In an earthquake, rocks move past each other along fault lines. These shifts are often explosive in energy and can result in minor to major changes to the landscape. In organizations, we often experience the same slips, slides and shifts. In the last 4 months, I’ve come across multiple teams who are struggling to find their way. They became very fractured during our recent political season. Should we find ways to address the divides or is it best to adopt the “we don’t talk about politics in the office” stand? [Read more…]
Frank Stella, American artist and printmaker, stated “What painting(s) want more than anything else in the world is working space. Space to grow and expand into, pictorial space that is capable of direction and movement, pictorial space that encourages unlimited orientation and extension. Paintings do not want to be confined by boundaries of edge and surface.”
The De Young Museum in San Francisco currently has an exhibit of Frank Stella’s work. This is a fantastic display of color, shape, form and dimension. Stella’s traditional works flow into the three dimensional pieces that immediately draw visitors in to a place of wonder. Stella captures simplicity and complexity all in one breath and stroke of color.
One can’t help but think about diversity of people on this planet when standing next to the diversity of colors in a Stella work. Perhaps try translating the above Stella quote to…”What people want more than anything else in the world is space. Space to grow and expand, space that is capable of direction and movement, space that encourages unlimited orientation and extension.” And perhaps even, “space that is not confined by the boundaries of our edges”. [Read more…]
The political world has presented us with a transition. I am one of those people suffering a bit with my candidate losing. I’m trying to not despair. I want to find ways to be an advocate for justice and the planet. I will be engaged in my community and stand up even stronger than before. And yet, as in any transition, I need to ground myself first.
Here is what I discovered: [Read more…]
Our goal is to create a beloved community and
this will require a qualitative change in our souls
as well as a quantitative change in our lives.
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
What comes to mind when you think of “torchbearers” lighting the path for the “travelers”? Science fiction? A fantasy novel? How about a guide for organizations undergoing change?
Nancy Duarte and Pattie Sanchez use story telling constructs in their new book Illuminate to outline a compelling toolkit for “torchbearers” (leaders advocating for organizational change).The authors use the “journeyscape” metaphor to provide readers with tools for building a shared common purpose, also known as “collective effervescence.”
Duarte and Sanchez share multiple case studies from Duarte Inc. to illustrate their “Dream, Leap, Fight, Climb and Arrive” stages. Each stage follows the arc of a well crafted story and engages readers as both torchbearers and travelers in creating collective effervescence.
Robert Kennedy spoke these words in a call for action on the evening of April 4, 1968…
“Make gentle the life of this world”.
On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King was assassinated. Robert Kennedy was campaigning for the presidential nomination the night King was shot.Kennedy was scheduled to attend a rally in Indianapolis and despite the concerns for his safety he proceeded to the neighborhood. He was given notes for a speech while on the bus but when he stepped up to meet the crowd he spoke from the heart.He was the first to tell the gathered crowd of the assassination. Kennedy delivered one of his most memorable remarks… [Read more…]
I am a firm believer in the power of storytelling to help us make sense of organizations, people and communities. Here is one story that has stuck with me for years.
I was a science teacher in the early stages of my career. I taught prekindergarten through eighth grade science in Friends (Quaker) schools in Philadelphia area. My second graders had worked for months on a science project and we were now ready to share the results with the parents. Invitations were sent out and we planned a big celebration on the school stage for all the parents to attend. The children had written a play to share their science journey as they loved to perform. They were proud, confident and eager to share their story with their parents. [Read more…]
The term topophilia was coined by the geographer Yi-Fu Tuan of the University of Wisconsin and is defined as the affective bond with one’s environment—a person’s mental, emotional, and cognitive ties to a place. During a transition we need topophilia.
A strong sense of place can help us weather the storm of questions that emerge during a transition….where will I work? how will I pay my rent? who will be my friends? or one of my favorites stated by many a millennial and baby boomer…”What do I want to be when I grow up? ”
Aldo Leopold, like contemporary nature essayists Gary Snyder and Annie Dillard, see places as defined not merely by its appearance and topographical features. “It must be recognized for its essential qualities, those forces that give a place its life, its ‘beingness.’ ” Our topophilia places often give us our “beingness” during transition. [Read more…]
I was recently walking down Market Street in San Francisco and noticed how many people had their heads down looking at their phones. I realized how little eye contact I was having with people passing me. I started to wonder how much time I have been spending as a Pedextrian.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans own a cell phone. Ten to 15% of Americans use the phone as their only access to the internet. Sixty-two percent of Americans have looked up a health condition online. 43% have searched for a job on their phone. We also admit that 54% of us have walked into something while distracted by our devices. And 2000 Americans were seen in an emergency room this year due to walking and being distracted by cell phone use. We have become “Pedextrians”.
I noticed I was starting to walk with my head down too. I was looking at my phone for texts and emails while I was walking. I boldly decided to stop texting and reading my phone while walking. I’ll be the first to admit…this is not easy, it is so tempting to grab it out of my pocket. But I’m determined to have my heads up! Nothing I am doing is life or death so I’ve decided no more walking with my head down.
I’ve now spent four weeks walking without cell phone texting, reading emails, and other distracting activities. I admit, I’ve slipped up a few times but the more I focus on it, the less I even want to text, email, or read my phone while walking. I feel free from my phone!
I’m noticing the sky more. I’m saying hello to strangers again. I’m engaging people with smiles and “Good Morning”. I’m also breathing deeper as walking has become a restorative time. I’m watching clouds, birds, flowers and my neighbors. I’m noticing who needs help and who just needs a comforting smile of kindness.
Give it a try. I challenge you to spend a week with your head up. What do you notice? What’s it like to not be a Pedextrian? Are you noticing anything different about yourself? your neighborhood? your relationships? I’ll be there waiting for you with my head up, we can say Good Morning to each other.
I have to admit, the more I keep my head up, the more I am enjoying walking through the city, smart phone free!
Close to 300,000 people will walk the Camino De Santiago this year. The Camino de Santiago is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain. People wander these ancient routes for exercise,spirituality and to find answers to their deepest questions. Some walk the entire 500 miles, other do sections. The Camino is a pilgrimage for all people for all reasons.
Closer to home, over 285 million people will visit our National Parks in 2016. They hike, camp, enjoy scenery and are moved by the history of the land. They exercise,reflect and wander. The National Parks celebrate their 100th anniversary in August of this year and are truly a place for all people for all reasons.
What do National Parks and the Camino have in common? People are seeking. People are asking powerful questions about where they are going and why they are going there. Terry Tempest Williams brings new light to these questions in her newest book Hour of the Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks.