Agendas are arbitrary illusions that distract from attending fully to what is going on in front of me. When I choose to prioritize the agenda, it is important to be clear about why: I do not wish to fully attend to what is happening in front of me. If it is happening right not, to me, in front of me, etc it is the most important thing to attend to.
This used to drive me crazy when I was working in development in Ethiopia. Time after time schedules would be missed because something happened on the ground that was attended to first.
The relentless drive to meet a timeline was not prioritized in the same way that it is in this culture. My ability to "be a good worker" was hinged in my ability to keep my colleagues and partners on schedule. My priorities conflicted with their culture, and the stress of inhabiting that meeting point was the only consistent outcome.
Fighting what was true.
Now I see the incredible power in this lesson.
Agendas are far more arbitrary than this culture acknowledges. We value meeting a deadline over just about anything. Yet. The deadline is frequently arbitrarily chosen and rushed toward, sacrificing everything in the drive to meet it.
Now, sometimes, I see things a bit more fluidly. There is wisdom to knowing where you are going. It is imperative. And, it is just as imperative to work consciously with what is arising in front of me, daily. They were equally out of balance in that work, respectively.
Power and integrity come from balancing both consciously. Consciously dealing with the friction yields the best results.
And, seeing one's cultural values is so very challenging. It is critical to see the impulses and drives that cause stress, and consciously engaging with the underlying priorities.
I am so very grateful for the experience.
Norma Van Horn