Sunday, October 24, 2010

Striving for new levels of possibility

This morning I decided that my readings in Margaret Wheatley's book, Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time had enough spiritual significance to serve as my morning coffee inspiration, so I set aside Pema Chodron and sat down with Margaret.

Wheatley discusses the two great organizing principles of life: the need for a creative individuality, and the need for cooperative community. In order to achieve both, she says, "Our communities must support our individual freedom as a means to community health and resiliency. And individuals must acknowledge their neighbors and make choices based on the desire to be in relationship with the community as a means to their own health and resiliency."

Given that I had just met with two friends earlier this week to discuss this very tension -- between individual and community -- this seemed a serendipitous moment.

As I continued reading in Wheatley's book, I came to this observation, which seemed to be a lovely antidote to the malaise and discouragement I've been feeling this last week about communities and how they work together:

"We can reach entirely new levels of possibility together, possibilities that are not available from soap box rhetoric.  To achieve this, we need to begin conversations about purpose and shared significance and commit to staying in them... We are capable of creating wonderful and vibrant communities when we discover what dreams of possibility we share.  And always, those dreams become much greater than anything that was ever available when we were isolated from each other.  The history of most community-organizing and great social change movements can be traced back to such conversations, conversations among friends and strangers who discovered a shared sense of what was important to them."

And so -- since I was beginning to think I needed a more distinct way to track my new practice of saying yes -- I decided to redesign a blog I started a couple of years ago, called What Did You Learn From This.  It was originally intended as a family exercise, but none of us have participated in it in over a year, so I've decided to revamp it as a place to track observations related to my schoolwork and the practice of saying yes -- which means I spent the morning re-designing it and bringing it up to date.

The image here -- a lamp in a hotel lobby -- seemed a good way to symbolize the idea of enlightened individuals in community, so that's the lead image for the blog, and we'll see where it goes.  Wish me luck!

4 comments:

Maureen said...

I went to your What Did You Learn From This blog and read all the posts. What a great idea as a way to achieve clarity and self-understanding.

drw@bainbridge.net said...

Thanks! (How EVER did you find the time! You are AMAZING!) I'm excited about it as a means to more conscious living...

Joyceann Wycoff said...

Diane ... I love the "saying yes" thread. By calling it out, it makes it more clear exactly how you're saying yes and it feels like breadcrumbs that have been dropped in front of you and you're just picking them up one at a time, not knowing where they're leading but trusting the journey. Thanks for sharing.

M.L. Gallagher said...

I agree -- the Saying Yes thread is really powerful.

And... once I've finished my mornign rituals, I'll explore What did you learn -- more completely -- and I agree -- Maureen is amazing!

And I also think, WDYL -- is a great inspiration for me to get doing what I've been putting off!

Thank you my friend.