#47 | FORTY-SEVEN WEEKS
“You are only ever one decision away from a totally different life.”
Forty-seven weeks ago I published the first post of this yearlong series on the power and potential of heightened self-awareness resulting in respect for all voices, beginning with one’s own.
Next week I will publish the last post of this year-spanning, idea-sharing journey.
What I wrote forty-seven weeks ago will endure, but it’s likely that it no longer represents exactly what I think and feel. You see, in these forty-seven weeks, I have already changed.
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The acts of writing, conversing, and idea sharing are generative. When you process a perspective and articulate it to yourself and others, that perspective naturally evolves. Ideas sharpen, clarify, and even morph into something new and unexpected through your willingness to self-examine and share them.
I am not who I was forty-seven weeks ago. Related, yes; identical, no.
Everything that exists is in motion.
Everything that exists evolves.
Nothing stays as it was.
Everything is on a journey of becoming.
In response to the essays I’ve shared, people have written to me and espoused different views. On numerous occasions those perspectives changed my own. My line of sight was adjusted.
This is the whole point of exchanging ideas. I engage in dialogue not to convert others but rather to expand and broaden the set of possibilities that I can hold space for. Writing changes the writer as well as the reader.
In 2015 I published my first book, NOT FOR SALE: FINDING CENTER IN THE LAND OF CRAZY HORSE. That book chronicles my first six trips to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation between 2012 and 2014. By the time I finished the manuscript there were parts of it that I wanted to rework because they no longer represented the full scope of what I thought, felt, or knew. But then a friend reminded me that it was important to leave it as is, because it memorialized a certain period in my life.
“The book captures you at a moment in time, not you across all time,” she told me.
In the end we are each like a comet streaking across the sky: We create and leave a trail. Your life across a stretch of time is a collection of experiences from which you are meant to grow and evolve. Nothing stays the same and this is why we can never give up on ourselves or others. It’s why we can never assume we know how someone will act or manifest in the future. It’s why we never fully lose, or win. Each of us is a journey in motion. We are evolution. When you learn to honor this fluidity, an entire new set of possibilities emerges.
Once we internalize these understandings, we heighten our ability to see and guide our own lives. The recognition of constant change increases respect for the present moment. Your current experience is but a pinpoint on your cosmic journey. Your sense of wonder expands when you realize you are just passing through. So learn to see the fluidity of it all. You are in motion, and so is everything around you.
Respect what was.
Absorb what is.
Expand what can be.
Ben Zander, the former conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, calls this the art of possibility. It’s all about envisioning a broader set of potential outcomes—first for yourself, and then for those around you.
You are in motion, and motion creates change.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
—J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Thank you for considering my thoughts. In return I honor yours. Every voice matters. Nestled between our differences lies our future.
This is the forty-seventh post in a series of short essays to be posted by Kevin to www.thebusinessofsharedleadership.com in 2021. Kevin is dedicating these writings in honor of Black Elk, the Oglala Sioux holy man who was escorted as a child on a sacred vision quest by the 48 horses of the four directions to visit the six Grandfathers. My horses, prancing they are coming. They will dance; may you behold them. On that journey Black Elk understood the sacred power that dwelled within him and lives within us all. He also recognized that this power could be used for good or bad. Intentional we must be about the path we walk. To invite others to join The Business of Shared Leadership and receive these posts, just pass this link along. The more who join, the deeper the energy field of engagement will become! Thank you!