Hot Topics: To do or to be: From Sarah McAdam
We explored the different experiences and impacts associated with doing – taking action, making things happen – and being – creating space to reflect, listen, feel and see what comes up.
A number of people talked about feeling locked in a cycle of urgent activity, followed by collapse – both as individuals and as groups. With such an important agenda to pursue, a sense that time is short and there is so much to be done, we discussed the challenge of not rushing to act and the importance of conserving and replenishing our resources. We found ourselves, even within the space of such a workshop, getting drawn into wanting to find solutions quickly. Our culture values action and we’re used to being bombarded by stimulation, gadgets and demands. Some spoke about how easy (and dangerous?) it is to replicate that within Transition. We’re dealing with wicked problems (big, complex and constantly changing) where it’s hard to predict the consequences of the action we take. There are risks that, by rushing to act, we will do something that has unintended consequences or makes no real difference.
Some wondered whether the most powerful thing we could do, at least in some situations, was simply to be – to use different practices (meditation, enquiry, gardening, being in nature) to create a deep grounded space in which to breathe and reflect. Accept we don’t know the answers, trust that what we need will become available. From a space like this, we’re better able to listen to what other people need and are offering and can be ready to respond as a healthy group or a healthy individual to new demands and changing circumstances. Be as agile and co-ordinated as a shoal of fish rather than feeling we’re struggling to turn a super-tanker.
Some spoke about the frustration of inaction and how the excitement of getting on with stuff and seeing results can create energy and attract new people into the group. We talked about the need to respect and balance both being and doing – as individuals and within our groups – and find ways to notice and adjust when that balance wasn’t being achieved.