I begin each month sending out an email to everyone who has been a part of one the Circles of Trust I facilitate. I call it Living Courage. It is a practice that calls me to the task of listening and keeping in alignment with WholeHeart’s tag line: “living on the learning edge.” Here is my reflection and experience with the Courage Principle: “An appreciation of paradox enriches our lives and helps us hold greater complexity.”
The word “leadership” can cover some tricky territory, inviting the questions: what makes a leader? Who are leaders? Is there a leadership club that requires certain qualities to belong?
Our Intergenerational Leadership Exchanges welcomes emerging and experienced leaders. We focus on leadership at the human being level, grounded in the belief that we are all we are all leaders of our own lives. Together, across generational perspectives and areas of interest, we make up the essential elements of our communities.
On September 30th, we will hold our third Exchange. Each gathering has a unique focus, inviting people to return each season or to come for the first time. This fall our focus and guide is the land itself at the Green Mountain Monastery.
“I can disagree with your opinion, it turns out, but I can’t disagree with your experience. And once I have a sense of your experience, you and I are in relationship.” Krista Tippett, Becoming Wise
How do we share our experiences and build community? At a time in our country when our differences in belief and opinion are dividing communities and families, many of us are wondering how to move forward and connect. Civil discourse and deep listening seem to be lost skills. Yet, the silver lining of our time may be that the divides are visible and the motivation to build/rebuild community is essential.
In celebration of gifts and gratitudes of the land, the community and the abudance of harvest, 40 people gathered at Jubilee Farm in Huntington for a night of nourishing food and conversation. This Friend & Fundraiser, A Taste of Courage, was inspired by and in support of WholeHeart's work to convene circles of authenticity, courage and wholeheartedness - in retreats, for work teams and in communities. . Running Stone Bakery and Krin's Bakery and local farmers provided the feast and everyone who came shared a part of themselves to make the circle whole. We shared poems and prompts, generous listening and table conversations - stories of generosity, astonishment and connections. In the beauty of the barn, surrounded by sawdust, sweet night air and budding friendships, we listened and collected words that resonated on butcher block paper as we ate together. From these exchanges and those little bits of writing, a community poem was created.
Each summer, I head to the ocean. Living in Vermont, I need crave time with the sea to recalibrate my heart, soul and perspective. For the past three summers, Hurricane Island in the Penobscott Bay, Maine, has been the destination to co-facilitate a Courage Earth retreat with Dave Oakes.
Before I was born, Anne Morrow Lindburgh wrote Gift of the Sea and each summer I keep discovering new gifts. This summer, fifiteen of us let go of mainland responsibilities and distractions to let island time work its way into our cells. Here are some images and reflections from Hurricane:
WholeHeart, Inc. is the fiscal agent for the Community Allies for Safety, Trust & Respect - a group of representatives from various local organizations and community members who support critical conversations and community celebrations. We believe that all people deserve to feel safety, trust, and respect in their lives and we are committed to making our greater community a place that stands by these values. This year we are asking the question: “What do you love about Hardwick (or your home place)?”
"The fulcrum of this universe may ultimately be a passionate mutuality in which we surrender any separate definition of ourselves and discover that we are who we are together, in a fundamental relationship and communion with everything that is."(Gunilla Norris)
Many years ago, I read a book called, Wade a Little Deeper, Dear. It was about fly fishing for women - how to step into the deeper pools where the action is. I heard it as an invitation to life, wellness, and growth. When we were developing the WholeHeart Wellness Model, we began by talking about the progression of wading, then swimming, then diving into wellness and mindfulness - key aspects of a buoyant life. The process felt evolutionary, AND the journey could begin wherever we are in life or on any given day. We knew that a wholehearted journey is a deep dive. I learned the hard way as a child that diving requires deep water. We wondered what the nautilus, nature’s ancient, deep diver, had to teach us.
WholeHeart board member, Marissa Colston, shares her experiences in Ghana – visiting the Elmina Slave Castle and traveling with twelve high school students to a Pk-12 school in Ajumako. Her story offers a perspective on wholeheartedness – connections beyond borders and and the deep wounds and atrocities of slavery. The whole is not shiny. The heart is strengthened by the genuine and the generous.