Stepping Back from the Abyss

The pilot has reached the point of no return. The plane has developed engine trouble and the fuel tank will be empty before returning to the point of departure. There's no other landing option in sight but to keep going.

We are on that plane -- scared, uncertain and praying for a safe place to land before any catastrophe happens. We find ourselves in that free-fall state of trusting another human being with our lives.

The pilot is disciplined, skilled and experienced. Her training and her preservation instincts have kicked in and she'll combine all her crucial powers of critical thinking, creativity, nerves of steel, to make happen what is humanly and super humanly possible to land safely. She is not alone. She has a team -- navigator. co-pilot, ground support and perhaps the imagination to consider everything she would not have if her survival instincts were not so heightened. Actually, her entire team is exquisitely focused on a safe landing.
When we collectively find ourselves in the midst of an impending disaster, we scatter to protect ourselves and our own. Yet, on the plane, there's nowhere to run and the only choice is to trust the person flying the plane. Suddenly, there is a shared understanding and we clearly see that everyone is facing the same fate. Trust is based on truth-telling and actions to support that truth. Luckily, this pilot has the integrity to honor the trust placed in her.

However, back here on earth, we don't see as clearly that we are in "this" together. We see our differences first, express our confirmation biases, and fear the great change that is inexorably nose-diving our way. Our social norms, our cultural ethos appear to be in a seismic shift. We don't know in which direction to navigate, while so many are pulling in divergent directions. But, like the plane, we have reached the point of no return. The only way, is to forge a way forward. When we can finally recognize the pain in someone who has been unrecognizable to us, then we can see their humanity and in that moment rejoice in our own.
"When our hearts are hungry... we all eat lies." -- unknown
We struggle to unravel the complexities of our times and clear our own path to understanding. A young and civilized nation is left with an uncomfortable legacy to reconcile. Our truth is not our politics, nor our opinion. We can choose to separate the person from their ideologies. Yet, there is another layer -- a difference in morality is not a difference of opinion. We have moral codes of how to live and behave, but for some, morality is a barometer that vacillates depending on shifting political winds.

These are times to be courageous in speaking our truth. Truth flows from the ability to challenge everything we know and always be willing to truly consider evidence that contradicts our belief, and admit the possibility that we may be wrong. This is pretty much the definition of an open mind -- which is difficult to maintain when gripped by fear or even simply, when not willing to accept change. Then, we tend to justify insupportable actions based on beliefs and ideologies.

The question is, have we gone too far? I think we have, and I think there is hope in the new landscape of precipitous change. Facing the unknown is always scary but because it is "unwritten," there is potential, opportunity and possibility to do better. We're always seeking a safe place to land; a comforting word, a kindness expressed.

What are your thoughts?
When interacting with others in your work environment, do you see societal woes spill over into your daily life? Are you noticing a shift in how people relate? Is it more human? Is it more gruff? What has changed?

Tips to shift and reframe how you see things
Take just two minutes for each question and write as much and as fast as you can:
  1. What was great in the last year?
  2. What was challenging?
  3. What do you want to experience more of this year?
Notice how you feel and what you learned about yourself.
I gladly welcome all comments, email or text.
"Do anything, but let it produce joy." -- Walt Whitman
"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." -- Mahatma Gandhi
Flo Mauri, CV-PCC
Coach/Consultant to Emerging Leaders


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