A vision of living wholeness

When I was younger I had a strong vision of a world in which we are all different but equal. In which the vibrancy, spirit and deep wisdom of the South could live alongside, informing and grounding the intellectual and action oriented leadership from the North. I dreamed in particular of helping people re-connect with the gifts of Africa; of shifting from viewing her as our destitute mother, to a full and expansive place to which we all have a deep original connection.

Out of this was born my work with Kufunda.

It is not that I have lost my dream. I am simply finding that, I need to go a little further inward as I reflect on the vision that guides my life today.

I have been on a journey during the past four years that took me increasingly away from my centre. I became a mother; I started a company with friends. All things that were deeply fulfilling, and yet in it I became too busy to truly listen to my Self.  And so recently, I decided to take a year to slow down and listen to my heart.

As I am slowly coming home to myself, I am experiencing the intelligence, creativity and flow available to us as we operate from a place of wholeness. I am developing a vision of an integrated life in which my life is no longer compartmentalized, into different segments of work, family, pleasure, service, spirituality. My emerging vision is one of learning to live my wholeness: to live from my loves, to self-express (also the sorrow and the rage), to enjoy my body, and to connect with the land and my community. It means to live as an integrated human being– not a human being trying to earn her place on the planet. From this place I will necessarily bring forth in tune with Life. From this place I am learning that we have what we need.

And so my vision emerges of a world in which we each shift to this way of showing up, authentic and whole. My vision is more of how we are with ourselves and each other, than the specifics of what we create. I trust that which becomes possible as we learn to co-create out of those fine whispers of each of our hearts and souls. The earth speaks to my sister, an impulse for community change to my brother. We honour the wisdom and the impulse that we each bring, African, European, Asian, Indigenous. And we find the beginnings of what will take us out of our current mess. We learn to walk, one step at a time – always simply in search of the ‘next minimal elegant step.’

It is often as we become mothers and providers that we let go of our ideals; that we compromise. Today, I am learning that the greatest gift I can offer my family is to follow the longing of my heart, my body, my soul. This is where the wisdom resides that will take us into a more life-affirming reality.

I believe that we are on a journey into a different possibility, and each of us daring to show up, engaging the full (and sometimes terrifying) richness of who we are, is  a critical part of birthing the new. And so as I find my clarity, and courage, I revel in the opportunity to share that with others, finding the parallels and the lessons that can be an inspiration way beyond my life and context. And in that journey also finding those who can inspire me.

It is indeed time for us to transform our worlds – as we transform and listen more deeply to our Selves.

 

 

Advertisements

The Challenge of the Change Agent

My wonderful problem solving self is one of my greatest barriers to creating change in my community. I am a social entrepreneur. If a problem or opportunity catches my heart and my mind, I set to work on addressing it, or on making it a reality. This is a wonderful capacity. It has allowed me to manifest much in the past and yet I am also increasingly seeing how it does not always serve me, or those whom I seek to serve.

Much of my work has been with rural communities, women in particular. An important part of my journey has been about reaching out to help them ignite their passion and energy for change. They are not problems to be solved (which in my experience the development sector often turns them into). They are an important key to a different future – as we learn to unlock and release the unique and beautiful possibility that resides in each one of us.

And yet, one of my biggest challenges at this time comes from an impulse, in the face of much need, to rush it.  When I see a problem, oftentimes my mind jumps into solution mode, and I wish to surge ahead. This may be a wonderful trait of the social entrepreneur, and yet I am noticing that given my wish to build a deeper change in people and our capacity to generate solutions and innovations together my impulse to action in many ways inadvertently belittles their power, their capacity, their view.

How then to stand in my power, and honour and invite in theirs?

I am learning, once again, to slow down. Real change takes time. It requires attention and care to invite others in and to build the collective ground from which much more can grow. It requires curiosity, and a weaving of relationships. It requires us to come together as a community identifying what we really care about, and then slowly but surely taking the steps to move towards that. It may include reaching out to others to join us, but it is about walking together, trusting that we have what we need, and that together we can make our way into the kind of future we wish to live. In this much more integrated and whole place, I can offer my gifts and my power, not from my busy problem-solving mind, but out of my connection to the whole.

Living my joy

I have always loved to write. Not as a wild passion, but as a quiet presence in the background. I wrote a children’s book when I was ten. It was not published, but I felt proud for trying. I journaled my way through my teens keeping sane through my passage into womanhood. My Master’s thesis, ‘Bringing the Human Spirit to Work’ helped me reframe my transition into working life as one of learning to live a life of joyful contribution.

I straddle two worlds. I have roots into Europe from my Danish father and into Africa from my Zimbabwean mother. I have lived and loved in both countries. They have contributed to making me who I am. Zimbabwe showed me a world of connection, vibrancy and joy; Denmark that I can do whatever I set my heart to. Perhaps these contrasting beginnings enabled me to let my heart and my joy be my guides on my journey through life. Instead of a secure job, I co-created Pioneers of Change, a global learning community of young change makers. Later, I returned to Zimbabwe to co-found Kufunda, a learning village committed to fostering resilient communities. Through all of this I was writing, as a way of reaching out with the questions and ideas, that were living and maturing in my heart and mind.

Four years ago I was in another transition. This one I did not write my way through. I married, became a mother, and made my new home with my husband in South Africa. Four years on I woke up to the fact that somehow my life had become too small for me. My work was springing more from a need to contribute to my family and my colleagues than from my heart. Mother, wife, colleague, these are all important roles, and yet they are far smaller than who I really am.

Recently, we have moved back to Zimbabwe as a family. This time it was us as a family collective who chose to walk out of the normal definitions of success: To walk into another possibility. We don’t know what it is, but we know that there is something more, as we learn to work – as a family – from a place of meaning and possibility. We have moved back to Zimbabwe with the intention to follow simply, as a family, that which makes us happy, and to trust that in that choice we will contribute more fully to our world.

In this simple and yet deeply profound shift, I am finding myself back in a place where my questions and curiosity are rising, my creativity is bubbling, and a stronger more intentional desire burns in me to chronicle and share. I believe that I am part of many across the world who are creating a new world. The old is not working, and we are gradually finding our way into a different way of being human. We are still learning our way into this. We as women have much to contribute here, and for me, writing is a subtle but integral part of breathing the new into life. It is the bridge between the outer work, and the inner emerging clarity. And it is the medium through which those of us, who are building the new, can find each other.