Recently a colleague on a professional e-mail list invited us all to write about "why we do what we do". It just so happened that in my women's leadership group, we had each been exploring the same topic. It's a great question, and here is my response:
What I love about my work: I love creating an environment where people can explore divergent perspectives safely, with curiosity and interest instead of fear. I love helping groups engage differences in ways that feel creative, empowering, and energizing. I love co-creating spaces where people can tap into their own deep caring for the larger whole, as well as tapping into their own fresh thinking and brilliant creative genius. It's intense, passionate, and playful "deep fun"!
My mission: To support women and men around the world, in learning to safely tap the abundant & renewable energy of apparently-conflicting perspectives. To support women and men around the world, in learning to use this powerful energy in safe ways, as fuel for creativity, social healing, and greater wholeness.
What keeps me going: The experiences I've had, that let me know me that it really is possible for groups to engage in creative ways with our most challenging social conflicts. My passion to have these skills spread widely throughout our society, so we can all work with others in engaging and fulfilling ways, as part of our various groups, organizations, and communities. My desire for our communities to be places where we can not only deeply appreciate differences – but beyond that, welcome differences as opportunities to grow, to see new possibilities, to gain deeper understandings and to utlimately feel more connected with one another.
The needs I see: I am tired of disagreements that feel like battles and end up polarizing us. I am tired of "divide and conquer" tactics, I am tired of so many opportunities for growth and creativity being wasted, simply because of a lack of skills on how to work safely with conflict and draw on differences as a creative resource.
What inspires my ongoing commitment: Knowing what's possible, knowing that we really can learn to hold space for groups in ways that support deep transformation, and also, sensing that our future as a species depends on our developing these kinds of skills.
What I most enjoy receiving from my teaching: The sense of aliveness I feel, when people connect with their own deep caring and sense of possibility. My own deep joy at being in a space where people are love-wrestling with significant issues in meaningful ways. The sense of hope I feel, as I see others catching a glimpse of the possibilities, and deepening their own skills in this practice.