On Wednesday, I publicly transitioned from founding Executive Director at CPA to my new role at Francesco Collaborative.
Yesterday, I spent a little time reminiscing with folks by exchanging comments on LinkedIn.
Today, I’m finding the feelings even more difficult to describe:
On the one hand, I’m giddy with excitement about new relationships and opportunities that are emerging. I feel available and open. Almost a spaciousness.
On the other hand, I’m overwhelmed by the tsunami of creative projects I’ve begun to germinate the seeds of. And then there’s all the start-up operational tasks. And the organizing and business model ideas I’m eager to develop. They all flood in each time I pick up my pen… saturating and overwhelming the sense of spaciousness I’m trying to hold on to.
Yesterday, I was invited to present on a topic that is closer to my heart and passion than any I’ve been asked about before. And it’s with some of the most influential, powerful leaders I could imagine having an audience with.
Right after that call, an email came through saying an investment committee had approved the largest single investment CPA has ever received. (The day after I formally stepped down as Executive Director 🙂
Both felt like unmerited grace. Abundance. Paradox.
Simultaneously, I feel the weight of their significance and my desire to produce my best, most important work in response.
These paradoxes remind me of the mystery of our lives.
This afternoon, a friend shared this Rilke quote with me:
In spite of all my work at CPA this past year, or these past 10 years… most of what has come together was not because of me.
It’s not the farmer’s work and worry that produces the fruits. (My garden reminded me this last week when my son and I harvested 30 squashes.)
The seed is transmuted into summer through mystery.
Our work, I wonder, is to reflect on this mystery together.
It’s why I felt overwhelmed yesterday evening and this morning — there were so many people I wanted to call to share the news. It’s the same way I’ve been feeling all week as I prepared the external announcement.
Mystagogy: A Process of Leading Into The Mystery
Last week, I heard my partner use the word “mystogogy”. It’s a word I didn’t really know the meaning of — so I asked her: “it’s reflecting on the mystery of our lives”.
I just looked it up again now, because it feels like what I’m doing right now, here, with you.
In case it’s of use to you, here’s what I found:
The root of “mystagogy” is “agogy,” which comes from the Greek word “agogos.” That means “leader.” So pedagogy, for example, is about leading (or teaching) children. A synagogue is a gathering place (syn-“together”) to which people are led. Mystagogy is a process of leading (or training) into the mystery. Or, perhaps a better way to say that is that mystagogy is initiation into that which is not yet fully revealed.
Even more specifically, mystagogy is an initiation into God’s self-revelation. We’ve all experienced God’s revelation. If you think about it, you can probably recall something that happened to you just a moment ago that you’d identify as God acting in your life. Certainly you’ve experienced an act of God within the last 24 hours. God is acting all the time. God is in every breath we take and every blink of our eyes. It’s not as though God chooses some obscure moment to break into our lives with thunderbolts or floods. Just the opposite. God is so present that we sometimes take the ongoing, constant revelation of God for granted. We have to actively remember how God has been acting in our lives to fully see.– Team RCIA, “A Step by Step Guide to Mystigogy”
The part that sticks out to me is the reality that we’re all experiencing mystery all the time — we just don’t draw conscious attention to it.
I’m grateful for these moments in the in-between times — the liminal space that we occasionally get in our lives to notice and appreciate the mystery.
“The Earth Bestows”, as Rilke reminds.
There is mystery in building community. There is mystery in becoming a people. There is mystery in building organizations.
Here’s to hoping you might find some space to reflect on that which is not yet fully revealed.