldwide who were looking for a competitive advantage. Simply put, it was a psycho-operational process for transforming people and results, and it became a best-selling book, "FROM COUCH TO CORPORATION." Given her ambitious First Lady agenda, I thought it might be something that the Clintons would resonate with.
At our first meeting, we bonded around a necklace I was wearing that held my sunglasses. As it turned out, the First Lady was also into animal print. After a spirited conversation regarding the need for transformation in our country's educational system, I impulsively yanked it off and gave it to her. In short order, I received my first of many handwritten thank you notes from Hillary, now enough to fill a photo album. Hillary has also handwritten me holiday notes apologizing for not writing sooner.
I was soon introduced to her husband, President Clinton, who was busy running for re-election. He, too, read my first book and called me on the phone at six am to chat while I was deadheading geraniums in my pajamas. Of course, I thought it was a spoof, but he assured me that it was truly him and not an actor from SNL. Rather than complimenting my theory, he rattled off a dozen ways it could be applied to transforming our nation, if he should be so lucky as to be re-elected. Oh, and he invited me to visit him at a fundraiser in Philadelphia in a week or so.
At that event, we had a brief one on one meeting (surrounded by Secret Service) where I outlined to him the likelihood of the Clintons being victims of the "Gandhi Effect," a predictable dynamic of systemic transformation. Essentially, there is a 20-60-20 percent rule during transformation, when the system organizes itself into three subgroups, including the visionaries (20 percent), the tentatives (60 percent) and the saboteurs (20 percent). For transformation to occur, there must be enough of a performance goal, somewhere above 35 percent above baseline, to create enough progressive/regressive oscillation for the system to move beyond its ceiling barrier and actually transform. What that means is, a whole lot of change must be happening on multiple fronts. And, this dynamic occurs in the third phase of a four phase predictable process. As President Clinton was moving into year five of his presidency, I predicted it would hit soon enough. And possibly, with enough force to topple both Clintons.
As it turned out, I was right. And in the right place at the right time. Talk about purpose. I was soon invited to consult regularly with the President and First Lady and apply my model where it was needed. Toward that end, I contributed to strategies, speeches, and key events. And got to go to the White House on a regular basis (don't get me started on the crab cakes...), using a small office inside the Communication Director's group.
And soon, Hillary's fiftieth birthday was looming, and there were many proposals on the table as to how to celebrate this momentous occasion. My thought was for us to produce our own film and take the narrative away from the media. The President green lit the project and I was off filming those who knew Hillary best for much of her life and a handful of supportive celebrities. IT TAKES A WOMAN, produced by Barbara Howar and myself, was a hit and was widely distributed to the global political set, who enthusiastically agreed that the Hillary we knew was celebrated accurately. A woman like no other with a set of skills and values that qualified her to lead global change. Adored by world leaders and American citizens alike, Hillary brought pragmatic action to the First Lady platform and used each day of her term to elevate the lives of families, women and children ...and me.
"Who is that Hillary?" you might ask. "Is she for real?" Or even, "Is there a woman in there somewhere?" For if you have been swayed by the decades of false media characterizations, you might be tempted to see Hillary in a light that is so far from the truth, it is laughable as well as tragic.
For one, Hillary is a girl's girl. While she may be competitive, she does not have a competitive bone in her body when it comes to championing women in all walks of life and in every profession. When she heard that my first novel, "THE PRESIDENT'S PSYCHOANALYST" was being shopped by Hollywood, she invited me to an event attended by the Hollywood elite, a who's who of actors, directors and producers which resulted in some key new friendships during the next stage of my life. When Hillary came to my new home in Gladwyne, Pa. for a fundraising event, she made sure to personally bless each room in the newly acquired ten bedroom mansion. She also cried when Princess Diana died, and has cried for so many others. And Hillary has spent her fair share of time in hospital rooms consoling dying friends no matter her professional commitments. And yes, Hillary cries real tears. Just like she did in New Hampshire. Oh, and she's a great dancer.
