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Infinite Game

Post-pandemic, my first flight (to Dallas) and public event -- the in-person energy with 800 youth was electric! :)

Full transcript here.

Posted Jul 3, 2022 | permalink

Murmuration Process

Groups in ServiceSpace often manifest in a "just-in-time" formation. A bit like starling murmurations. Whenever there's a need, a group of high-trust volunteers organically magnetize around it, based on availability, interest, serendipity -- and a calling in their heart. That last part is critical, because if sufficient energy isn't galvanized then it's likely an indication that conditions aren't ripe.

From the outside, such self organizing teams can seem chaotic, but after decades of practice, we've seen it to be quite effective in mirroring collective intelligence. It's a bit like circulating something in a high-trust web of relations and allowing it to keep going -- and going -- until it organically comes to a rest. That's when it's ready. Oftentimes the first-draft has no semblance to the final-draft, and yet every bit of it is critical. It's emblematic of the principle of doing small acts with great love, and renouncing the outcome. The beauty is that the final product can never be signed off by an individual, since it is genuinely a collective emergence. That also is a profound spiritual principle for all existence, perhaps. :)

The key to unlock this process, then, is for circle participants to have a shared threshold for surrender. The degree to which someone clings to their contribution is the degree to which circulation wisdom -- the magic of the murmuration -- is lost. For such a field of practice, context matters. In a corporate setting, for instance, the shared threshold could be quite low and one might find it necessary to secure credit for one's contributions -- but here, the field is primed for cultivating a fluid mind. Even if one is not perfect in letting go, it is quite meaningful to have a context whose center of gravity is oriented towards Noble Friendships.

After a while, such an orientation helps ignite a different kind of intelligence altogether. Personally, but also collectively. As Rumi might say, "Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." :)

Posted Apr 16, 2022 | permalink

Piggy Bank

Sometimes you pinch yourself, when you realize you get to live with someone who has a heart like this:

Posted Mar 20, 2022 | permalink

Singing Our Song

At a Bioneers conference in 2003, Holly Near came on stage and shared: "A cellist in Sarajevo went out in the square, when the bombs were dropping, and started playing his cello. Someone from the press said to him, 'Why are you out here playing the cello when the bombs are exploding?' And he said, 'Why are they dropping the bombs when I'm playing the cello?'"

Then she sang a song that sent chills down many spines: Planet Called Home

Posted Mar 1, 2022 | permalink

Humility Of Fluidity

Pods are creating some profound ripples. At its core are volunteers, and this is a emblematic note that we recently saw ...

"Volunteering in this Pod is a profoundly humbling process. Instead of holding a concept with intellectual rigidity, the practice is to hold the spectrum of perspectives with an empathic fluidity. So every time I read another podmate's reflections with a beginner's mind, I invite myself to expand my perspective and see life from the lens of another. It is very humbling to practice discovering the goodness of others and their views, and it's a blessing because I'm released from the prison of my own knowing!"

Posted Feb 21, 2022 | permalink

Noble Friends

What a joy to be reminded of the power of noble friendship through these icons of compassion:

Posted Jan 16, 2022 | permalink

Four Quadrants Of Service

In talking to a friend about the state of the world, I was reminded of this graphic around the Delta variant's spread. It feels increasingly relevant even now.

Posted Jan 12, 2022 | permalink

Note From My Mom

What a sweet note to receive from my mom on my birthday ...

"When I read the name Grace this morning, a memory flashed in my mind. 'Grace-ben' was the Christian midwife who had helped me both the time with your birth in the delivery room. In those days, relatives were not allowed in the delivery room so while your grandmother and a very compassionate neighbor waited outside, Grace or Graceben lovingly welcomed you (and later Viral) in this world. I am pretty convinced like attracts like! Around this time, so many years back, both you and I were held by Grace."

Posted Dec 31, 2021 | permalink

Three Memorable Conversations Of 2021

Among the various conversations, I loved these three conversations with three unique mystics with gigantic hearts of service:

Posted Nov 18, 2021 | permalink

Between Accepting And Fighting

Some reflections from our Awakin Circle today on Marc Lesser's post on the juggle between accepting circumstances and fighting for change:

In response to Ifeoma's request for articulation, here are some words to the flowchart above ...

I love the Serenity prayer that invites us to find the "serenity to accept things I can't change, courage to change what I can, and wisdom to know the difference." In practice, though, we can ignore the service we are called to and start fighting for things that aren't ours to change. It's hard to find that "wisdom" in each moment.

When we accept circumstances, we might just be acting lazy and escaping. Or we might just lose all ground and become a punching bag for others to grow in negativity. In between those, how might we find the sweet spot of responding with equanimity and poise? Strong back, but a soft heart.

Similarly, when we are fighting for change, it can be a reaction to our internal frustration, anger and impatience. Still, in anger, there is a meaningful element of dissatifaction; if we can see that everyone is continually on a pathway of that dissatisfaction, it can lead to compassion. If it isn't in a wholesome proportion, though, it can lead to self righteousness and a downward spiral of hating the other person or world view. In between those, how might we find the sweet spot of responding to dissatisfaction but with compassion? Strong back, but a soft heart.

When acceptance with equanimity comes together with a heart of compassion, an act of service naturally blossoms.

Given our imperfect perception, though, even our acts of service can be easily hijacked by the devious manipulations of the ego. We can start to think that we are special, right, and gifted; we get greedy for change to happen on our timeline; we want to get credit for what we do. As insurance around this tendency, it helps to remember that we are not serving to help or fix others, but rather to transform ourselves through the process of performing that small act of kindness. Then, we are effortlessly grateful that we *get* to give, and we trust in grace to deliver the outcomes as conditions ripen.

Such service at the intersection of equanimity and compassion yields a quiet kind of inner transformation that dismantles the tools of our ego. Less of me and more of we.

That field of "we" profoundly expands our capcity to serve. Because we are no longer burdening our ego with the responsibility of fixing the world, we are free to serve more. Because we are no longer sneakily transactional, our shallow bonds with others mushroom into noble friendship and afford us the resiliency to bounce back from setbacks. Because we want nothing in return, the winds of nature flow through our hollow flute to play a glorious song we never get to hear -- because we are It.

By finding the equanimity embedded in acceptance, and the compassion embedded in transformation, love is made visible. We then serve for our inner transformation, or through our very existence.

Posted Oct 11, 2021 | permalink

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"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."