the ‘what’ edge?

I’ve been posting under this brand for a few years now and have never been inclined to explain it. Indeed, rational explanations somehow miss the point. However some recent musings have reminded me of how much the Generative Edge motif is central to my contribution and work so I’m taking this week’s post to unveil some meaning.

First the noun; what is an edge? An edge is an interface between one reality and another. Unlike boundaries, edges inherently draw us to explore what lies beyond. Beaches are edges. Thresholds are edges. Everywhere we look there are edges where one reality becomes another. From where I sit I can see a curb, the edge where pedestrian life and vehicle life meet. The counter beside me is the interface-edge of the barista’s world and the coffee consumer.

Edges require transitions. Sometimes, when dramatic changes in abilities are required to manage risks on the other side, edges may be associated with danger. However, as we move through the day, we cross edges all the time, so as we become familiar with a particular state, the transitions become unconscious.

I am interested in and work on an edge; the edge between the inner life and our experience of the outer world. Cancer survivor Mark Nepo says it like this:

“How can we stay awake and authentic when our wounds make us numb and hidden? How can we make a practice of wearing down what thickens around our mind and heart? How can this practice of staying authentic [serve and strengthen] while we are immersed and entangled in the moment of our lives?

As a cancer survivor, I have found myself like Lazarus, awake again, in the same earthly place but different. Everything has changed and nothing has changed. This wakefulness has led me to be a student of the vibrant edge where our inner life meets the world. … We all live on this shore between the depths of being and the dangers of experience.” (from The Exquisite Risk)

And what about the adjective? What on earth is ‘generative?’ My apple dictionary widget says it is ‘about being able to produce; as in ‘the generative power of life force.’ I have always described it as ‘life giving’ or ‘energising’ but with overlays that include the ideas around sustainability and being connected with the whole. The word doesn’t get used much except by the networks of people around the world who are interested in systems thinking as it applies to social transformation, but you’ll also come across it in art, music and linguistics.

So, what then is a ‘generative edge’, or more precisely, how does the use of the term apply to our work through Ergo Consulting and my musings on this blog? It is about offering help as people move through transitions, help that engages the interface of the inner world and our outer world realities. We have discovered over the years that managing apparently straight forward transactions in the workplace without taking into account the unseen realities associated with people’s perspectives, motives and emotions is like putting a band aid on a broken leg.

And more so, we are interested in that which is life giving. We facilitate the individual and collective tapping into that which at the centre of our motivations and reason for being, helping people to be fully alive in whatever scenario they are operating.

May you live on the Generative Edge this week.