Unlike the untrustworthy and untrusting woman portrayed by the media, Hillary is rock solid and can be trusted with your life. At different stages of my life, I have been given wise advice by Hillary, timely gifts and tons of encouragement, no matter her schedule. For example, when Hillary found out I had broken up with a boyfriend and, as a result, did not have a date for my 44th birthday, she immediately included me in the President' entourage that were attending a black tie event in Washington.
"Maybe you will meet someone special there," Hillary encouraged me. "You need a really special guy who can handle that big brain of yours."
As I had contributed to two States of the Union addresses, Hillary made sure I watched the event in the residence, brought in the Millennium with her and her family after the official celebration, and stayed on for breakfast. Hillary appreciates true friendship and loyalty and makes rewarding it a priority for her, no matter how busy she is. It helps that both she and Bill have photographic memories.
But when the Gandhi effect hit the Clinton White House, it left little intact in its wake. The saboteurs, led by the Republicans and their sidekick Ken Starr (and yes, there really is a "vast right ring conspiracy" of polarizing Republicans) stopped at nothing to discredit the character and lifelong work of the Clintons. The media tested Hillary's capacity for personal humiliation, a blood sport that continues to this day. The impeachment symbolized the full force of the Gandhi effect. So one might think that on the night of the impeachment that the President and First Lady might be depressed or discouraged. However, when they took the stage on that December 19th at a White House Christmas Ball, the President opened by saying, "I just don't get it. The Brits love me. The Europeans love me. The Saudis love me. All these guys who run the world with me; we're great friends. But I just can't get anywhere with those Republicans."
During the acquittal process, I was lucky enough to advise the President's attorneys on the transmutation of the Gandhi effect, and I also met one on one with many key Republicans to explain what was really going on so they did not feel compelled to be part of the unconscious process. On the day of the acquittal, I sent both Clintons teddy bears dressed as the President and First Lady and left it at that.
The worst was over, and their global transformation would continue. But who knew this was just Hillary's Act One?
When Hillary appointed me to the White House Millennium Council, I was once again in the thick of things, helping with preparing the Lincoln Memorial celebration and the following State of the Union. We walked the beach together at Renaissance, a think tank event that the movers and shakers attend four times a year (including current and Past Presidents and their families).
I asked Hillary if she had healed at all from all of the shenanigans and attacks, whether it was just too much for one person to sacrifice in the name of global transformation. With her blond hair blowing in the frosty air and her apple cheeks glowing in the midday sun, she put her arm around me.
"I'm fine, really," Hillary said, trying to reassure me. "I am."
"But how do you do it?" I asked. "I mean, really, it would get to me, that's for sure."
Hillary bent down and picked up a sea shell weathered from the ocean. "Because, we endure, just like this shell. It's the price we pay. To never give up. No matter what. I don't give up. Not on my family, not on my marriage, not on my friends. Certainly not on my country. It hurts sometimes. But the pain doesn't kill you."
I kept that shell and I still have it today sitting on my desk. Her advice would come in really handy when my Mother died years later. The Clintons had called my mother on her birthday each year as it was close to the President's in August. I was so happy that my Mother got to meet Hillary at my home, and experienced what power and kindness at the highest level of humanity looked like.
And after that day, Hillary went on, tentatively exploring a run for the Senate, unsure of how she would handle such massive self promotion. She recruited me, among others, to keep her company in her car, during the long rides between appearances. It was then she would blow me away with her astounding memory and analytic abilitity. We would be shooting the breeze about fashion trends, when she would be told she had ten minutes until her next stop.
Hillary would say to me, "Iris, give me a sec, I need to review my data."
