This blog post is part of the P&I series where we share our personal and professional journeys and how they link to a re-thinking of P&I and its purpose.
“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.”
Looking back at my past twenty years of work, the first word that emerges is THANKS. I have been blessed by excellent people and professionals I have and by conflicts and disappointments I had to face. I have learned so many things at so many different levels, and at the same time there are many remaining questions to which I doubt I will find an answer. I have produced papers, handbooks, facilitated face to face and online workshops and courses, developed and helped develop plans and strategies, designed MEL frameworks, evaluated small and large projects, mentored leaders, and co-created spaces, initiatives and projects. I am very thankful and can take stock of what I have enjoyed, learned and developed.
At the same time, about four years ago I sensed that what I was doing was reaching its end…I felt that I was again and again confronting similar bottlenecks, feeling the urge to renew my operating system. I was repeating lessons and conclusions again and again, and pondering whether my energy and attention were focused on where the potential of a project, group or product really was.
My brain, with its thoughts and ideas, had been the captain of the ship during those two decades. My heart and body began to complain: there was not enough space for them to come to the scene and bring what they can contribute. Thus, I started to a quite long questioning process: why I am feeling this way? Am I leading fully, or are there parts of me that I need to integrate to this path? These questions led me to explore alternative spaces where leadership was approached from completely new visions and senses. I took a course on hidden talents, participated in a movement that aspired to integrate masculine with feminine qualities, got certified as a Conscious business agent (consciousness can be applied to business, government and non-governmental organisations) and got trained and experienced Theory U from the Presencing Institute, a spin off from MIT.
All these explorations started to develop within me the possibility of opening my heart and willingness as I continued to participate in projects, discussions, meetings. I began to detect very clearly many blind spots among ourselves (for example, that usually we are not aware of the source from which we make decisions and operate) and sense a potential that wants to emerge in people, groups and organisations which would enable us to co-create much more peace, wellbeing and satisfaction in how we work.
Fortunately, my explorations and questions had a good echo within P&I and my colleagues were always willing to listen to me, and share their own experiences, desires and doubts – you will read about these in the coming blog posts. This all led to an increasing and developing conviction that we were reaching a new milestone in our think net. We started to jointly think about how we could tap into what we were feeling and thinking and co-create a way forward (many steps of this collective process will be shared soon within this blog series). We could see a new potential, at the personal and organisational levels.
How can we activate that potential? I am not sure: I don´t have a formula. But I have the conviction that now is the moment we were all born for. With today´s coronavirus scenario we are all invited to delve into uncertainty, to dance with complexity and to embrace interdependence. I see many work colleagues opening their arms to the new that wants to emerge, to let the known that does not serve us any longer go. At the same time, being brave enough as to recognise that we do not know exactly how to activate this individual and collective potentials, acknowledging our fears, doubts, resistances. Somehow, we are approaching a threshold…what´s at the other side?
Rebecca Solnit has expressed that “hope locates itself in the premises that we don´t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty there is room to act.” There is room, and I see it: in each conversation, meeting, new project there is room to let something new emerge, to try to activate collective intelligence, to tend to the wisdom of heart, and put our brains to work in the service of others. Sometimes the room might be very tiny, but it is still a room. How am I going to use it? What is my task here? What is our task here? These are my current questions as I continue my journey and –hopefully- I can go on sharing them with others.
Perhaps the secret of living well is not in having all the answers but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company.
RACHEL NAOMI REMEN