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I am a fish. You are the moon.

November 2, 2011

You don’t have to physically touch somebody to move them. That is something that Aikido has taught me.

Often their expectations around what you might do in future is enough to generate a response within them. And then they move.

When it does happen it can feel like a magical experience. It can look like it has been “set up” but it is not. All you need for it to happen is a connection between the people involved. But many people still doubt it when they see it.

Nobody ever questions the ability of musicians, actors or other types of storytellers to evoke strong responses in us. We can be moved to tears. Inspired to take action. We can experiences fits of laughter or fits of rage.

It is a physical response. It is visceral.

The words they say and the things that they do generate a response within us. While we may only experience them briefly (the four minutes and four seconds of Gotye’s Somebody that I used to know or the three minutes twenty-eight seconds of the West Wing’s Two Cathedrals speech) they touch us, they create expectations around what might be done and we are moved.

No matter what organisation you are involved in, be it a workplace, a school, a family or a community group, there are always people who are given that responsibility. We may never see them in person. Perhaps we will hear them on video. Perhaps we will read their words on paper. Perhaps we will see only the effect of the actions they take writ large on the faces of the people around us.

Based on that experience, our expectations around what they might do in the future is enough to generate a response within us. And then we move: we can be moved by them to cry tears of frustration or inspired by them to take positive action. We have a name for these people. They may be musicians, they may be actors (I think they have to be storytellers).

They are leaders.

And to borrow (or maybe mangle?) Rumi’s metaphor they are the moon and we are the fish. Their light fills the ocean in which we live. They may not be able to physically touch us but they cannot help but move us.

It is a huge responsibility and I am sure you won’t have to look very far to find recent examples of where our leaders have failed to bear the heavy weight.


I am a fish. You are (also) the moon.

(If things fail to turn out the way you wanted them to maybe it is time to ask what expectations your words or actions are creating in the people around you? What is it that you are doing that is moving them?)

You cannot touch me, but your light (yes you dear reader!) fills the ocean where I live.

It is a huge responsibility that we all share. And one that should not be taken …. well, lightly.


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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2011 9:32 am

    Words aren’t enough to comment on this. Can you feel my appreciation for YOUR light?

  2. Gavin permalink
    November 2, 2011 11:55 am

    Isn’t it good when lights overlap and the situation gets brighter…….

    Thanks Paul for your invaluable light.

    G. 🙂

  3. Megan permalink
    November 11, 2011 8:18 am

    I went to see if this week’s post had gone to my “Groups” inbox today, and found that there was nothing new… so I re-visited this one…

    I connected with all of your in-post links – and gained new depth from your words.

    like wow. really.

    You deliberately did not post this week – just so I could do that. Because you must have known that i did not get as much as you intended…

    thanks. again.

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