I wonder, where is your gaze falling these days? What is catching your attention in your line of sight?
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about sightlines and why they are important to me.
Sightlines for creative change
Every change starts with a question.
Why are we doing this? What if we could do it differently? How could we make the most impact?
And every creative change pushes this even further. Not assuming this is just fixing a problem or doing it more efficiently.
Instead, we are seeking a more fundamental shift. At the level of heart and not just head.
The questioning of the here and now is potentially much deeper. At a visceral level of what is really important to us now.
It also asks bigger questions of what are we going to do about it. Together.
What I know from years of leading change in big organisations and elsewhere is that only having one line of sight is not enough. In fact, it is often reckless arrogance.
A dominant narrative or only one person’s perspective is insufficient. We need the humility of multiple and fresh sightlines.
More than ever, we realise we are living in a complex, interconnected world. And for this we need a new path, not an old map.
My sense looking around is that there are people who can help us see differently. Though they are not those we have usually sought to be our heroes.
These are the ones often looking in from the sidelines. The creative, thoughtful changemakers who speak softly about things that matter.
Who may not speak in the language of power and authority. Or structure and process.
But who have something to say. Now.
If we will listen.
Sightlines for internal transformation
However, our sight is not only external.
Last Sunday a friend read John O’Donohue’s A blessing of solitude In our weekly online church gathering.
Each night this week I have read the words and let them shine a light internally. Being prepared to open up fresh sightlines into my soul.
John quotes Irenaeus, a wonderful philosopher and theologian from the second century:
“The glory of God is the human person fully alive.”
And continues: ‘It is lovely to imagine that real divinity is the presence in which all beauty, unity, creativity, darkness and negativity are harmonised. The divine has such passionate creativity and instinct for the fully inhabited life. If you allow your nature to come alive, then everything will come into rhythm… (sometimes) We have fallen out of rhythm with the secret signature and light of our own nature.
‘The shape of each soul is different… When you endeavour to repeat what others have done or force yourself into a preset mould, you betray your individuality. We need to return to the solitude within, to find again the dream that lies at the hearth of the soul. We need to feel the dream with the wonder of a child approaching a threshold of discovery. When we rediscover our childlike nature, we enter into a world of gentle possibility. Consequently, we will find ourselves more frequently at the place of ease, delight and celebration. The false burdens fall away. We come into rhythm with ourselves. Our clay shape gradually learns to walk beautifully on this magnificent earth.’
A blessing of solitude
Therefore, rather than a consolation for lockdown, this blessing published in 1997 is an invitation to open up fresh sightlines and step into a fully inhabited life.
A blessing of solitude
May you recognise in your life the presence, power and light of your soul.
May you realise that you are never alone that your soul in its brightness and belonging connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe.
May you have respect for your own individuality and difference.
May you realise that the shape of your soul is unique, that you have a special destiny here and that behind the facade of your life there is something beautiful, good and eternal happening.
May you learn to see yourself with the same delight, pride and expectation with which God sees you in every moment.John O’Donohue, Anam Cara, Bantam Press, 1997
Comparison and judgements close down healthy sightlines.
Instead, let’s have the courage to step into the light and see ourselves and the world with fresh eyes.
Thanks for reading
PS. Can you ever have too many bluebells?
The thread of insight and formation has woven through this week (and bluebells).