Ambition – the founding of Collective Heart

Ambition is an intriguing thing.

In my early 20’s my ambition was for pleasure. Sex, drugs and rock n roll as the saying goes.

In my late 20’s my ambition was for success. Study hard, work with commitment and climb the ladder.

I didn’t get too far up the ladder before wondering what the point of the ladder climb was. What’s the point of this chase for worldly success?

I read a chapter or two of a book by Steven Covey (if I recall correctly) which suggested before you climb the ladder be discerning of which wall the ladder leans. I didn’t read much more of the book, this idea was enough to have me re-evaluating the direction of my effort and ambition.

Trying to keep a long story short, I dug deep into self-inquiry. What’s important to me? What is this deeper yearning which isn’t satisfied with pleasure and personal career/business success?

Am I alone in this deeper purpose emptiness or are there others?

Not that I have anything against pleasure and personal success. Both feel good. There was just something else rising, murmuring, awakening.

Ambition to become something, or achieve something in the future was fading. An interest in a way to be, a way to live, now, was blossoming. The strive for the future had become subservient to the interest in the qualities of today.

This was about 15 years ago. To this day I still reflect on the concepts of ambition and success. There are still ambitions there, but they are held somewhat differently. I’m not identified by these ambitions, or by successes, they are just noticeable, observable ideas.

As an idea it means we can hold them in different ways, person to person, and interestingly, differently as we traverse different stages of life.

I was reminded the other day of how different people hold these concepts.  A friend asked “how’s your numbers?” at Collective Heart. Which basically was asking how many people are turning up at the breakfasts. I’m guessing it was coming from the underlying motivation of “is Collective Heart being successful?” according to bottoms on seats, attendance.

“About the same” I responded. The attendance at our breakfasts for the last month or two has been down a touch, but still close enough to average to be “about the same”.

We chatted the other typical organisational indicators of success, however this achievement question for Collective Heart left me pondering and reflecting on - what was the original motivator for the establishment of Collective Heart? Did it have a vision? Was there an ambition? What was and is the point of it?

We’ve been running three years as I write this and remember as clearly as day one what was important for me. In the early days I remember thinking I just don’t care if we’re a group of 6 or 60. I still don’t care about the number. Quantity without deep quality means little to me.

Collective Heart wasn’t established to become something. It really just came into being by asking a bunch of big hearted people if they’d like to catch up regularly and see what happens.

When big hearted people chose to come together, you end up with an organisation (if you want to call it that) which is dealing with love and light. Not in some sort of hugging fire-twirling way. Nothing against hugging and fire twirling by the way. But in a practical, compassionate, get out of your own way to help someone way.

When we’re dealing with love and light the source number of people (bottoms on seats) doesn’t really matter. It reminds me of the expression, one candle can light 100 more candles without exhausting its own light.

What matters is the willingness of those who choose to play to share love and light.

Which offers a hint for the substance and substrate of Collective Heart.

It’s simple really, love. To be love and see love.

To see the world, even if just in pockets come deeper into love, gratitude and hope due to the existence of Collective Heart and responsiveness of our members.

We are not looking to profit from our contributions, we are just looking to contribute. We are giving to give, not giving to receive.

This isn’t to say we don’t receive. While the ambition isn’t for pleasure or success, pleasure and success still come. In fact they come in ways and waves which are difficult to predict.

So what philosophy do I ask our members to follow? None. No external motivation here. This multi-faith, any religion, no religion, brotherhood, sisterhood, give a damn impulse must rise from deep within each individual. No return is guaranteed or even offered.

We turn up because we each individually feel an impulse, an urge, a murmuring, to assist our brothers and sisters who are in more difficult circumstances than us at this time.

We are following an inner calling if you want. Perhaps some would call this an ambition. I don’t know, ambition still feels like something to be achieved, what I’m feeling is a way to be. It’s where I’m coming from not where I’m going to.

Through Collective Heart it’s been lovely to discover I’m not alone in feeling this calling and deciding to follow it.

While one or more of us feel this same calling I will continue with my endeavours of bringing us together so we can join together for the support of humanity.

It is an honour and great privilege to be a part of Collective Heart. You have made my life so much richer.


If something about this post speaks to you please get in touch. We are very happy to meet like-minded and hearted people.