The word “rushing” comes to mind, the stream bubbling in the front door, windchimes dancing steadily over my shoulder to the left, Shakira coming on the stereo, an upbeat tango beating its way into the soundscape.
Independently, each of these are low-volume, low intensity, but together with me just up now minutes after 10 AM, rushing into the last days of healing the backside pressure sores, care applicants coming and going, finances coming and going, new friendships growing and the world quite well underway to who knows where, I don’t feel so distant from that sensation of water picking up speed running downhill.
Sleep and I did not find one another quickly last evening and the subsequent slumber was heavy and with “odd” dreams. Something about a new email address and an old car with an old friend… Practical functionality and fit and needing to scrape snow from the windshield…
I was fully awake for nearly an hour this morning before I could open my eyes, hearing my new friend August come through the door, but not being able to stir.
The bulk of the day yesterday was spent in dialogue with the Project Apollo partners. This is a monthly call and long, four hours, sometimes I don’t make it, but when I do I generally find it enrapting of my attention for the duration. The conversation yesterday fit this description quite aptly.
Personal check ins by each of the 12 or so participants dominated the first hour. The collaborators are scientists, doctors, educators, philanthropists, storytellers, entrepreneurs, and more, in short, an exceptional wealth of perspectives, and starting from the place of personal reflection always gives the conversation depth.
From there we moved into a Q&A session with a bright young data scientist who is interested in the group both as a peer as well as in the context of a professional partner. The group is largely focused on healthcare and in particular from the perspective of the empowered patient, and this woman was there to provide additional insight into a tool that most of the members of the group are employing, in this case a health monitoring ring.
After a healthy dose of technology and data speak, the next order of business focused more on the interior aspects of an individual’s experience; specifically a project to develop resources to facilitate patient empowerment. Given our wider social contexts and some of the perspectives in the room, that conversation has widened its inquiry to push into the boundaries of privilege when considering its accessible audience.
What is “empowerment”? How does it relate to, and where is it distinct from cooperation or collaboration? What instigates or hinders it to arise and what is the nature of this “resource”?
If you know me, you of course recognize how fascinated I would become in such a conversation as it tickles into my philosophical bones. I found it particularly noteworthy, the depth and sophistication of intelligences in the room to collaborate in this “softer side” wisdom inquiry.
The last few minutes of the conversation were devoted to touching on our newly launched Covid 19 public support course, simply an informative moment to help generate feedback and wider view for these lovingly tendered offerings.
The remainder of the afternoon I spent catching up on correspondence and following up with some of the various inspiration gained from the days dialogue.
Faith had brought her 13-year-old daughter with her for the evening and we decided to make something of a “family night” of the occasion and take in a movie.
I remember, years ago sharing with my young daughter a couple of old films that I recalled as having been meaningful and valuable to me in my youth. It’s funny what context and time will do with these objects and I found myself rather actually embarrassed the content emerging on the screen in those cases.
The first of those was the film Risky Business – a coming-of-age narrative culminating in the clear message, “it’s a dog eat dog world, think only of yourself and get yours, morality and ethics are for fools.”
The second instance was a standup routine by the still famous Eddie Murphy in which he opens with a 10 minute full frontal assault on the “dangerous and abhorrent” nature of homosexuality.
In both cases, I found myself just shaking my head to realize how far I’ve come from those value expressions in my own growth, let alone the growth of the world around me.
Considering now, I notice a sense of uneasiness I had last night introducing my new young friend to another “classic” – wondering how that story which landed so certainly with me of the time of my introduction, might be rippling through the consciousness of someone living in such a now different world.
Shortly after 8 PM Faith mentioned that we might consider finishing the film this evening as it was “getting late.” We all agreed and started the process of winding down for the night.
Faith and I moved back to the bedroom to get me to bed. As we got into the details of brushing teeth and organizing the evenings equipment, we hit a bump where each of us felt rushed by the other. I stopped to inquire if I had given some cues of frustration or hurry.
In her response, Faith mentioned a feeling of uneasiness in herself in case I might have been offended at her suggestion that we might begin closing the evening. The care that she provides in her role arises from a place of real integrity, thoughtfulness, and sincerity to improve life in the world through those she touches. In this instance she was feeling sensitive that I might have experienced a loss of sovereignty or autonomy in the moment.
That was far from the case, and I was in fact grateful that she had taken the initiative to keep us in balance knowing that her presence in the evening is really more an artifact of our current state of system integrity – still missing regular coverage for four nights of the week.
Looking at the ripples of how our own internal sense of discomfort can flow from one moment to the next, I noticed the likelihood of my own sense of uncertainty present just watching the movie may have created a subtle quality of urgency that led to the later (not dramatically) eruptive experience.
The moment of conflict passed quickly and opened a door to greater depth in our friendship and skillfullness in working together. We finished making our way to tucking me in and lights out to the lovely sound of her daughter down the hall practicing singing joyfully from the heart, passing the time in the evening’s dark.
I’ve had breakfast now and some time in the sun. The hummingbirds seem perhaps more scarce maybe now that the weather continues to warm and the spring flowers have dropped from the branches. The rosebush on the front porch alone stands in full bloom, it’s beautiful scent wafting through the garden perfuming the breakfast air.
Out the window from where I sit, the sun is bright and the sky clear blue. The light tan dry grass spreading across the far hillside, still speckled with green bushes. One tree catches my eye now, quite dead, just this year I think, I seem to recall the hawks alighting in its green branches not long ago.
“To work” I hear echoing in the back thoughts of my mind. To work.
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…