Fractures (Small Acts of Generosity / Small Acts of Mutiny)

“The world as we know it is built on a story. To be a change agent is, first, to disrupt the existing Story of the World, and second, to tell a new Story of the World so that those entering the space between stories have a place to go.”  Charles Eisenstein 

If the purpose of change agents is to facilitate transition from one story to another, I like the idea of initiating the process with Small Acts of Generosity & Small Acts of Mutiny. imageExperiences which create schisms. Fractures. Fissures in the dominant story. Chinks of light. Apertures into a new story. Invitations to a different way of being. They are the moments of clarity, glimpsed on the way down. They are the practical actions creating experiences which don’t quite fit. The ‘irrational’ cameos that seemingly make no sense.

Small Acts are on the one hand giving; on the other, refusing. Unexpected generosity; uncomfortable mutiny. This is not revolution. These are just Small Acts. Gentle nudges. Harmless, yet potentially transformational. A slow puncture in life as we know it. The seeds of a new way. The rôle of change agents is to sprinkle these seeds and nurture them.

10% Days (#10pcday) are an attempt at a two-in-one Small Act of both Generosity and Mutiny. It is a baby step on the path towards a potentially big shift. What if everyone took a 10% day? What if 10% became 20%, or 30%? What if “gift work” experiments on 10% days became the norm everyday?

Small Acts are not theoretical. They are practical. The only talking is about what you are doing and how it went. Small Acts are not desktop punditry or soap box rhetoric. They are evidence of full and active commitment.

Working Out Loud (#WOL) is potentially another two-in-one Small Act. It is a generous commitment to share and to help, beyond what is required in your job description. It is also a declination. A refusal to constrain yourself to the established mode of operating. This is my favourite example of full commitment Working Out Loud by serial experimenter and Small Acts grand master, Jonathan Anthony: Working Out Loud Under The Stairs.

Small Acts are about doing what feels right, not what is expected. They are about doing what is important, not what is urgent. They are about stepping out of the shadows and being bold.

Anyone can commit to a Small Act. They don’t require upheaval or high risk. They don’t require a project team. They are simple ways that anyone can get on with it, right now.

What do you do to initiate change?

“Normal” probably isn’t balanced

I’ve had this nagging pain in my neck and shoulder for months, so for the first time ever I went to see an osteopath.

This was his diagnosis: compressed vertebrae in my neck, tendinitis in my shoulder and a slight hip imbalance. He showed me how, when relaxed, one of my shoulders sat about an inch above the other and one of my legs extended beyond the other. Sounds bad, but I’m told that these are actually fairly common complaints. Whilst they may not cause big problems in the short term, over time, the affects could become more serious if left unchecked. In my case, the most likely causes are the high impact and sudden forces involved with kite surfing, and the more subtle, incremental forces of things like working at a computer.

It was quite a surprise to find how far from normal my perception of normal was. And strange how unnatural my body felt being pushed into a more balanced position. I suppose anybody who has a preference between their right and left sides must suffer to some degree and will appreciate how odd it feels to lead with the opposite side. I also found out that whilst I’m right handed, I’m in a minority of less than 20% of people with left eye dominance. [Here’s how to test for yourself]

I wonder how many “normal” things in life are in fact destructively imbalanced either as a result of major shocks or incremental effects over time. Whether it’s your body, relationships, the economy or the environment, I guess the good news is that there are always early warning signals offering opportunities to redress the balance. Perhaps the important challenge is to spot those signals and actively set about getting back into equilibrium.

Is there anything that you’ve thought doesn’t feel quite right but you’ve not got round to fixing?

Here’s a profound and beautiful video featuring someone who’s given this a lot of thought.