It’s natural for us humans to make sense of things. To make sense of the journey. Individually and collectively. We can’t not. Due to the kind of brains that we have. I would suggest also, due to the kind of hearts we have. We seek meaning. We can’t help to seek pattern.
Seeking and seeing pattern is generally a pretty good thing. It helps us to see the broader arc of time and circumstance. It helps us to see the broader ecosystem of experience.
The shadow side of pattern is getting stuck in reductive linearity seasoned heavily with the lure of predictability. Its outcome is a kind of numbing. Shutting down an ever-changing dynamic into a fixed and rigid entity.
I was in a sense making moment Sunday. Glad. With friend and colleague, Quanita. We were thinking about the group we had worked with that day. We were seeking for what was underneath the facilitation, and further, what was underneath the intent to create strategic plan. We were seeking more of the story that our people were searching for together.
Here’s some of what we came up with:
- Mystery. Let’s not kid ourselves. There will always be mystery. Unknown. Uncertainty. Unpredictable. Nuanced detail. But mystery. In the team. In the family. In the movement. In the organization. Mystery has a different invitation than confirming a list. Mystery points both to awareness of inner, and, awareness of outer.
- Spirit. The operating system in mystery requires orientation to spirit. The unseen. Some layer of divine. Some layer of serendipity. Or self-organizing. Or organic appearing. I know that people have quite varied reaction to references to spirit. I would suggest there is something well behind the rational of our good brains that is in play.
- Trust. It’s different than knowing. It’s a gut layer of intuition. It’s internal, but most likely, arising from the external too. Trust is a choice. It’s leaning in when not fully knowing why. It’s being willing to connect ideas and thoughts and feelings without being fully clear. It’s less managing the movement of water in the river. It’s more getting in the river.
These are invitations. Mystery, spirit, and trust. In my experience, people are hungry to have these welcomed. So as to speak the truth. So as to go together, in reclaimed clarity of how we undeniably exist in connection. Naturally.
A story is told of a monk wanting to learn Zen. The monk approaches a Zen Master. “I’ve recently been initiated to this brotherhood. Can you now show me the way to Zen?” The Zen Master paused, thoughtfully, and then replied with a question, “Do you hear the murmuring of the mountain stream?” The monk replied that he did. The Zen Master then shared, “That is your entrance.”
One of the things that I like in this story is that the Zen Master points back to the monk’s ability to listen.
There have been times in my life when I’ve thought of myself as a good listener. When that has gone well, I’m hearing words. I’m hearing patterns and feelings under the words. When that has gone really well, I’m able to listen my way, starting from the “anything” that creates access to the “everything.” It is my ability to give myself, often quite joyfully, to the “starting anywhere” and then “following it everywhere.” The listening is as much as anything, an ability to listen more deeply to what is within me, and to share that with others also listening.
I seek this in groups. There are few things that feel as rich as a group, connected enough to listen, and to begin to follow a simple path of everywhere that begins with anywhere.
It snowed where I live this past weekend. Three inches on the ground in the valley where I am. I suspect a foot or more, higher in the mountains. Those who ski and snowboard will be quite happy.
This snow is a bit late in the season. Crocus and daffodils have already began peeking their way through the ground, warmed by the sun’s call. People have dressed down a layer of coat, themselves peeking with anticipation to the changing season.
There is a beauty in the snow. When I woke Sunday, looking out my bedroom window to mono-clouded and mono-colored sky, “Wow!” was the first expression from my lips. Wow for the beauty. Wow for the surprise. Wow for the gentleness of it — this was not a bitter wind storm that had created this canvas before me. Nor was it biting cold that continued to craft what was before me, as I looked outside other windows.
When we can learn to see the beauty and gentleness in the surprises before us in working together in groups, teams, and communities, just as we do in witnessing and welcoming Winter’s Sunday visit to Spring, then too, might we know some added, and needed joy of being human together.
When Winter visits Spring.