Archive for December, 2009

Avatar Movie… I See You

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

The new Avatar movie is a great illustration of ‘a loveless world is a sightless world’.

The movie is worth seeing just for the fantastical special effects, but it also has a captivating story. Jake, a human marine in an avatar’s body, is sent on a mission to learn the ways of Na’vi on the planet Pandora. He’s taken in as the ‘alien moron’ who knows nothing and who ‘can’t see a thing’. When he requests ‘teach me to see’, the intensely frustrated response is ‘you can’t be taught to see’. Jake is told he’s like a baby, he can’t see anything, it’s hopeless, he sees like a rock sees.

Jake eventually learns to love and respect this wonderfully bizarre world and the natives – after learning to love and connect with the god Eywa, and only then, is he able to finally ‘see’ and thus help save the Na’vi people and their sacred nature. The notion of seeing is weaved throughout the movie and instead of “l love you”, Jake and the Na’vi he falls in love say – “I see you”.

Change must be led by people

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

miltonwong

Several years ago I sat at dinner beside a mentor and friend, Milton Wong and listened to him as he impassionedly discussed with me how perplexing it was that people did not SEE the homeless person on the street. Maybe not such an unusual conversation to have, but coming from Milt, a catalytic person that he is in Canada, I knew he was not taking this lightly. Now, several years since our dinner conversation, a newspaper story – Change must be led by the people – was just published this month featuring Milton and his love for Vancouver’s troubled Downtown Eastside (DTES) and his public charge for unconditional love for humanity.

It’s not difficult to figure out that Milt’s love for the Downtown Eastside has enabled him to see not just the problems and devastation but also to see the potential for revitalization, the human potential and the hope.

“We have to develop, all of us, unconditional love for humanity as an attitude. If we do that, then we’ll be passionate about finding ways to solve the problem.”

Love for sale at the hardware store

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

hammers

He’s heading to the hardware store. He needs a hammer. He doesn’t really need a hammer, he needs a hole in the wall. Not really, he needs a nail to hang a painting. Not really, he needs the painting on the wall. What he really needs is a beautiful living room. Because he needs the approval of his future in-laws. Because he needs the love of his fiancé. Lesson: Dig much, much deeper to find the real benefit you offer. It’s not about you or your excellent hammer. It is almost always about LOVE.

True Love: a brief history

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Since love cannot exist by itself, there are Three. Each person in this family of Three lives with and for the Other. This is love; to be self-less.

The Three decided to create a universe in which human beings were the crowning act of creative love. The humans were made in the image of the Three, which meant they were created with the capacity to live with and for the other in self-sacrificing love. But with this freedom to love came also the freedom for love’s opposite, selfishness. Sadly, humans chose the self over the other. With this newly acquired self-nature, true love suffered a destructive blow. “Every man for himself” became the human motto. Because of the Almighty Self, humans began doing extremely un-loving, destructive things. The whole thing looked hopeless.

But true Love never dies! In an act of self-sacrificing, humble love, One of the Three did something unimaginable. The Creator became a human being. Humanity was now face to face with its Maker. For three years this One showed humanity how to love.  But because humans were un-loving, they chose selfishness over love and murdered Him. It appeared that selfishness had won the day. But this was Love’s plan.

Three days later, with the help of the Other Two, the Slain One was raised to life! Selfishness and Death had been conquered by the self-sacrifice of the One! There is no greater love than this; the Creator dies for his Creation.  

Orientation

Thursday, December 24th, 2009
Love is an orientation of the spirit.
Love is acknowledging a  shared truth without the need for words.  Like sitting huddled under a huge tarp in the dead of night with a dozen Balti porters at 16,000 feet on a glacier in Northern Pakistan.  Without a common language, common culture or common background.  Yet with a common humanity we shivered and each time a gust of wind came up our eyes would meet knowingly and we would laugh.
We are separated not by our differences but by the failure to see our commonalities.

Love is an orientation of the spirit.

