Original Thought · Uncertainty

Deliberately

When faced with a choice, is it always black and white? Is it ever that polar or are there other decisions that widen the options in each moment. In Calgary, we are voting in a couple of weeks on whether we should submit a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics. The nonbinding referendum asks what seems like a simple question on which until last week, I was sure I would vote “No.”
I had a meeting with a Yes supporter on an unrelated issue. I asked, “ are people in your circle were talking about the Olympic bid?” He said; “ yes, and he was enjoying the discussions.”
I said the same thing I have been saying for a couple of months; “if the vote were today, I would vote No.” Before he asked why I chimed in; “ it isn’t an economic consideration, it is about social issues. I worry that this will draw focus and attention away from the important community, environmental, and social issues we are facing.”
He asked; “what if we can be deliberate in putting those issues front and center in the bid and the way that we do the games?” “ What if in 7 years, we could say that Calgary is the most accessible city in North America?” “ What if we made every decision and took every action with the intent of being deliberately nonintrusive in any development?” “ Could we work towards solving homelessness because we invited the world into our city?”
I haven’t been convinced, and he isn’t finished. He reached out today and offered to connect me and my cohort with resources and that he would be available to answer wicked questions. I am not convinced, but I am being deliberately curious and reflective.

How many other times have I seen my choice as binary when it could have been composite? Am I making biased choices without consideration for how I might leverage a different option to achieve a bigger goal? Is my brain capable of wrestling with a bigger landscape? Am I willing?

Take a deliberation break today and see how big you can expand your options.

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I Have Strong Opinions

Even in my embrace of ambiguity or possibly because of my quest for uncertainty, I have strong opinions loosely held. My position on the environment, economics, politics, family dynamics would lean center left on a traditional spectrum, mostly. My views on some other social issues are muddled and huddled in the middle and on some other issues, especially around justice, I lean into the right.

When I am talking about conservation with most of my friends and colleagues, we congregate around science, ecology, greening, and personal responsibility. The confirmation bias of my huddle is strong, and so I try to venture into the territory of other camps and hear what and why they understand and believe. My belief that we are living through unprecedented climate change and that our actions are the most significant contributor was formed by research, reflection, conversation, and personal observation but I hold my conclusions loosely enough to enter into dialogue with others. (Dialogue is the process of sharing ideas, opinions, viewpoints, and facts so everyone is heard and we can all leave having learned something.) Sometimes the nudge is less quantitative than qualitative, sometimes the shift is more about trust, and mostly we all come closer to understanding what the other is thinking.
Over the past four years, I have moved from a self-described recovering post-modern fundamentalist to a fully outed atheist. The move was painful intellectually, and I needed to break down some significant brick walls to get ready to build a different foundation. I still honor people of faith and will participate in the traditions intellectually as a show of support, and they have come to see that I believe lots of the same things as them, without the overarching narrative of God and salvation.
When I am open to the possibility that what I believe or understand may not be entirely accurate or correct, I allow space for the as yet unimagined (my brain hasn’t yet imagined it). I can’t arrive at that Eureka Moment if I remain stubbornly locked in my own prison of certainty.
Have you taken a certainty break this week? Are you actively exploring something that doesn’t fit with your biases? I am sure that the thought of shaking your foundation sounds a bit overwhelming and crazy, but I encourage you to give it a try.

B