Legend Making Experiments
Do you have a minute to coach me? (If they say yes, keep reading. If they say no, make an appointment to read this to them later.)2.Please write down some experiences that you think could add a new dimension to my personal development and that would be useful for me to learn about. 3.Please write three specific ways for me to learn about these things. Say little by way of further explanation. Do not talk to them while they write. When they are finished, do not read what they write because it is not important that you understand it just yet. This is a quick interaction that does not involve any discussion. Thank them and leave. Do this same thing with two other “dangerous” people, meaning people who know your weaknesses, whose Box is significantly different from yours, whose Gremlin is bigger than yours, or who you regard as having authority. Then sit with a friend and tell them your wish to experiment with expansive learning. Together read the three papers you collected. Make a plan for you this week to undertake at least two of the experiences suggested to you on the papers. Your experiments can be done solo, or with this friend, whichever serves best. Don’t do anything that exposes you to unnecessary physical hazards –that is not the point. For example, there may be suggestions to attend a technical symposium in a field far from your field of expertise, or to join a men’s or women’s group, or to be with and listen deeply to children, or to go horseback riding, or to sit for days on the streets of Calcutta, or to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, or to give a public talk about new possibilities for relationship, or to invite your neighbors over for dinner, or to visit an old people’s home or a crazy house and listen to people’s stories, or to take cha-cha dance lessons with your partner, or to plant 1000 baby trees, or to speak at town meetings in favor of passing a resolution to end corporate personhood so that business leaders can no longer avoid responsibility by hiding behind the legal structure of a corporation, or to take a long term yoga or tai-chi class, or to organize an Intersection Conference that convenes diverse people for the purpose of having conversations that matter, etc. Don’t worry. Just do them. While doing your experiments keep the following ideas in mind. The immediate natural feeling response to entering the unknown is fear. As a child that fear was interpreted as curiosity and excitement. Try interpreting it the same way now as an adult. Feeling the fear of not knowing is a reliable indicator that you are in the unknown. Do not put the fear away or numb the fear. Welcoming your feelings will help you navigate effectively through unknown territories. Change the rules and tell yourself, “It is okay to not know.” Then, while not knowing, just see what you see and feel what you feel, without trying to fit it in anywhere. This means that you might not know what it is that you are experiencing at first, how it works, or how it all fits together, but it also makes even ordinary experiences remarkably fresh and invigorating. Hold a grape in your hand without giving it the name “grape” and instead you see this green or purple blob and think, “What is this amazing thing?” It is exciting to perceive things raw even if you do not know what they are. In time the new things that younotice become more and more familiar. Eventually they can establish completely new continents of understanding for you that vastly enrich the quality of your life and your relationships. Expansive learning opens to and includes diversity and chaos. You may be quite surprised to find that you can relax and be effective without being in control or having your usual level of certainty. You may even find a sense of empowerment and experiential freedom when you no longer need to carry with you a solid rational platform of linear arguments on which to defend your actions or inactions. You may discover a refreshing excitement in uncertainty because the experience of not knowing signals that you have the chance to explore new possibilities.