Yesterday I mentioned that I think our relationships matter, and that romance can be powerful force in all our relationships, including our relationship with our cities/regions.
We’ve been so inundated with the notion that the idea of "romance" is exclusive to the realm of courting and dating one special singled-out person. In my opinion, that’s limited and fragmented thinking when it comes to the nature of human emotions and the ability we have to harness our creative power, to create and transform our realities, to influence and inspire one another, and to make a difference in our communities.
Consider romance in the context of the personal one-on-one romantic love relationship, as a point of comparison. It’s heralded by some as one of the most mystical and powerful of human relationships and experiences.
(I know, Freud would probably say that from an evolutionary perspective, this is what ensured the continued existence of our species. Good point. Whatever.)
Throughout the ages, humans have had a lot to say regarding the experience of falling or being:"in love". People in this state report feeling a heightened sense of connection and meaning. Courage elevates, fear diminishes. Boundaries and differences dissolve. There is an endless supply of hope, but it’s more than just hope. A distinct sense of possibility emerges that did not exist before. People “in love” report connecting more deeply with this sense of possibility, and of purpose; they are willing to take risks and make things happen, despite of the criticism of naysayers. Limited thinking becomes overshadowed by a suddenly crystal clear vision of all the adventurous possibilities. People who are “in love” become very focused and see no other reasonable option than to move full-steam ahead – even with highly impractical plans.
Two weeks ago, I heard Bill Strickland speak at The Creative Cities Summit. Bill’s been transforming lives, and building community programs and urban amenities for the past 30 years.
While I listened to Strickland speak, and then later began reading his book Make the Impossible Possible, I heard and read the words of a man who is passionately and yes, even romantically, in love and on a mission – a man connected with this mission, and open to the endless possibilities and the adventure of it all.
Strickland describes his story as "...the pursuit of one unrealistic, impractical, outrageous dream after another". Of his success in realizing so many of his dreams, he says it's happened because he has "...refused to be limited by what conventional wisdom, or other people, or the cautious little voice we all have in our heads told me I couldn’t do… I left the door open to possibility and, more often than not, opportunity showed its face.”
Strickland harnessed something far greater than "courage", "vision" or "follow-through"; he was able to cultivate a more romantic spirit that we can use to transform our relationships with our cities/regions.