Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Recalling Ourselves

Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic WorldI just finished reading a fascinating book called Leadership and the New Science. Yes, fascinating. I do have eclectic tastes, I know.
Anyway – here is an excerpt that I found quite poetic:
"We must know what 'center' feels like. We must know who we are, our patterns of behavior, our values, our intentions. The ground of our identity and experience must feel familiar to us; we must know what it feels like to be standing in it. But we don't expect that we will be perfectly balanced in that center all the time. We know that we will drift into the wrong activities or be thrown off balance by life's chaos. But we also will recognize when we've moved off too far, and will be able to recall ourselves more quickly to who we want to be…we must keep participating in the moment." – Meg Wheatley, pg. 154
The book is written with managing organizations in mind yet touches on a wisdom that I think I would like to remind myself of in my day to day life. This 'center' that Wheatley writes about – this place where we stand with full recognition of who we are – speaks very strongly to the woman I am today. Mainly because I realize at this point in my life that I get pulled off center – and that's okay. Chaos exists in my life every day because there really is very little that I do control. However, there is quite a bit about myself that I am aware of and that is going to determine how I respond.
I know more about who I am today than at any other time in my life – and that is an awareness which I suspect will continue to follow me into the rest of my life. The act of continuing to 'recall ourselves' isn't easy but no one said it had to be instantaneous. Actually, that is Wheatley's point – solutions and wisdom are not automatic – we learn by allowing ourselves to get swept up in the mystery of what we don't understand. We grow when we are resilient and open our eyes during the storm.

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