Human to Human is a daily blog. It’s journalling and learning in public, Monday through Thursday, in which I post current learnings (taking sporadic weeks off to write longer pieces or to rest). Posts are 300-500 words, often with photos, intended to be read in five minutes and inspire reflection, individually and communally, on varied aspects of participative leadership practices, insights, and human to human depth.
This is a favorite view that inspires me.
It’s from where I most often walk, headed west on Lakeview Rd (could just as easily be called Mountainview Rd, but then that would be true of many roads here).
It’s looking east toward Mt Timpanogos, which caps at just over 12,000 feet in elevation, part of the Wasatch Range.
It’s the blue sky that I love, period. It’s the blue sky against white snow. I love the added vibrancy. It’s the snow that will bring water in spring and summer. It’s the ruggedness of steep-climb mountains.
It’s the way that my imagination is lifted, even if just for a mostly non-attentive moment, to welcome the vibrant, and honor the steep climbs, and appreciate what comes in a later season.
Yes, it’s a walk with a view, that I particularly love in winter.
Yesterday I learned that an Uncle died. He had a few health challenges that his body could no longer navigate. And emotional challenges too, that linger in the way that life seems to invoke. And complications related to all of that. He was 69 or 70.
It’s natural to reflect on a life transitioned. Problems encountered. Dreams lived. Love shared and received. And of course, the unreconciled, which there always is.
It’s natural to wonder what to offer in support or in tribute. Some will tend the details of a funeral service. Some will tend to the things left behind in his home. Some the bills. Some will weave family. Some will share stories. Some will just be quiet, yet present. All of it matters.
For me, last night I started with lighting a candle. To honor a life and a passing. Last night, it meant singing a song of blessing and gratitude to the light of the candle. It’s an offering of spirit and a wish for good. Last night it meant offering what I was taught many years ago is an “alchemical prayer.” It’s a prayer of wishing things of the heart, in this case for my uncle, that I would wish for myself in this circumstance. It’s prayer from the belly. It’s words and not-words for the moment. And then it is releasing all of that, honoring his journey to be his journey, attended to with some care and kind gesture.
So, all of this is in me today. In a day of more keen awareness of this moment, this now, that feels just a bit more elongated.
It’s good to be human, to know the feeling of hearts moved in many ways, and to honor the spirit of an uncle.
Last week I posted. A Nuanced Note on Outcomes. I’ve got one more to add.
So, now it is Hope, Not Alone, Candor, and Calm.
Earlier today I was on a call with Quanita Roberson and a man who works much with educators. We were exploring work together that first would begin with the man’s team of 5-6 people, who then steward work with a bigger group of educational partners to create grounding and relational robustness in service to equity in education.
In a way, these outcomes fall to the category of “intangibles.” I need to re-language that a bit to “less tangible — part of the big work is changing the narrative to give credence to an expanded sense of tangible.” It’s not that unlike the conversations about “culture eating strategy for lunch…”
So, in today’s call, this man who works with educators shared in a check-out way that he felt more calm because of our call. That wasn’t the intent when we started. But it was sure sweet to again know the power of an inner feeling, intuition, authenticity, emotional intelligence. Calm in heart. Calm in questions. Calm in choices to move forward. Calm in trusting intuition.
That kind of change, inner, supported by community, makes a whole lot of other changes possible.
One of the things I appreciate in Bly’s writing, as I continue through his Collected Poems, is his commitment to a solitude and privacy. He writes of sourcing that comes out of the subtle, underneath the fields of the loud and the obvious.
I continue to learn that there is important sourcing that comes from willingness to be quiet, or committed to the dark, that tends to grow belly knowing.
Bly writes “Six Winter Privacy Poems.” The fifth and sixth are below, witnessing what can come from the quiet. I’m grateful for his words.
There is solitude like black mud!
Sitting in the darkness singing.
I can’t tell if this joy
Is from the body, or the soul, or a third place!
When I wake, new snow has fallen,
I am alone, yet someone else is with me,
Drinking coffee, looking out at the snow.
Often I’m content to be with the poetry itself. With no need to “use” it beyond the feeling and wonder of the moment. But, if I were using Bly’s words to create encounter with a group, today’s invitation to pick up a piece might be, “What does solitude teach you?” Or, “What have you encountered as third place?” Or, “What might the new snow have to teach you (us) these days?” Or…,
Here’s to celebrating what comes out of privacy.