Joining Spirit and action,
Soul and work,
Heart and calling.
The ultimate outcome of work transcends the actual activities that a person engages in. Work is an important part of fulfilling our need to belong.
I wrote the three lines above when feeling very disappointed with an institution I love deeply. What came to my heart were the three things that were missing in an encounter with people who didn’t know how to use their power. Rather than grace I saw power wielded with the intent to cause damage.
Disappointment in our work needs to be faced if we are to understand transformation. Disappointment means that we take stock of what is reality and allows us to begin to depend on a truer foundation. Avoidance of the reality of disappointment will deny us all that life is because all of us will be broken hearted at some point.
Parker Palmer in his book, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, talks of the wounds that are caused by our institutions. For many people their experience of work is dealing with daily disappointments where wounds are inflicted by those who wield power unwisely.
In my life’s most recent transformation the most difficult part of moving forward is recognising the disappointment that lay behind that transformation. But, as David Whyte says in “Consolations”, courage is in embracing that disappointment. There is no pathway on this earth that doesn’t involve being let down in some way.
As I wrote the poem Grace visited, I went to a place where I was not good enough. Confronting this statement was one of my life’s biggest disappointments. It was a lonely place where I for a while I lost hope. Fortunately I didn’t stay there forever and over time I have begun to see a new more powerful story beginning in my life.
One of the most beautiful words that came to me is included in the final stanza, “forgiveness”. This was the source of my healing. Forgiveness and Grace give us words that understand hope and belonging.
In recent times as I have begun to re-emerge into the world of work I have considered deeply what it is that I wish to bring to the workplace. My own disappointments have spurred me to wonder how in the workplace Grace can be visited?
I wonder what such an environment will bring to the culture of an organisation? I have a conviction that in a place where grace is visited regularly the source of work, creativity will be unlocked. That instead of wounding and limiting it will be a place of discovering each person’s untapped potential.
My world’s cry of, “not good enough”,
Gave birth to disappointment,
It led me to life’s darkest shadow,
Powerless to lead myself into light,
Disappointment gave life to transformation,
The place that where hope can shed its light.
Disappointment’s path took me to loneliness,
Alone, silence, spoke to my soul,
While the world’s voice echoed in my head,
Silence spoke with a clear whisper,
Reflecting my deepest desire,
Connecting my heart to destiny.
In the silence I met with Grace,
He looked me in the eye,
Complete honesty in his gaze,
Then he spoke very quietly,
The words longed for by all,
“My child you belong to me.”
In the silence of despair,
And the heartbreak of disappointment,
I heard the voice of forgiveness,
It called me to know I belong,
Aloneness and silence brought recovery,
From my deepest wounds,
Knowing My heart’s healing source,
Is because of Grace’s gaze fixed on me.