“Serene in glory”

Posted by jlubans on May 22, 2021

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This sets forth how an idea about “ambiverts” turned into a story about serenity by way of sublimity.
My first step in this story was perusing a taxonomy of ambivertism.
Perhaps you don’t know this term? (I didn’t)
We all know about the loud extrovert and the quiet introvert. But that’s a pretty wide span from braggadocios-ness to self-effacement.
We can’t all be at one end or the other, can we?
You can guess that the ambivert is someone – perhaps you - who can swing with the “life of the party” types and also feel at home amidst the wallflowers.
The ambivert, we are told, moves along a personality scale and has the ability to combine the best from both extremes.
Neither an absolute extrovert nor a pre-eminent introvert, ambivertism got me thinking about my own personality.
Now, permit me to stray some more.
Down the highway east from where I live you’ll see a sign for the town of Sublimity.
Named in 1852, it was so baptized because of its "fine vista and sublime scenery".
Located not far from Oregon’s capital, I’d guess most Sublimites (?) work in Salem or in agriculture.
Also, the town is a gateway to Silver Falls State Park
with its cascading waterfalls. And, the town features a gem of an Italian restaurant – best pizza and bread sticks this side of Chicago – Panezanellie.
OK, Why am I going on about this town?
Well because whenever I drive past it, I recall what a Latvian friend and colleague noted about my persona as a teacher.
She used the word “serene”.
No doubt, she had other words to choose from: deadpan, impassive, and inexpressive, but she chose a much nicer term.
How would my friend know?
Well, as my translator, she’s observed me in a professional capacity more closely than just about anyone.
Here’s how I lead workshops in Latvia: I talk briefly and stop and she translates what I’ve said. Then I start up again.
Obviously, she has to pay attention to what I am saying and how I am saying it.
Alexander Pope used the word:
“shining bright and steady
the moon, serene in glory”
It suggests an unperturbed, unruffled, and lofty something.
I can see why she chose the term. It may well be the persona I project in my workshops.
I am no evangelist hoping to salvage and re-direct lost workers. I do not regard myself as a savior, even if one or two change for the better.
Nor do I make much effort in entertaining workshop participants. I have a sense of humor, but to have them “rolling in the aisles” is not what makes a good workshop.
Nor am I the hard-nose expert who knows the answer to any and all leadership scenarios – “just follow (if you have the ability) my lead and you’ll be A-OK. Any questions?”
Much of nature is serene. Trees are serene.
A sunrise is serene and sublime. A sunset likewise.
How you respond to that serenity, is up to you. You can do something or nothing.
For example, I’ve been part of an outdoor personal development workshop in which participants go off in nature and literally hug a tree.
A short while later, we reconvene and do a go around about the experience. The tree does not speak; but what do you sense in that private moment?
What enters your mind as you cling to the tree?
Some participants are moved, others not so much. A pity, but don’t blame the silent tree.
Look deeper and puzzle over what you don’t hear and why that may be.
What’s retarding your imagination, creativity?
There’s the parable of the sower whose seeds do not grow until they fall onto “good soil”.
Some participants are prepared better, they are more open and ready, than others to receive and nourish whatever seeds I may be serenely sowing.
Alas, I am not always serene.
I am not serene when traveling – it’s high anxiety all the way.
Nor am I serene when talking to customer service.
Or, doing my taxes. Or, just about anything else in life!

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© Copyright all text John Lubans 2021

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