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Somebody to Lean On

Updated: Dec 26, 2018

Did you know I can read Japanese? It still surprises me. The stories behind how the characters are made up helps me to understand this world I live in.

Here is the Character for person:

There are two strokes, each holding the other up. Take one away, and the other falls down. Just like people. The long one takes the burden of the winds of life. The short one carries the burden of weight. They are opposite to each other, have a totally different stance. But look how they trust each other. Lovely!

Who do you depend on? Are you the long or short one?

This year, I began teaching each the Lean Production system, with trips to Japanese factories for business leaders. Lean is 'code' in the Western world for The Toyota Production System. The image of 'Lean' has been skinniness, running a business with overworked staff and no resources. Which of course wouldn't actually work for long at all.

A familiarity with Japanese culture shows that Lean is in fact about creating a culture of reliability, where you lean on each others strengths. Its about designing great work processes, so imperfect people create perfect products. In a Toyota Way factory, your shortcomings are still there, but they aren't a problem.

I put lots of energy into creating homes that attract wonderful people, housemates and WWOOF volunteers. They help make my Permaculture dreams come true. They also help me get out of the house on time, with my thermos in my bag, and other essential tasks my 'off with the fairies' mind wasn't going to do. I need them, and can't have a good life without them. Learning to be 'Leanable' made my life wonderful. "The basic unit of humanity isn't a single person. Its two. People need each other to be fully human"

Rev. Graham Long, Wayside Chapel Kings Cross

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