As I poked around Ten Thousand Villages, a store of gentle spirit of indigenous art gathered from the corners of the earth, I felt connected to each little carving, craft or cloth. I touched them gently knowing hands from so far away in small villages had toiled and created such beauty. I noticed intricate patterns and details done with love and patience. Such care, such intensity of spirit soaked into wood.
I also saw my daughter and husband quietly with gentle laughter experimenting with singing bowls and drums. Enjoying a moment together in awe of the power of music playing a didgereedoo.
The store was full of interesting people some touching, some speaking, some looking at particular items. Music wafted over the conversations. The store is a community of nations- art from afar all in one small space, no conflict, no debate, no politics, just art and people appreciating it.
Around the world people in small villages make art and it is promoted through the Ten Thousand Villages stores. Voluteers work in the stores in support of the people and their art. Profits go back to the artists. A system co-existing in a small yet magnificent way.
When we notice the details and intensely absorb them we are often transfixed and make decisions based on our own needs and wants. However as we step back and notice what makes things work, we notice the larger pattern and we see new patterns emerging we realize that something as simple as one small purchase from the right store can positively affect the health of a child in Bangladesh.
As a leader, think on the space, the time, and the community. What little thing are you doing that affects the whole system? What choices are you making? Others follow leaders, how do you want to be followed?