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  • Writer's pictureJill Brocklehurst

Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast

“Change the consciousness, and the false condition will disappear”

Ernest Holmes - The Science of Mind

Eleven years ago, I lived on Quadra Island and commuted, via a short ferry ride, to my job in Campbell River. Most recently, I began a weekly commute in the opposite direction, to facilitate a support group.

Today, I notice ferry travel isn’t ‘like it used to be’. This winter, BC Ferries replaced Quadra’s old diesel ship with two new electric vessels. Instead of one ferry chugging back and forth every hour, there are now two that rotate on a half hour schedule. This seems like a minor shift, but it gave me opportunity for… pause.

The old ferry had a large, open gathering space upstairs where all the locals could greet one another and have a 10 to 15 minute visit while they made the crossing. The new vessels are chopped up into small seating areas, with some seating outside and some inside. No longer is there a ‘community hall’ style of visiting space. This is proving to be a change to a cultural experience that I now realize I had taken for granted.

When I traveled to Costa Rica, many years ago, I learned that there is a Spanish-speaking side (to the west), and an English-speaking side (to the east) of the country. Until 1950, there was apartheid in place, disallowing travel for English-speaking Jamaican descendants over the mountains to the eastern side of Costa Rica. The history of this situation is fascinating.

A long time ago, Costa Rica put out a bid to other countries for the development of a railway that would cross the width of the country, East to West. An American won the bid and proceeded to build the railway. It wasn’t long before he was frustrated, though, because he was unable to understand the Spanish-speaking Costa Ricans. To solve this problem, the railway then especially encouraged Jamaicans to come and work for the company… simply because they spoke English. This created a rift. The Costa Ricans, in turn, refused to allow the Jamaicans to cross the mountains to come to the western side of their country. (A town eventually developed at the crossover point). English became Costa Rica’s ‘dirty’ language, and children were harshly disciplined if they were caught speaking English at school. (Many of them, decades later, can now speak fluent English, but couldn’t read a word of it if their lives depended on it). I was fascinated by this historic drama, and how one man with a mission created a shift in a whole country’s culture.

I had never really understood the quote, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” until I was sailing over to Quadra from Campbell River and felt the discontent that arose within me when I noticed an old culture being lost to a new idea. I realized that communities often push back against change when it means they are going to have to shift away from their own status quo.

It is so easy to get comfortable doing what we’ve always done, and to then resist change. It can seem hard to see that change is inevitable and necessary for expansion and growth; a natural attribute of the Universe. The death of an old way often offers greater opportunities, but when we let a culture of clinging to ‘the way things are’ get in the way of a new strategy, life as we experience it becomes stagnant… where change never happens and growth stops. ‘The definition of crazy is bringing the same solution to the same problem and wondering why we are getting the same results’.

So I offer up a question, “What new culture needs to be nurtured in order for a really brilliant strategy to succeed?”

Those who know me well know that I personally enjoy change. I am an advocate for the natural rhythms of life, and change is a big part of that. I follow my heart, and my heart knows when it is time to make a turn, or a change in direction. I have experienced the culture push back that results from that. But this doesn’t just happened to me. It happens everywhere. Many good ideas are thwarted simply because the present culture cannot see past the present moment into a possible future.

This is everyone’s challenge. If we desire change in our lives, we have to stop doing life the way we’ve always done it. We have to change the culture within our own minds. We have to become the person who already has the future life we desire first, before that life can take hold. This often feels uncomfortable, and can bring up a whole host of fears… giving birth to expressions like: “Feel the fear and do it anyway,” or “Grab the bull by the horns,” or “Jump first, and ask questions later.”

Leaping into our future self feels like risk-taking, but the truth is that there is a Universe of Infinite Intelligence and Energy supporting us on our journeys. We aren’t writing this script of our lives alone. The desire for growth and change comes from the Universal Spark within us, expanding Itself, in and through all activities and all people.

When we let go of all the fears, and all the doubt, in order to follow the call of our hearts that urges, “Go this way”; when we trust in new and unfolding situations, we align with a Life Force so great! In fact, in the end, a life that embraces change is so much easier, and filled with so many unexpected rewards. Just let go of the past and you will see what I mean.

A bright future awaits. I promise.

~ Making a collage filled with pictures that speak to your heart is an awesome metaphor for the life you desire.

~ Take time, this week and next, to begin your search for visual representations of inspiration. No rules to what is suitable. They only need to be inspiring or uplifting to you.

~ When you have a decent pile, use any board or newspaper as a base to then collage your pictures together.

~ Post your collage in a prominent place so you keep seeing it, then let Life do Its magic. You will see… in time...

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