Inner & Outer & Us

Last Thursday, my friend Kinde Nebeker and I hosted an evening gathering on the Inner and Outer of Evolutionary Leadership. There were 20 of us in total, an impressive group of smart, skilled, and inquiring people.

Our format included some opening ritual, invoking a center in the circle of our twenty chairs. A candle. Flowers. It included some context on why inner and outer matter. It included a check-in, inviting all to share some of why they chose to come to this gathering. Kinde and I offered some teaching and sharing story, some thinking out loud to help set additional context. Then we turned to one another, a leadership move to the outer — what does this have to do with you? — a fundamental sense-making together.

One of the things I noticed over the last few days since the gathering is that I have been paying more attention to inner condition. For me, to the pause that so often helps more than my tendency to want to plow through a few more accomplishments. The “less is more” part. Funny to think that in contemporary culture, a pause is often an accomplishment, isn’t it. I’ve felt a bit more encouraged — the kind of courage that a community, found even in a temporary evening of honesty and authenticity together, can offer.

I&O&UsOne of the harvest sheets is captured in this photo. It is responses from the group to what this inquiry about the inner and outer has to do with us. You may see some things you’d expect here, and perhaps a few surprises:

  • inner and outer are not separate
  • caution against the overuse of dualistic language
  • invocation to reclaim a narrative of more potential
  • practicing gratitude
  • notice how inner and outer change through the arc of life
  • listen, meditate, dream work
  • the cycles of renewal that many of us encounter
  • the deep hunger that many feel to bridge to more of a whole self
  • pain is sometimes a doorway into discovery of the inner
  • how many of us are remembering something we were born with but have forgotten
  • how the quality of any intervention depends on the state of the intervenor
  • territory of feelings feeling us and us feeling feelings

We finished with a round of naming pearls and practices — one key insight and one thing that each person felt inspiration to do, to practice. A simple practice to begin or to continue. We ended with an invocation of permission, a ringing of the bell, to do those very practices.

Kinde and I have intent to continue this inquiry together and to offer it out to others. There are indeed, many people hungry for this territory. I’m grateful to those that joined in Thursday.

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