Finding Wisdom by Exploring Our Edges.

June 29, 2020

Finding Wisdom by Exploring Our Edges.

May 29, 2023

Lately I've been thinking a lot about exploring edges. Edges are where wisdom is found. Some edges we are more familiar with: the edge of a table, or the edge use case for a new product you're putting into the market, or even the edge of your own comfort zone in a new relationship or in a new job.

But what about the edge of the seashore? Considering the contours and tributaries of San Francisco Bay near where I live, for example, as you zoom in -- really zoom in to the level of the pebbles along the shore with the changing tides -- is it possible to measure with precision, to define where the shore’s edge is? Where the land ends and water begins?

Exploring edges can also expand your own awareness and consciousness of yourself. Where does the breath enter and leave your body? Where does a breath begin and end? Where does your body begin? When did your body begin?

Exploring the edges means really noticing what are the outer bounds of what's known, what's familiar, and what's comfortable, and what's immeasurable.

Exploring these edges is a journey of understanding not only yourself but your interconnectedness to all those around you, to all those generations that have come before you, to the Earth that holds us here.

This moment we are in, in a way, is its own edge. This moment is real life, not just a bracketed pause. We're pushing the bounds of "normal" at work, at home, in school, with health, with what the future looks like.

I find the journey of exploring edges offers two important virtues.

First, it's about the exploration and not the destination. It's about deepening an understanding without determining an answer. By exploring the edge of your breath, for example, you'll see it's really a paradox and impossible to define too simply. Exploring these edges helps us to become comfortable with the unknowable, the undefinable, the liminal.

Second, that sense of comfort is where wisdom lies, when clarity comes. It’s when connection can be deepened. Living in these in-between places better allows us to communicate honestly and authentically in a state of unknown, to be less certain and more curious. It becomes less about having the answer and identifying with what is "I/me/mine," and instead is really about how to live.

Anyone can explore an edge. Any age, any experience, anywhere, in any moment. Through time and experience, the wise get better at dropping in quickly, zooming in and being comfortable with what they find.

What do your edges look like? Could you draw them? What words would you use to describe this moment we are in ... where the shoreline begins ... when your breath begins?

This unique moment in history is a potent time to explore your edges, expand your consciousness, and understand and share your wisdom.

Andrew Blotky is the founder and CEO of the Azure Leadership Group coaching and consulting firm, and is the author of “Honestly Speaking: How the Way We Communicate Transforms Leadership, Love, and Life.”

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