The car would grow quiet for those minutes while Hillary would read through several inches of information about the town and the people we would soon encounter. As she exited her car and made her way to the podium, she had every statistic, problem, strategy and plan in her head. She knew the unemployment numbers and how they were distributed; she knew the state of the educational system; she knew which industries were up and were down, and she knew what was in the hearts and the minds of the people who waited for hours for a hug and a photo op. Hillary, Act Two, was clearly underway.
When she was re-elected to the Senate, it was a no brainer.
Her first run for President was also a decision that she did not make lightly. While First Lady, I can attest to the fact that America got "two for the price of one" as she often voiced her opinions to the President and his advisors. But Madame President? That was a screenplay that some of us wrote and sent to Harvey Weinstein for fun. Not anything Hillary was losing sleep over. She does not make decisions of that magnitude lightly. Unlike the myth, being President was not her life long dream--it was a progression based on her experiences and accomplishments.
Since Hillary already been vilified and crucified, Hillary the Presidential candidate was already weathered for the national stage. But she was still not convinced to wear her heart on her sleeve. Or maybe, it was more healing for the nation to elect its first African American President as a clearing of its karma. During all that, I had relocated to California, and except for a visit with the Clintons when they were in LA, my life had gone in a new direction. During the first meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, I was happy to see them surrounded by their world leader friends, encouraging and exciting everyone to make a difference in the world. And Hillary loved being Secretary of State, forging deep alliances and guiding transformations with our allies and skeptics.
So Hillary then began Act Three, the electing of Madame President. It has been a rocky road, despite her enormous popularity and network of friends and supporters. I watched from the sidelines as she did what she does best, review the facts in painstaking detail during the debates, showcasing her enormous knowledge about the country and the world.
But then politics took a turn for the worst, and my friend Hillary was once again in the thick of it, taking bullets and shrapnel in the name of national transformation. So let's get back to Gandhi, cause we are in the soup again.
When the pendulum swings just a tad too quickly, the saboteurs multiply like flies. The collective unconscious builds a groundswell of momentum to stop the ongoing transformation, using whatever means it can. In this case, it empowered a card carrying narcissist to lead its charge, raising the level of denial as to the state of the world and environment to a terrifying place. And the visionaries also unconsciously organized and choose a rebel whose run for office was serenely selfless and completely focused on the continuing good of the nation. But the Hillary traction was too great and too cemented in our collective conscience. So the two transformational leaders pragmatically formed a truce for the good of the nation, and the negative subset of that unfolding transformation is now rebelling at the convention in Philadelphia. As an expert in transformation, group behavior is pretty predictable.
But that venting can have a major impact on the undecided tentatives. Not a good idea. Not when our entire future is on the line. Not when there is a potential threat that the China can be told, "You're fired!"and our debt comes due. Or when we blithely ignore obvious climate change. Or when Trump's bragging bores the you know what out of well meaning allies and world leaders. Or when the State of the Unions regress into the crass and fearful rhetoric of Trump's acceptance speech. Please, let's beg for decorum! We have an American image to uphold here!
No, this can't happen because the visionaries will do whatever it takes to support the tentatives to make the right choice, And the souls of the tentatives are too wise to sit this one out. So it is crucial for the masses of Americans who do not feel a part of the process to step up. We are a country of unconditional positive regard, and we are all immigrants. We need each other.
I remember standing behind President Clinton at his second Inauguration. I was freezing cold in my red wool coat and regal black hat, the tears frozen on my face. It was a sunny day, and both Parties seemed to come together if just for a brief moment at the customary luncheon. I passed Hillary near the East Room as I was on the way to the Ladies Room, the portrait of Jackie Kennedy observing me somberly.
"How do you feel?" I asked, giving Hillary a hug. I knew that she had had zero sleep.
"Like there's a whole lot of work to be done," she said with a smile. "But today's a good day. I'm glad you are here. We're making history for America. I'm so proud of our country today."
So was I. And I look forward to being just as proud of our country as Hillary accepts the oath of office. Not because she is a woman. Because she is Hillary.