I am interested in being able to stay
in the midst of this terrible travesty
that degrades the human spirit
or denies we have one
caught on the balance beam of
meaningful work and terrifying times
I want to walk steady in the world
learning what balance feels like…”
I have been on a virtual walkabout for a while now, searching for “a community of people intent on doing good work, trying to keep their hearts open, wanting to make a meaningful contribution, aspiring to stay and be of service even as situations become increasingly more difficult and disheartening.”*
I have found that there are many such people out there; I want to start introducing them and sharing their stories in these pages. Who are these people searching for ways to balance being “fully engaged with the world with an open, breaking heart?”* Who are these living examples of Edgewalkers: hospice workers to what is dying and midwives to what is wanting to be born?
Margaret Wheatley has made a career in pursuing the question “Who do we choose to be in service to this time?” More than a career, I would say, but a spiritual journey, a quest. One that she has clearly put her heart and soul into for many years.
She has written and spoken extensively on how we degrade the human spirit when we devolve into fear and violence and self-interest, on how we have forgotten who we are and our “great human capacities of generosity, caring and creativity.”* She asks over and over: how do we persevere in bringing forth the very best of our human capabilities – despite the formidable tides pushing against us? How do we not succumb to exhaustion and despair?
Her answer to these questions was to name herself a Warrior for the Human Spirit.
She defines “warrior,” in this context, as “simply a decent human being who aspires to be of service in an indecent, inhumane time. We want to be of service without adding to the confusion, aggression and fear now so prevalent (in our world.) In Tibetan, the word for Warrior, Pawo, means one who is brave, brave enough to never resort to aggression or fear to accomplish their purposes.”*
This, she says, is what she wants to spend the rest of her life pursuing. And she wants company. So she created the year-long “Training as Warriors for the Human Spirit.”
“This Training is designed to form our identity as Warriors for the Human Spirit, provide us with the skills required of this role, and create a strong and supportive community of companions whom we can rely on far into the future. This new identity either will strengthen us to do our present work or support our discernment to find new work. Wherever we choose to use our Warrior skills, we will remain actively engaged in the world, supported by new capacities and a strong community, in dedicated service to the human spirit.”* Take a moment to learn more here.
The first cohort is just beginning, assuming she got a critical mass to make it a go. It’s a huge commitment in time and money for many, but I have a friend who signed up so I can get the inside scoop as it progresses.
Bottom line, this is an incredibly brave and beautiful effort on behalf of all beings and the Earth, and an example of someone walking their talk or, as Rilke said, living the questions. I encourage all of us to take being a warrior for the human spirit to heart and ask ourselves how we can embody this in our own lives. Margaret, I wish you the very best.
“…and the point is to live everything.
Live the questions now. Perhaps then,
someday far in the future, you will gradually,
without even noticing it,
live your way into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke “Letters To A Young Poet”
* From Margaret’s web site