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.
I woke this morning without energy to follow the pattern of news delivery. I woke today further discouraged by the pattern of sound bytes made to manipulate, aggravate, and often, to recruit.
It’s quite a thing to live, as many of us are, sorting data, feeling, and meaning. It’s quite a thing to live, filtering trauma amidst very complex circumstance. It’s quite a thing to live, committed to wholeness in simple ways. I know to be patient. I know to stay close with my friends.
“Mysteries, Yes” was a post ten days ago by friend and colleague Katharine Weinmann. I’m grateful for Katharine’s continued way of offering insight, inspiration, and truth-telling — recently from Camino noticings. “Mysteries, Yes” is a poem by Mary Oliver, who, for me, helps immensely to invite some of the wholeness in the simple.
So, I repost here, with appreciation to Mary Oliver, and to Katharine. So as to wake with a few patterns of a yes that I can breathe in my heart and belly.
Mysteries, Yes — Mary Oliver
Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.
How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds will
never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.
Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.
I was going to say, “daisy explosion,” but in a moment of gut check on default language use, opted for “proliferation.” Less aggressive. After all, it’s the beauty of it that moves me to share. Where I live, this is the time of year when daisies like this come out by the hundreds. And though I generally try to keep the tall grasses out of the daisies, there is a wildness that I like in the way that they reflect evening sun.
Easy questions in my mind and heart. I remain a person that pivots easily to a form of self and group reflection. What is proliferating in you? What do you wish proliferating in you? What is one beauty you are noticing? Where do you wish to welcome wildness? It’s never a test. It’s an invitation to listen to self and with others in informal circled format.
The second part of the pivot is always very simple and follows with another harvesting kind of question — And how might that (those responses) inspire what we are up to together? That’s for when I work with teams. Or when I want to weave our reflection together.
I suppose the proliferation I most seek is a wholeness of being human. In myself. In groups. In family. In community. It’s invitation. It’s slowing down. It’s noticing the daisies. It’s practicing wonder together. And a few simple, yet significant language adjustments that welcome gut check presence together.
Here’s to the daisies and the learning they evoke. The ordinary that welcomes a dance with the extraordinary.
It was a couple of weeks ago that Quanita Roberson and I were coming up with a simple process for our Fire & Water small groups to harvest a bit of learning and a bit of clarity. One of the small groups sat at this fire pit, knee to knee.
We were aware that some groups were very tight, traveling well together in their learning and support of each other. We were aware that some groups continued to struggle to find groove.
The point of the small group process was deliberateness of noticing. It was not to resolve old problems. It was not to dissect all of the details, which so often promises fruitfulness, yet so often lands in more quagmire.
The point of the small group practice was to cohere energy, momentarily, to the reality of transitions. The point was to bring focus and energy to learning, which is of course what most of us are trying to do well, whether from the traveling well together or from the struggle together (or from the struggle within).
We asked these three questions to be held in circle, passing a piece to steady the listening and the sharing into the center.
- What is one thing that you celebrate from your experience in this small group?
- What is one learning you wish to carry with you from your experience in this small group?
- Are their agreements you need to clarify in relation to this transition?
As is so often true, these questions were meant to evoke both data (story, insight) and energetic coherence (vibration).
The first question is deliberate to bring energy of celebration and appreciation. And here’s the catch, to bring celebration and appreciation even when all is not easy — this is one of the disciplines that we encourage in Fire & Water.
The second question is deliberate to bring energy to learning. All of life can be learning — this is one of the key orientations that my grandmothers encouraged me to adopt. Being deliberate to see life as learning helps stabilize some other very human experiences (stuck complaining, or stuck lamenting). And because both this question and the first are personalized (“one thing you celebrate…one thing you wish to carry with you…”) there are no wrong answers. These questions help to create witness among the group and witness for the person sharing response.
The third question is deliberate to bring energy of clarity. For some, the agreement is to continue meeting. I’m glad that their connection continues to add life and vitality. For some the agreement is to stop. I’m glad for this too. It’s OK to call an end to a specific form, particularly when a transition is marked with the first two questions. For some the agreement is new form. I’m glad for evolution that is centered in learning and in celebration, that welcomes mystery, yet also trusts intuition for endings.
So, I celebrate these groups in these questions. I carry with me the learning that simple form can create energy to honor and cohere transitions. I carry with me the learning that clarity of endings, or transitions, can be such a gift. It’s basic stuff. Yet it is often basic stuff lost in misdirected purpose or neglected focus.
Here’s to the skill and simplicity to honor these many transitions that are part of human living. And a bow to these beautiful Fire & Water people for engaging in these ways that cohere.
I love all of this post by Nicole Frederickson.
It’s Nicole capping a 100-day challenge of writing. As a writer, it excites me when anyone commits to such a journey. I know some of the transition that occurs — from writing words to being written.
It’s Nicole’s sharing what changed her inner and outer. These always neighbor each other, inviting passage to more connection and awareness.
It’s the sweet pairing that Nicole and Saoirse Charis Graves created — Saoirse adding haiku each day. This for the 100th day.
Living as beloved,
Living each new day freely,
It’s the Derek Walcott poem, Love After Love, that Nicole included, that ends, “Sit. Feast on your life.” What beautiful encouragement.
It’s the photos taken by Libby Smith, who has such a keen eye for beauty and for wonder.
It’s knowing that these three people came to find each other through Fire & Water, the Leadership & Rite of Passage Journey that Quanita Roberson and I created and host. Quite beautiful anytime that people can meet at such heart-opened places.
It’s Nicole harvesting and linking titles to each of her posts. Even the titles by themselves are an encouraging and intriguing read.
And it’s these beautiful closing words from Nicole’s post.
“I’ve learnt plenty along the way, about myself as a writer, how I clearly am deeply connected to the sky, how I can relinquish and surrender the thoughts and cares of who’s reading, finding deep purpose in my own journeying… trusting whoever shows up are the right people.
I smile as I see how the journey continues to bring me closer and closer to finding my voice. As I continue to learn to “say what’s mine to say … not what I think another needs to hear.”
Here’s to the groove created, when any of us commit to a practice of noticing, that begins with what is right in front of us. And from that noticing, beginning to welcome the evolution of ourselves that grows from many moments of right now. And from that evolution, creating further meaningful union with others and with Life itself.
A heartfelt bow. Through me.