It’s another paradox. We have to pause, let it seep in and make sense at a deeper level. Beyond our rational mind.
Like quiet disruptor, just understanding the words without entering into the experience of melding them together is too shallow.
And just like quiet disruptor, the paradox pulls us in at least two directions. Is this internal or external? Which comes first or is it always ‘both/and’?
But without this constant ebb and flow – creating both our own space and space for external change – we either become narrow and self-serving, or we burn out.
During the week I have delighted in where these musings on generous space have led us. And appreciated the exchange of responses and further reflection. I hope these may help us all to grow our capacity to make the kind of change we want to see in our world.
The Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue thoughtfully explored kindness in part of his book ‘Benedictus’
There is a kindness that dwells deep down in things; it presides everywhere, often in the places we least expect. The world can be harsh and negative, but if we remain generous and patient, kindness inevitably reveals itself.
Something deep in the human soul seems to depend on the presence of kindness; something instinctive in us expects it, and once we sense it we are able to trust and open ourselves…
This is a beautiful invitation. Thanks for remembering it Chris M.
Offering our vulnerability
Dr Rachel Naomi Remen talked about ‘healing from our woundedness’ and daring to believe that ‘we are enough’ with Krista Tippett in On Being.
We can become so blind without realising it. Our driven, perfection focussed world seems so real, but it’s actually only a shadow we are commanded to pursue. The promise of ‘if only…’ is as illusory as chasing a rainbow.
It takes courage to say ‘I am enough’, and I suspect that kindness is foundational. Without it – both internally and as our motivation – we are brittle and will fracture.
So let’s not wait until we have it all sorted out before listening with generosity and bringing our whole selves to what we do.
The post on Friday: ‘Saying no’ – because ‘your yes doesn’t count if you can’t say no’ – stirred responses. The relief of being affirmed in pushing against the trend of always on or always agreeing. Permission to be intentional and create quality, not just quantity.
There was also the recognition that there’s saying no and saying no… How we respond is as important as why. Thanks, Mike D for the reminder that we can only learn with practice, and over time.
The writer and journalist Pico Iyer made some profound decisions to ‘say no’ in his late 20s, over 30 years ago. From being a very successful global travel writer based in New York, he chose a radically simpler life in rural Japan. The recording of his conversation with Krista Tippett on The urgency of slowing down was also aired this week in On Being and is delightfully real.
Seeing from the edge
This expression of creating generous space impacting us, our lives, our relationships, and our work also has another dimension. It allows us to step back enough to make better sense of what’s going on.
If we are always up close we can only see what is right in front of us. Our perspective is narrowed. But there are times when it’s vital for us and others that we see the whole picture.
For quiet disruptors, being at the edge is not an uncommon experience. And we can also choose to use that perspective positively. Indeed we can enlarge our ‘edge’ further by stretching our inner world, the values that drive us and our voice in effecting change that matters. Back to the metaphor of stretching an elastic band in an earlier post: Creating generous space.
And be thankful
From welcoming kindness to being present with generosity, a thread runs through our endeavours to create more generous space, both in us and through us. That thread is gratitude.
Not a simplistic 10-times-a-day formula, but being present enough to notice and taking time to recall.
On Thursday morning Steve and I recounted what has happened in our lives and work since the same day in 2017. It’s been an extraordinary year with challenges and pain we certainly weren’t expecting. Yet turning over each stone we found gold. Not because we were trying hard to think positively, but because we could see and name so much that we were thankful for. People and circumstances that have enriched us beyond measure, even if we had to go through the dark to get there. And we also knew who was with us…
I wonder what you are noticing in your reflections on creating generous space. How do you want to stretch deeper, higher and wider? And make the kind of change you are created for?
Thanks for reading
In the week
A diverse collection of musings on generous space…
- Monday: Generous space?
- Tuesday: Enjoying the journey
- Wednesday: Listen generously
- Thursday: Gratitude and generosity
- Friday: Saying no
On the book
Writing has been fascinating, as well as hard work! Your feedback and the act of writing has changed what I think I am producing. It has shifted from being a text about quiet disruptors to being a guidebook for quiet disruptors, including advocating for their emerging positive impact in the world. This week I will update the Bookclub page and will also share the latest draft of the Manifesto for Quiet Disruptors.