Friday, December 11, 2009


What I'm writing this time harks back to one of my earliest posts (6/28/08), which I entitled 'Looking for The Answer?' I pointed out there that I didn't think there was one solution to all of our problems and was skeptical of those who did.

A few months back I was at a meeting of our local Transition group. (See my post of 10/16/08 for more on the Transition Initiative.) We had just seen a disturbing film on the effects of peak oil. In response, a bunch of people began propounding solutions to the problem--very different solutions offered, one after another, with no reference to anything that anyone else had said. There was a real feeling that no one was listening to anyone else. (Actually, not totally true--one of the facilitators was trying to pull together some of the threads--but she was cut off by yet another person needing to propose his theory of why we were in this mess.) I realized that if the purpose of this group was really to build a movement, we were certainly going about it the wrong way.

And I had this vision, a kind of metaphorical insight. I have been part of related groups where we had been doing 'weatherization barnraisings' and 'garden raisings' (basically, helping each other weatherize our houses and building raised bed gardens together.) My vision was of some type of actual barnraising--or at least trying to build something together: a shack, a shed, a house, a barn, or even a few raised bed gardens.

Imagine that a crowd gathers as a truck pulls up and unloads a stack of wooden boards. Each person grabs a board--and examines it and proclaims it the best board ever. Everyone begins walking around yelling that they have the greatest board of all times and everyone else's board is lousy.

My question is: How fast do you think anything will get built?

As far as I'm concerned, the only way to build anything--I will repeat this because I think it's important--the only way to build anything, is to connect the boards.

Quote of the Day: "Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don't have to do anything else. We don't have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen." - Margaret Wheatley


Turil said...

Lovely metaphor of the boards! Going slightly further with the analogy, we could say to each person, "Great! What, where specifically do you think your board should be used in this barn? What are it's most valuable features?"

Or we can simply make a list of the parts we all want in a barn, and ask who's got the board that best fits each part.

Because, really, everything is indeed the best, at something. :-)

Also, I wanted to say I love your blog! It really complements my own (at I'm looking forward to reading more...

MoonRaven said...

Thanks, Turil. And welcome to this blog.

Good ideas on thinking about how the 'boards' fit together. It gets me thinking about ways we can build together.

And I really liked a lot of what I saw at your blog as well.