“I know it is possible to create islands of sanity in the midst of disruptive seas. … And I have studied enough history to know that such leaders always arise when they are most needed.
Now it’s our turn.” ~ Margaret Wheatley, Who Do We Choose to Be?
I’ve written about Islands of Sanity before here, and it seems a ripe time to revisit that whole notion, yes?
It’s not like Islands of Sanity are ever a bad thing. Depending on how you define sanity, of course.
Remember that witty bit of cultural observation from Jiddu Krisnamurti? “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
So, not that kind of supposed ‘sanity’ that’s really a form of toxic-normal dysfunction.
I think (and sense, and feel) that more than a few of us would agree that there’s a whole lot of what sure seems like insanity out there, if what we see on the ‘news’ , with the recent and current U.S. Supreme Court nominee revelations (#metoo, meet politicians and the “boys will be boys” apologists, again). And so on.
I’d say we’re in disruptive seas … again. Or still. Or maybe just a bit more disruptive than the disruptive-normal we may have gotten used to.
So the more of us who rise to the occasion as Islands of Sanity, however we’re bringing that mediating, centering, and/or “not going to spread the toxic-waste” presence.
Being an Island of Sanity does not mean being wishy washy, passive, or spiritually bypassed or lobotomized. It does mean taking a stand, speaking one’s truth, standing for those who are without voice or power, for dignity, and even for expressing righteous anger in a way that does recognize others’ dignity (more on the latter thing coming soon … stay tuned).
That means rededicating to those “uncommon skills” that refuse to perpetuate the toxic communication, maliciousness, or extremist ignorance that doesn’t contribute one iota to any kind of good, wellbeing, or humanity.
“We become people who stand in contrast to what is, freed from the aggression, grasping, and confusion of this time.”
“With that clarity, we can contribute things of eternal importance no matter what’s going on around us — how to live exercising our best human qualities, and how to support others to discover these qualities in themselves,” wrote Meg Wheatley (a fellow Berrett-Koehler author and wisdom-sharing elder).
I’m sure we’ve all experienced moments like that, have felt uplifted after experiencing or witnessing a real Beauty Way interaction between people (or people and other species), and/or yearned for that kind of experience or interaction when the toxic-chaos is swirling (and getting swirled).
It’s a matter of choice, of human alchemy, not some impossibility. A matter of remembering who we truly are, at the (lost and found) Heart of it/us.
(Just because it doesn’t seem normal, or easy (as in requires a bit of mindfulness and practice, god forbid), or because it may not feed the instant-gratification addictions doesn’t mean the more Beauty Way of Relating and the effects of Islands of Sanity (and low-key leaders presencing Uncommon Skills is not what most people would prefer).
As Louise Bogan, Poet Laureate to the Library of Congress (1897-1970) wrote,
“In a time lacking in truth and certainty and filled with anguish and despair, no woman should be shamefaced in attempting to give back to the world, through her work, some portion of its lost heart.”
Recovering the World’s Lost Heart, our Soul Force, whether Female or male, whether through work or presence (and they’re interwoven, really), there’s the mission.
In other words, being Islands of Sanity … or as I think about it, maybe being an Islands of Sanity is really means being an Island of Humanity, remembered.
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