Pauses for the CauseJanuary 12, 2011 Leave a comment
Last week, IISC staff took a step back to consider what we had been referring to as the roots out of which our collaborative capacity building work grows (we have since wondered whether these may be more appropriately cast as “lenses,” but more on that at another time), and to come to some agreement about what is core to our practice in these imperfectly titled areas:
- “the love that does justice”
We were guided in our conversations by the talented Mistinguette Smith, with whom I have had the pleasure of partnering in delivering our joint work with the Center for Whole Communities – Whole Measures: Transforming Communities by Measuring What Matters Most. Anyone who is able to handle a group of facilitators has certainly earned her stripes, and if that person can teach those “process experts” new tricks, well now you’ve really got our attention. Ms. Smith, we are listening!
One of the many things that Mistinguette did that served us well was to get us to pause and self-reflect at key moments in our various conversations. On several occasions, she had us breathe. She invited us to consider how we wanted to show up at different points in our retreat and then stopped action in the middle to have us check in around whether we were being true to our intentions and to consider the invitation to show up differently than we typically do. At one point, as we were getting into a particularly charged conversation, she coached us that, “What you hear will be much more important than what you say.” Wow, saying that in a room of people who really like to talk is downright dissonant . . . and helpful. Our conversations during the retreat were qualitatively different, from my perspective, in important ways.
I am taking much from the content of those two days, some of which I would like to share in a subsequent post, and on the process/experiential front, I was reminded of the power of pausing, of taking stock, and as a facilitator of inviting others to be mindful about what is most important in the way they show up. May we all be reminded of when it makes sense to take pauses for our causes.