Sunday, May 6, 2012


Margaret Wheatley continued her talk by reminding us that new cultures are formed by a few people not afraid to be insecure.  These reformers proceed down what they know is the right path until they are apprehended.  They do this because they know that in a disaster situation there is no risk.  When you are already in the middle of a disaster, don’t be afraid to try new ways.  And practice perseverance – the ability to work with what we have and not to wait for something we don’t have.  

The skills that we will be needed to stay the course include the ability to: remain vulnerable and open; accept insecurity and risk; float free; and accept ambiguity.   And with that she led the large group into a discussion.  She outlined a procedure promoted by THE WORLD CAFÉ organization which developed a format that can be used to host large group dialogue.  She instructed the attendees to break into groups of 3 to 5 people to share their thoughts on what they had heard so far that got their attention.  

She reminded us to have group and individual responsibility, to choose people to join with who did not look like we did, to be present to the differences in what we heard, and to be aware of when our attention wandered from listening to the person who was sharing.   She also requested that at the end of the discussion that when we saw her raising her hand that we would all raise our own hand and stop talking.  At the end of the 20 minutes of discussion, Wheatley raised her hand and within seconds the hundreds of people engaged in conversation stopped and returned their attention to the stage.  It was an amazing demonstration of a large group of people being responsible.    

Wheatley then moved into more ideas that would help leaders to weather the storm.  These included the need to perverse, in the sense of turning away from the dysfunctional standards that currently drive our culture.  We need to stand for the counter-culture and play the role of the warrior.  Being a warrior is one answer to the question she started her talk off with, “Who do you choose to be for this time?”  It is not a warrior in the sense of using violence to kill our enemy that she was talking about, but rather a spiritual warrior – someone inspired to do the right thing, despite the consequences.   

One of the keys to finding courage in what some are calling end times is to be able to appreciate and use the fine art of satire or dark humor.  She gave an example of one bumper sticker that has come out that says “When the rapture comes, this car will be empty”.  A good dark humor responsive bumper sticker she saw read “When the rapture comes, can I have your car?”  We need to take nothing too seriously, least of all ourselves.  We need to make fun of things, especially the behaviors and actions that deserve to be made fun of.  And when behaviors are ridiculous, they need to be named as such.   

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