Last October I co-hosted a small gathering for the community of practice alumni from my Leading in Emergence learning lab. Six of us came together that last Wednesday morning of the month, in the warm and comfortable living room of one of our members, in, as Otto Scharmer writes, “a space for profound collaborative renewal.”
I was eager to prototype a simple reflective practice based on a recently acquired book, In Times of Terror, Wage Beauty by Mark Gonzales. The title alone captivated me, both in that resonates with a deep knowing that beauty is an antidote, if not cure to the world’s pain and suffering, and with its paradoxical injunction to “wage” beauty, a verb often used with “war” and aggression. This simple and elegantly designed volume of brief ideas, observations, insights, and mantra-like wisdom speaks to the power of story, ancestors, empowered choice and bold action.
Each of us was invited bring an image of and reflect on an ancestor, mentor or respected elder. In circle we shared a brief story of how that person’s life served as a beacon of inspiration. We created a communal collage, dedicating our images and stories to the future. Then, we closed by sharing our impressions of the beauty seen before us, held within, taken with us. Below, the “caught” poem:
Waging Beauty: A Collage of the Imagined and Ineffable
Gardens of colour transformed by garbage and utility into communities of wonder.
New growth in nature.
Connectedness building strength and vibrancy in empty shoes that belong to us all.
Resilience in a sense of place.
Wisdom in a world wise and enraptured by third eye seeing.
Sensing synchronicity that defies labels and logic and contrived manipulation.
Silence shared with strangers and near strangers. The simplest beauty there is.
What strikes me now is the uncanny prescience, from that morning a month before, of the beauty waged in Paris, days after terror struck the city and killed over one hundred of its citizens enjoying their Friday evening.
Ten thousand empty shoes silently displayed in the Place de la Republique on November 29, 2015, represented the peoples’ determination to “have” their voice in a symbolic march against climate change on the eve of the UN Climate Conference when their actual presence was forbidden due to safety and security concerns.
The strength and vibrancy in empty shoes that belong to us all.
Oh my. Once again you have moved me to tears, Katharine.
I would love to share this post with my list and also post it on Facebook. Would that be okay with you? (I will be asking my technical assistant to do the actual posting)
Dear Bonnie, thank you and I would be honoured for you to share this with your community. A deep bow to you, my friend.
Katharine, you once again get me thinking deeply. My favorite words are: “the power of story, ancestors, empowered choice and bold action.” I am retiring at the end of March and I will write my book. May it contain these elements when it is finished. Keep writing my friend — Hugs Laurie
And I look forward to reading your book, my friend. Thank you.
Thank you Katharine. I will post it in my facebook group so many more can be uplifted.
Thank you, Barbara. Happy New Year to you.
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