Working with story has become an important part of Global Generation’s practice over the last few years. It is always rewarding and a part of me still approaches the beginning of a story with a sense of trepidation ... how will the story land? Recently Rod and I had the opportunity to organise a workshop where we walked in the footsteps of our 14 Billion year history for a small group of Ashridge faculty and business consultants. The overall theme was The Universe Story, Leadership and Sustainability. As we reached the Seven Billion year mark we looked down the line of flowers and vegetables that Global Generation has created in front of one of the restaurants in the new Kings Cross Granary Square ... before our eyes flowers turned into the breath of a dragon .
“ In the beginning of deep dark empty space the universe breathed in and in and in. Suddenly quite miraculously at the end of that giant breath there appeared a mysterious dragon. It had long green slimy scales, fiery red eyes and razor sharp talons. She hung out for billions of years in the creative arm of the Milky Way, content with flapping her enormous golden wings which made the stars light up the whole of the cosmos. However in time the dragon grew unhappy because even though she had lots of ideas nothing new ever happened. Just like you and I have dreams when we go to sleep, the dragon would glimpse at what might be in the warm misty spirals of her breath – visions of soil, seeds, flowers and honey bees. These visions would appear and fade away. Eons went by until one day the dragon decided she was no longer content to live on dreams alone, it was time to take radical action so she could help bring to life the potential of what might be. In the cauldron of her belly she cooked up all of her courage, focus and commitment. Her blood became a magic potion that grew so hot that it bubbled and burned her insides, to the point she could bear it no more. Even though she was afraid, because she didn’t know what would happen. She took a deep breath in. In that one almighty breath the whole of her dragon being filled and turned to fire.... then with one almighty out-breath her fiery being exploded. Tiny new particles of dragons dust were scattered in all directions. In time the universe breathed in again. The particles blown apart by the dragon came together in new and unimaginable configurations to create a powerful energy source; our sun and the earth and all of life that we now know. The dragon never lived to see what she had begun, however we can look back and somehow we intuitively know that the dragon was our mother star; a star that went supernova. "
The Ashridge group interpreted the story in terms of their own experience of the leadership challenge ... words like 'trust' and 'letting go', 'commitment' and 'patience' came into the small huddle we had created. We walked on with thoughts of the dragon. After 100 paces, which equalled a billion years, we stood in the vast hallway of the granary building ...now Central St Martin’s and the University of the Arts. We considered the generosity of the sun, continuously burning itself up and wanting nothing in return.
One of the women began speaking excitedly and I felt that sliver of the sun’s warmth which enables all of life to grow, build amongst us. She said she felt the dragon inside her and that there was a story wanting to grow. I asked her to email me the continuation of the story. A week later she sent us a story of rumbling fires and a belly ignited with a ferocious raw. It was story of a woman who knew that in letting go of her old dragon she was saying goodbye to a legacy, to an old friend, but to keep hold of it was to lose the future, the abundant bursting forth of nature, the creativity energy that was for the good of others. She had to sacrifice, she had to feel the pain of loss and she had to accept the energy of the fire. As she said:
“ You helped me see my Dragon in a different light, thank you for allowing me to see how to let go and to allow the newness in. ”
There are endless ways to inhabit and find meaning in the epic tale of our shared history. Watch out for the Big Draw on October 1st (www.thebigdraw.org) - where we will encourage participants to draw their sense of the universe story.