-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Invitation - A song about Community
We live in a culture defined, in many ways, by speed.
We also live in a world in which knowledge, creativity and human capital are more valuable and marketable than at any time in history. The productivity and profits of any endeavor today depend more and more on insight, collaboration, ideas and agility than on documentation, discipline and consistency. Documentation and the others are still valuable, even essential. They are just not enough anymore.
Depth over speed is knowing that connection comes before content.
Depth over speed is understanding that, as Peter Block says, Leadership must move from Hero to Host and from commanding to convening.
As an interesting example of seeking connection before content, Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has some things to say about taking time to be together before attempting to negotiate peace.
He says it's not fair or reasonable to expect people who are at odds with each other and who have had little or no experience with peace in their own hearts to come together and expect to negotiate peace. He describes a more mindful approach:
"When we come to the table, we shouldn't negotiate right away. We should spend time walking together, eating together, making acquaintance, telling each other about our own suffering, without blame or condemnation. It takes maybe one, two, three weeks to do that. And if communication and understanding are possible, negotiation will be easier."
I wrote this song in 2009 about the experience of spending time with friends in community as part of A Small Group Cincinnati.
It starts with the idea of INVITATION as opposed to persuasion, petition, pitch or promotion and the power of knowing each of us is coming into every engagement by choice.
It includes the ideas that in a world in which speed has become a given, we can choose to focus together on DEPTH, that even though talk of need and problem solving is so common, we can choose to talk about GIFTS. We can pay attention to the space and structure of how we gather and know that the stories we tell and the questions we ask each other have power to shift our experience of ourselves, our neighborhoods and beyond.
It makes the invitation to join in a new conversation about life and community -- and I am still learning about these new conversations, myself, so I welcome the curiosity of anyone interested in exploring them together.
Words & Music by Randy Weeks
with thanks to Peter Block and A Small Group
Copyright Randy Weeks - firstname.lastname@example.org April-July 2009
Recorded 7-27-09 at Monastery Studio, Cincinnati, OH
Production & Engineering: Ric Hordinski
Acoustic Guitar & Vocal: Randy Weeks
Electric Guitars & Bass: Ric Hordinski
Drums: Josh Seurkamp