Updated: Jan 30, 2019
“The condition of going to the edge comes in two different forms. Sometimes it means that you have to take the leap, jump off the cliff from the known into the unknown. Sometimes when you feel that something is beginning to emerge, it can also mean to not jump away, but to stay with what wants to emerge. In both cases we deal with a deep trust in reality and self” (Scharmer, Kaufer, p. 163).
“Path-finding…is not about figuring out the best way to get there from here, not even about making sure that we get there. It’s about pointing out where we ought to try and go” (Horsman, Chapter 2, p. 1).
Four years ago, this coming September, my four-legged soul mate and I were at the bottom of the U, as learned about in ORGL 537: Foresight and Strategy. She was dying of cancer, and I knew the day she would leave Earth was coming. I knew I needed to let her go in dignity. I would need to let go of my will so that I could best honor her heart.
I was fortunate to spend the last weeks of her life working from home so that I could be with her around the clock. We were governed by Chronos time, for she needed to be fed every two hours to keep her blood sugar at a level that would not put her into seizure. We were traveling through Kairos time, living in the now. She loved outdoors, so that is where we spent as much of our time as we could. I can still hear the birds and see the vividness of the green trees through the time I sat with her doing only one thing – being. True moves abounded during that time with her. She unable to talk in words; both of us speaking with our bodies and our hearts knowing exactly what each other was communicating.
During that time, I heard the purpose of my cancer is so that you write a book. I didn’t know at the time the extent of foresight that was taking place. I knew I was at the edge of a cliff. I had not yet found deep trust, though I had found a very faint distant knowing. Ever so slowly, I was becoming Penny, fighting for Secretariat whom I believed in with my whole heart (Wallis, 2010). I was searching far more than I was finding, because I had not yet learned the extent in which to open my mind, heart, and will and relish standing in not A, and not yet B. Translation. To stand in the unknown, open in mind, heart, and soul without fear, judgment or cynicism of what will come to be.
Fast forward to this week, and once again I was reminded of Chronos and Kairos time with death and dying a common theme. Two wise elders I had the privilege of writing life stories for passed away, and my wise elder teaching me how to carve wood struggled with his memory during our teacher/student session.
In the current moments with my wood carver sage, I was taken back into my memories with my four-legged soul mate focused on doing what I could so that she could spend her last days doing all that she loved. Wood carving my sage’s enjoyment and having someone who keeps him remembering fulfills a growing void that he will forget it all. My wood carver sage and I are in Kairos time, not knowing what the future holds. I am listening to what he speaks in words and what he doesn’t say out loud, and as he grieves the loss of his wife and the dying of his memory, I recognize that words of wisdom I wrote in my memoir to inspire others is being lived out loud in the exact moments in which I am with my wise sage.
I have been path-finding how to inspire hope and death integrated into life since I listened to write a book. I have been releasing the voices of fear, judgment, and cynicism. I have been listening to what I’ve been sensing, making choices based on intuitiveness even when I wasn’t always sure of my authentic swings. And, I have been prototyping. I have been crystallizing what I’ve believed in with my whole heart and put to paper through the experiences I’ve been living. In this now with my wise sage, I deepen my trust for the life-long journey of the emerging future.
Grieving and finding trust in life and in ourselves is a path we all travel. It knows no discrimination if the one we love—and let go—is a four- or two-legged being, if we are grieving the loss of a job or a home that felt secure, or if we are grieving the loss of who we have been. Life brings moments we wish wouldn’t, or never had to, take place. When we find purpose in each one, we find faith. We find the ability to bravely and gracefully move through life, through every up and down we are certain to experience. And if we embrace the purpose, we know unconditional love. (Excerpt from To the Moon...my memoir)
My trust deepened to stand at that cliff in either scenario - of unknowing or leaning in to what wants to emerge - as I reflected on lives of the two individuals who were now no longer on Earth that I had been blessed to write of their life stories. I was reminded of how I felt when watching Something the Lord Made. As Dr. Blalock and Vivien Thomas moved through the stages of leadership development, they did not know how it would all unfold. They could not fast forward to the middle or to the end of the movie. They could walk away for a moment, but they could not hit the pause button. They could rewind memories – or regrets – but they could not edit and retake a scene, a moment that occurred. They were present each day, with an eye to the future they had a vision for, guided by what they had trialed through with its failures and its triumphs. And, as the ending of their interdependent journey was drawing to a close, they could reflect on the beginning, the in-between, and the present moment and know that each had lived a life to be proud of. Each was leaving the world a better place (Sargent, 2004).
These two individuals I had briefly known as their legacy life-story writer had lived each day with an eye to their future, guided by their goals accomplished and the moments they had to course-correct. We didn’t talk about all the cliff edges they stood at, but I am quite confident the number was not small.
I think it is time I stand with my arms, ears, heart, mind, and will wide open at that cliff edge enjoying every moment I get to choose leap into the unknown or stand in place for what wants to emerge. Either way, I will be just fine.
Horsman, J.H., (March 2017). Chapter Two: Evolving Pathfinding. Retrieved from:
Sargent, J. (Director). (2004). Something the Lord Made [Motion picture]. HBO Films.
Scharmer, O., Kaufer, K., (2013). Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Wallas, R. (Director). (2010). Secretariat. USA: Disney, DVD