What Love Looks Like in ActionJanuary 13, 2011 14 Comments
Picking up from my post the other day (“Pauses for the Cause”) about the process learnings of our recent IISC retreat, I wanted to focus a bit on the content take-aways. As I previously mentioned, the reason for our coming together as a staff was to revisit and dive into the roots of our collaborative practice: networks, equity/power/inclusion, and “the love that does justice.” It wasn’t long before we were wondering whether these are not more appropriately called the lenses through which we look as we go about our collaborative capacity building and change work. And it did not take long after that for us to question whether the labels we have selected for these lenses are the appropriate ones. I want to spend the rest of this post looking at where our conversation took us with respect to love, in particular.
What’s love got to do with it? That was not exactly our guiding question, but we got there eventually through some of our struggles to reach shared understanding and agreement about what we mean when we say “the love that does justice.” Our facilitator engaged us in writing on stickies short phrases and sentences that explained what it means to integrate this into our practice. The activity yielded a plethora of multi-colored squares that we then organized into themes. Here is what emerged, categorically speaking:
What does it mean to integrate “the love that does justice” into our practice?
- Doing our own inner work; cultivating our own emotional intelligence, self-awareness, mindfulness, connection to values, spirit.
- Helping others to access and cultivate their inner selves, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, mindfulness, values, spirit.
- Facilitating deep authentic connections between people.
- Pursuing transformational change focused on individual, interpersonal, institutional, societal, spiritual levels of oppression in order to help liberate and heal from internalized oppression and supremacy.
- Honoring the legacy of spiritual, scientific, and social scientific (re)sources and support for engaging in deep inner/interpersonal and transformational work.
While we may not have been able to come to agreement at this point on the title of this particular lens or shared core practices in this realm, we all seemed to concur that if we were to jettison any of these general categories, we would be missing something fundamental to our mission of changing the way change happens to realize a more just and sustainable world. Simply put, what’s collaboration without the love?! And as we continue our journey, we are eager to hear from others who may be on a similar trajectory. What are you learning and discovering?