The major theme of the AMENDOON BLOG is Resilient Actions Affirm Durable Truths. This affirming is essential to empower wisdom to achieve a visionary, developing, open and free sense of truth. The statement is personal, something that I have learned about from my life experience and my family background.
There is a long story to amendoon, that is not germane now. Its meaning is the result of resilience affirming wisdom’s truths. This page defines the elements of endeavor amendoon, the last of which is resilience. An example of resilience is a lonely, enduring ancient doon on a Manx hilltop. It is present but silent – just a distant memory. The enduring test of any executed call-to-action is its result over time. Each age offers a perspective on this and the wisdom we use in evaluating and executing these truths defines our success as time proceeds. Resilience promises opportunity because it denotes an elasticity – which is far superior to a stubborn resistance. The Manx doon may have weathered the elements of many centuries, but it is lonely without a society.
Beyond this formulation, I have learned that establishing personal purpose is essential for an interesting and productive life. This is the meaning of endeavor. Learning purpose is not enough. In addition, the individual through family, groups, teams, and organizations will work to apply the purpose and this is the role of leadership and management. A significant aspect of this blog is consideration of how this may more effectively be accomplished.
The blog is not focused on one truth but recognizes the pluralism of consistent truths. We may feel they are derived from a Truth, but often we learn them as discrete points of personal validity that we are able to affirm through our personal word or action. These truths are considered as an effort at personal wisdom and are often the stuff of our stories.
Originally my presentation was entirely through narrative. I considered this and determined that I do not see the world as narrative. Instead I see it and act on the pictures of my life. Consistent with this, I am presenting my definition of endeavor amen doon as pictures to which I prepared some text, which is intended to clarify.
My Father and Mother determined one year to climb Mt. Whitney and so they did. There was certainly a sense of adventure as we took shelter in the Smithsonian structure through an errant summer rain and snow storm. As was our tradition for many previous summers, we began the trail journey from the western slope of the Sierras.
In 1967, when I was 20 years old, my father and mother set out on a horse pack trip from Quaking Aspen in the Southwestern Sierras, east to Mt. Whitney. The trip involved crossing the Sierra chain on horseback. We had saddle horses and a pack string. A main feature of my youth was packing into the Sierras, seeing lots of territory in the Tule, Kaweah, and Kern rivers watersheds. Normally I packed in with my family, but on occasion I would do it with a friend.
This was the big trip and it required almost a week on the trail in transit there, several days at Crab Tree Meadow in the vicinity of Mt. Whitney and then almost a week back. I rode the main horse of my youth, Floyd. My Dad had purchased him several years before and it took some breaking to bring him around. He was very headstrong and tended to buck a bit at times. With training and effort on both our parts Floyd became a very strong and reliable horse and was used by many family members on Sierra pack trips.
One day we rode from Crab Tree, intending to ride up the mountain. My father had talked to an old-time cowboy who had ridden up Mt Whitney years before. When we arrived, we found it was impossible. The trail was rough and was covered by snow. We tethered the horses at the bottom of the slope and walked up several thousand feet. Once we arrived, a purpose had been addressed. We had the exhilaration of visiting the top of the mountain, the highest point in the continental United States at 14,495 feet. The World seemed different as I looked down on the high treeless peaks around me. We could see mountain lakes below us, miles away and miles of boulders and rocky outcroppings.
More than forty years later I flew over Mt Whitney in a small aircraft. I had my camera along, so I took several pictures such as the one above. During the flight I remember the lesson in purpose I received from my parents and the accomplishment of ascending Mt Whitney.
Purpose is fundamental to any endeavor. Once purpose is established and pursued, the opportunity for fulfillment is potential. Without purpose, life is circular and murky. Focusing on purpose provides reassurance through motion and eventually the challenge of achievement. A life without purpose is a life without spirit and a life with a tepid future.
Leadership with Management
It takes leadership and management to build an effective and efficient organization and team. It is their synthesis the builds organizations, teams, and enterprises. The practitioner that is motivated to develop affirmation of their members and achieve sustainable results must understand that both leadership behavior and managerial systems must be applied to optimize planning, affirming, achievement, and sustainment.
This approach is integrating management with leadership.. For effectiveness and efficiency, the acts of “managing” and “leading” should be complimentary and inter-supportive, essentially interwoven into a tapestry of accomplishment and sustainment.
When I attended undergraduate college at San Jose State, a good friend Charlie Sanders told me one day his brother was an artist. This was way back in the 1968 time-frame. Anyway, he showed me a picture of Icarus that his brother the artist had painted. I thought it was outstanding and provided an exhilarating alternative to my dreary undergraduate life. Though I was a very impecunious student I found the money to purchase it.
Five years later my future wife visited my parent’s home on the farm in Porterville, California. On the wall was the Sanders’ painting. It is a vivid painting, displaying purpose through action in affirmation: Daedalus and Icarus escaping captivity on Crete using the crafted wings. She asked the story and I explained, the best I could, the tale of Icarus.
