Leaning into the light.
Isn’t it a lovely, inviting phrase? It doesn’t ask us to be all-in, immediately, but be prepared to reorientate ourselves. To seek after light and leave the shadows.
This week, naming and engaging with thresholds and transition continues to hold my attention.
However, I knew it wasn’t enough to observe, I had to commit to crossing my own. Letting the experience of digging deeper do its own work in me.
So… I had the opportunity to join Seth Godin‘s new Creatives Workshop. And I took it knowing that I was making a choice to be vulnerable and stretched, probably beyond anything I have done before…
The journey so far, including posting dailies (below), tells its own story. And if you read previous posts, you’ll recognise some of the themes, but maybe with a different take.
Pause to say yes
The pause before we say yes is exquisite.
It needs to be there to frame the space we are entering,
the lapsed moment that shows that this is intentional,
we can trust our yes…
The pause before you say yes is powerful.
I know the decision is important,
it carries meaning I only glimpse in shadow form,
yet, I can hear your voice getting stronger.
The pause before I say yes is personal.
It is my choosing to be vulnerable to myself
and not turn away,
or cover up with clever words and close the lid.
So I pause, savour the moment and enjoy the company.
Knowing that today is different.
The power of words
Do we realise how powerful words are?
They can liberate or confine. Inflict damage yet offer healing.
They express the whole heart, or demonstrate the hole that is there.
Words. More than an ordered collection of letters.
What we say to ourselves and speak to others opens doors to walk through, or closes them shut.
Today, I’ve been reflecting on my relationship with words as part of crossing the threshold. It’s been humbling.
I have seen the ways in which it has been undermined by over-zealous parenting: “Don’t talk like that. You sound like your grandmother, and no one likes her.” So I didn’t speak. Or the automatic correction of anything written well into my twenties. So I didn’t write.
I have felt the way my anger and frustration erupts if I feel like I am being misunderstood or not listened to properly, by people I care about. But this is our relationship with words. Not just me. Or just you.
I have enjoyed my delight in seeing words written well. Beautifully crafted, like works of art. And know those writers I turn to time after time for that exquisite experience of effortless communication that meets the eye, the mind and the soul with ease.
I remembered again that feeling of being transported and seeing places through the eyes of travellers who wanted others to experience sights and sounds elsewhere. Even if that was just down the street, or under the hedgerow.
And I recalled my commitment to using words with integrity. Never treating them lightly, honouring what had been uttered. So that I would be worthy of giving life-giving words that brought light and colour, wisdom and hope to those who receive them.
So today I choose what I will take with me across the threshold. And what I will leave behind.
This is oakmoss – Evernia prunastri – a form of lichen seen frequently in our valley.
Except that you wouldn’t see it on the top of an old fence post.
I put it there to take a closer look when I picked it up from the damp grass this morning.
Isn’t it beautiful?
The thing about lichen is that it requires a particular kind of environment to grow. One which benefits both the organism and the particular fungi it feeds off. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
So not on a tanalised fence post…
OK. What’s the point?
Sometimes we need to move in order to see things more clearly. To understand what is important and where the beauty we seek originates.
Otherwise, we don’t notice what is right under our feet.
You cannot step into the same river twice
This phrase, attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus, has a fatalistic tone. But today it feels hugely permissive.
It suggests that we can revisit issues and thresholds and find that whilst still the same, they are fundamentally different. They are not the same river.
I love delicious paradoxes!
In this case, I am sensing permission to pick things up that I thought were dead and over. Not that they’re the same as before – things have moved on and I have moved on. But there are heart issues that are not finished.
Whilst contemplating my creative heroes and trying to distil what this creative endeavour was about I formed a phrase that took me by surprise:
Feeding the soul of creative leadership
I thought I was done with work on leadership. I’ve been out of formal leadership for too long. But perhaps no.
And I thought I’d found a dead-end with creative leadership (i.e. a way of leading, not leading creatives) last autumn. But perhaps not.
And feeding souls… Well, feeding souls has never gone away, but I just didn’t know what it might look like.
So just perhaps today is a foretaste of stepping into the river afresh.
Especially in such good company.
There’s something very powerful about giving myself permission.
Without it, I am someone else’s copy.
I am only half-formed.
It’s sad, but I think many of us wander through life thinking that we’re free, but we’ve never fully opened the door. So we’re used to our reflection being grey in the half-light. We don’t really know what our voices sound like. And our connections, our mutually symbiotic relationships, are weedy and brittle, not life-full and strong.
So I am going to open the door.
Better late than never.
Crossing your threshold?
I wonder what has resonated with you?
Have you felt the pull towards leaning into the light, rather than staying in the shadows?
Or have you already crossed your threshold?
I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading
Has been a full week (in the UK from one storm, Ciara, to the next, Denis…)