The coolest thing about publishing a book is the community and connections that happen. I didn’t know it would be this way. Many years ago I had a vision of plunging into a dark abyss. It was scary of course–we never know what’s going to happen when we plunge into dark abysses. In fact, our minds usually come up with something quite frightful to keep us on safe terrain. But in the vision, what happened was quite the opposite. Rather than being eaten alive or some other horrible fate, I eventually landed at the bottom of the abyss, which was a brightly lit room filled with interesting, passionate, joyful people. All of a sudden, brighter possibilities than I could ever have imagined were in front of me. I was grateful I’d had the courage to take the plunge. (Interestingly, that’s what Getting Messy is all about…taking the plunge.)
Writing and publishing Getting Messy has been like plunging into that dark abyss. I had no idea what would happen to me or the book. Since I’m working with very limited financial resources, each thing that happens has been amazing and at the risk of sounding sappy, has brought joy to my heart. (I’m even tearing up writing this…) One of the true pleasures has been hearing people’s responses, thoughts, and reactions.
So in that vein, I’m going to share a response that I received from a friend after an author event at Pegasus Books in Berkeley last week. My friend’s analogy about the Blind Men and the Elephant has continued to stay with me. Here’s what he wrote:
I wanted to congratulate you on last night’s meeting. You were there in front of the unknown, and you walked the talk. Right from the beginning you upped the chances of educing collective wisdom from the group by setting up the chairs in an oval, rather than the serried ranks that were presented to you. Sometime in the middle of the group you said something like, “I like it when people speak up and contribute, it gives me something to work with”. That fits in with the oval set up ..namely, when you have a truly interactive group that goes into unknowing with the support of the leader… then creative discoveries and learning are inevitable… and, as you pointed out.. each person learns what they need to learn.
Reminds me of the Blind Men and the Elephant metaphor-story (which I have been using when teaching psychotherapists-in-training). We all have our idea of reality .. and reality is much bigger than any of us can apprehend. So therefore it makes perfect sense that we interact with curiosity and openess and with a sense of unknowing in order to better learn about reality.
Wowie.. I had never taken that metaphor that far.. into the area of how to best teach. And it is in the process of writing to you that that new connection emerged.
We’re all here connecting with our own piece of reality. Thanks to each of you for sharing your piece of reality with me.