Updated: Aug 3, 2018
As Robert Greenleaf writes, “great ideas…come into the world as gently as doves. Perhaps, then, if we listen attentively, we shall hear, amid the uproar of empires and nations, a faint flutter of wings, the gentle stirring of life and hope” (Greenleaf, 2002, page 25).
As I learn to stand at the edge of unknowing, deeply trusting the emerging future that is not to be rushed for its grace-filled life-long reveal, I am learning to better see and hold in sacredness the miracle of each moment and that every moment is so very far from coincidence, a perfectly orchestrated threading to bring us to where we are always meant to be.
“Liberating visions can come from anywhere at any time…Important…are:
· Immerse oneself in the experiences the world offers.
· Be accepting of the people involved in these experiences and seek to understand what moves them.
· Acknowledge – and stand in awe before – the ineffable mystery that shrouds the source of all understanding of human motives that leads to vision
· Be open to receive, and act upon, what inspiration offers” (Greenleaf, 1998, pages 58 – 59).
A new mantra to my list: Be present and available in nature, with every person, in every experience that may appear ordinary and in every experience in which you know its reverence because your heart feels what no words can adequately convey.
In ORGL 610: Leadership Ethics I was handed a box with what might appear to outsiders as a “simple” gift. Ah, but for me, it was a box with a most precious content. Once again, it was permission I gave myself to hear the soft click of yet another puzzle piece in place. When I was wrestling with an assignment because I was currently not part of an organization as a leader, the gift came in these words leadership is not only leadership in an organization; leadership can be leading in organizing. Such as a social movement.
I reflect back on the gentle wings of that dove I have heard periodically. One when my four-legged soul mate left Earth. Another when my dear friend and I spent her last months of her life together with me as letter writer for her sons so that they could read their mother’s words of wisdom when she was no longer on Earth. It was in parallel to the start of this ORGL program.
During one of our conversations she shared I am not confused anymore, seeing every moment as extraordinary was now habit for her. In another of our conversations, she shared how she strives to inspire others sitting in chairs next to her, all of them receiving chemotherapy treatments as they fight for the oh, so not ordinary moments of life. In yet another discussion we talked of her bravery to fire her oncologist because she did not want to be treated for the disease alone; she desired to journey in healing with this disease mind, body, and soul. In one of our final talks we revisited her vow she made when she was first diagnosed – how she would make it matter that she had cancer. We talked of how I might carry that vow forward doing my part to also make it matter.
Fourteen months ago, as my friend took her last breath, my conceptualization was I would find the path that made it matter related to terminal disease, and I would inspire others not to give up.
My conceptualization has grown to include those who journey with PTSD. On occasion, my conceptualization explores Alzheimer’s and Dementia. It puts death integrated into life as a center pivot in which all roads begin from there, just as it does not diverge from an equally centered place based on an unknown author’s words I want to inspire people; I want someone to look at me and say because of you I did not give up. It conceives a world of hope.
“Why does a historian study the ‘dead” past? To reveal how much of it lives in us today. Why does a biologist study the “mute” world of nature? To allow us to hear its voice speaking of how entwined we are in life’s ecology. Why does a literary scholar study the world of fiction? To show us that the facts can never be understood except in communion with the imagination” (Palmer, 2007, p. 55). Why does a servant-leader in training desire to write about those who people see as being in a hopeless situation, if they see these individuals at all? To show that hope flourishes, that hope can’t be extinguished in the ebbs of life, to show that “the self creates the world by means of projection. Much of the world’s violence, for example, is an acting out of the violence we find within ourselves, an effort to get rid of our inner demons by projecting them ‘out there’” (Palmer, 1993, p. 12). I perceive much of the world’s hopelessness is acting out of the despair and fear found within ourselves. When I have feared, I have not seen hope. I anticipate my feelings are not unique to only me.
I conceptualize this:
I imagine finding a small village, a team of people whose job they love doing involves meeting people where they are at on their transformational journeys from death to rebirth, not where the team is at in their perspectives, beliefs, values, histories, and so forth. A team that I can join whose vision and mission is to help an individual heal holistically, mind, body and spirit; that will treat the “all” of the individual. To treat the all so that the individual does not need the new technologies and drugs that perpetuate the financial expense which depletes their budgets to buy the natural foods, caught in a doom loop of paying for processed foods that further deplete the world resources in addition to the individual’s already drained bank accounts, and perhaps even cause the individual to lose their shelter that they once knew as home before they could no longer pay their mortgage. To treat the all of an individual by enabling them to give their attention to what they want to bring into reality and break the cycle of perpetuating more of what they are trying to avoid (Scharmer, Kaufer, page 21).
And if an individual would then decide for themselves as part of a now holistic eco-system being served by this small village, that their soul wishes to leave Earth, this small village can enable this individual, and their loved ones, to find peace, hope, and faith that death is not goodbye. This small village can aid them on their journey Home.
Greenleaf, R. (1998). The Power of Servant-Leadership. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler
Greenleaf, R. (2002). Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and
Greatness. Mahway, New Jersey: Paulist Press.
Palmer, P (1993). To Know as We Are Known: Education as a Spiritual Journey. New York:
Palmer, P (2007). The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life.
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Scharmer, O., Kaufer, K., (2013). Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.