Daedalus, the father of Icarus, developed two sets of wings. He wanted to use them to escape captivity on Crete. He admonished Icarus not to fly too close to the sun, or the wax may melt, the wings fall apart and Icarus would fall to his death. An exhilarated Icarus, affirming his freedom by flight forgot his father’s instructions and flew much too close to the sun. As the father advised, the wings did fall apart and Icarus fell into the sea.
My future wife was captivated by the story and by the face of Icarus possessed by his endeavor’s affirmation. He found himself, but he could not maintain his flight. He fell to his death and did not find the freedom he sought.
In recent years I have become a pilot of small planes. There is an amazing affirmation of self from flight. The ability to rise from the prison of gravity to move among the clouds. The perspective of a vast earth below and surmountable mountains in the distance reorient one’s spirit and hint at the freedom the birds enjoy.
The act of commitment that leads to engagement is the “blasting cap” for any endeavor. Without it, there may only be beautiful plans and inspiring vision. Not engaging the object of our endeavor precludes us from advancing to achieve our vision.
Because engagement involves risk, it is often where endeavors break down and become lost dreams. This may be from timidness, procrastination, or other indecision. The key decision is when to take the step, because often there is no assurance that the effort will be successful. Sometimes to advance, you just have to engage and with duty and diligence pursue the object of your dreams. One of the most compelling examples of this is the “leap in the dark” the English subjects of King George III in North America took in the 1770s.
The leap is documented in John Ferling’s book A Leap in the Dark – The Struggle to Create the American Republic. One of the great stories of engagement is the American Revolution where a cause to separate from Great Britain is advanced over many years. There was great opposition on the North American Continent, but over the years the rebellion of an American region, became the cause of a people. It was by the grace of God and inch by inch and crushing sacrifice with inexorable commitment that allowed the cause to triumph. It was for many years a “leap in the dark” and a leading example of what “engagement” means.
This has particular meaning for me because by Great- 4 Grandfather William Campbell Longley participated in this rebellion that created a great country. He was born in New Jersey and moved to Virginia. He became a private in the Virginia Militia. His exploits could be the subject of a book. He fought in several battles, marched with Lafayette to Richmond, and was on the line on the Gloucester side during the pivotal battle at Yorktown. He represented the Virginia Militia in the surrender square and then marched British prisoners into Maryland.
When he left the militia he moved out of Virginia towards the Western frontier. By 1800 he was in Tennessee. He established a home in the Southeastern Appalachians in Polk County and died on November 7, 1841 near Cookson Creek, the oldest Patriot in the county.
The question is what moved William to engagement? Why did he enlist and stay the course through the Revolution? The summary he submitted to support a pension cannot explain this, but I believe it was in his mind he saw both the compelling nature of the cause and the opportunity if offered. There certainly may have been local pressure to participate with the militia. All of these combined so that he engaged for both his and his family’s future many generations hence.
“Of the works of this mind history is the record. Its genius is illustrated by the entire series of days. Man is explicable by nothing less than all his history. Without hurry, without rest, the human spirit goes forth from the beginning to embody every faculty, every thought, every emotion, which belongs to it in appropriate events. But the thought is always prior to the fact; all the facts of history preexist in the mind as laws. Each law in turn is made by circumstances predominant, and the limits of nature give power to but one at a time. A man is the whole encyclopaedia of facts. The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn, and Egypt, Greece, Rome, Gaul, Britain, America, lie folded already in the first man. Epoch after epoch, camp, kingdom, empire, republic, democracy, are merely the application of his manifold spirit to the manifold world.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, “History”
Community is the foundation of American democracy. The Minute Men marched from their towns to present the cause of liberty. Communities through municipal institutions provide most governmental services including public safety, justice, and public works. Community means people and place, but they are by their very nature local. The devotion of both state and national government should be to support and build local institutions, but it often seems communities go it alone.
Family is the rock of any existence. Though often a contentious forum, family should form basic loyalties and commitments. If you live near your family, you should be assured of comfort and support. What our family has found is that opportunity forms far from the hearth.
Family members are not only those in the present, but also the ghosts from years past. It is amazing how often we lose memory of the generations that have preceded us. The picture above was taken in the mid-1960s. It has my father and grandfather and the horse Floyd. My grandfather and dad were active stewards of the family culture and they related the memories of previous times and places. These pass into the family’s conscientiousness and become an invisible compass that helps us on our course.
“Always respect Mother Nature. Especially when she weighs 400 pounds and is guarding her baby.”
― James Rollins,
My Mother was self-made. In her 40s, she determined to complete college and begin a teaching career. I spent a lot of time with my Grandma Longley when my Mom went various campuses of Fresno State. She began teaching kindergarten and then progressed to third grade. She taught middle school and then high school English. She continued at the university and obtained a master’s degree. She was very proud to become a counselor helping youth find their way and act on their opportunities. She taught until she was 70 and then retired. She maintained her enlightened interests and held us together through difficult time. She was exemplar of resilience. She was proud. She died not too long ago at 98 years of age.
A Manx Doon – Hilltop Fort