Complexity + Change = Simplicity

IMG_0925 The following segment of Julius Caesar by Shakespeare used to be posted on a bulletin board above my desk a few years ago:

There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows, and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now affloat;

And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures.

On first glance, it seems to be a bit gloomy, fatalistic. On another — and to me at that point in the extremely difficult work we were engaged in — it meant something very hopeful, promising. It meant that if what we were trying to do was going to work, then it was going to be “now,” and that everyone needed to join in to make it happen. Unfortunately, I also knew that many of those involved did not want to be a part of any change, for any reason. Being involved wasn’t on their agenda. They were mired in their day-to-day existence, and not loving it. Often, that routine — whether enjoyable or not — is something concrete that can be depended upon. IMG_1051 The tension around the idea of “letting go” and trying something different, or learning and growing as a common endeavor was too enormous for many, and so, our work failed. That sounds so dismal.

To think about it in a different way, you have to picture a surfer who is waiting for that perfect wave. She gets ready, is up, is going to go for it, begins to coast up that curl toward the seemingly elusive tunnel ahead of her as the wave grows, but somehow the power is just not with her. She misses it and rides over the back of the wave, watching it rush to the shore without her. IMG_1045 Of course there are other waves…Other beaches…

During that time, I was recommended a book by Margaret J. Wheatley called Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future. It’s a beautiful book I had hoped to glean something from to encourage the work I referenced above. In leafing through it now — several years past — I know now what I suspected then. Ideas of this kind would have been scoffed at by those who were afraid of opening themselves up to change. Ideas of this nature were threatening to them. Ideas about “the courage of conversation…”

Where can we find the courage to start a good conversation? The answer is found in the word itself. ‘Courage’ comes from the Old French word for heart (cuer). We develop courage for those things that speak to our heart. Our courage grows for things that affect us deeply, things that open our hearts. Once our heart is engaged, it is easy to be brave. ( p. 25)

Ideas about “willing to be disturbed…”

We can’t be creative if we refuse to be confused. Change always starts with confusion; cherished interpretations must dissolve to make way for the new. Of course it’s scary to give up what we know, but the abyss is where newness lives. Great ideas and inventions miraculously appear in the space of not knowing. If we can move through the fear and enter the abyss, we are rewarded greatly. We rediscover we’re creative. (p. 37)

Ideas about being “willing to reclaim time to think…”

If we can pause for a moment and see what we’re losing as we speed up, I can’t imagine that we would continue with this bargain. We’re forgetting the very things that make us human. Our road to hell is being paved with hasty intentions. I hope we can notice what we’re losing — in our day-to-day life, in our community, in our world. I hope we’ll be brave enough to slow things down. (p. 96)

So it’s Friday. Time to slow down, time to converse about possibilities, time to reflect, and be creative. For me, that means giving Photoshop some time and learning how to create different images with the photos I’ve taken around here. Here’s a sample of what I’ve done so far. The one below — not above. The RT did that one. Not bad for a mouse potato, huh? Well, actually, a pair of mouse potatoes. Now I just have to figure out how to get mine into the header on my other blog. But not today. That’s a working kind of webmastering thing. I just want to create. Well, I may have to do some housework. Feh!

Have a peaceful weekend…
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