Blog Alan Seale, Apr 5, 2020 | Transformational Leadership
When I wrote the February 10th blog post, “All is Not Well in Our Land,” little did I know what was coming. Each week since, I have written about some aspect of navigating these unprecedented times. Until now, I have focused on tools and support for self-care and being fully present with what is happening. While self-care and attention to personal presence will certainly remain critical—there is still a wide expanse of unknown terrain ahead—it is also important to step beyond ourselves and create vision for living in a post-pandemic world. Therefore, this week I begin a new multi-part series of articles and videos under the umbrella: Fear to Love to Vision to Action. New online offerings will be announced next week.
None of us knows what the world will look like on the other side of this pandemic. However, one thing has become crystal clear. Madame Corona, as I’ve been calling her in my desire to communicate with her more directly, has come to push the reset button.
There have been multiple warnings in recent years from visionaries across the societal spectrum as well as from Mother Earth herself. In one way or another, these warnings have been telling us that life as we have manipulated it is not sustainable. Yet on the collective level, we haven’t paid attention. Madame Corona apparently recognized that the only way to heal our planet, our societies, and ourselves, and to truly transform life as we know it, was to bring the whole world to its knees. And so, she did.
And so, here we are. As weeks turn into months, it’s important to be with some big questions. What are we learning? What is she trying to show us? To tell us? What is important for us to pay attention to? What if the post-pandemic era could usher us past the Great Breaking Open into the Great Healing?
Navigating Crisis – The Power Lies in Our Response
Every time I have experienced a crisis in my life, it was my response to the crisis that determined whether the crisis continued to intensify or began to dissipate.
When I focused on how hard it was—pain, suffering, fear—the crisis usually got worse and dragged on for longer than might have been necessary.
However, when I accepted that the crisis was here for a reason—that it had a purpose and a message—and put my focus on learning as much as I could from what was happening, the crisis began to dissipate fairly quickly. Instead of fighting against the crisis or allowing it to control my life, I chose to partner with it. The sooner I paid attention and partnered with the crisis, the sooner it had done its job, and I could move on with my life in a new way. It was all about how I chose to be with the situation.
The same can be true with Madame Corona. The sooner we pay attention on a large scale to what she is trying to communicate—the sooner we choose to partner with her, listen to what she is trying to tell us, learn from this experience, and begin making different choices—the sooner her job will be done and she can leave us.
If we focus primarily on cleaning up the mess as quickly as possible and getting back to business as usual, Madame Corona is likely to come calling again. If, however, we focus on learning from this crisis, envisioning a world that can truly work for all of the planet and its inhabitants, and moving into action towards that vision, she will have no need to return.
The key is to get quiet enough to listen. Some of the questions Madame Corona is asking already are: Who will you choose to be? What will you choose to create so that the whole of the Earth biosystem can thrive? What structures, forms, approaches, policies, and practices will we create together in the aftermath of this experience?
Partnering with Madame Corona
These are enormous questions. Yet they don’t have to be daunting. We should not be in a hurry for quick answers. Rather they are questions to walk with every day. Questions with which we begin a conversation that will quite likely last for the rest of our lifetimes and for the lifetimes of generations to come. These are longpath questions that can guide and shape our visioning. They can become our partners in co-creation going forward.
The co-creative pathway is Fear to Love to Vision to Action. At times you may be in one or two of those places on the pathway; at other times you may be in all four at the same time. It’s all OK. The key is to recognize that all four together make up the full pathway. It can be helpful to understand the spaces in between each one:
- Fear to Love—Be aware when fear enters in. Be compassionate with ourselves, yet diligent to choose Love, and then listen for the kernel of truth within the moment that is important to pay attention to.
- Love to Vision—Grounded in Love, sense what wants to happen for the good of all, and begin creating a vision. We don’t have to fill in lots of details yet. They will come in time. We can start by visioning a healthy, thriving, sustainable life for all. Some will find it easier to envision their own lives and, in time, expand further out into the world. Others will more naturally start with a more expansive vision, and then bring that vision home to their personal lives and surroundings. More about this in the coming weeks.
- Vision to Action—Our first steps in action begin from where we are right now. We find one step that we can take today that begins moving us in the direction of our vision. And the next day, we take another step. Vision is not about attachment to a specific outcome; rather, it’s all about direction. If we are committed and paying attention, the vision will show us each next step as it comes. Again, this need not be daunting. Vision to Action can start in our own gardens—in our own lives, families, relationships, and communities. We’ll explore this further in the next couple of weeks.
Transformational Presence is rooted in how we show up—who we are called to be in any particular moment. Our Three Fundamental Questions provide a foundation for walking this co-creative pathway:
- What wants to happen? Variations on this question might be: What is trying to get my attention? Or, What is important to pay attention to right now?
- Who is that asking me to be? In other words, how is it asking me to show up? What role is it asking me to play, or what qualities and characteristics is it asking me to embody? Another variation on this question can be: What is it asking me to learn?
- What is it asking me to do? Just as a next step. You don’t have to know the full path ahead. You may only be able to sense a next step. It’s OK, just take that step. And then return to question #1.
Transformational Presence offers simple and practical yet surprisingly powerful tools, skills, and frameworks to support us every step of the way. The videos on my blog and on our website give you a good start. Our courses and coaching can support you further.
Fear to Love to Vision to Action. This can be our path forward through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond towards a world that works for all. Will you join us?