Shifting Landscapes — from Foreground to Background

I witness the shifting landscape of this body reforming.
Nothing to do but leave the shore of my familiar
to discover new territory, new shape, new truth.

For me, writing is an exercise in integration.  Inspired by a particular theme, I spend time writing about it from several different angles until finally the subject’s complexity synthesizes into a simple, yet elegant, concept.  To illustrate, I recently spent three consecutive weeks blogging on radical transformation.  At the same time I busily completed two chapters, one on shared values, the other on shared leadership, for a soon-to-be-published ebook (working title:  D.E.E.P. DESIGN:  Deliberate, empowering, elegant, participative design for humane and healthy work systems and communities).  Lastly, I wrote the poem below.  What is evident in all the writing — in particular the poetry — is how foregrounds, once held significant, shift to the background as a consequence of transition.

Travelling Tuesdays

The heart spoke its truth of tiredness and transformation.
Life’s black and white sit cozily together in all spiritual truths,
hosting a paradox within their united wisdom.

Without maps, without destinations, adventure wants courage.
The deep faith of knowing, not the doubting voice of safety,
beckons on the travel weary.

Power and money, once sought after as treasures,
press to the background while tears, tired of delusion,
surface in the foreground uncovering truth.

Without goals, without worries, willing explorers
seek insecurity, the very foundation of adventure,
and find truth through radical realization.

May 2013

The shifting landscape I allude to in my poem — pursuit of power and money as once-defined security — disintegrates under the recognition that adventure and innovation can only bring insecurity; for what is adventure but the unknown.  And during times of rapid change, nothing is secure.  To grasp for security and safety is an illusion; a waste of our time and energy.  In particular, associating security and safety with power over others and monetary worth is a proven falsehood given every demised empire in history.  Rather, it is in sharpening our ability to lean into and adapt to the unknown where we will find needed truth and strength.

The critical question to be asking during these times of uncertainty and insecurity is “If power and money no longer guarantee security and safety, then what creates the strength and stability foundational to survival and thriving?”  Herein lies a glimpse of our radical transformation.  Given our world’s individual and cultural diversity, the answer is likely unique for everyone and most certainly impacted by what we personally and socially define as valuable.  As individuals continue to dig deeper into what gives each of us a sense of meaning and purpose, collectively we witness even less common ground and more separation while the ache for community continues to grow.  So, what universal truths will finally bring us together, united into a global community?

I am conducting a small social experiment with some of my writing co-horts.  Each of them is completing a value clarification exercise and sending me their top three values.  From their collective choices, I will scan for common ground in an attempt to synthesize the list into a core of shared values.  However, if the list is as diverse as I anticipate, final integration will require more creative thinking.  In the meantime, please clarify your own values and send along your top three to be added to this growing list.  I will share my data and results with whomever contributes.  Share your three values in the comment box below this blog or email them directly to me helen@righttojoy.com.

Our personal values and social conditioning drive our behaviour. Do you know what drives your behaviour?

For more on radical transformation and what drives human behaviour, read my book, Creating Space:  The Practice of Transformation, Vol.1.