Categories
Uncategorized

Perseverance

Perseverance by Margaret Wheatley, Asante Salaam and Barbara Bash

Here are a few of my notes…

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. Clarissa Pinkola Estes Writer

==========

No grand actions are required; we just need to begin speaking up about what we care about. We don’t need to spend a lot of time planning or getting senior leaders involved; we don’t have to wait for official support. We just need to get started—for whatever issue or person we care about.

==========

This is how the world always changes. Everyday people not waiting for someone else to fix things or come to their rescue, but simply stepping forward, working together, figuring out how to make things better.

==========

The challenge is to refuse to categorize ourselves. We don’t have to take sides or define ourselves as either optimists or pessimists. Much better to dwell in uncertainty, hold the paradoxes, live in the complexities and contradictions without needing them to resolve.

==========

Fearlessness, too, has love at its core, but it requires a great deal more of us than instant action. If we react too quickly when we feel afraid, we either flee or act aggressively. True fearlessness requires that we take time and exercise discernment. Then we can move with love into right action.

==========

When we work from this place of urgency, we set ourselves up for failure. We work very hard, push our agenda, get aggressive when we think we need to, and end up more exhausted than effective.

==========

We could lighten up—we could go for direction, not destination. We could invite in what the world seems to want for us, what it’s offering us right here, right now. We could enjoy what we’ll see and discover when we take off the blinders of non-negotiable destination.

==========

Steadfastness is a lovely, old-fashioned word that we don’t hear much about these days. It describes how warriors stand their ground, how they find their position and stay there, unshaken and immovable. Steadfast people are firm in their resolve; they are not shaken by events or circumstances. They stand clear in their beliefs, grounded in their cause, faithful to the end.

==========

Every day I have to make a choice not to give up. Non-profit CEO

==========

Perseverance is a choice. It’s not a simple, one-time choice, it’s a daily one. There’s never a final decision.

==========

We walk around wrapped in our stories, and it only takes a small poke from the outside world to unleash a flood of them in all their velocity. Over time, we become packages of predictable responses. We forget there’s any other way to respond. The good news is that at any moment we can refuse to be triggered in the old, familiar ways. This takes practice, and a lot of discipline, but the next time you find yourself gripped by any strong emotion, see if you can just observe the feeling. Don’t deny it or judge it. Don’t start telling yourself why you’re angry or sad. Just observe that you are. If you can avoid, even for a moment, getting dragged under by your usual storyline, that’s real progress. You’ve succeeded in bringing in just a tiny bit of air, a momentary breath—and in that small opening lies the possibility of freedom. We illuminate the road to freedom each time we make a conscious choice to stay out of our stories. The road gets easier to see in the light of each pause.

A: use in Managing Self.

==========

Or can we filter criticism and keep it focused as perhaps valuable but bounded information? Can we look for the kernels of truth there that might help us improve? Can we not instantly push criticism away, yet not accept it totally? And can we treat praise the same way, not instantly basking in our glory? Praise and blame are two sides of the same coin. If we are eager to accept praise, then we are equally vulnerable to feel the sting of blame. In both cases, we need to listen with caution and discernment. There are truths in what people say about us, good and bad, but let’s not ever believe that their words define us.

==========

We can stay where we are and bravely investigate our fear. We can move toward it, curious about it. We can even interview it. What does it feel like? What color is it? Does it have a texture, size, personality? What’s important is to question the fear itself. We’re not asking ourselves why we feel afraid, which is our usual inquiry. We just want to know more about this seemingly frightful creature that showed up in us. Our investigation moves us closer and closer, and then the fear begins to change. Paradoxically, the more we engage directly with it, the less fearful it becomes. It is our curiosity that transforms fear. Most often, it dissolves into energy that we can work with.

==========

After the first rush of romance in discovering meaningful work, there’s the actual work to be done. The work will, at times, be boring, repetitive, uninteresting, senseless. This is why discipline is so important. If you have a daily regimen— exercise, meditation, prayer, sports, music, writing—you’ve learned to do the same thing day after day. You don’t abandon it when it gets boring. You don’t avoid the repetition. You learn to just do it, because you know that the repetition and boredom eventually serve your goal.

==========

Propelled by passion rather than by discipline, we end up spent, exhausted, unhappy. And we lose the capacity to persevere.

==========

Patience is the only remedy for this situation. And compassion. Let’s not judge them as stupid or difficult or obstinate. Let’s redefine our task and challenge ourselves to become gentle guides to the world as we see it, not fierce advocates for our view of reality.

==========

Being in not-knowing, open and aware, is how we discover right action—the appropriate means for what needs to happen. Right action usually doesn’t match our plans, conceived as they were from outside. But now that we’re inside the situation, curious and uncertain, we’re able to notice what’s here. We begin to see dynamics, people, patterns and information we can work with. We become realistic about what’s available. Now we can focus on working with what’s here, rather than what we thought we needed.

==========

If we take this approach, in every situation, we discover that the resources we need are already here. We have more than enough to work with. It’s our task to notice this abundance, and then figure out how to work with it appropriately. What’s possible now, given all these new resources we’ve discovered?

==========

Life is just one big experiment and so are all our efforts and great intentions to impact our world for good. If the solutions to problems—personal and global— were known, they wouldn’t be problems now. Even though this logic seems rather obvious, it’s strange how so many people keep applying old methods and old thinking to these issues, even as they keep failing. It seems we’d rather keep exhausting ourselves with failure than change our minds and admit that new ideas are needed.

==========

What would it feel like to surrender to the rhythms and dynamics of life? What would it feel like to realize that we don’t really have a choice here—we can either participate with life, or resist it and drive ourselves to exhaustion and failure. Instead of working so hard to actively construct our lives, we could relax with the opportunities that life provides, both the good and the bad ones. People who have this type of relationship with life truly are more relaxed. The seeming loss of control doesn’t create anxiety or feelings of distress. It does the reverse, it creates feelings of ease and clarity—and the capacity to stay.

==========

When we recognize that our personal struggle is fundamental to being human, that everyone struggles and suffers, we begin to feel less personally victimized. We become more accepting of difficulty, less battered by bad moments.

==========

Presence is the only way to walk the edge of chaos. We have to be as nimble and awake as a high-wire artist, sensitive to the slightest shift of wind, circumstances, emotions. We may find this high-wire exhausting at first, but there comes a time when we rejoice in our skillfulness. We learn to know this edge, to keep our balance, and even dance a bit at incalculable heights.

==========

A life of discipline and awareness, where we’ve exercised choice, served others as best we could, learned as much as we could bear—such a life yields a very rich harvest. The fruits of our labors are not to be found in the world, however. They’re inside us, in how we feel about self, the world, life, others. If we rummage around inside ourselves, we might notice that there’s less fear, more curiosity. We might notice that there’s more space, that there’s room for choice, that we now contain a larger repertoire of behaviors.

==========

Aspiration – You are willing to serve any worthy cause that helps the rest of the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *