Vivian Wright – Closure Part 1 – Threading the Beads

Vivian Wright: There was so much invoked yesterday that wove together in a lovely way, and reflecting on it last night, I was thinking about the answer to the question, is there one Buddha or many? And I’m sure many of you know the answer is “yes.” At the truth body level, it’s all one. At the subtle body level, there’s more variety; and at the manifest level, where we have hands that can reach out and touch others from our heart, infinite variety; original medicine, strange and magnificent, and so necessary. And then I thought, it’s sort of like the bodies that Angeles invoked, the body of self, the relational body we create with others, and the body of the collective.

In my own experience of awakening, to have high affect on relationship, and have high affect on the collective, we have to focus on the relationship with the self—the foundation for relationality, which begins with self awareness and high regard. It enables that subtle level, the magnetic level that radiates from us – that’s part of that gaze that can’t be ignored. It’s the basis of presence and is really key.

It shows up in a lecture I like to give sensitive executives about being a big wheel. If you want to be a big wheel – I go to science, and say, let’s just talk about how you’ll affect reality. What is this material world made of? If you blow up an atom until you can see electrons the size of a speck of dust with your naked eye, what would you be looking at? How would reality look at that level? You would see a speck of dust here, and football fields away, another speck of dust – the real world. So I ask them, so what do you think is in-between the particles? And who knows? Sometimes I offer the idea that it’s love that holds it together. I tell them, if you really want to address the absolute majority of nature, work with the space between the particles. That’s where the heavy lifting is. Then you can move like a big wheel, from the largess of your being; and get there faster, instead of like a little wheel. Work with the space between the particles where the heavy lifting is. So when we work with the body of self, and the body of relationship, and the body of the collective, we’re still addressing what’s in-between the particles, and how courageous we can be, and expansive in allowing that bigger part to direct what happens.

Yesterday there were some powerful invocations; many were touched by the Black Hat of Zapata. I was wondering in those levels of relationship, can we show up with the wildflower showing between our bullets, with a gaze that refuses to be ignored. Do we know when we’re met by another, the silver haired woman across the room, who returns our gaze, who holds it, and calls from it the “swaha,” the surrender and offering of our greatness, and say, yes. And the “yes” of Sir Gawain, and King Arthur, to risk everything, to risk really giving their lives when there was a deal they were willing to risk them for. They heard the call to save their lives and risked exploring something impossible, “what do women want?” It’s a kind of ecstatic bravery that comes from a feeling of being called. Can we say “yes, with such courage? Risk giving our lives?

And the hag, Dame Ragwell – I thought about something that Peter brought up in a previous Chautauqua about fallibility – I can’t possibly language it in his beautiful way; but I think one of the important things, especially when we come here and get these seeds of inspiration, is to be prepared to be disappointed. I love his idea that “I’m not a development project; people have tried and failed,” this is it. In that, can I kiss the hag in myself – because she’s coming along. She’s a pretty good friend, and a source of great poetry – can I kiss the hag in myself? Can I kiss that hag in the other when I see their warts, and I know that there’s a Buddha inside? We’ve all got Buddha’s on board, and can we accept the hag quality, even of our great beauty, which shows up our expression of divinity, in such weird and wild ways?

I’ve said recently, teasing Rumi, I’m a kazoo that the Christ’s breath blows through. But yesterday I had a different riff on that. I was talking about my, sort of ferocious experience of the divine, and how it shaped me. I thought, well we’re all the body of Christ, you could say all, those parts, those different expressions, I thought, maybe I’ll be the asshole. But it’s an important part. (laughter) So this is causing more new material, beyond being the kazoo. And I thought about the dilemma about living into that wildness of who I am, and can that be of service to community; can that wild voice really serve?

And one of Angeles’ great teachings came to me about the three big lies: she says there are three big lies that we tell ourselves – one is the lie that I’m not enough, I’m not sufficient; my warts, my wearing of bullets, I’m not sufficient. And the other big lie is, you’re not sufficient to meet my needs. You’re not sufficient, that’s another huge lie. And the last one is, the universe is not sufficient to meet my needs. In my own experience, it’s wonderful to find that it doesn’t take perfection to produce a miracle.

Larry Inchausti, Sarojani Rohan and Vivian Wright
Larry Inchausti, Sarojani Rohan and Vivian Wright

In fact, once when I was very depressed about a leader I was working for and trying to support, and a wonderful Peter Block inspired socio-technical redesign of a laser jet factory – this head of a consulting – I was complaining about this leader always falling off the horse, and not keeping the vision. And Peter said there’s nothing worse than a perfect a leader. I said, what do you mean? He said, “There’s nothing to contribute. There’s no room.” So I just had to consider that, that when you see insufficiency on those levels, it’s a form of invitation. And that’s magical, because together we are enough. And I think that is the wisdom of the collective; and part of “re-storying.” The restoration of a view, that designs the architecture of how we hold ourselves in reality in a way, that allows our aliveness and humanity to be full. It allows for the mischief of our warts and hair, and ugliness to be a resource, and it allows us to show respect – as Angeles likes to say, it comes from “respectare,” to look again. Perhaps part of the magic is that curiosity, the “word” that so many of you brought into this Chautauqua – the curiosity to look anew, to look again. Respect for myself. Including the Zapata; courage and boldness, and presence; and the hag that says kiss me. That curiosity can re-story – invite so many possibilities we would never have imagined.

I think there was an invocation of bravery, in all of those offerings yesterday, and impeccability to move toward that aliveness in a more radical way. Will I bet my life on it? And how can it show up in a design of a restoration – designing the space, and the schools, and the classrooms, and the relationships; and even the dreams we hold to open up more of that, and not to be concerned about doing it perfectly. The hag can be a resource. So today I thought it would be nice for us to have some conversations that let us try on making a stake, you know, that gift of leadership, which is to take a stand and be seen for what you stand for. Try it out. This morning we’re going to have an invitation for some conversation about where am I, and that commitment to aliveness on the self and relational level, and the community level. What would be my edge of taking a stand like that? Peter I’d love for you to add to that with some reflections you’ve got. Or Angeles…