Monday, May 09, 2005

In deep, shapeshifting, and surfing uncertainty

Well, as Chris Corrigan has remarked, I am in deep. I have fallen in love with Open Space...and much like falling in love in general, it is leaving me sleepless, pre-occupied, and roaming about with an evangelical zeal telling anyone who will listen about my new beloved. Thank you, thank you, to those whose ears I have been bending.

In deep is not a comfortable place. My ship has sailed, compass lost, and I am headed out into the thick of the storm--no going back--only a faith-filled surfing on the leading edge of change. As Rumi says, there is a window in the center of my chest that has been opened. To close it would be a betrayal of self. To leave it open invites all sorts of discomfort.

Change is not a comfortable process. Deep transformative change, where we push ourselves to the edge of chaos, can only be navigated by an engagement of soul that manifests as faith and love in action. My dear friend and colleague K. Louise, calls the energy of this experience, shapeshifting energy. For me that phrase really captures the uncertainty and discomfort of the process. It can feel like peeling off one's skin and walking raw and exposed into an unknown future. In transformative change, the goal is inherently unknowable; to proceed we must engage our faith, be willing to soften into the harsh places, and move forward in our boldest truth with presence and non-attachment.

And so I sit, like a pea on a saucepan, as Kipling would say, while the whirlwind of what I have invited transforms me into someone new and unexpected.

Change of topic here....a bit...
Chris Corrigan has posted an excerpt from his report on the Appreciative Summit he facilitated in Prince Rupert last week. I urge any of you who care about Aboriginal Youth or deep community change process to go read it. It is a remarkable piece of work.

I posted a comment, which I will excerpt a bit here, because I found some pieces in other blogs that relate to what I was trying to say and I want to capture the connections...

... connections to the radical environmental reading that Dave Pollard has been blogging about...about how colonial culture and much of what we currently consider civilization, has robbed us of our capacity for personal responsibility. I am hearing a resonance between what the youth are saying/wanting about their communities and what is emergent in the world in general--that we are experiencing a tryannical narrowing of latitude of personal response--that our natural capacities for resilience have been stolen/repressed/oppressed to the extent where personal and/or social/cultural destruction has become an epidemic and endemic behaviour reaction. An opening of the space between us--a revolutionary mutuality of respect and care--feels like one of the few healthy responses available. Opening space--for individuals to reclaim their personal power through responsibility and then share it as mature beings--feels like an evolutionary step that will lead to, as you say, a possibility larger than our fear. The voice, the wisdom and the fearlessness of youth are calling us home to our own true natures.

From Stephen Downes at half-an-hour:

Nietzsche, writing at the height of this society, recalls a similar age:
"Socrates guessed even more. He saw through the noble Athenians; he saw that his own case, his idiosyncrasy, was no longer exceptional. The same kind of degeneration was quietly developing everywhere: old Athens was coming to an end.
And Socrates understood that the world needed him--his method, his cure, his personal artifice of self-preservation. Everywhere the instincts were in anarchy, everywhere one was within sight of excess: monstrum in animo was the common danger."
"The impulses want to play the tyrant," wrote Socrates, and we, today, see no shortage of the manifestations of such impulses...

From a comment by John King on Stephen's post:

...this is a good and timely piece that reminds me to re-read Doris Lessing's "Prisons We Choose to Live Inside". You may recall that these Massey Lectures from the mid 1980's ('85 or '86?)were written with exceptional clarity and quiet alarm about an increasing return to barbarism enabled by apathy.

And from Dave Pollard on Derrick Jensen's "Walking on Water":

Teaching anything, even writing, is fundamentally about teaching people to be free, and then teaching them to be responsible -- both lessons are revolutionary and counter to everything the education system stands for, so if you dare do
this, be prepared for push-back from The Man.

The job of words is to direct us toward experience, to round out experience, to facilitate experience, and to give us ways to share at least pale shadows of that experience with those we love. And the job of words is to help us learn to be -- and act -- human.

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