Okay, so I let life overwhelm me once again. I’ve been working on several major projects and taking on more (what was I thinking?). It is harvest and canning season and the pump house still needs mud. What I’ve noticed about me is when the big picture gets too big, I have to go micro. My “therapy” for being too busy has been to work with drilling rocks, forming tiny bead people out of wire, attaching the wire, and . . . and . . . and
These little creative projects seem to be helping me find balance. When I am twisting a bit of wire, the huge systems I’m working with and their multiple issues seem to fade into background and even disappear for a while. What I realize is that every act is just a twist of the wire. In reality there are no small acts and big acts—there are only an endless stream of small acts that link and hook up and become big acts.
Working with big complex working systems has shown me a lot this past year. I see beautiful people acting in ugly ways. And the sad thing is that they don’t even realize that they are being ruled by the oldest part of the animal brain that only knows the very basic rules of survival. Eat or be eaten.
Here is what is on my mind. Do people realize how much energy they waste in focusing on other people, worrying about what may or may not happen, blaming others, wondering what people think of them, and holding anger and frustration when others don’t comply with their map of the world?
Do they see what all that wasted energy could become if directed into one small creative act? And then another and another and another.
A wise man once said, “The only thing we have to give is our own state.”
Milt would say I am beginning to ramble. When he reads one of my posts he likes the stories best. So here is a story.
Today I was in a room with about half a dozen key personnel for a very large organization. As I was working with them, I realized several patterns playing themselves out. I’ve been thinking lately about Virginia Satir, a great family therapist and systems thinker. In her body of work she identified or observed five ways people deal with the world. She called them “postures”. During the meeting today, I saw all five postures playing out in great detail before me.
Here they are. (I plan to play with drawing them into pictures sometime soon):
The Blamer: We have a problem and it is their fault. If they wouldn’t . . .
The Distractor: Uses jokes, laughter, and diversion to avoid looking at real issues.
The Placater: Wants everybody to be happy. (Not great when this person happens to be in a key leadership role.)
The Computer: Goes cerebral and/or into small technical details that nobody understands
The Leveler: This is the posture Satir wanted us all to aspire to. This person has clarity and congruence, is not afraid to ruffle feathers, looks at systems and not people, and has a solid core strength, etc.
If I had been a caricaturist it would have been fun to sketch that meeting with everybody in their designated “postures”. Of course I was trying to take the role of Leveler, but I make no claim to holding that posture in a sustained way—but I do aspire to.
I was completely aware of how amazing this group of people could be if they stopped holding so tight to those postures and began forming a real team that knows how to get things done in a good and fair way.
So, how to shift the tide of human thinking and acting. No small question. Guess I’ll just go and twist some wire, drill some rocks, and smile at the small and beautiful result. Let me know if you would like to wear one of my tiny creations–I’m thinking of changing careers and wandering the world like a tinker.
I am calling this new line of Bead People “Little Charmers.” They are very friendly!
As always, feel free to share this post and invite others to subscribe. I find it funny that my last post was on “Flow”. You may want to read that one, too.