My dear friend, Pat Newmann shared this with me. It is an excerpt from Meg Wheatley’s 2010 book, “Perseverance.” I love it and hope you do too.
“People who persevere walk the undulating edge between hope and fear, success and failure, praise and blame, love and anger.
This difficult path often feels razor sharp and dangerous, and it is. Scientists call it the edge of chaos. It’s the border created by the meeting of two opposing states. Neither state is desirable. In fact, each must be avoided, no matter how enticing or familiar it appears. Possibility only lives on the edge.
Security is not what creates life. Safety, safe havens, guarantees of security—none of these give life its capacities. Newness, creativity, imagination—these live on the edge. So does presence.
Presence is the only way to walk the edge of chaos. We have to be as nimble and awake as a high-wire artist, sensitive to the slightest shift of wind, circumstances, emotions. We may find this high-wire exhausting at first, but there comes a time when we rejoice in our skillfulness. We learn to know this edge, to keep our balance, and even dance a bit at incalculable heights.
Walking the edge never stops being dangerous. At any moment, when we’re tired, overwhelmed, fed-up, sick, we can forget where we are and get ourselves in trouble. We can lapse into despair or anger. Or we can get so caught up in our own enthusiasm and passion that we lose any sense of perspective or timing, alienate friends, and crash in an exhausted mess.
The edge is where life happens. But let’s notice where we are and not lose our balance.”
Go to the edge. Push farther. Repeat.