Ach, ok, ok, I’ll write about it…
All week I have wondered what I could post for this week’s blog, trying to turn half-baked ideas into … baked ones. Seeking out a TED talk as a last resort, I couldn’t find the link I wanted, as though it had disappeared. That was my sign, that it is time to write this post. It’s ok, I haven’t procrastinated because I have any big confession to make. It isn’t a post with very long words or difficult concepts. It is just a post which commits me to action. I know what is needed to act and I know I have what I need. It’s just easier and less scary not to.
So what’s so scary? Well, I need to put myself ‘out there’ and I am a bit scared nobody responds. Or even just that too few people respond. Or that people think I am a do-gooder, a meddler, a hippy, needy, or a bit eccentric.
So here it is. I have been wanting, for some time, to invite others in my community to meet together for a meal. I am thinking this could happen once a month, maybe a Sunday early evening, probably in our local community centre. People would bring food to share and we would all sit together to eat and informally get to know one another better. There are other bits and pieces we could add to this picture to strengthen bonds, share resources, and deepen our relationships. But I realised I don’t want to contrive ideas on my own, I want to let things evolve naturally once we are all in the room. All I would need to do would be to organise use of a venue, design and distribute an invitation, and talk to my friends in the village about helping me get people there.
So there we have it. A really easy, straightforward thing that I know how to do and I want in my life. I want it because I feel an absence of a context like that, to come together intentionally with others who want to build community. I want it to make real what I write about here. And I want it to make personal the stuff I have learned in a professional context.
I have procrastinated too long. I didn’t want to write about it because then it won’t just be me who knows I am a scaredy-cat, and other people might notice if I never report what happens next. But this is so silly! Something is waiting to be born and it really won’t take a lot to help it on its way.
Last year I had the privilege of learning from John O’Brien about Theory U, a concept developed by Otto Scharmer. (Forgive me, I will certainly oversimplify and botch my way through what is a brilliant concept). The Theory U process invites us to “observe, observe, observe”, then to retreat and reflect, allowing inner knowledge to emerge. Finally, we are encouraged to act in an instant. And then we begin the process again, observing the impact of our actions, reflecting on that, making changes or taking new action.
The other idea that John introduced us to was that there are three ‘enemies’ to deal with when trying to take action. The enemies are of our head, heart, and will. Judgement (head), cynicism (heart), and fear (will) can halt us in our tracks at any point in the process.
Fear is the only thing really holding me back. Fear of being rejected, fear of taking on something bigger than I intend it to be, fear of treading on people’s toes, fear of being considered responsible for whatever emerges. But I want to move beyond fear. If this is to happen, I have decided to try out the Theory U process.
So here is my intention. Instead of vaguely observing that there is space for something like this (and drifting through thoughts of what it might look like), I am going to spend the next two weeks being more intentional in my observing as I spend time in my village and talk to my friends here. I have written it in my diary so that I don’t forget. And I herby commit to you that I will post in two weeks with my early reflections. Hmmm…