The Wellness Institute logo signifies a flock of geese flying in formation in front of a sun or full moon – each one is a significant source of lighting one’s way onward.
As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. Each time a Wellness community member succeeds, it creates “uplift” for others to succeed as well. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of each other.
When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
Lesson: If we tap into our intuition as geese do, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give help to others.
When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people in The Wellness community are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents and resources.
The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. This encouragement comes in many forms, including leading classes and educating others who may benefit from belonging to the Wellness community.
Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging and Heart-Centered. In groups where there is encouragement, productivity of the whole and of each individual member is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart and core values and encourage the heart and core values of others) is the quality of honking we seek.
When one goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow the weakened one down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it is able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out with another formation of soaring geese to try to catch up with their original flock.
Lesson: Just as geese do, we will stand by each other in difficult times, as well as when we are strong. In the Wellness community we have created many ongoing groups, some of which have continued with the same cohort of people for over twenty years. These groups are akin to the flock that flies together, providing consistent support to live the most fulfilling life possible.
Adapted from "Lessons from Geese" which was transcribed from a speech given by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organizational Development Network and was based on the work of Milton Olson. It circulated to Outward Bound staff throughout the United States.