We Were Made for These Times!
What follows is an extraordinary call of the heart by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Not only is it worth reading, it's worth reading aloud -- so you hear it and feel it as well as see it. Then, you get to decide who you want to share it with -- and how. This is a piece of deep, soul-inspired, primal writing that deserves to travel to every corner of the Earth.
"My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The luster and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.
What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these - to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.
The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for."
Clarissa Pinkola Estes: American poet, post-trauma specialist, Jungian psychoanalyst, and author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.
Avoiding Reality at All Costs
The Heart of Innovation is thrilled to publish the following inspired rant by one of our favorite clients, Doug Stuke, Associate Professor at Post University's Malcolm Baldrige School of Business, Learning Head at Aetna, and all around cool guy. Doug's post is the launch of a new series of guest posts by Idea Champion's clients -- our attempt to provide our readers with unique viewpoints, insights, and a healthy dose of in-the-trenches-wisdom.
"Reality" is way over-rated.
Frankly, I am pretty sick of it most days, with its in-your-face, glowing white noise electric fueled buzz, tweets and dinging OMG LOLs.
Like my amped up, power tool-obsessed neighbors (we call them "777" -- the neighbors of the beast), it's loud, annoying and really cramping my style. Yes, we are all inter-connected, but even more, we are creatures in love with our cages -- living within our own little boundaries that define our world views and limit our possibilities.
Ironically, we have never been better informed as a species, able to access unprecedented levels of information that hold the promise to empower and expand.
In one week, the New York Times contains more information than a person had access to in a lifetime in the 18th century. And yet, escaping reality has become an addiction.
According to Jane McGonigal, Director of the Institute for the Future Game R&D and author of Reality is Broken, our species invests three billion hours weekly playing video games.
Astoundingly, the average young person racks up 10,000 hours of gaming by the age of 21 -- or 24 hours less than they spend in a classroom for all of middle and high school if they have perfect attendance.
Kids these days!
That's one way to avoid reality. Here are three other ways I prefer:
Expand Your Mind:
No, this doesn't require redefining the meaning of drug testing in the footsteps of Hunter "I-hate-to-advocate-drugs-alcohol-violence-or-insanity-to-anyone-but-they've-always-worked-for-me" S. Thompson.
It does, however, require plugging in, not dropping out.
Last month, for example, my son, who lives on the opposite coast, e-mailed me saying that he had just enrolled in a Berkley School of Music on-line songwriting course.
The spooky thing? I had also enrolled in the same course two weeks earlier.
Independently, we had both come across Coursera.org -- a social entrepreneurship company that partners with top universities in the world to offer their best courses taught by their top professors online for anyone -- for free.
I began my first course Think Again: How to Reason and Argue in mid-November with 170,000 fellow classmates from around the planet!
One quintessential element of avoiding reality lies in our ability to imagine possibilities that lie outside of our (or our organization's) reality tube and then innovating a way to get there.
With the rise of fast food and pre-packaged food in the 1960's, coupled with millions of mom's leaving the kitchen for the workforce, there was a steep decline in baking product sales. To overcome this decline, one forward thinking company -- Arm & Hammer -- innovated itself into a whole new product space without changing a single aspect of its product other than the consumer mental model.
Henry Ford put it another way, "If I had asked them what they had wanted, they would have said a faster horse."
To reinvent oneself and one's organization means always being the outsider looking in, never quite settling into conventional thinking about what is real and the limits that come with it.
When we were infants, our minds were like rain forests -- a virgin ecosystem free of boundaries and rational limits. We gained experiences and created "footsteps" in the forest via synaptic connections that allowed us to survive and make sense of the world. Over time and repetition these footsteps become trails and then roads and then super highways.
The resulting "mental GPS" allows you to read this blog, sip coffee, check the time, adjust the temperature. and drive your car all at the same time (I think there are laws against this now, but being a rebel has its own rewards).
The downside is that refining a whole world of options into an efficient few means that many, many other choices are automatically discarded.
When I feel as if I am facing the ONLY option, I now resist the safety and consider doing the exact opposite or nothing at all.
It is in the combination of extreme choices where our innovative freedom lies and everything remains possible.