Discernment tools come in all shapes and sizes – a question, a pause, a weighing up of choices, an investigation, taking advice. Slowing things down always seems to help when change is afoot. In trying to explain to a community group what rates are all about and my long-term vision to turn them from being short term fixes to long term solutions helped me this week work my way into explaining how to get the foundations for transformational change.
Mycelium is in constant conversation with its environmental conditions and the other organisms it bumps into, producing growth forms, and even new structures, depending on the circumstances.
I had just come from having my COVID booster shot, and my arm was sore. I rubbed by arm as I began to talk and somehow found an analogy that I had been searching for. I explained that every year when the rates decisions get made it a bit like our annual flu shot, we are protecting ourselves from the coming season and next strain of a bug, but when we get a diagnosis of heart disease or diabetes it is usually a sign of genetics and past behaviours conspiring that requires not a quick fix, but lifestyle and sometimes surgical and / or medicinal interventions. We take stock, we assess, we plan, we stick to it mostly, and we still have to have our annual flu shot. As I spoke to the group of senior citizens at a community centre, the nods went around the room. Many of them have heard a diagnosis like that either for themselves or a loved one, and I was no exception.
We often need extra support in these situations, perhaps even practitioners around us who have specialist skills. We stop taking a pulse to see if we are still alive and start gathering data to help us make the transitions we need to make to thrive. We reward ourselves along the way to remind ourselves we can do this, and we are on a transformative journey. We know the changes are going to come, with discipline, new practices, taking in the data, reflecting on what’s working and what isn’t and when other people start to notice and comment you get a little affirmation that keeps you on track. You slip back from time to time, but by keeping the records you can see where you are going and can demonstrate to yourself and others you are on your way. It is more than looking into the mirror, it is testing your mettle, not just every now and again, but over and over, building muscle memory, stamina and laying down new pathways to a different destination. Very easy to slip back, a short cut here, a lapse of discipline there. I find being able to adapt, improvise, collect data, take in feedback, course correct with humility and humour, practice, practice, practice, acts of kindness to yourself, a bit of flair, colour and movement, all help. You can’t play jazz unless you know all the scales.
Discerning what needs to happen next, may mean pausing for the moment to see which path to take, but my learning this week, and reminders from mycelium and adaptive leadership, is that more often than not, it is seeing there is no path and then making it.
Yes! “Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking.”
a fave quote!
Thank Moira. I like the rates – health prevention analogy as long as there is a vision and ability to adapt. 🙏🏾
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