In my blog last week, I wrote about the then upcoming “Focus First Summit” scheduled for February 9 – 10.
Well, the level of conversations and discernment that we experienced together in that gathering was profound. For such a large group setting (around 200 participants), it very likely had more meaningful dialogue and deep listening than most had ever experienced.
At the beginning and very heart of the Focus First process was a crucial thing that has been called “Presencing.” (My blog from last week has a link to Susan Beaumont’s original article.)
And with “pitch perfect” timing, now we are beginning our Lenten Journey with our first week’s focus on “Grace is Presence.”
I noticed in my notes from our work with Susan Beaumont last week, and our beginning of Lent this week, that there are significant parallels between our teamwork as a discerning church, and our individual spiritual calling as a faithful pilgrim through Lent.
Below are words from Susan Beaumont on Presencing that I have changed into a personal invitation and practice for each of us individually in this first week of Lent as we consider “Grace as Presence.”
Presencing: You must “presence” yourself if you want to do the work of discernment. Presencing is what you do when you connect to your deepest source.
Otto Scharmer says that this is the place from which the field of the future begins to arise. You have entered this state when you sit fully in the presence of these questions: Who am I? What is my Work?
Presencing happens when we each look honestly at our past patterns of interaction, and suspend those patterns long enough to see with fresh eyes, and sense our True Self from a new perspective. We let go of our attachments to personal agendas and the way that things have been done before, and enter our conversations with God with an open mind, open heart, and open will.
In a traditional decision-making process there is little room for the concept of “presence.” Presence requires an attitude of unknowing. It takes time and intentionality. We can’t show up, say a prayer, and then dive into work as usual. We need to engage in deeper disciplines of prayer and silence in order to invite soul into a presencing state.
The more we cultivate this state, and the more frequently we enter into it, the easier it is to access presencing, when the need arises.
Grace and peace on your Lenten Journey,