In mine and Franks third conversation I cannot help myself but indulge in a bit of cathedral musings. I’d just read The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End by Ken Follett, also known as the cathedral or Kingsbridge series, where there are cathedrals being built.

What these books point to is what’s made possible when seeing beyond what is. And somehow, through ingenuity, skill, effort and a lot of imagination, making what lies beyond what is, a reality.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, given that Frank is an architect, but… still, oh the thrill of simply mentioning these books, and what I took from them, and hear Frank inhale sharply and invite me down his memory lane, as a young kid, visiting some of the cathedrals of Europe.

As I state some buildings are designed to get you to fly, Frank goes into a spiel that I just love:
One of the mini breakthroughs of the early Renaissance, was to understand what was termed the spiritual dimension of man. It was addressing this emotional experience and being able to walk into a location that was a man-made version of that epic experience you get in certain forests and promenades overlooking things. If you could replicate that under a roof that was really bringing the human spirit to a certain place. The cathedral was one of the highest expressions of the kind of emotional rush or this sort of lofting of who you were. It was epic.

But this was but a brief passage in our meandering conversation, a lot of which centered on the unknown and how play is a great way to edge closer to it. Given the right context, play can make the unknown less scary. If the context isn’t right though, or not well-defined, play, at least for me, pushes me even further into the perceived scariness of residing in the unknown.

In hind-sight, looking back at instances of role-playing at leadership trainings and the likes, the uncertainty as to potential emotional impact of the situation held me back. Made me not want to fully take on the role of whoever I was supposed to inhabit, feeling very insecure. Now, perhaps I wouldn’t let myself be held back, but in my twenties, for sure I gave the bare minimum of myself.

Circling back and forth, we come back to uncertainty and the unknown from another angle, this time inspired by Brené Brown. Frank explains that in order to lean into vulnerability, you need to have a sense of safety, a sense of significance, and you need to feel situated. To be able to do this leaning you have to be willing to risk. You have to be able to tolerate emotional exposure. And you need to have a level of comfort around uncertainty.

One question to provide you with some tankespjärn, is when and where are you able and willing to lean into vulnerability?

The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
World Without End, Ken Follett
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
TEDxTalk The power of vulnerability with Brené Brown