“The cure for despair is not hope. It’s discovering what we want to do about something we care about.” — Margaret Wheatley
In the last couple of posts, I have looked at one of the four human endowments: self-awareness. The root image for self-awareness is the serpent devouring its tail (or the Uroborus). This image points to how we gain awareness through experience. Early in this series I outlined two types of self-awareness: 1. the “truth-that-our-experience-teaches” which increases our awareness of “the-game-we’re-in” … that is, our awareness whatever is happening right now, and 2. the “impact-of-our-truth” which shows us how we limit our awareness by being faithful to a single idea or purpose. Both types of self-awareness are important. One expands and becomes bigger (#1) while the other balances and limits (#2).
“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” – William Arthur Ward
A client calls you with an emergency. You drop everything even though you have many other project waiting in cue. He calls and says: “I’m in a tight spot, I need to have a feature added to my web site before I have a client meeting tomorrow. I’ve emailed you the specifics and the data you needed. Can you do this for me?” You think for a moment. You’ve worked with him before, normally reasonable. There was some previous difficulty but it got smoothed over. You say, “Yes.”
Working like a dog over night, you get the job done. He calls you back very early the next morning leaving a message. “What you’ve sent is a mess. You’ve got to do this over. The data isn’t labelled and the chart is clearly off. I need this redone by 10. Give me a call as soon as you get in.” Well, you can imagine how that message felt. You pick up the phone and start to call but then you reconsider trying to pull yourself out of the emotional hole that you have just fallen into.
“Pied is the shadow of the world not me / Pied is the color that you hold in me / Here is the beauty which you placed in me” – three lines from the poem “For the Pied in Me” by Thomas Keydel
Pied is a state of mind or a condition we experience. It is also an adjective. One definition for “pied” is patchwork, anything decorated in brightly varied colors. So, having a pied state of mind means seeing things in bright, intense colors, a wildly mottled mix. And having a pied experience means being unsure, exactly, if you created the experience, or simply participated in it.
In this next series of posts, I want to explore four root images and the contradictions associated with each. And I wanted to start with this adjective “pied” as a way to begin putting color onto these images.