… one of my favourite sayings is “God doesn’t close one door without opening another, but it can be hell in the hallway.” My sister Hillary. You, our nation, our world is experiencing a black Friday. Our hope is that Sunday is coming. But it might well be hell for a while. – message to Hillary Clinton from her pastor.
Regardless of your religious/spiritual beliefs, talk about a punch to both the gut and the soul.
Never before in history have we been so close and yet so far apart.
It’s a matter of perspective. For example, for the first time technology has the power to call together or wrench us apart.
- In mere seconds I can find the temperature in Timbuktu, a town in northern Mali. (Siri says its 31 degrees Celsius as I’m writing this.)
- In an instant I can find a low-fat, dairy free kumquat recipe
- I can seek input from thousands using powerful tool like Google forms, survey monkey
- And I can analyze that data using creative tools like word clouds like the one below, which is from a course I’ve taught on peace management and conflict resolution, that shows how the participants say ‘peace’ in their native language.
Building alliances instead of adversaries
Building alliances instead of adversaries has been on my mind a lot as I’m thick in the middle of redeveloping and redesigning my business and my website (hang tight for fab new site coming in next few months).
We need tools to help us belong so we can breathe and then beam (showering our powerful gifts on the world). Yet world events (and some world leaders) conspire to entrench multiple, deep, intractable divides which has resulted in trauma for hundreds of thousands of people.
Most of us have experienced some form of trauma. It’s part of the topic of the next learning and development roundtable gathering where we’ll be talking about how to serve people who face multiple challenges. (Haven’t heard of the roundtable? Let me know you want to join here and I’ll add you to the mailing list. Know that we meet face to face and we Facebook live our meetings so you can join in virtually too).
The Body Keeps the Score
It’s also the focus of the book I’m most recently reading ‘The Body Keeps the Score; brain, mind and body in the healing of trauma.’ The author, Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD, says that research shows that children who were separated from their parents during the Blitz ‘fared much worse than children who remained with their parents and endured nights in bomb shelter and frightening images of destroyed building and dead people.’ If that’s not a case for the incredibly important nature of attachment I don’t know what is.
It’s a matter of perspective. There is a time to seek allies and there’s a time to challenge adversaries. There is a time to cocoon and a time to be bold of action. There’s a time to pull up the drawbridge and hunker down and there’s a time to open that same drawbridge and journey forth.
As we make our way through the ‘hell in the hallway’, let’s stay connected and attached. And let us follow Rainer Maria Rilke’s wise words:
Being patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves… live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. – Letters to a young Poet
And speaking of questions, take action and uncover some wicked questions.
What are wicked questions? Questions that are designed to increase innovation and uncover assumptions. Here’s an example: in an effort to decrease the rate of drinking and driving a group asked themselves how they could increase the same. That wicked question led to the invention of a machine that was installed in bars that simulated your eyesight after 1, 2, 3 etc. drinks. Et voila- drinking and driving decreased.
What’s a wicked question for our current hell in the hallway? Here’s one: How is it that we are simultaneously unique individuals, part of cultural groups and universal in our humanity?
Need some more examples? Here are 6 wicked questions every leader must ask by Doug Williamson (additional notes by me):
- Are We Really Clear Headed? Hot tempers can get the best of us. The situation will look different depending on how you’re feeling in the moment.
- Are We Using The Right Lens? As the creator of Life Lenses® this is one of my favourites – take in the view from the balcony (Mountain Life Lens®) AND the dance floor (Carrot Life Lens®).
- Have We Been Totally Honest? Self-deception is deceptively easy (pun intended). Check out your musings with a variety of diverse colleagues and friends.
- Has Our Culture Evolved With The Times? Take some time to examine your work culture, your family culture etc. and how it’s influencing your thoughts and behaviour. And know that the best way to learn more about your own culture is to immerse yourself in another.
- Have We Banished Complacency? Hang out in your head and reflect, then get up off the couch and take action. Rinse. Repeat.
- Are We Breaking New Ground? Check out my creativity assessment if you need to amp yours up.
So while “God doesn’t close one door without opening another … it can be hell in the hallway.” If you find yourself in said hallway, seek connections and attachment, pay attention to trauma and its effects and ask yourself some wicked questions.