Just spent the morning with some folk who are out to change the world. They run a retreat and conference center(stony point center) where the intent is to embody peace and fierce conversations about how to live justice and love beauty and walk humbly. I love their tagline, “Live simply. Stand for something.”
I left their presence and felt energized. Their enthusiasm and commitment lifted my level of hope and purpose. Being around some people does that: the amount of life energy and infectious confidence they bring makes those around them want to play a bigger game, trust goodness and live boldly.
But we don’t have to rely on “catching” that from others.
We can be the catalysts. We can bring joy and a sense of meaning to our encounters. In the words of the conductor Benjamin Zander, we can enroll people in conversations about possibility, rather than joining in downward spiraling conversations. (The Art of Possibility, by Rosamond Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander).
Downward spiral conversations are all around us. We hear them in churches, in schools, and even in personal relationships. “The young people aren’t coming.” “The problems are too overwhelming to fix.” “There isn’t enough money.” The refrain under the talk is – not enough, won’t work, can’t…
When we join those conversations, or even worse, have this kind of talk in our heads with ourselves, we can feel our energy running down. When we talk like this with one another, we get stuck in that downward spiral, and there is no where to go.
To become an energy catalyst, we move in the opposite direction. We accept what is – where we are – and from that place we “see” openings and doors to possibilities. We begin to expand rather than contract.
This is not a talent that some have and most people do not. It is a practice – a cultivated choice about how to see and what to believe. We make that choice with every breath, and in each encounter.
Along with a sense of possibility, we identify what really matters to us. We pay attention to purpose and intent. Being with people who are “on purpose” is invigorating. It helps us remember that we can focus on what is meaningful, what speaks to our hearts and souls.
We can radiate meaning and possibility – and when we do, others are infected. They become more hopeful and focused on their potential to be the change.
It is a choice we make and a practice for our lives. Who are you going to enroll in hope today?