Curiosity & Vulnerability Pt.2: When is it safe to be vulnerable?

We held our first Curiosity Lab on ‘Curiosity & Vulnerability’, viewing Brene Brown’s ‘The Power of Vulnerability’, and then launching into a fascinating discussion, with some marvelous attendees.

Brene Brown’s talk, which is truly worth a watch is, at heart, about the life affirming and revivifying benefits of living vulnerably.  She clarifies that this takes courage, and reminds us that the roots of the word ‘courage’ come from the French ‘couer’, meaning ‘heart’.  For her the definition of courage is “to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.”  Which is also what it is to live vulnerably.

What keeps us from living this way is, according to Brown, uncertainty with regard to our own self-worth.  People who have intrinsic self-worth believe that what makes them vulnerable makes them beautiful.  People who lack this sense of self-worth find vulnerability excruciating.  For them vulnerability risks exposure to criticism, bullying, ridicule, loss of status, ostracisation … simply stated, fear and pain. They don’t experience vulnerability as liberation, but as a potential avenue to disconnection and isolation which, as Brown drives home, are the foundations of shame.  Shame is the gatekeeper of our personal prison cells and bunkers. It chokes out our vulnerabilty.  Brene Brown is a bold advocate of vulnerability.

Miriam, one of our bold participants in the Lab, persisted in posing the question,
“When is it safe to be vulnerable?”.
I’ve been following this question for a few months, and don’t anticipate this particular expedition to end anytime soon.  You could say easily enough that ‘it’s never safe to be vulnerable’ because the very nature of vulnerability is uncertainty and risk.  But the results of someone telling the story of who they are will be very different depending on what their story is, and who they’re telling it to.

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Dare Drive

Normal-Rockwell-Boy-on-High-DiveBless the drive
that compels you over
the great divide.
The faith
by which you take
the great leap.

You don’t need to know how to fly.
You never dive into wide open sky.
You can’t see,
yet,
the unexpected
astonishing
weaving
that will emerge beneath and before you,
a net
work
of new openings
and surprising ways forward.

 

Practising Joy (through the festive season of long nights)

Shortly before we entered into ‘the festive season’ I put out a couple of questions to the members of the Centre for Social Innovation: “What is Joy? And how do you ‘Practise Joy’?”. What followed was a generous flood of insight and wisdom, both on-list and off-list. I continued to reflect on ‘Joy’[1] through the holiday and it only seems right that I share/reflect back that collective wisdom.

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Cultivating Competence in Curiosity – 2 Day Workshop

REGISTER NOW FOR OUR FEB 11 – 12 WORKSHOP
Curiosity is the key to innovation, productivity, agility, well-being and fulfillment but curiosity is commonly suppressed in the workplace.

Curiosity Culture offers an integrated program, underpinned by a competency framework, to cultivate curiosity. From discovery talks and labs, to intensive workshops, change coaching and community development, we facilitate a journey which awakens the inquisitive spirit, brings it to life, and embeds it in the DNA of a thriving organisational culture.

Curiosity & Vulnerability

Curiosity is a dynamic of ongoing inquiry requiring that you reveal that you don’t know something.  Your seeking to know something reveals the limits of what you know: that’s what real questioning is.

openheartopenmindCuriosity may also require that you reveal that others don’t know something, and we all know folks who are pretty attached to having all the answers.  They may not like the feeling they get when they don’t have the answers; they may feel challenged, and they may react in an unpleasant way.

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Curiosity & Disruption Workshop

Marvels & Miracles

The odds of my birth.

That single sperm cell, out of the initial millions of genetically diverse cells, is the one and the only that makes it into the egg.

SupermanChristAnd that this conceptional unlikelihood – the odds already so rare and outrageously far-fetched that even a gambler in despair would shun them – has been repeated in every generation of my lineage for thousands and thousands of years, each new generation multiplying the unlikelihood.

And then the impossibly complex myriad of circumstances, strokes of luck, synchronicities, close calls – unbroken from the beginning of time – that witnesses my father meeting my mother, my grandfathers meeting my grandmothers, great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers, generations and generations of arrangements, accidents, illicit trysts, seductions, violations, – back and back and back through time in a stupefyingly magnificent and improbable sequential river…

The odds of my birth seems so outrageously absurdly unlikely as to border on the miraculous.

But there’s nothing miraculous there.
There’s nothing in it that is unnatural, or beyond the scope of possibility.
It is truly a marvel… but it’s not a miracle.

I’ve never seen a miracle.
I’ve seen, and participated in, things and events that seem astonishingly unlikely but, nonetheless, possible.
But a miracle? No… no miracles.

Miracles are for the weak and the meek.
Unable to bear the cross of chaos they’ll line up to get a fix of ‘deus ex machina’, robbing the truly awe-inspiring courage and improbability of marvels and replacing them with the symmetrically sculpted supernatural action figure of miracles.

According to the story, Satan tempted Jesus with miracles but he refused.
But the authors of the story wrote them in nonetheless, burying the courageous bloody and enmired flesh of Jesus under the sleek, shiny and squeaky clean miracle of Christ, perpetuating a most awe-inspiring lie, an opiate for the pain of existential angst, for the cross of uncertainty, that generations and empires have been hooked on ever since.

Homeostasis, Change, Addiction & Love

This IGNITE Talk (5 mins, 15 secs per slide – GO!) was presented at the Web of Change Conference Sept. 2013, at Balcones Springs just outside of Austin, TX. Huge thanks to the WOCMob for welcoming this errant pitch!

In response to my opening statement “I’m curious why orgs and people fiercely protect outrageous poisonous bullshit that will kill them, while resisting change that is blatantly obviously healthy and liberating.”, I trace an origin of ‘Things’ – conceptual, biological, then psychological – asserting that ego is a ‘homeostatic’ entity. I propose that ego is built up by ‘habits’ cycling around core desires, and that addiction reifies into a ‘cyclostatic’ resistance to change. Addiction is self-generating and delusional, both of which are relatively good descriptions of many orgs resistant to, for example, climate change science. Addictive structures, functioning in denial, are also exceedingly resistant to love, whose nature is revelatory. Situations where love directly encounters addiction are typically ‘apocalyptic’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only calibration that counts…

Ted Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power, Love & Justice

Power at its best...

“Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice.
Justice at its best is love correcting anything that stands against love.”
– MLK

Another extraordinary quote from Martin Luther King.  He keeps blowing me away.  His reference to justice and love, and the fact that tomorrow is Valentines Day which celebrates another kind of love, reminded me of old C.S. Lewis’ ‘Four Loves’.  For Lewis there were four kinds of love: ‘filial’, the love of friends, brothers and sisters; ‘eros’, romantic love; ‘caritas’, the love that gives to and serves where there is need; and ‘agape’, the exultative love that is an expression and experience of awe and wonder at the divine, at the astonishing unity of the cosmos.

MLK’s quote makes me think that ‘justice’ is a fifth love; how love expresses itself in a social and political milieu.