Noble Risk

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I’d like to take a moment at the beginning of this New Year to appreciatively acknowledge my colleagues and friends who have taken the risk of staying on course with their grander sensibility of life through this past year.

I’m not talking of those who implement a modicum of calculated risk as necessary collateral gamble within a strategic business or relationship plan. Nor of those who market and sell “risk” by regurgitating someone else’s aphorisms about courage for their own public relations or who’ve recognized the lack of emotional freedom in others and have figured out ways to exploit that longing. But rather, those who take risks that go unnoticed and uncelebrated in an attempt to somehow uphold their sense of nobility within situations that don’t comfortably allow for it.

By nobility, I mean the simple embodiment of what one senses to be just and more generously virtuous within oneself – not for gain or recognition or even improvement, but because it’s what a grander world would have, what a given moment creatively calls for.

Often, such nobility demands a muscularity of choice that can put at risk collected opinions of comfortable approval that are usually the products of a carefully constructed design. A theme I’ve often come back to over the years: “Some people have jobs, some have careers, some have purpose; and somewhere down the road there will most likely be a conflict of interest between these, and one will have to choose.” (That’s not going to win me a lot of likes on Facebook, but it does happen to be true.)

It can be tremendously freeing to spend time with someone who has genuinely come to terms with this, as the questions and struggles we all encounter in life are experienced differently. Purpose then opens into an expansive matrix of resolved intent with conscious focus. Philosophy becomes creative examination of why and how to get things done. Spirituality becomes necessary rituals that generate clear perspective and the kind of energy one requires to maintain grace. And any given moment is as filled with creative possibility as another, only limited by how much of oneself one can find and bring to the show.

We all find moments in which we stretch beyond the common and familiar, touch what is most noble within ourselves. And we can often recognize such relative grandeur by noticing in retrospect that this is when we like ourselves the most and experience self-respect. So, my acknowledgement here is also a quiet encouragement and reminder to us all.

I had the luck recently to be not too far away from the center of the war zone in the Middle East, where I had a number of wonderful encounters with quietly virtuous colleagues, friends and strangers, near where the above photo was taken. It’s a great image that I think captures the essence of this spirit of noble risk within seriously challenging circumstances. I wish I could give that kid some shoes, as that would make his ride through hell that much more fun.

My thanks to all who have supported my work throughout this last year, along with my hopes for an exceptionally accomplished year ahead. I look forward to seeing many of you soon.

Photograph by Carl Court

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