Love is acknowledging a shared truth without the need for words. Like sitting huddled under a huge tarp in the dead of night with a dozen Balti porters at 16,000 feet on a glacier in Northern Pakistan. Without a common language, common culture or common background. Yet with a common humanity we shivered and each time a gust of wind came up our eyes would meet knowingly and we would laugh.

We are separated not by our differences but by the failure to see our commonalities.

December

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
This is the archetypical ‘going down’ time. The light is weak.  the sun sits low in the southern sky.  Nights are long and the days grow colder.  For those who came before us, this was a most difficult time.  Game was scarce and the fruits of the earth had long since been depleted.  The old, the sick, and the very young were vulnerable, and many did not live to see the light and warmth return.
Each of us carries a deep and vestigial awe for these months, the waning of the year.  The emphasis on fire and light; the gathering of people together to share food, warmth, good will; the trappings of a much later celebration we call Christmas—the wreath, the holly, the birth of a baby—all point to a heightened need to believe in ‘never endings’ or at the very least ‘new beginnings’, as we await the return of our life-bestowing sun.
Now, at this darkest of times, we are once again reminded of life’s big certainties. No matter how cold or bitter the winter, there will be violets again. The songbirds will return and days will once again be filled with light and gentleness. December’s deafening silence will retreat, replaced  by May’s life affirming cacophony of tree frogs and crickets. Water now locked in ice,  will run free, nourishing the new growth of June’s gardens. There will be strawberries in July, corn and tomatoes in August.  Apples will ripen and fall in September. And in October we will celebrate the fecundity of the harvest.
It is these certainties—spring will follow winter, and summer will follow spring—that we must learn anew each year. Perhaps we need to suffer the bite of the winter wind and feel the frost creak underfoot to remind us that we live in a world—no, a universe—that is both fire and ice. These are the certainties that endure; December is the a blessing that opens our eyes to see our place within them.

This is the archetypical ‘going down’ time. The light is weak. The sun sits low in the southern sky. Nights are long and the days grow colder. For those who came before us, this was a most difficult time. Game was scarce and the fruits of the earth had long since been depleted. The old, the sick, and the very young were vulnerable, and many did not live to see the light and warmth return.

Each of us carries a deep and vestigial awe for these months, the waning of the year. The emphasis on fire and light; the gathering of people together to share food, warmth, good will; the trappings of a much later celebration we call Christmas—the wreath, the holly, the birth of a baby—all point to a heightened need to believe in ‘never endings’ or at the very least ‘new beginnings’, as we await the return of our life-bestowing sun.

Now, at this darkest of times, we are once again reminded of life’s big certainties. No matter how cold or bitter the winter, there will be violets again. The songbirds will return and days will once again be filled with light and gentleness. December’s deafening silence will retreat, replaced  by May’s life affirming cacophony of tree frogs and crickets. Water now locked in ice,  will run free, nourishing the new growth of June’s gardens. There will be strawberries in July, corn and tomatoes in August. Apples will ripen and fall in September. And in October we will celebrate the fecundity of the harvest.

It is these certainties—spring will follow winter, and summer will follow spring—that we must learn anew each year. Perhaps we need to suffer the bite of the winter wind and feel the frost creak underfoot to remind us that we live in a world—no, a universe—that is both fire and ice. These are the certainties that endure; December is the a blessing that opens our eyes to see our place within them.

Free

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
This has been my most intriguing Merry  Christmas wish.  Thank you.  A thoughtfully inviting concept.  But so much to say…
The first quote that comes to mind is Jean Vanier as it gives most of us a clearer starting place to love from. We need to be free from what keeps us from truly loving:
To be free is to put justice, truth, and service to others over and above our own personal gain or our need for recognition, power, honour and success. When we cling to personal power and success, when we are frightened of losing social status, then we are in some way denying our humanity; we become slaves to our own needs, we are not free.
Jean Vanier

This has been my most intriguing Merry Christmas wish. Thank you. A thoughtfully inviting concept. But so much to say…

The first quote that comes to mind is Jean Vanier as it gives most of us a clearer starting place to love from. We need to be free from what keeps us from truly loving:

To be free is to put justice, truth, and service to others over and above our own personal gain or our need for recognition, power, honour and success. When we cling to personal power and success, when we are frightened of losing social status, then we are in some way denying our humanity; we become slaves to our own needs, we are not free.

