Words by Mary Freer

I spent some of January gazing into the great bowl of sky that hung over the farmhouse I was staying in. Each night the sky was alive with magic and movement; an inkwell of possibility and potential. As 2016 unfurled and opened its arms to me I got a sense of what might be ahead for me this year. So I have started the year with lots of optimism and curiosity.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what Parker Palmer calls the ‘life divided no more’. The integrated experience of being present each day and giving to the world my whole self, with all its flaws and inadequacies together with all that I have crafted over many years. The vulnerability and the bravery. The clumsiness and the elegance. The raucous laughter, often loud to the point of embarrassment and the quiet wisdom, hard won through many shadow years. All of it. This. This body. This heart. This mind.

It is this commitment, I’m quite sure, that makes it possible for me to work each day to create the world I want to live in. It is a world where kindness and compassion and trust and openness are valued and revered. Where there is a solid expectation that everyone who enters a healthcare service will be treated with kindness and respect. That we will listen to each other, knowing full well that this moment, this conversation, this encounter will not happen again.

I’m grateful to Andy Bradley, from Frameworks 4 Change, for a skype call last night where he very generously named the work I’m doing as a ‘pre-figurative intervention’. I had never heard of this term and I listened curiously as he explained how it works.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Buckminster Fuller

To give a glimpse of the Utopia we’re working for; to show how the world could be; to make such a world feel not just possible, but irresistible. //beautifultrouble.org/tactic/prefigurative-intervention/

Each time we enact the future and give others a glimpse, however small, of what Charles Eisenstein calls ‘the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible’ we are using a prefigurative intervention. Rosa Parks bravely enacted a  moment that belonged in a post apartheid world, a world that did not yet exist. She saw herself as an equal and valuable citizen with the same entitlements as others and when she sat at the front of the bus it was this disruptive view of the future that was powerful and triumphant.

I’ve been working with a team of kindness makers who are creating a Gathering of Kindness. This gathering, over two days, at Mt Macedon in Victoria is an invitation to step into a world that does not yet exist. A world where kindness and respect are highly valued. We want health and care colleagues to create this world with us for two days so we can describe the conditions that will enable it to flourish. We don’t know what we need to make healthcare a place that is reliably and consistently respectful and kind but we know we can work this out if we spend enough time listening and creating.

I’m wondering what else we can create, each day, that gives us a glimpse of an irresistible future. I’m imagining so many opportunities will arise for me this year where there will be an invitation to do just that. I know they will arise for you too. I’d love to hear about those  glimpses of the future that you make possible for others.

Mary Freer

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