I was part of a discussion this week within which this question–asked by my friend Flemming Funch of France–came up. Beyond the sheer amazingness that is Flemming himself, as a writer I intend to always stay close to him for the ample alliteration alternatives his very being offers.
One way I know I’m with the right people in any given moment is that new or deepening questions and answers well up within us. Questions that inspire us and feed us and prompt us to examine and share our own experience–like this one did. Questions that cause unique-to-us answers to spill out of us before we have time to think, judge, and stop them. In Lori Land, these are signs of a truly great question (TGQ).
Thank you Flemming for a TGQ. And thank you too, sassy-baby-fist-wielding superhero Seb Paquet, for starting the discussion.
Here’s what spilled out of me when Flemming asked about how we keep score about how free we are if money is a red herring…
“Flemming, off the top of my head…
- how many moments of the day we’re conscious of being grateful
- how many others we empathize with automatically
- how many moments are learning moments
- how more deeply ourselves we feel when doing our work
- how much like play our work feels
- how connected to everything we feel
- how readily we smile and laugh
- how ok we feel about doing what we do in any moment
- how comfortable we are with discomfort
- how conscious we are of what’s happening in a moment from all perspectives in the room not just one perspective
- how free to be themselves others feel in our presence
- how free we feel to be ourselves in the presence of any one or any situation
- how much we trust the people and questions who show up spontaneously in our lives
- how ok we are with letting things go
- how fully confident we can be that abundance will hold us in the face of the illusion of scarcity
- how much power we can see in a single kind word
- how present we can be to find the good intent in a situation or person
- how well we know ourselves and what we truly love
Good question. :-)”
The nice part about seeing this welling up in writing is that I can now see what I’m really working/playing/living/being for. This is the payment that I receive from my work/play/life/self/existence. On my best days, it’s also what I share and witness radiating outward from my communities, groups, and individual self, and then feel coming back to us in spades.
My own welling-up answer proves, if nothing else, that I LOVE this question and the guy who asked it. Also, perhaps, why I’m so well suited to blogging and storygathering. I struggle with bringing enough pithiness/briefer sound bites/empty space for others in conversation. I’m better here, where others can take all the time and empty space they need to ask and answer questions for themselves or roll their eyes and walk away without guilt to find their questions elsewhere. I look forward to the day when I become a poet and playing pithily with all others becomes as natural as breathing.
In the meantime, others in our discussion had the briefer answers that I sometimes ache for. For example, “the percentage of time we spend playing” feels like a pretty damn good measure of freedom to me.
This caused me to think several things at once. For example, another good answer could be “we stop keeping score altogether and become deeply satisfied with just being free.”
This briefer response also caused me to think more deeply about who the “we” is for me in the question. Because if I care about how free we are, then who my “we” is seems at least as important as how I define what “free” means to me. My own definition of free isn’t complete until I understand the unique answers to the question for everyone within my “we” too.
For the record, my “me” is planet earth and my “we” is all the living beings of earth. These definitions will expand the moment that visitors from elsewhere show up, but for now they keep me plenty occupied. And plenty free, as defined by me.
This brings me to the heart of what I want to experience. I want to experience all living beings on earth aware of themselves as wholly free, as defined by themselves. This means my “me” is happy. This means my “we” are free.
Yep, that’s a truly great question alright. It just introduced me to myself.
Much like the ethos of an ancient hunter gatherer who was our common ancestor, this is perhaps the best and well written answer to a TGQ I have ever seen.
Thanks for the encouragement Bob. I’ve never been compared to the ethos of an ancient hunter gatherer common ancestor before. That’s pretty damn cool.
What’s your answer to this question?
Dr. Lori. Hand any two year old child her very first ice cream cone and watch what happens next. She is completely lost in that moment in time; and nothing could distract her. So my short answer would begin with how enthralled we are in any given moment. This moment!
Have you ever been in a meeting that was a waste of your time? Harrison Owen taught us the “law of two feet” — contribute positively to discussions while learning and growing together, otherwise, we CHOOSE to move towards a space that allows us better opportunities to contribute. Imagine if every organization implemented the “law of two feet” as a guiding ground rule for all meetings? Freedom!
When you have had nothing to eat for three days straight and hunger pains suddenly subside, it changes you from the inside out. It is in this experience; that I will never take for granted food. Hunter Gather ethos in my mind is: “Give thanks to the Spirit and Source of what you are fortunate enough to eat”. Sharing food with others shows kindness, love, and is the ultimate measure of Wealth!
What a beautiful answer Bob! How enthralled we are in any given moment, how able/aware we are that we can just walk away, and the act of sharing food with others. Lovely!
I was part of a backyard barter event at the Seattle Tilth harvest fair last week. Organizied sharing and swapping of home grown and home made foods. How wealthy this made us all feel almost took my breath away. My canned goods were popular so I was done bartering within the first 10 minutes of the 1-hour event. So I got to watch, and listen, and people even gave me stuff for free. I made new friends too. Generosity of spirit, of self, and of homemade food! Talk about wealth! Had so much fun I’m going to their next barter event in November and am planning to talk to community members here about making stuff with me specifically for the event. 🙂
Thanks for your kind response. Community is tribal in nature as your experience illustrates. Too cool how people continued to give, and are making things specifically for you for the next backyard barter. Compassionate love is the spirit of helping bounded by an appreciative awareness of the needs of others. — Keeping Score.
No doubt, people from other cultures and tribes have lessons for me to learn from, and I enjoy the opportunities to interact with people who have a different point of view. — Freedom to change your view.
For example, I belong to two tribes, and my Japanese tribe teaches me many ways to appreciate the act of gift giving. In Japan, during the holidays it is not uncommon to spend $100 on a single (unprepared) crab! Oh, but what an experience for the pallet once it is cooked!
Japanese people are great teachers of many lessons for me, and the spirit of helping is steeped deeply into my experience of their worldview. It is always amazing to meet someone whom I admire greatly but whose humility is demonstrated in such a gentle and gracious manner.
Humility is the essence of respect; it is the unconscious competence of greatness. — Wealth
To be happy means you trust the people around you, you enjoy their company, your learn from them, you miss them when they are not around and so on. May be my answer to the question is you know the value of these endowments when you lose them. I imagine myself amidst a group of people and feeling bored to death, time running with misery and wishing to leave. It is the degree of belonging and engagement with high desirability that count most for me.
At least, this is honestly what I feel. I know Dr. Lori you give me a D grade. Still I am happy because it comes from a person I trust,
Ali, you give me my favorite gift: a friend sharing their honest feelings with me. You’ll receive no grade below an A from me! Not that I’m qualified to grade you, Dr Ali. Not in this lifetime! 🙂
I forgot to add that the answer shows values that money can not buy. Happiness, engagement, happy times, belonging and other emotional values are intangibles money can not buy.
yes, this gives me great hope for the future. Because in my experience, the closer my community gets, the more support we provide to ourselves, and energy we generate among ourselves, and the less swaying power money has overall. decisions start to be made from a broader community perspective, choices about staying at jobs/with employers we dislike become easier. I watched this happen in our coworking space. A person using us to help him make the decision to leave a job he’s miserable in. It’s not that the decision is easy, but it’s become easier, he feels more at ease and not crazy to follow his heart.
Lori, I agree. I approve. I want to alert the reader of our debate on slideshare on similar issues. I believe the dialogue there is an extension of this one here in a different format. See the comments section on this link
Thanks for sharing and connecting, Ali, as always!