Ways of Being: Collaborative Strategies

September 15, 2013 Leave a comment

The following post is part 2 of a 2 part series on some collaborative tools and strategies to help us change our selves, change our organizations and change the world.  We hope you find it helpful.  We encourage you to join the conversation! 

We are compelled by a quote from Theory U, attributed to William O’Brien “The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener.” Collaborative tools and strategies are only truly useful in the hands of practitioners whose hearts are big enough to hold the complexities, struggles, hopes and fears that accompany the work of transforming racism.

Live life in perpetual beta. Borrowing the title of a popular website, we strive to consider everything a rough draft; an opportunity to learn and grow. We invite ourselves to abandon the pursuit of perfection and participate in life’s ongoing unfolding. We keep learning, both about historic and current patterns of race and racism and about process.

Practice grace. To abandon perfection is to practice grace with oneself and others, knowing that when we stumble it doesn’t make us bad people; just imperfect people who can do better. We strive to reject shame, blame and guilt, and embrace the notion of “falling forward.”

This is life, not work. Most people I know work to transformation racism as part of their lives, not just a function of their jobs. Many proceed with a sense of joy that comes from pursuing this work in community with others. Experiencing race and racism through our personal relationships and communities keeps us connected to the real-life implications of transforming racism.

Love yourself and heal trauma. We encourage one another to embrace and care for our whole selves—body, mind and soul. Racism wounds the soul, and working to transform racism can risk injury, anger and frustration. We look for ways to salve these wounds and release these tensions.

Be grateful for the privilege of serving. As one colleague says, it’s not a sacrifice to do this work. It’s a labor of love.

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