unleashing imagination

we’ve been having serious discussions here about the future, playing around with ideas and scenarios. rather than having a strategic plan [which is a disaster with my personality type, and within a project like this – a certain recipe for paralysing guilt and stifling creativity], i’m working on articulating and working towards a focus. the focus / theme we’re playing with for next year is ‘unleashing imagination’.

i’m reading Margaret Wheatley again. wordy, she’s wise. In this article, The new story is ours to tell, she’s talking about organisational change, and the stories that guide our thinking.

In organizations of the old story, plans and designs are constantly being imposed. People are told what to do all the time. As a final insult, we go outside the organization to look for answers, returning with benchmarks that we offer up as great gifts. Yet those in the organization can only see these packaged solutions as insults. Their creativity has been dismissed, their opportunity to discover something new for the organization has been denied. When we deny life’s need to create, life pushes back. We label it resistance and invent strategies to overcome it. But we would do far better if we changed the story and learned how to invoke the resident creativity of those in our organization. We need to work with these insistent creative forces or they will be provoked to work against us.


What we ask of the tellers of the new story is their voice and their courage. We do not need them to create a massive training program, a global-wide approach, a dramatic style. We only need them to speak to us when we are with them. We need them to break their silence and share their ideas of the world as they have come to know it.

If you carry this story within you, it is time to tell it, wherever you are, to whomever you meet. Brian Swimme compares our role to that of the early Christians. They had nothing but
“. . . a profound revelatory experience. They did nothing nothing but wander about telling a new story.”

As with these early believers, Brian encourages us to become wanderers, telling our new story. Through our simple wanderings, we will “ignite the transformation of humanity.”

And he leaves us with a promise (from Evolution Extended, Connie Barlow Ed., MIT Press, 1994, p 297):

“What will happen when the storytellers emerge? What will happen when ‘the primal mind’ sings of our common origin, our stupendous journey, our immense good fortune? We will become Earthlings. We will have evoked out of the depths of the human psyche those qualities enabling our transformation from disease to health. They will sing our epic of being, and stirring up from our roots will be a vast awe, an enduring gratitude, the astonishment of communion experiences, and the realization of cosmic adventure.”

What a wonderful promise. I invite you into the telling.



  1. Curious. The first part of Margarets comments is “literally” the story of my wife & I having to leave our church coz we were sat down by the incoming minister & told that there was no place for what we had to offer. We moved on, but not without some grief.
    Rather than rabbit on here (even though I like rabbits) I have many articles on church, worship & other various stuff on my site http://www.wonvoice.com.au
    I have just finished a four part series called “the art of worship” which bears some relevance to some of Cheryl’s writings.
    I love the topic of unleashing imagination. I have run quite a few workshops on creative planning where the first line always is “there are no rules when it come to creativity”. Oh for a budget the size of the Sydney olympics opening ceremony. (naah, just kidding)

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