Idling in the city: A time of being

Idling in the city: A time of being

By Anton G. Camarota.

Last year, after more than five years of intensive effort, I received my doctoral degree. This was the most difficult and challenging task I have undertaken. At times it seemed like I would physically expire, but somehow I found the motivation to keep moving and finish the work. I think that what I learned from this experience had nothing to do with the content of my research. Instead, I learned about myself – my attitude towards challenge and perseverance. I learned the personal qualities necessary to endure and achieve a major life goal. Some might describe these qualities as fortitude, motivation, or determination. For me, the process of accessing these qualities was like touching a deep knowing. It was entering into this solidity that enabled me to complete my goal.

I now realize this process was an essential part of my study and will form an important part of my work going forward. My interest is in sustainable organizations, and the forms of leadership and governance that enable them to thrive. I am seeking the answers to these questions: how can members of an organization build the capacity for endurance, at both the personal and organizational levels? What personal and collective resources must be developed to enable organizations to meet seemingly overwhelming challenges and emerge as thriving entities? For example, how is it that a company can continue to operate in the face of the complete collapse of the society of which it is a part? How can organizations restore and maintain the capacity to enable their members to touch their deep knowing and endure?

This field of inquiry I am calling restorative leadership. To build this field I am starting with a few simple principles that I consider to be the “operating system” of the world. These principles can help leaders to understand the limitations and possibilities available to them, and serve as starting points for a restorative journey. Rather than taking a prescriptive approach, I am seeking to co-create instances of how different people respond to the challenge of restoration, and it is for this reason I am delighted to become a member of InClaritas. This fall the InClaritas community will meet in Colorado, USA, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. I am looking forward to holding a space for conversations about restorative leadership.

This summer I am living in Phoenix, Arizona, in the northern part of the Sonoran Desert. Temperatures here during the summer often exceed 45 and even 50 degrees Celsius for weeks on end, and life slows down. The harsh climate requires the plants and animals to adopt widely varying strategies for survival. The common element is adaptation to austere conditions. When it is hot and dry, survival means conserving the resources necessary for life while constantly restoring the individual balance necessary to make best use of those resources. Motion slows; a quietness ensues in the presence of the powerful light from the sun.

My strategy for this summer is to adapt to the desert in my own way. I am planning on simply being with the many sustainability ideas created by authors and scholars worldwide. I hope to emerge from this time of being with refined goals and ideas, which I will use to create a framework for inquiry concerning restorative leadership. I intend to use this framework to explore governance that can create generative rather than extractive, and restorative rather than destructive, forms of organization.

In the fall, after the temperature drops, it will be time for me to emerge and share with friends and acquaintances.  It is in this spirit that I am looking forward to our time together in Denver.


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