Reference: Jean Vanier

Organizational Love

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
A way to love people is to create ways for them to thrive
creatively. The opportunity to freely explore and express creative
thoughts and actions is one of the most meaningful things to do in
life. Love seeks ways to remove hindrances and obstacles that
frustrate creativity. “How can I help others creatively thrive?”
is a truly loving thought. Creative expression nurtures and affirms
people; it gives them a wonderful inners sense of fulfillment. When we empower and then release people to acts of creative thought and
action, we love.

A way to love people is to create ways for them to thrive creatively. The opportunity to freely explore and express creative thoughts and actions is one of the most meaningful things to do in life. Love seeks ways to remove hindrances and obstacles that frustrate creativity. “How can I help others creatively thrive?” is a truly loving thought. Creative expression nurtures and affirms people; it gives them a wonderful inner sense of fulfillment. When we empower and then release people to acts of creative thought and action, we love.

Does the world need design?

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Have you ever thought what the world would look look like without design? I don’t think a week goes by working in the design industry where I don’t ask myself – hey, what would the world look like without design? Most likely, we would have a hell of a time getting up in the morning and effectively getting under way. The financial masterminds of our world have shown us what they can do with things if left unchecked. When we begin the discussion that we ALL need to see differently to love… well, I start thinking about what is it that we are loving or looking to love? Here’s my thought…we fall in love with great design, design is an expression of love – designers truly create out of love. When we begin to apply too much logic into the design process the love decreases. The world’s love meter needs to change. If we begin to see great design we’ll begin to see the world as it was designed to be seen – and begin to really love it.

Leadership: becoming a human being

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
One of my favorite ‘management gurus’ is scientist Peter Senge  – famous for his work in systems thinking and organizational learning. His most recent book is Necessary Revolution is timely and relevant for today – but Presence, a previous collaborative book written with some of his MIT friends really intrigues me. In a chapter titled Leadership: Becoming a Human Being, Senge and his buddies chat about the idea that ‘the cultivated self is a leader’s greatest tool’…and that ‘cultivation – becoming a real human being, really is the primary leadership issue of our time, but on a scale never required before “ They add – “It’s a very old idea that may actually hold the key to a new age of global democracy”.
It’s interesting to hear thought leaders turn our lens back to ‘old ideas’ or truths about our humanness in leadership – especially as we emerge from the shadows of the industrial revolution. Speaking of old ideas – a couple of ancient proverbs also address this idea of the relationship between leadership and love:
Love & truth form a good leader;
Sound leaderhip is founded on loving integrity
proverbs 20:28
Good leaders cultivate honest speech; they love advisors who tell them the truth.     Proverbs 16:13
Hyper link for Peter Senge’s name  http://www.infed.org/thinkers/senge.htm
Hyper link for book  Presence        http://www.presence.net/

One of my favourite management gurus is scientist Peter Senge – famous for his work in systems thinking and organizational learning. His most recent book, “Necessary Revolution”,  is timely and relevant for today – but “Presence,” a previous collaborative book written with some of his MIT friends really intrigues me. In a chapter titled, “Leadership: Becoming a Human Being,” Senge and his buddies chat about the idea that “the cultivated self is a leader’s greatest tool”…and that “cultivation – becoming a real human being, really is the primary leadership issue of our time, but on a scale never required before.” They add, “It’s a very old idea that may actually hold the key to a new age of global democracy.”

It’s interesting to hear thought leaders turn our lens back to ‘old ideas’ or truths about our humanness in leadership – especially as we emerge from the shadows of the Industrial Revolution. Speaking of old ideas – a couple of ancient proverbs also address this idea of the relationship between leadership and love:

Love & truth form a good leader; Sound leaderhip is founded on loving integrity. – Proverbs 20:28

Good leaders cultivate honest speech; they love advisors who tell them the truth. – Proverbs 16:13