In the natural world, at the place where grasslands merge into forests or where the shore melds into the oceans or other places where two ecosystems meet, diversity and abundance seem to flourish. This is known as edge effect
An online dictionary defines edge effect this way:
The influence that two ecological communities have on each other along the boundary that separates them. Because such an area contains habitats common to both communities as well as others unique to the transition zone itself, the edge effect is typically characterized by greater species diversity and population density than occur in either of the individual communities.
In living systems, profound creativity takes place on the edges—where ocean meets shore, in estuaries, where grasslands meet forest edge, in wetlands and tidal pools, along streambanks and in the top few inches of soil.
Why is this? What can we learn from the edges?
Edges are a place where different elements meet. In human systems, these might be differing points of view, cultures, lifestyles or ideas.
Edges are a place of transition—where one mode or way of being meets another. It is neither one nor the other, but an in-between transitional place.
Greater edge provides a greater surface area, therefore offering a place for productivity, increased relationship opportunities, more places to create and work and evolve.
Edges are a place of creative tension and risk. In our personal inner world, the edges are the places of discomfort and often are that “creative edge” where we experience the most personal growth.
Our edges can be chaotic and unsettled—where the old and familiar is no longer a possibility but where a new harmony and balance has yet to emerge.
In our communities, the greatest creativity takes place where edges are being explored—coastal cities have more cultural interaction so something new emerges that isolated cultures could not have produced on their own. To make something happen in business, an entrepreneur must ”jump off the edge”—take a risk to follow a dream or learn a new skill.
It helps to observe and notice the “edges” in our communities, our endeavors and in our lives and cultivate a deeper awareness of the gifts present there.
Where are the edges in your life or work?
What risk must you take to follow your dream?