g a t h e r i n g s

Wake Walking

I walk every morning. As I look out toward the vanishing point I realize that even on this road that I know so well, there are gifts I have yet to find. The deal is that I must keep walking to find them. I can’t slip into lethargy, close down my senses, or turn back if — when — I stumble.

When I walk in the morning, no matter how I start out, which is often less than blissful, soon my mind starts to clear and the threads begin to detangle. When I was a kid, my aunt Pauline used to massage conditioner into my hair, scraping my scalp with her long shiny nails, and then gently drag a comb through to take out the knots that had gathered on my pillow. Similarly, my walk begins to detangle the nots that tend to cluster in the night.

As a practice, walking in the morning allows me to step incrementally out of the world of the unconscious. I take the time — without fail — to transition from the inner landscape that arises in sleep to the external landscape of which I am just one small part.

Waking up is a process. After opening my eyes to any given day, I find it essential to open my eyes to myself in this particular day. Walking is my meditation, each exchange a kind of landing wherein I gather my own personal language of reciprocity. What will I contribute today? What will I receive? Reciprocity is refreshed each morning as I first claim myself, giver and taker, in this space called life. With each step, I listen deeper, broaden my gaze, sync my breathing, feel the air stick to or skip across my skin.

It is simple: The days are so much better when I prepare for them. In finding my own practice and then letting myself enfold that practice, protecting it from forgetfulness, I claim the ground under my feel. Such a practice doesn’t guarantee that the day will go well — it is that I will go well in my day. Every single morning I try to wake up completely, rise up, move out of my default passivity, that sleepy wishful thinking, and declare myself proactive … ready for what’s next.

Establishing the Presence of Forward Thinking

Professional Constellations provide a fast and clear view of where things have become stuck or gone off-track in a professional setting, whether an organization or entrepreneurial endeavor. A process of experiential out-picturing allows participants to actually see potential sources of disorder and, as important, optimal ways to redress them.

Most of us suspect that, “things are not always what they seem.” What we may not realize is that this is in part a consequence of tending to look at an ever-changing landscape through just one lens.

What is uncovered through the Constellation process:

Sphere of influence — You may be used to thinking about the sphere of your influence on others but it can be very revealing to “set up” the elements that surround you as the overt and covert influences that impact your own understandings and behaviors. The awareness of these influences allows you to transform your internal challenges into some of the unique strengths you will bring to any table.

Central intelligence — There is a through line of intelligence in each of us that is informed as much by so-called failure as by temporal success. The process of deep inclusion, even of elements deemed insignificant, allows central intelligence to emerge whole — a well-spring that can be tapped at any time, in any situation

Soft focus — This approach invites greater clarity and mobility from a position of engaged distance. In out-picturing the question/issue, we can find right proximity to allow for a level of focus to emerge that is enhanced by maintaining clear peripheral sight. Soft focus actually reveals the best view.

The balance of give-and-take — This form of balance is a movement. It is balance-in-forward-motion, when, as in walking, one foot steps off, a moment of uncertainty follows, and then the second foot safely lands. Give-and-take in this sense refers to ways of becoming alert to negative and positive reciprocity, and to the interactions that stimulate success.

The Waiting Room: A Parable

I realize (again) that the time will never be right, that there are no guarantees, that there can never be certainty. I look around the waiting room every time an announcement is made. Destinations rattled off in no particular order. Sometimes someone rises from her seat but just as quickly plops back down as though having misheard, perhaps adjusts her suitcase and brushes off invisible crumbs. Every so often, though, one of us actually leaves. When the door closes, we collectively, silently, without looking at each other, take in a quick shallow breath of the stale air. I watched as a man inches forward, tiny, hardly discernible increments, until he is right there at the threshold, can practically touch the outside. Then another man suddenly jumps up and crosses the floor in long impossible strides, passes the man, moves through and out and gone. The first man turns to us, such sadness in his eyes. I smile, perhaps kindly, as he lets himself give up.

The announcements are incessant. Still, how can one be sure? What if it’s not what we expect? What if we don’t fit in? Can’t keep up? Embarrass ourselves? Get lost? Miss the bus? the train? the flight? the chance?

Why are you all looking at me? Have I stood up? I think I am standing. My legs are making statements my mind doesn’t quite comprehend. You’ll be fine. There’s nothing to worry about. Passivity is not protection. The first step is the first step. It’s not about trusting the world — the world has nothing to prove to you — it’s about trusting yourself in the world.

I look around at the others. Waiting for them who are waiting for me. Destinations being announced, one after the other, options and more options. We are waiting. Here’s the truth about the waiting room, my place on the grimy bench. I am waiting to be lifted by angels, my throat coated with a magic potion, all clarity and sweetness; waiting to be blessed with a magic wand of good fortune and love; waiting to be carried off on gossamer wings. You see, my specialness has registered with those in charge of this sort of thing. What are gossamer wings, by the way?

I can feel someone near me now, hear the faint breath. If I keep going, will it (he or she) move with me? The person taps my shoulder.

“Excuse me, are you leaving?” he asks.
“Yes, I think I am.”
“I haven’t seen anyone return, have you?” he continues.
“No.”
“Are you frightened?”
“A little,” I hear myself say, “but less so now that I am on my feet.”
He whispers, “What’s in your bag?”
“A warm coat, my toothbrush, and a pencil. Oh, and gossamer wings.”
“I see now, that’s why I can’t leave.”
“Okay.”
“I don’t have those wings.”
“Yes, you do,” again, I am aware of my own voice, “we all do.”
“I don’t think so,” he sighs.
“Okay. It’s okay. I am going to keep going.” I pick up my bag.
“You’re leaving me?”
I smile, “Perhaps by staying, it is you who are leaving me?” But he has already returned to his seat.

I feel the well-worn doorknob in my hand. It feels good. The door opens with very little effort. I look back one more time. They are all so beautiful — all kinds of beautiful. The announcements are a soundtrack for the waiting room. I see myself there too, a part of me, looking expectantly.

“C’mon, Little One, it’s time.” I step out.