Allyson Hewitt – What Am I Skating Towards? Ambiguity and Vulnerability

Here is Allyson Hewitt's response to What are you skating towards in 2012?

Hope, Opportunity Ambiguity and Vulnerability

I’m skating towards hope, opportunity, and the embracing of ambiguity and vulnerability.  And I’d like to share with you a quote and a video from two women who have skated this journey ahead of me:  Gilda Radner and Brene Brown.

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”   – Gilda Radner

Delicious ambiguity indeed:  the ambiguity of not knowing where you are heading but that in accepting that the there is here.

I’m skating on the canal (homage to my hometown of Ottawa), on the journey with other players as we uncover new ways to create opportunities for social change or simply to live.  I’ve skated that canal many times on my own.  It is a great time to think and reflect. It offers freedom while still requiring you to watch out for cracks but it is a better journey with others.

But here’s the thing, none of this is easy, not knowing is not easy.  We want to figure it out, we want to break it down (whatever it may be) and understand it and control it.

So the second fellow skater I want to share with you is Brene Brown.  Her words may resonate with many of you as she reflects that although life is messy it is her job to clean it up, make it perfect, and “put it in a Bento Box”.

In her TED talk, posted last year, she discusses her research around the value of connection, of understanding shame, of embracing vulnerability.

What does her research uncover?  That it comes down to a sense of worthiness – that we must believe we are worthy of love and belonging. 

She discusses other concepts as well:  of being wholehearted; having the courage to live with risk; with compassion that includes being kind to yourself first; of connection, as a result of authenticity, being who you are not who you think you should be; and embracing vulnerability as fundamental.

She shares her journey as she reflects that as a researcher, her job is to control and predict but that what she uncovered is the value of the exact opposite. 

Our tendency is to try to make the uncertain certain.  This happens everywhere and everyday, in areas like religion in politics where we have lost real discourse and replaced it with blame and conviction.

So I ask you to skate with me as we accept that we don’t know where the end is but to live in hope that it is better than where we are.  And even if it is not, we will have enjoyed the journey together, learned together, helped each other, challenged the status quo and held on to the possibility – and that, in and of itself, is enough.

Allyson Hewitt is a colleague in our national SiG collaboration. She runs the social innovation programming at MaRS in Toronto where she supports all things social – particularly advancements in social finance, social tech for social change and the development of an enabling infrastructure for others seeking to embrace a better way.

Twitter – AllysonHewitt

Note: I am releasing individual essays from the collection, What are you skating towards in 2012?  on a regular basis. Upcoming contributions are by Mark Anielski, Kathy Bromley, Jack Pearpoint, Maggie Vilvang, and Richard Faucher. You can access the accumulated essays here.

Related Posts:

Allyson Hewitt – Becoming Visible 2011

Ontario's Social Innovation Strategy

The Spaces in Between – The Backstory of the Task Force on Social Innovation

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