It Is Human To Fall In Love, and If Lucky, To Welcome It

As a younger boy, I think in kindergarten, I remember feeling my first crush on a girl in my class. Her name was Dixie. She wore a purple shirt. I remember chasing her, and her me, on the playground. Such frolicking, and innocent fun, right.

In other stages of life, I remember other stages of love. A crush on a teacher. Being shy in middle school and high school, but eventually falling head over heals with a steady girlfriend that would shape so much of young adult life.

As life grows, I suppose perhaps, so does love. I realize that love becomes so much more than infatuation and a lot of firsts. It also becomes heavy lifting and being able to stand in a whole lot of imperfect together. It becomes grace, working with difference, a baseline of unity over years, and even a few scars to show for challenges along the way.

It is human to fall in love, isn’t it.

It is human to desire connection, isn’t it.

It is human and natural to want to be in association, isn’t it.

Something in us, I believe, knows this. From a soft or afraid heart. And from an instinct to be wise.

I’m learning about reclaiming the naturalness of wanting to be in connection, of wanting to be open to feeling love, and to being love. I’m learning, on so many layers, as people paying attention have for eons, that there is energy in love. An expansion. It’s different than the energy of fear, which so often is a contraction. And though these may be topics most often taken on by poets, they apply of course to working with teams.

I’m headed in to a week of offering a workshop on teams. How delicious. And I realize that I’m continuing to learn (in a no finish line kind of way) about love and being in love.

In love with, self.

In love with, other.

In love with, community.

In love with, silence.

In love with, rest.

In love with, challenge.

In love with, mystery.

In love with, the unknown.

In love with, uncertainty.

In love with, difference.

In love with, ease.

In love with, this moment followed by the next.

Amazing by what can get started with girls named Dixie wearing purple shirts, isn’t it.


At The Bottom Of It All

I like mysteries. I like the unravelling of what was not known, revealed into more categories of the known. I like the feeling of “let’s get to the bottom of it.” I like the deeper understanding, particularly when it reveals an inherent simplicity that was there all along.

In working collaboratively, one layer of the “bottom of it” is “better decision-making.” That and “working better in teams.” We humans, whether in our teams, our committees, our communities, our churches, our families, our governments — I believe that we want to do good together. I believe that we want to be wise together. I believe that we want to experience the promise that “together we are better.”

“Better together” takes root in most philosophical and wisdom traditions. Wisdom councils. Democracy itself. It may seem only vaguely visible, but remains in most of us as a hope. Yet, the practice in life is often not going together. Most of us collapse in complexity, feeing our despair in overwhelm rather than leaning further in to our collectiveness.

I’ve read two pieces lately that highlight the need and a way of thinking about it. The first came from the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Executive Director, Larry Greenfield. His words that touched me are about “scaling back the sacred.” He was providing perspective on Donald Trump’s condescension into Utah this week to remove protection for two national and sacred monuments. It’s a very frustrating move that will surely battle out in the courts now. I know that it is very involved. However, I simply don’t trust Donald Trump’s maturity nor his motives in such a decision. It does not feel at all like “wiser together.”

The second piece I read is from Chris Corrigan’s blog, about better decision-making. The video that Chris includes, featuring Mariano Sigman and Dan Ariely is outstanding. It’s 8 minutes that both create the context and some really helpful and simple examples about doing better together. Enjoy it fully.

Here’s to all of us in the mystery together, perhaps most significantly, to reclaim, at the bottom of it all, the processes of engaging dialogue and diversity that we so desperately need these days to do good together.



Pool of Relationality

I learned a new phrase last week that I’ve been looking for for a long time. “Pool of relationality.” It was a friend and colleague Corbin Tobey Davis that spoke it as a group of five of us convened in a learning cohort.

Something happens when we create the conditions for being together in deliberate ways. Yes, that is for conversation. Yes, that is for stories. Yes, that is for curiosity and questions together. These are all wonderful things. And most of us have a general orientation towards the power of working together. Even the smallest of inklings toward “the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts” is helpful.

However, there is a nuanced layer that I’ve been experimenting with for quite sometime. It’s felt a bit elusive, like the search for the philosopher’s stone. Focus too much on it and you will miss it. Focus to little on it, and it will seem not present, though in reality, is nearby. Just not seen nor felt.

I’ve called it “composite being” before. I’ve called it “field.” Sometimes “chemistry.” Sometimes “synchronicity.” Sometimes “flow.” All of these are accurate. And, all are inadequate. Language gives us a chance. But feeling and intuition must accompany language to get us closer to fine.

When we are together, in a pool of relationality, there is just more that is available than when we are not. It is as if we are plugged in to a whole new frequency that gets us in to the secret section of the library that requires special permission to be within. New frequency. New understanding. Deeper understanding. More ease. More obviousness — sometimes so obvious to us as individuals plugged in that we forget quickly that it was the “pool” from which our individual knowing was seeded. The pool, if I offer another image is like a heat source. When you feel that warmth, you can quickly forget about the cold. Yet, step away from the fire into the cold of the night and your realize how great that warmth was, and you seek to return to it.

I’ve worked with oodles of groups. I’ve been participant. I’ve been host and co-host. I’ve been in beginnings, middles, and ends with everyone from strangers to intact shared teams tasked with the future of a project, an initiative, or a vision. I’ve been in 45 minutes huddles that changed everything. I’ve been in multi-day retreats that slow-cooked all of us. It took me a while to even begin to see and count on the pool of relationality. I don’t want to unintentionally get too mystical here — but let’s not remove the mystical either. It too is essential to go with our good minds, and words, and thinking. I’ve seen this pool of relationality be so clear, in the moment. So easy. It would seem like what we get with one another in the pool will never go away. Will never be lost. However, I’ve seen the lost also. That design that felt so easy and obvious when in the pool, became hard to even remember two days later. Or hard to feel imbued with such natural and life-giving energy.

Who we are together is different and more than who we are alone. Thanks Meg Wheatley. It’s one of the key learnings that I picked up that came from our now 25 years of friendship and colleagueship.

Yup. This simple truth, and it’s nuancing, changes how we pay attention to what we get together that we can’t get when we are not together.

I get it that being in teams and relation can be troubling and challenging also. Yes. Sucky at times. Fair. Let’s stay curious about all of that.

But for now, just let our attention rest on the pool. It’s about learning source, not just losing ourselves further in the story of individual (and sometimes egoic) brilliance. To change the story of source — well, that changes a lot doesn’t it.

Thanks Corbin — and everyone I’ve been thinking with and journeying with to get to this glimmer.