Searching for glimmers in the darkness. Moving forwards, taking with.
Creating things, making art of any kind, making plans and coaching conversations - any conversations - take place in the context of real life and actual events. Sometimes when I am making something, it is a helpful way to put thoughts and reactions into some kind of order or balance. At other times, its a helpful opportunity to just put things aside and not be with that experience for a period of time. Similarly when offering coaching to another person, I find it really helpful to begin each conversation with a very brief check in as to how life in general is going, any big events, concerns or celebrations from the past week or so, regardless of how much that has to do with the topic of coaching directly.
Sometimes those other things can overwhelm the time and energy of the person being coached, and while coaching is explicitly not a therapeutic intervention, it may be useful to just allow the person to talk and share their experiences before moving on, allowing things to be expressed and shared without trying to fix or offer suggestions. Just listening.
This week, I’ve offered myself the same sensible generosity, and put things aside for a brief time to just clear my mind and to make a space for re-building a sense of focus and desire to engage in the world again.
Many years ago, I dreamed that I had a baby, a boy called Alexander. In fact I literally ‘had’ him, but that surreal miracle was not noteworthy in my dream! The whole dream is still so vivid in my brain and I have often thought about that theoretical son Alexander.
Perhaps that is one reason that the murder last weekend of a 20 year old lad named (in the German media style) as Alexander W, has really affected me. 20 years old like my oldest niece, working his way through uni at a part time job at a service station, much like my nephew. In short, as I understand the reported facts, he had had to insist that a customer wear a face mask before serving him and that customer refused, went away then come back with a gun and after another altercation, shot Alexander in the head. Such an evil waste of life and potential, such an unfathomable choice to make.
People. Are. Nuts. This is what we all already know, but the reported praise and celebration of the murderer in far-right, conspiracy theory based, online forums after the event, really numbs my sense of place in the world. How did we get to this point? Today here in Germany, a new Chancellor will be voted for, at the end of a 16 year period under Angela Merkel. I can’t pretend to know her polices well, but it does seem that her leadership has provided some degree of stability and predictability through some quiet unstable times. I suspect that even without the inevitable negotiation of a new coalition, the teething problems of any new leader finding their feet in the particularly big shoes under the Chancellor’s desk, we are in for rockier days ahead.
I guess we will endure, perhaps even thrive, if we give each other enough time. Just don’t shoot down the potential in the kids, either literally or psychologically. Let the 20 year olds, and the 54 year olds, THRIVE.
By chance this week, I heard this poem by a historian and poet from Song Dynasty China, writing in the early decades of the 12th Century. Li Qungzhao was writing about the violent overthrow of the emperor during and the ensuing disintegration of the social order as it had been throughout her lifetime up until that point.
And you should have been more cautious,
Better educated by the past.
The ancient bamboo books of history were there for you to study
But you didn’t see.
Times change, power passes.
It is the pity of the world
And the hearts of the viscous were deep chasms of evil.