Here it is the middle of January, and I feel like I’m on fire.
Monday was Martin Luther King Day, and then today I was attending The Presencing Forum, a gathering in the twin cities focusing on how to help make useful and lasting change in our communities by being present and open to gaining new insights and acting from there. On the three hour drive home my mind was racing. It is like everywhere I look lately people are talking about change and transformation. It excited me in a way that makes me wish I was 25 again instead of 58–but then if I had to go back I would not have the understanding that has taken thirty plus years to gain. So, I celebrate my age and go forward.
Foremost on my mind today was the idea that we don’t really ever “change.” Rather each new experience or time of life or problem to solve is enfolded into what came before and is likewise still open to what is yet to come. This rich life experience gives us individual texture and context and forges the gifts that will later come out of that. Does that make sense?
We never totally toss away one way of being and pick up another brand new one. It’s not like a change of clothes or cars. It occurred to me that we could think of “change” more like the ready change in our pocket—the coin of our own experience, the coin of our own gifts and what we have to offer. Sometimes we have some to spend—and sometimes we need somebody to give us a little. An ex-change of sorts.
The stories I heard during this Presencing gathering we so motivating. People are working to end violence in their communities, educate parents, find new economical models, create urban vegetable gardens, and bring back dance as a community activity. Each person there was ready and willing to spend their creative coin with others—their change. They had passion and ideas and so much fire that it set me on fire.
During one of the small group sessions I saw myself and others in the room like runner on a track—bottoms up in the air, toes on the mark waiting for the gun to go off—waiting for the go. I have sensed this pent up energy in me that wants not just to leak out but to surge out. I go to write a few ideas down for my talk in a couple of weeks and twenty or thirty pages come rolling out of my pen. I go to learn about this new concept and then spend three hours in the car doing everything from composing music to composing new workshops.
A few minutes ago I talked to my daughter who is going through a lot of challenges right now. I had to smile when she said she just needed something new to focus on and so she registered for a 800 number college course on community organizing that has nothing to do with finishing her degree. Is it just in the air or what?
I also realized that she was not asking for my advice, or approval, or wisdom, or anything—the “coin” she wanted from me was just to listen. I gave it freely.
So, here is my first question for you. How much change do you have in your pocket? It doesn’t have to be a lot, but all of us have some gift or experience to offer others. Second question–what are you doing to give it away? And if your pockets are a bit light, what do you need from me or others? Don’t just count your coins, spend them. We could just begin there.
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