Published monthly by Sharon Eakes, Hope Unlimited, LLC
******************************************************************** FOCUS: How Do We Go On?
Disciplines: Systems Thinking, Mental Models, Personal Mastery, Team Learning, Shared Vision


After I heard about the World Trade Centers attack, all I wanted to do was weed my garden. I guess I wanted to put some order to that small piece of the world over which I still felt some control. While weeding, I revisited other life-changing tragedies of my life: my grandfather dying in a highjacked airplane; the father of my children, dead from an accidental gunshot; my witnessing a murder; my husband Gene dying suddenly.

This Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy is big. Loss of life, loss of safety, loss of innocence, maybe loss of economic security, we don't know all the losses yet. We will never be the same, individually or collectively. People at the grocery store stare straight ahead. We are dazed and numb. The unanswered questions are big: Where will this take us? Who are we now?

I am glad everything was cancelled, a meeting on "limits to growth", breakfast with a friend, a coaching luncheon. There is the urge to stay busy, and yet I feel stopped in my tracks. I listen to all the responses, "We will get to the bottom of this," and I doubt it. Leaders stay busy and talk tough to comfort themselves and us. We all hate to feel so powerless and vulnerable.

The ideas I'm hearing about what each of us can do are good (give money, give blood, pray.) AND my experience with grief says that to get through it, we must stop and feel it. Stop moving and be still. And perhaps, in that stillness, ponder and then have conversations with each other about some big questions. For starters:

- How can I individually and we as a nation support people in the world who feel powerless and vulnerable, as we do now?
- What are the mental models of our neighbors who are very different from us in this increasingly small world?
- What actions on our part might prevent an escalation of violence?
- How can we cultivate peace in our relationships?
- What can we do to promote a shared vision of the global world as a peaceful, learning community?

My sense is that the only real answer to the question, "How do we go on?" is, as they say in AA, "one day at a time." Muddling through. Doing our best. Individually and together. And, hopefully, stopping long enough to heal and learn some things as we go.
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