"Heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in the thin places that distance is even smaller." –Celtic Saying
One of my pleasures this year was meeting Angeles Arrien at her home base in Sausalito California. Vickie met Angeles several years ago and we have both been deeply influenced by her wisdom, her writing and her way of being in the world. Angeles studies cultural wisdom – wisdom filtered through generations – wisdom that like water passing through layers of soil arrives pure and sweet. Along with Jean Vanier and John McKnight she enboldened us to pay attention to the heart in our work as we were composing what eventually became PLAN.
Angeles embodies wisdom. Fundamentally she is a story teller anchored in the great story telling traditions we all hail from. She reminds us of what we already know. I was fascinated by how significantly she listened and how sparingly she added a thought, story or reflection.
I also met Toronto based Patrick O'Neill, Angeles collaborator and fellow story teller. He has Angeles penchant for listening. Who would have thought one of the critical characteristics of a storyteller is listening? I subscribe to and enjoy Patrick's monthly writings entitled Extraordinary Conversations.
Here is his recent piece entitled The Thin Place which offers an alternative to the Top Ten ways of closing another year. I quote from his introduction.
Cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien reminds us that there are four ways to end something well – an experience, a phase of relationship, even a year. They are: expressing gratitude, acknowledging positive impact, recognizing challenges met, and making reparations.
Should you find a quiet moment I invite you to pour a glass of pure water, mix your favourite additive and settle in to say goodbye to 2010, hello to 2011.