Network Development: Broadening AND Deepening

May 18, 2016 Leave a comment

tree-connected-25793774-pdIn a recent interview with Krista Tippett, on her radio program On Being, the poet/philosopher David Whyte offers up some beautiful reflections about the story behind and theme that runs through his poem “Working Together.” Having been commissioned to write a poem to celebrate the completion of a wildly successful group project, Whyte found inspiration one day while looking out the window of his descending airplane and watching the misty air rushing around the wing, marveling at how the elements of the air and the particular shape of the wing come together to make flight possible. He then rifts on this observation to consider the elements inside of himself, inside everyone, that have yet to be combined, or even discovered, and wonders about the distances that might be bridged as a result.


The work of developing networks is certainly about reaching out and bridging, and it is also very importantly about deepening, exploring the inner and often hidden or blocked potential people have as individuals and as groups. To skirt by and stay on the surface of things is to miss rich raw material for fashioning new possibilities, for emergence. Often what we see as imagery for networks are network maps, these vast arrays of nodes and links. This is an important way of thinking about the world, as fundamentally and inextricably interconnected.

And I’ve been in rooms with people looking at network or system maps and invariably someone says that the map is missing something. Texture. Dimension. Of course we can only ask so much of any given tool or representation. Another useful image is the iceberg, which points to the considerable strength and often unseen dimension below the surface. To get to these depths requires making space to sink in to what David Whyte calls the “conversational nature of reality.” What this means is not simply focusing on breadth or the virality potential of networks, but the promise of profundity.

Make time for cultivating deeper connections –

for writing,

for reflection,

for observation,

for storytelling,

for dialogue,

for listening,

for silence,

for deeper listening …

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