The trajectory of environmental, social, and economic breakdowns is less and less separable from our own development as humans.
Our collective development of a more expanded, inclusive and responsible consciousness is a central dynamic in the emerging story of the miracle of life on this earth. We are a vibrant and influential part of the whole. As leaders we influence the whole. The state of awareness that we inhabit shapes the actions that we take, or neglect to take. What we do matters; what we don’t do also matters.
In February, I participated in CTI’s Co-Active Summit as a presenter and as a participant. Fundamentally, the Summit was asking us to discern and act on our piece, to take unique action in service to the whole. I emerged from that catalytic experience with the clear declaration that I am a commitment to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually fulfilling way of being on this Earth.
In Presence-Based Coaching, we explore how our declarations galvanize us in the world in new ways. While this declaration felt right, in my bones, I really didn’t know what actions the commitment would lead me to. I did know that collaborating with others was an important direction for me, and that this commitment would entail new kinds of partnerships that I couldn’t yet foresee.
As I sat in my commitment, the notion of an “EcoSomatic Leadership” retreat emerged. Eco, meaning at home in the world. Somatic, meaning living fully in our aliveness. And, Leadership, meaning taking responsibility for shaping our worlds.
The dynamic interaction of these three entrypoints puts us in the question- If we are fully awake and listening, connected to the earth and to our own aliveness, what actions will we be called to? How will we lead our lives? Those questions are actively shaping my work and life. Engaging others in the question through EcoSomatic Leadership is one of my responses.
As I began to speak about this emerging vision with people I care for, Henry Kimsey-House and Carey Smith both declared strong interest, and I made the request of them to partner with me. It’s taken since February to sense what wanted to come forward, connect with the two most perfect design and teaching partners I can imagine, share our purposes and form a team, and articulate what our joint offer is.
I know that this new offer will draw from and integrate everything I know. And that, in collaborating with two very strong partners, I will learn far more than I will teach. I deeply trust that the synthesis of our three deep and disparate backgrounds will lead to something truly remarkable.
I am profoundly honored by the opportunity to create something new with wise people and good friends, and to invite those who are drawn to come and share it with us.
Please read more about EcoSomatic Leadership, coming in August!
Walker and I made another little road trip last weekend. We drove down to my friend Carey Smith's art show, Body, Earth & Imagination. It was held at the beautiful timberframe dojo at the Body Therapy Institute, where I have been many times to work with Carey and Richard.
The space had been transformed for this two day show. Music playing, evocative art displayed in graceful triptychs, found objects from nature interpenetrating with Carey's creations, explanatory pieces that entered my heart as poetry. The space was lit up with sun. Color and words and patterns and the earth mingled, inseparable from the space. I was not the only one to be moved to tears within minutes of walking in.
This isn't, of course, an art review. Simply an expression of gratitude to have been touched by the art, and by the space in which the art came to its fullest expression. And, to the invitation that the art really was, which is to listen deeply to my own voice, and to give it expression for the sake of something that matters.
Which, of course, as Carey explained, was much more the point than the art itself. She invited us to experience art-making, as distinct from simply experiencing art. My heart full, I visited the smorgasbord of luscious materials on tables on the back porch overlooking the pond. Being a physicist type, I immediately felt daunted by the plethora of possibilities, and my own self-judgment about my lack of skills for producing anything that looked like something. The blessed opportunity to let go was immediately apparent!
Which, of course, as Carey explained, was much more the point that the art-making itself. In a lovely dialogue with her art teacher, Sue Anderson, Carey related how she had showed up at Sue's doorstep seven years earlier, not knowing what a paintbrush was for, and persisted until Sue caved and took her on as a private student. Her description of the teacher/student relationship resonated for me, and sounded much like what the best of coaching can be. Her take (which I'm good at reminding others about!) is that our standards and self-judgments only get in the way, and the process of art-making (or living!) is rendered much easier if we are in a practice of giving it over.
So, tentatively, I picked up a birch stick, and twirled it back and forth. Nothing. No ideas. Nada.
Feeling silly, I picked up a few feathers. I thought, well, maybe I can lash the feathers onto the stick. Some blue yarn did the trick. Looked silly, but it was a start.
I jammed a small conch shell down on the end. Some dried weeds looked like fun, as did purple yarn, and they were quickly appended to the stick. Some seaweedy looking stuff might work to lash as well as the yarn, and added its own organic texture. Yucca husk, lashed to the base, cradled the bottom, and the seaweedy stuff made it a little nest-like. Etc., etc. You get the idea.
I quickly became swept away in the process; the materials took over and led the way. In fifteen minutes I had, with little or no attachment to the results, created something that was interesting and fun. Maybe even attractive, although that had become secondary. After this experience of surrender, my seeing, my feeling, my listening, my aliveness were more acute. I felt move alive.
Even the strawberries were delicious!
Isn't this what we're called to do? Surrender what we think we know, again and again? Follow our subtle hunches, without knowing where the will lead? Turn ourselves over to love? Say Yes! to what calls us?
And, might art be a place to practice this?
Thank you, Carey Smith.