Saturday, February 10, 2007


We don’t know what is coming. We can anticipate a number of possibilities, but we cannot be sure of what is going to happen when. It takes “getting into it” to know. We make up our response as we engage what meets us in the moment. Preparation means being flexible enough to adapt “on the fly” to the situation as it unfolds before us. Expectation and presumption can lock us into a narrow range of action that is incapable of the breadth of adjustment necessary to deal with what we find. “Do not judge,” means “know that you don’t know,” “take nothing for granted,” and “be ready for anything.”

That being said, it is also worth noting that veterans of the interview process have a knack of turning any question to their advantage. They do not answer questions they do not want to answer, but they take those questions and use them as spring boards into what they want to say. They step into each interview with a clear idea of the points they want to make, and take the questions in directions they want the interview to go through what they choose to emphasize, or abstract, and what they choose to ignore.

What can we do within the context of the moment, with the materials at hand, to turn the moment to “the good”? What is at stake? What do we stand to gain? To lose? In light of what do we live? What are we trying to accomplish, achieve, do? What do we want to happen? What do we want to not happen? How can we achieve our ends within the givens of our lives? How can we modify our ends so that they become achievable within the givens of our lives?

Life is a series of negotiations between what we want and what we can have. And, nothing good can happen before its time. The mess that you see around you is the result of things being forced before their time. You cannot speed up the butterfly’s escape from the cocoon. There are no short-cuts to the way things need to be. The struggle is a necessary part of the process. If something is worth doing, it is worth seeing through over time. Or, as Churchill and Gandhi have both been credited with saying, “Nothing worth doing is accomplished in a single life-time.”

Living well involves knowing what needs to happen in a particular situation and living in the service of our vision. If the Vikings are wrecking the country, the Vikings need to be stopped. How would you stop a Viking? What do you need to do what is needed? We may have to live with “the Viking problem” for a while before we find a workable “solution.” And, the “solution” will generate its own “problems,” and so it goes. We do not live long in a place that is “problem-free.”

We do not know what is coming. Or, what we will do about it when it arrives. But, we will think of something. Thinking of something is what we do best. It helps to be clear about what we want and flexible enough to modify what we want in negotiation with what we can have. And to be patient with the process of transforming the context of our lives over time.

Homeless people have no clear sense of the process of transformation. There is no clear sense of that process in evidence on Native American reservations. Hopelessness and helplessness pervade the atmosphere in these populations. What do we want? What is keeping us from having it? What can we do about that? How can we live within the givens of our lives to maximize the potential for good? Who is going to help us ask, and answer, the questions?

Our context is not going to give us what we want. Our context does not have our best interest at heart. The Vikings are wrecking the country. THAT’s the context in which we live. The Vikings are always on the loose. We have to recognize the nature of the way things are and do what can be done about it.

“But what can WE do?” is the cry of helplessness and hopelessness. “What CAN we do?” is the question that opens the door to a future free of Vikings. What price are we willing to pay to create a future that is better than our past? How patient can we be with the process? What do we need to do what needs to be done? When do we start?


iwj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
iwj said...

I agree that transformation is a process, it happens one day at a time. Sometimes the willingness and the wanting may be odds with one another. But I believe that as long as we want the transformation, and are willing to change, we don't necessarily have to want or like the day to day challenges we will face to get there. We just have to be willing to do what's needed.

Jim Dollar said...

I expect we WON'T want or like the day to day challenges! The interference, the blocks, the resistence to transformation, within and without, are very much part of the process of transformation. Where do we find the help we need to do what needs to be done? "White knuckling it" is not the same thing as "faking it until we make it."