Sunday, April 5, 2009

Let us converse about the elephant in the room

I wish I had someone to talk to in conversation about all the turmoil that everyone is experiencing in the room, in the workplace, at the University and in the country. It is a load.

I have just finished reading a book I wish my co-workers would read and we could join in conversation about. The book is called, "Crossing the Unknown Sea; Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity". If I hadn't stumbled upon David Whyte's work through the back door of my own personal troubled voyage, I would run like hell from that title myself, likewise I don't suspect many will be thrilled at the prospect of reading it. I urge you to move past that because I must say that it has helped me immensely to understand - if ever so slightly - how I might have an opportunity to play a positive role in these horrendous changes that are underfoot. After ordering the title through ILL, I got 30 pages into it and knew I had to go buy my own copy if I was going to make it through these "interesting times" at work and in the world at large. It resonates quite loudly within me to seek some sense of this situation to which I have opted for. Finding a place to stand and function at one's best abilities seems to be the order of the day at work. At least for me, I am finding a welcome if tenuous solitary grip within these writings. It occurred to me this morning that others at work might also find strength here.

It is the business of poets to live and examine the edges of things and when a poet with the vision and scope of David Whyte says the game has changed forever for business, I have to pay attention. I am reading something everyone senses, of course, and he goes one step further. He gives tools for facing disease, the unknown and really, really bad weather endemic to these types of changes that we all feel are coming but really do not know how to acknowledge well. We are on the threshold of what will be and hurling towards the essence of our work in a very different work world from whence we entered. In this book, I realize, if we take the time to understand the language of these changes, we can move this troubled situation from invisible ideas onto welcoming and sustainable shores. It is a journey we could do better with wise council. I haven't found better than Whyte:

"In order to get a real conversation with the world you have to drop artificial language, you have to drop politics, and you have to drop an environment based on fear and hiding. People must be encouraged not only to know their craft, their products, their work and the people they serve, but to know a little of themselves. In order to respond to the world of wants, they must know something of what they want themselves. Just as importantly they must know what they do not want. They must also look at their inherited fears around conversation, particularly the conversation about their own gifts. This personal conversation can be very frightening but it is an increasingly necessary one, especially for those who have any leadership role in the organization."

If you have already read it or you read it as a result of this posting, I would be interested in your thoughts.

"Good work is grateful surprise." ~D.W.

...and why not?

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