blue not red

‘Value is in the spaces between people.’*

Some environments value competitiveness in order to produce results: beneficial short-term but often destructive long-term.  The flip of this is submission on the part of some to those with dominant characters or ideas – again, this strategy has short-term benefits but long term is corrosive to creativity.

To create value between people requires everyone turning up with their personal value or sense of worth – we’re all meant to be explorers of our personal value.

Three creativity myths: only a few people are creative, creativity is a solo occupation, and, creativity is about finding answers rather than asking questions.

Competitive or abdicating spaces are red – people get hurt, either by the excessive cut and thrust, or by an inner undermining of personal value.  Spaces filled with personal creativeness are blue – not only blue as in blue sky and open, but also in being hyperlinked – taking the conversation, planning, executing to new places.

Alan Lightman smokes his grandfather’s pipe and is taken in a Proustian like way to a time he never knew – his grandfather had died before he was born.  Lighting the pipe released smells locked up in the pipe for all those years.  Lightman reflects:

‘There is a kind of time travel to be had if you don’t insist on how it happens.’**

I’m not advocating taking up smoking but I’m thinking about a kind of time travel made possible when we are open to what another brings – all the experience and expertise built over so many years, often encapsulated in a story they tell.  This kind of blueness is made possible by being present, listening not only with our minds but our hearts and our bodies, too – this can take longer to write than how it looks in realtime, so it doesn’t necessarily take more time than going with the harde=-headed or the “tried and tested.”  As Brené Brown points out, the relationship between being present to others and being present in the moment of activity is one of blueness:

‘mindfulness and flow aren’t in competition with each other.  They aren’t the same thing but they share the same foundation: making a choice to pay attention’^

Yesterday I was part of a conversation exploring the compassionate university.  A larger understanding of the dynamics of compassion consists of compassion to others, compassion to society, compassion to our world, and compassion to self.   Compassion requires presence, presence requires compassion.  It is about allowing spaces between people to be full of value and meaning and therefore to be blue, producing more than we could otherwise imagine.

A year ago I had begun to read Roz and Ben Zander’s The Art of Possibility.  What I’d read a year ago today offers fitting words to close with, that is, to open with:

‘The action in a universe of possibility may be characterised as generative, or giving, in all senses of that words – producing new life, creating new ideas, consciously endowing with meaning, contributing, yielding to the power of contexts.  The relationship between people and environments is highlighted, not the people and things themselves.  Emotions that are relegated to the special category of spirituality are abundance here: joy, grace, awe, wholeness, passion, and compassion.’

(*From Hugh Macleod’s gaping void.com.)
(**From Alan Lightman’s Dance for Two.)
(^From Brené Brown’s Rising Strong.)
(^^From Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility.  My TOP READ of 2016.)

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