I was paging through a book I love and was paused by this:
… in this participative universe, nothing living lives alone. Everything comes into form because of relationship. We are constantly called to be in relationship — to information, people, events, ideas, life. Even reality is created through our participation in relationships. We choose what to notice; we relate to certain things and ignore others. Through these chosen relationships, we co-create our world.Margaret J. Wheatley, Leadership and the New Science
That final sentence really grabbed my attention. “Through these chosen relationships, we co-create our world.”
Wheatley is talking about our relationships with everything we encounter throughout our lived days: the standstill traffic yesterday, who won that critical election, trees covered in burgeoning spring-green leaves, the kind person who sold you much-needed chocolate so you could survive a thirteen hour day of schlepping and driving packed highways followed by more schlepping and driving. (So. Much. Driving.)
It’s not just the aggregate of these events that creates how we view the world, it’s how we relate to them—what words, and attached feelings, we wrap around them.
Was my experience of the snarled traffic an annoyance or an opportunity? Did it wreck my morning, or give me the chance to think creatively about ways to reduce my carbon footprint, and stress, by using a different method of travel? (With the distance of a night’s sleep, I’m calling it both. My relationship with the event is full of both frustration and possibilities recognized.)
What we make of each encounter and how it fits into our co-creative efforts is determined by the words we use about it.
When I co-create my world with my experiences from yesterday, I’m building a place that allows for both frustration and the possibility for a more sustainable outcome infused with feelings of kindness from the person who sold me chocolate and hope from the budding trees.
- We create and participate in relationships with people and with events through spoken, written, sung, or signed communication.
- We create connection through language.
- We co-create our world using words.