The Flower Chronicles: OD Experiments at Stanford University Medical Center — XI
When you are experimenting you may as well really experiment!
I had arrived at a colorful metaphor to capture the essential fractal for progress that has become a key tool in my work. While I had christened this universal fractal for progress the “Sun-Marked Physical-Vital-Mental Fractal” in Connecting Inner Power with Global Change, that was perhaps too complicated, and as a colleague summarized, “would be quite a mouthful for us poor HR folk”.
The simplified metaphor hence, was that of a flower growing to fullness and I referred to it as the Flower Chronicles (I subsequently wrote a book, The Flower Chronicles, to elaborate this ubiquitous journey). And so, I proposed a Flower Chronicles course at Stanford Center of Education and Professional Development and was quite surprised that they accepted and scheduled it without push-back. This workshop was focused on experiencing the wisdom inherent in a flower’s journey into fullness.
The Flower Chronicles is a way of seeing and being that builds awareness of the dynamic reality of progress inherent in the blueprint of Life. This blueprint is present regardless of the scale of an organization and the level of organizational complexity. Hence, whether an organization is a human-being, a team, a corporation, a market, or a larger encompassing system, active real-time dynamics and the change in dynamics over time follows a universal pattern that is simply captured by the way a flower comes into being, or the way a flower would CHRONICLE the world around it in its journey to fullness.
This journey traverses three stages — the seed-state (or physical), the stalk-state (or vital), the flower state (or mental) — and implies changes in orientation that allow the flower or organization to realize greater degrees of freedom.
To create the visceral feel for what this journey is, throughout the workshop each participant was asked to share thoughts operating from a space created through Relational Presence. This led to a level of intimacy and depth that tends to be rare in organizational settings. In this mode, one must relate to others in the moment, and being almost as two sides of a blade of grass (as a friend, collaborator, and creator of the notion of Relational Presence, Lee Glickstein describes), create thought that is fresh, because the obstacles of the seed/physical and the stalk/vital have a higher likelihood of being overcome in such a state.
In other words, to create afresh, the participant has to successfully traverse the flower journey: habitual thoughts and ways of looking at things (the status quo of the seed or physical orientation) have to be overcome, uncomfortable feelings and reactions that often arise in relation to others (the movements of emotion centered around the small self typical of the stalk of vital orientation) have to be overcome, and if this happens, then there may be freshness — new thoughts, new feelings — that are a result of operating with a new orientation in the moment.
Experiencing this journey can be an initiation into a greater way of seeing and being, because this journey is ubiquitous. It is the journey that all sustainable, successful organizations make. It is the journey made by the emotionally intelligent individual, by the truly productive team, by the innovative corporation, by the triple bottom-line driven market, by the self-correcting and sustainable financial market, by Life as it has been etched into the sands of time, and by the never-ending dance of the Earth with the Sun, since it first came into being over 4 Billion years ago.
Since this journey is ubiquitous and fractal — that is, it repeats itself on different scale regardless of circumstance — the alert participant could very well begin to see and even be as the flower in all situations they may be faced with, and may even see the flower dynamics in all things that they do see. That would be the result of a true initiation. To see and be as a flower is to awaken to the fantastic design that forever holds life in its extraordinary embrace.
[To be Continued…]