If you’re a reader of CDE newsletters, chances are you know I have a deep relationship with rivers. My love of rivers is not a hobby, or something I sneak away for on weekends. It is integral to who I am and what I do. As a lifelong paddler, wader, and watcher of rivers, I often return to questions explored and lessons learned on their banks.
Today, winter solstice, is no exception. As the season changes around us, my thoughts inevitably turn to the shifts in the rivers around me, the always dynamic and diverse rivers that have supported not only my soul, but the fins, wings, claws, roots and microbes that move through them, feed them, and are a part of them. A river holds a lot of mystery — albeit less so the longer you sit back to listen – but one thing is clear: In a river, nothing reigns supreme over anything else. Regardless of size, volume, beauty, ability, or anything else, each part of a river is equally needed, interactive and integral.
I try to bring this wisdom to my work every day at CDE. In part, this means embodying the lesson that nothing is static. Motion, change, and shifts in perspective are critical elements of feeding ourselves and each other. We must accept that a story shouted from one side of the river will sound different than it does when whispered from the opposite bank. More than accept this, we must welcome it – revel in it! We must open our hearts, ears, and arms to diversity. We must look deeply at the narratives that underpin our realities and allow them to change, flow, meld, feed and be fed.
Questioning long-held beliefs and perceptions is hard work! It doesn’t mean being loose or fickle with our principles and truths. Rather the opposite. Opening ourselves up to new and even uncomfortable ideas about the world around us requires a rigorous investigation of our deeply-held convictions and ambitions for how we want to share our time on the planet. This means developing a practice of investigating our own assumptions, deeply listening, and viewing ourselves and our work as part of a greater whole – not the whole itself.
Thank you to all of CDE’s supporters, alumni and extended family. As we approach the end of 2022, this work has never been more critical or urgent. Great work has happened over the past, hard, couple of years, and we have you to thank for it!
With gratitude, I’ll end this newsletter with a question and some inspiration: What does it mean to be the fish swimming against the current? It requires a sense of hope for what is lying upstream in unknown waters.
Deep gratitude for all of the inspiration, joy and love you bring to this work.
“What is given, has no end.”