Remembering to Play
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I was watching Larry King Live the other day. The topic of discussion was the “Health Care crisis” in the US, and on the panel were some esteemed guests including CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent and the President of the American Medical Association. They were discussing the obvious problems and the not so obvious solutions to the dilemma.
It was interesting to see that every time a potential solution was suggested, it was said with vagueness and shaky confidence. No one seemed to really be clear on what was needed.
Half way through the show a new guest came on. Andrew Weil, M.D. is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, a healing oriented approach to health care which encompasses body, mind, and spirit. He offers alternative perspectives to health and healing that are slowly becoming popularized by society’s increasing movement towards conscious and sustainable living. He represents fringe solutions that lie on the outside of our conventional mindset.
While the esteemed panel prior to his appearance wrestled with how to fix the problem, Dr. Weil directed Larry right to solutions that lie outside of the tried and tested. He suggested that medical practitioners look towards new kinds of alternative medicine. He gave specific examples of how certain illnesses when treated in today’s health care system are costing a fortune to treat, partly due to the cost to purchase and operate the expensive equipment used in hospitals. He went on to explain how natural supplements and herbs have cured the same illness at a far lower price.
I loved how he represented a fresh, outside perspective that brought light on the subject. He is far enough outside the system to offer a whole new way. It’s like being in a dark room, and the room is becoming chaotic, and we are trying to look within the room for solutions because it is all we have ever known. When, in truth, the way to positive change is to leave the room altogether (or at bare minimum, turn on the lights!).
While it is tempting to fix the old, it is now necessary to consider the new. In the same way life is pushing us to fuel our cars with new, cleaner, cheaper, natural, renewable energy sources, Dr. Weil was suggesting this was needed with our body as well. Today’s challenges are humanity’s calling to something greater.
Look at your life right now. Where do you see an existing/persistent challenge in your work, community or personal life? What’s being done about it? Where are the solutions coming from? If little is working, if the same problems continue to resurface, it is mostly likely because you are relying on an old framework to create change.
This framework begins with our mindset or state of consciousness. It is our internal operating system that needs to be updated because version 2.0 is no longer compatible with today’s world. The same problems will persist within your work environment, community or personal life without an operating system that allows you to try something new.
The new operating system will support humanity to find solutions that use right brain skills such as imagination, playfulness, collaboration and intuition. Apple Inc. and West Jet are good example of organizations that run on the new operating system. More and more people are switching to Macs, and I don’t know anyone who would rather fly with a different local airline.
Taking on this operating system will require you to grow, stretch, adapt and embrace the unknown, all things that we humans are not comfortable with. Uncomfortable as it may feel, it is also where we will feel most alive. Relationships, projects, jobs will feel more fun because you are exploring, scribbling, playing outside the box.
Our soul yearns to play here because it is here our soul resides. It is always calling us to a place bigger than ourselves, bigger than we can currently see. Our imagination and creativity become ladders that take us there. Our capacity to be flexible, open and curious leads us to that ladder and up the first rung.
We are not meant to live within the status quo anymore. The challenges we face right now are opportunities that remind us of who we really are.