Ward Maillard – Closure Part 4 – Thought Chickens

Ward Maillard: Well, we did the warm up. That was before the race, now after the race we have to do the warm downs. I was having the wonderful experience of taking visual notes during the last few days, and there are some “thought chickens” too that may be worthwhile. I even have a “thought elephant,” I’ve never had one of those before.

Vivian Wright: You’re getting out of control.

Ward Maillard: It really is true. There was one thought chicken that said, “What makes ‘busy’ safe?” That was a gift from Valerio. “What make’s busy safe?”

There was, “Not talking verses listening,” courtesy of Ryan.

Of course there was “The man in the sombrero,” from Angeles. All of us guys are going out to buy sombreros. Also the “silver haired lady with the doe eyes.” I’m fortunate to be married to a brunette haired lady with the doe eyes, and so I know who I’m throwing my sombrero to.

Here is a question to go home with. “We have chosen to be here. Why?” You chose to be here. I have infinite gratitude to the people who say, “yes” because you have come into the commons. Peter and I were talking about it a little bit this morning, and the thing that really struck me dead center this time was the notion of “the commons,” and that we are meeting on that commons. We’re taking back the commons in a sense, because the commons, to some extent, have been co-opted. So this becomes the “restoration of the commons.”

And, there was what Peter was saying about language this morning, “in a word is a world.” And in fact, when we name the world, it comes into existence. In the Vedic tradition, in the creation hymns, it talks about the sages sitting in a circle to name the world into existence. To name something for what it really is means to enter into an intimacy with that thing in order to name it. What comes from sitting in the circle and naming the world into existence, is friendship, and community. Community happens when strangers enter the room, and are willing to sit together and name the world.

I was also thinking about the restoration of the commons because the notion of transformation or development, the things that need to be fixed. We don’t need to be fixed. I think, inherently within us is a kind of perfection that becomes inhibited by stories that don’t serve us. So point to the “re-storying,” – “restoring the commons” – “re-storying the commons.” This is the work that Chene Swart, who I hope we will have with us again next year, and her work in Narrative Therapy. As our departed friend, Sri said, “The world is not made up of atoms it’s made up of stories.” So, what is the story that we’re bringing into the world, and how is it serving us and how is it serving the world.

In the restoring of the commons, the commons is the place where we take the time to find the words to express a possibility that can’t be named by anyone else. So the possibility that we all are, in this circle, can’t be named by anyone else. And that’s powerful.

For those within this Mount Madonna community who show up, what they’re doing is bringing their flowering., bringing the nutrients in the earth that get drawn up through the roots of this community. And the people who come from outside the community, or better from the extended community, because there is no outside, are bringing their nurturance and the nutrients to this place, that make this community strong. There’s an exchange on the commons here that vitalizes the lives of those who are in the community and puts vitality out into the world.

I am struck with profound gratitude for this magnificent play group. It is a three-day play date. What a wonderful luxury. The gift that Peter and Angeles and Vivian bring; it’s the confidence to be humble with their gifts. It’s the gentle firing of the rockets on the space-craft as it orients itself towards its destination. It’s done with a lightness and a generosity of spirit. I always noticed that Peter names the gifts in the room so that we can find them. He sees me and so I can show up.

The thing that I didn’t share (from the assignment, “Make a sentence about what you are bringing into the world”) because I thought in some ways it was so obvious that I was a little embarrassed to read it, but it’s a declaration, “that I’m bringing a world of greater awareness into being by listening, reflecting and noticing people’s gifts.” That’s what I think, Peter, you do for so many people. You notice their gifts. And in that process there’s a reflection where people suddenly come awake to who they are.

And Vivian, your gift of wild humor and your bullets and flowers, they’re not a bandoleer, you wear them all over you, you know. The humor and the wildness to a point is so valuable.

Bob and Sampad, the gift of music.

Devin, Bob and Dayanand
Devin, Bob and Dayanand

And the students here; you’re not students. You’re our teachers, really. I heard some things come out of your mouths where I just went, “wow!.” You know, who is teaching who? Amber was instructing us the other night about, “You have to take care of your physical being, your emotional being, your psychological being, and your spiritual being if you want to do good work in the world.” And I was seeing this wise woman talking to the elders going, “Shape up guys, you have to get it together now if you want to keep going.”

As we come to the end we actually come to the beginning of the next journey where we go out from here hopefully with some energy and insight, I always do. But I want you top know how much you all matter. Your showing up, how much it matters. This couldn’t happen without you.

This is the commons. And this is the place where we name the possibility that only we can name. Thank you. I want to end with this gratitude and this sense of incredible well-being, because you are here.