In September, our staff reviewed a chapter from Margaret J Wheatley’s book; Turning to One Another – Simple Conversations to Restore Hope for the Future. The chapter is called, “Willing to Be Disturbed“. I found the reading to be relevant and thought provoking, so I wanted to share parts of it with you. Here are some highlights (quotes in italics);
“We weren’t trained to admit we don’t know. Most of us were taught to sound certain and confident, to state our opinion as if it were true. We haven’t been rewarded for being confused, or for asking more questions rather than giving quick answers. We’ve also spent many years listening to others mainly to determine whether we agree with them or not. We don’t have time or interest to sit and listen to those who think differently than we do.
But the world now is quite perplexing. We no longer live in those sweet, slow days when life felt predictable, when we actually knew what to do next. We live in a complex world, we often don’t know what’s going on, and we won’t be able to understand its complexity unless we spend more time in not knowing. It is very difficult to suspend our certainties—our positions, our beliefs, our explanations (even momentarily). These help define us; they lie at the heart of our personal identity. Yet I believe we will succeed in changing this world only if we can think and work together in new ways”.
The COVID-19 pandemic and all that comes with it is very difficult, we can all agree on that. It has been going on for far too long and it really would be great if it could end soon. We all want this to be over, for loved ones to be healthy and safe, for masks to come off and protocols to cease.
In the meantime, perhaps it helps to hear this;
“We have the opportunity many times a day, everyday, to be the one who listens to others, curious rather than certain. But the greatest benefit of all is that listening moves us closer. When we listen with less judgment, we always develop better relationships with each other. It’s not differences that divide us. It’s our judgments about each other that do . . .
. . . There is no need for us to be joined at the head, since we are already joined by our human hearts“.
I wish you and your loved ones all the best as we continue this difficult journey through COVID-19. There is a lot of learning happening along the way and my hope is that this learning turns us towards each other, rather than away. Some final encouraging words from the book is “We don’t have to let go of what we believe, but we do need to be curious about what someone else believes”.