Friday, December 2, 2005

The Tribe of the Ambiguous and Living in the Question

I've been having a lot of conversations around "Where are we?" and "Where are we going?" lately.

After two conversations in one day, I finished reading a book by Christian Baldwin, Storycatcher. Within the last chapter there was this:

"The renewed life we long for is already residing in the hearts and minds of people all over the world; it's just waiting for us to believe in our capacity to live it.

Yet hope is tricky; like joy, it must include and befriend ambiguity. To live in denial, to proceed with false cheerfulness, avoiding the seriousness of our situation, will quickly dash any hope built on such a flimsy foundation.

As I travel around speaking and listening to the Tribe of the Ambiguous, a story-based role is becoming clear: storycatchers can serve not only as carriers of hopeful thought-provoking tales, but also receivers of confused and heartrending accounts of personal awakening. The movement aspect of storycatching is about creating interpersonal space in which we can hold story with each other. Like the circle of listening that frames Chapter 2, we need to practice being in the now; we need a readiness to notice, to volunteer to listen and respond to each other while we speak our way into holding the complexity of the world."

Christina Baldwin, Storycatcher, New World Library, 2005

(I will write a full review of the book in a few weeks. Look for it in

In an article Donna Prestwood and I wrote for The Futurist in 1997, we outlined the results of over a year's worth of research, interviews and countless conversations about the nature of the future and how to lead in that future in seven principles:

  • Know who you are
  • Let go of what you've got hold of
  • Understand your purpose
  • Live in the question
  • Learn the art of barn raising
  • Give it away
  • Let the magic happen

As I look at these now eight years later, I still see a lot of wisdom in them.

I love Baldwin's term - The Tribe of Ambiguity. But I also like our admonishment - Live in the Question. Whatever the term, we are awakening to the fact that we are living in a question and struggling trying to find out what the question is.

I keep coming back in my mind to Flip Wilson, one of the comics of the 70's ( He was one of the funniest people ever on TV with his outrageous characters like Geraldine and Reverend LeRoy. Reverend LeRoy founded a church - The Church of What's Happenin' Now. I feel we are all members of the "church". Except maybe, we should change the name to "What's Happenin' Now?"

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