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Listen for What is Emerging

flower bud
Photo by ~suchitra~

In setting my intention to facilitate learning within groups and between groups (see Learning as Wealth), I ran smack into one very sobering reality: my own level of awareness directly influences the group. A group has a life of its own and moves at its own pace, but my approach and attitude can either help that group move forward or hinder its progress.

Recently I realized that even my attempts to make things better can be a hindrance—if I hang on to those efforts. When that happens, I become the blockage. My job is to focus on what is emerging, what is wanting to be born… and to serve that process to the best of my ability.

It requires listening. Not just hearing the words that are spoken, but listening to what is not yet voiced. Listening to what is beneath the surface, just waiting to bubble forth.

It means responding to whatever is starting to emerge. Attending to what is needed, as a midwife attends a birth. Often at this stage, things are not clear; what’s emerging can be shapeless, formless, more of a vague impression than a clear picture. So it takes some guesswork to figure out how best to respond. These first attempts are often clumsy and awkward—sometimes way off the mark.

It takes courage to act, to assist, when we can’t even see the thing that’s wanting to be born. But act, we must. And then learn from what happens—whatever it is and whatever form it takes. These early efforts are messy, but we gain more skill as we progress. We learn from what works and we learn from what doesn’t. And we keep moving forward.

This process also takes detachment. It requires us to let go of… everything—our preconceived notions, our desire to have the answer, our impatience with the process, our old ways of doing things, our new efforts and even our successes. Just keep moving.

Right now, I feel like I’m at the crayon-drawing stage—scratching out crude sketches with those big, thick starter crayons. Someday we’ll be painting masterpieces. But to get there takes practice. We are helping a new world give birth to itself. And in the process, we unlock the potential of our own souls.

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