In our collaborative capacity and network development work at IISC, there is considerable complexity to hold. This can create quite a mental exercise for everyone involved – What is the system we are trying to develop/problem we are trying to solve? What are the contributing factors? What is our desired future state? Who should be at the table? What are the systemic leverage points and associated strategies? Etc.
This is necessary work, and it can become incomplete or rather one dimensional when it only taps some of our collective faculties. There is something more to access, other and deeper senses of motivation, intention, purpose, knowing and connection. As William Carlos Williams once wrote,
“It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”
This is how I interpret Chief Joseph’s quote above; that we can get stuck in certain kinds of conversation and approach that ultimately do not support our intended aims. And I would say that it is one of the reasons we uphold “love as a force for social transformation” as one of the three lenses for our work, as Mistinguette discussed in another post recently.
So how do we help people to make this journey? For one, I like sharing poetry and inviting others to do so (for a great collection, check out Leading From Within: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Lead), as well as other kinds of significant offerings. This helps to validate multiple forms and sources of expression.
At IISC, we also like to invite people to share reflections on “check-in” and “check-out” questions that open up a broader and deeper expanse of consideration. Things like: What has brought you to this table? Why do you do the work you do? What drives you? What brings you to life? Where are you now that you were not at the beginning of this conversation?
What are some of your favorite poems and questions that have helped you to both open up the landscape and make the journey of change and development?