Tuesday, 20 April 2010

What to do about a loose connection?

I spent the first of the really glorious sunny, warm days at the weekend in my favourite spot, double digging a patch of my garden.

The skies of West London were clear blue without a cloud. More noticably, there was not a single vapour trail coursing over my head, nor any rumble from planes taking off and landing since all the airports are still closed. It was, quite simply, silent bliss.

I realise that I am lucky to be home, and not stranded somewhere else, with my holiday or business trip in shreds around me and struggling to make it home, or worried about separated family members like so many other people.

A few days either way, a different set of circumstances and choices, and I would indeed be in that position. I would also be likely to be significantly out-of-pocket as there is no claim against a force-majeure - which quite literally means "a greater force".

I am curious about my own thought process about the greater forces that have - literally - grounded us all. I had the kernel of this same thought in the winter, when all the snow brought us to a standstill.

It is true that in my daily life, I very rarely have to stop and consider the earth and its power, and that when I do, it is usually vicariously - earthquakes in far places, disasters and floods, all reported in to my sofa, heated car seat or wherever I happen to be at the time.

I know, from past sailing experiences and growing up on the coast, that the sea is to be respected at all costs. This was ingrained from an early age when our primary school assembly favourite was "for those in peril on the sea" and I shared playground anxieties with the children of fishing families and life-boat crews during spells of bad weather.

But I am now jolted into realising how 30 years' of busy London living has blunted my senses and loosened my connection with the earth and universe in general. It seems incredible to my modern, yet naive, mind that a volcano can stop the air traffic on this scale.

But maybe my modern mind has mal-developed to become fooled into believing that we are stronger than the forces of nature and that just because I  don't confront them every day, that somehow they cease to exist, or that they can be overcome by modern inventions, science and technology.

I clearly remember the reports, before the terrible Tsunami struck, that all the animals left the low ground for the high ground with the sort of collective intelligence that binds the natural world.

As a developer of managers and leaders, I have frequently asked myself whether, in fact, we have forgotten more than we know when it comes to harnessing the collective intelligence in other contexts.

Therefore, perhaps the really incredible thought is that, with human arrogance and dangerous naivity, I have been seduced into thinking that it is incredible.

It's a mega reminder that my experience and view of the world is only my perception - and as such, perhaps it is a timely reminder for me in some way.

I am planning to spend some time considering how to strengthen my loose connection with the world and personally speaking, in my happy, sunny garden, I am grateful for the reminder.

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