Funny……you have these moments where you leave a situation or a person and think, “I must go ‘do’ something that captures the experience – in that moment. There’s often an urgency about it. Typically for me, its music, dance or writing. We all have our ‘must dos,’ in those moments where we must “do” those “must dos….”
I left a dinner tonight and felt like writing……quickly, urgently, freely……A moment of knowing that I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I did. I also knew it must be done in real time, fresh and “in the moment.”
Interesting that I executed this very behavior after a conversation with Gartner Group’s Jackie Fenn — who I had not seen in a few years — where our very discussion revolved around the sub-29 crowd. They seem to have no concept of privacy and tend to throw up all their content and thoughts without truly understanding the implications of what they have published…….
And yet, I often publish in real time. I type…….quickly and urgently. After a thought comes to me, providing a PC or notebook is available, up it goes. Sure, sometimes I edit. And, sure, sometimes I contemplate and rethink my words and sometimes I’m a ‘real adult,” and do not publish at all.
There are other times where creative energy just flows and when it does, like any artist expresses a piece of themselves in a particular moment, I go to that ‘place,’ and words come out fluently, right or wrong, witty or clumsy, articulate or dim. It’s irrelevant in that moment whether the ‘work’ is good or not. What is relevant is that what does flow is real, authentic, and in the moment.
On the topic of associations and prior connections, I have them often (how can you not when you’ve lived in a zillion places?), yet I rarely articulate them. I met up with an old friend in San Diego tonight who I dragged along to a fabulous sushi feast with technology industry illuminaries.
While he is not ‘of the industry,’ and touts his business life as old school in every way, he assimilates well. My friend drives mergers and acquisitions for Home Depot. Big company, small company culture and motives – what’s the real difference, I found myself thinking.
Shouldn’t we spend more time looking at our similarities rather than our differences? Imagine if we did that beyond our business relationships……globally, culturally, socially? The world would look a tad different than it does today. What would our political relationships look like if we could rise above our personal associations and connections and look at “it for what it is?” rather than the association we have of what it is. Hmmm, if only we were able to go there.
Hmmm, if only our leaders were able to go there? Psychology 101. Philosophy 101. Economics 101. Relationships 101. Oh yeah, they never taught us the latter. No wonder. How often have you thought, “no wonder.”
My friend, a mere year my junior, talks to me about his success, like we all do when we gather with old friends and catch up on years gone past.
As someone who comes from a male dominated culture, not unlike my own, he recaps memories of visits and reunions with midwest-based family members, particularly post-world war uncles and cousins. Can you relate? I could and know I’m not alone. So middle America baby boomer and post baby boomer society and yet we talk about it less and less. Is it because we believe in “it all” less and less? Is it because we have less faith in faith, as a concept, as part of our culture, our society?
It’s too hard to ‘go there’ today, isn’t it? Who to have faith in? What to point to for reference to, “this is an “I’m proud to be an American example, and here’s why.” Imagine my ex-husband, a white South African born in the mid-sixties, who had a late and incredibly beautiful realization about what kind of society conditioned him and how that translated into how he felt about everything and everyone around him?
We seem to have lost the drama of those reference points politically, socially, culturally. Our communities today are largely online and have become disparate and disconnected……frankly, there are too many fragments and subcultures to keep up…..
Rewind. Basics. Nature. Energy. Old school. Soil. Land. Hardship. Manners. Gratitude. Basics. Friendship. Handshakes. Belief systems. Investing in all of these things. In person. In real life.
Says my friend, “I went to visit an old uncle (by the way, all of them are dying), and he took me out to the field and talked about their crop…..”
“All of them dying?” I ask…..”are they all post WWII veterans in their eighties?” “No,” he replies, “mid-seventies, some of them part of the world, some of them just part of……” Pause. “You know, dying a slow death of life hardship, depression, cancer, heart disease.” Pause.
Yeah I know, I thought. Middle America, the old school world of unknowing, pride and unspeaking. Everything is okay and we simply don’t speak of the inevitable even if it is creeping up behind us, urgently, passionately, deeply, deadly……often without warning. Life is that way. Be prepared.
He continues, “what would they have done and said, with our resources?” He is so disappointed with encounters in his educated world, the first in his family to walk away with not only a college degree, but an MBA. Pause. I relate again. So nice to relate with old friends; I guess that is why they’re old friends.
He’s 38 and speaks of large families, mostly boys, where men were men and women were women. Men played croquet and horseshoe in the back garden, wet grass, dew and all. Watching football wasn’t part of the ritual, but cigars, beer and cracking oysters together were, sometimes quietly, sometimes over the energy of the day, the year.
Horseshoe, croquet and unspoken truths. While considered a facade the last generation of men hid behind and by the way, something we have evolved beyond, I somehow had a more authentic view of their essence than most I encounter today. Not meant to be a slap or a dig, just an observation, a reflection of sorts.
It is not unlike the increasing numbers of capabilities, TV channels, online social communities and consumer choice we have today, yet there’s less of what and who I want to see, listen to and meet. So evolved have we become. So proud should we be?? We be? We be?
Ponder. Pause. Ponder. Pause. Be.
I thought of croquet, softball, horseshoe and clams. Same neighborhood, no. Same community, no. Yet we had reference points, a far cry from what we can expect today given so many disparate communities. Services (and therefore now people by default through a new common experience), discourage a common link, a common thread, a common reference point.
Web 2.0 introduction after introduction encourages more communities but less connections – authentic connections that is. After all, how many authentic and intimate connections can one have if they’re part of ten online communities and perhaps subject to only one human one?
My friend’s Uncle Joe asks about his business. What could he say? Share a recent merger, his enthusiasm over a $10 million dollar acquisition with company X, his two year stint in Russia, a new appreciation for a different kind of democracy based on Y, view on education which has resulted in raising his boys contrary to the ways his uncle respects more than life itself. And in many ways, my friend does too. And yet…..
Conflict? No, not the way our generation sees it, but it is indeed a crossroads. A crossroads to a new form of communication and understanding of a perceived evolved world view.
He exhales and smoke from his pipe flows towards my friend. I can’t help but be there with him. He looks up at the sky, then out at the crops, soon thereafter beyond the horizon. He talks of hardship but doesn’t stay there long. Uncle Joe is living in the past like most of our relatives do. Like human nature often does. My friend feels warm from this connection however and travels back to a past childhood memory, a familiar one that the smell of his uncle’s pipe alone could induce. His eyes apparently change and his mind shifts to a different place. I go there with him.
His Uncle Joe, my Uncle Kenny, your Uncle Richard. It’s all the same. Connections, associations, memories, smells, thoughts. Openings and blockages. Inspirations and sad truths.
It is not how we remember or process these memories, but how we move beyond them and translate them into an action that is well beyond the memory, well beyond the thought. An action that moves us forward. An action that respects our Uncle Joes while at the same time, moves Joe and Kenny to a new dimension they were not prepared to go to alone. Through us, they are able to. Through us, a dimension moves forward. A generation. A species. A civilization. Ourselves.
It is that moment when we know what we must do and how. Be aware of that moment for it is in this place where we truly feel alive. When we ‘are’ truly alive. Isn’t that the only noble way to live?