This morning my friend C told me what was on her mind a lot during a recent weeklong workshop she co-presented: How do I bring my authentic voice here without alienating the others? While still belonging, in other words. Authentic voice vs belonging was her theme!
An artist friend in the same conversation spoke on this too. He said that he struggles daily with being an artist in a small town that’s all about maintaining its small town values, its strict rules for behavior. Adding to his pressure, he has a daughter that’s rigorously conservative and wants to make her mark in the mainstream. She’s turned her back, at least for now, on any sense of alternativeness so she can make her mainstream dream happen.
I liked hearing these perspectives because I struggle myself with having an interest range and point of view that is not at all orthodox. They reminded me that this is just part of the times we’re in. It’s not personal, it’s not about us. It’s every changemaker!
It’s as if you’re painting a landscape and it’s going beautifully. The colors, the whole, are harmonizing and blending together . . . but there’s this “other thing.” creeping into the painting. It’s colorful and ungainly and seems not to fit. That other thing seems like an anomaly, a square peg in a round whole.
That’s you wrecking the established order of things with your desire to serve the emerging new! How dare you!
A whole lot of what needs to be said and done right now doesn’t fit the social pattern for what’s acceptable. But nothing is more important than that it gets said and done anyway. The interesting things to say and do – and probably that you want to say and do – are outside the mainstream culture which mostly doesn’t want to hear.
We wander in a cultural mindset that it’s difficult to step outside of, even if we see it cognitively. Even with a lot of awareness we too can’t easily step away because our jobs and our perceived success, value and prosperity all depend on it.
Or at least we think they do! It’s a mindset after all. The fight for the future is very much a fight for a mind and a voice that can speak to all of this.