Monday, August 15, 2011

Awe Can Be Such A Hard Climb

Our Possible Human, Possible Society Study is now underway. I am truly enjoying the opportunity. We only need 100 new people per year to achieve our goal of 300 in three years and achieve what we are after; offering what we can to help overcome the polarization in our country.

We told you last year at this time that we were intent on doing this. And, here we are, having been thorough in our preparation!

Already the study is showing us that it will bring just reward at the destination as well as all along the way. The evidence we have says we are truly on a treasure hunt with bounty a certainty, provided we are reading our maps properly.

Even though the pieces of the study hung together fairly well at the outset, our goals still looked to me almost like a mountain too high to climb. I am like that though when I take on a new climb, a mountain previously uncharted for me. For one thing, one full interview with one person, will generally take as long as two-three hours. However, even with that, it looks like we may exceed our goals.

Two weeks into our study and we are almost up to twenty interviewees (plus we also have some accumulated past data that is also worth reflecting upon). People are beginning to talk about the study and offer, not only their own precious time and perspectives, but are referring us to other potential interviewees who are seemingly eager to participate.

As the designer of the project, with it still being in the blueprint stage (and my right arm, Sue, unavailable as she is out of the country on vacation), it is almost completely in my lap to stay on top of analyzing what we are learning and how to guide the project forth on its next steps. Lorrie, another of our dedicated volunteers is doing her best to keep pace with me, providing support and valuable input. However, her interviewer’s role is not an easy one to just simply pick up and do.

Some enlightening viewpoints from our interviewees about our country’s polarization problems and what they see as necessary to fix it are coming forth in some truly heartfelt, thought-full ways, as opposed to solely political and economic opinions. Though those are there too. Perspectives such as these; both thought-full and heart-felt, are bringing me to being “so glad I asked.”

The conversations that have ensued for me resulted in my speaking out more boldly than I felt comfortable doing but I think I am glad I took the risk. However, today I hope to talk to almost no one and just relax, integrate and celebrate what already seems to be surfacing from our study. And, enjoy the day in every other way possible. Maybe even go off to play.

(My inner word bank is almost depleted today so lots of "r and r" are what I need after having done several productive, but very intense interviews over the weekend when I should have been playing.)

One thing is already “perfectly clear,” as if you didn’t already know this; awe is a hard mountain to climb. Even in concert with seemingly like-minded others. Let alone with those of different views. 

Building and sustaining harmony are artful and tricky things to come by. We can seem so alike, yet we are truly all so different. And, those differences can easily trigger us into our own, even very, very subtle snakiness. Even if only briefly.

So what is it going to take for us to climb that mountain and get to the awe place?

The most frequent answers emerging from our interviewees so far are:

* Commitment to the process of talking things through to the elegant solutions (win-win and outside the box),

* Skill at communicating and resolving conflict,

* Self-discipline and

* Vision.

All our interviewees, so far, to the person -- express determination and commitment to playing the "awe game" (in our format or elsewhere) and taking personal responsibility to do all of the above themselves.

We will keep you posted on what else we find as we go on our adventure of discovery through our Possible Human, Possible Society Study.

With gratitude to all who have with forthrightness already given so generously of their time to this project.

Up in the mountains on a glorious, almost humid-free day.

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