BY RACHELLE LAMB
At a recent workshop that I delivered, a participant approached me during the break and said, “I saw Margaret Wheatley speak last week and she was saying the same thing you are!” Certainly I know of Wheatley but I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve not read any of her books or heard her speak before. Just a few days ago I purchased her latest book So Far From Home: Lost and found in a brave new world. A few pages in and I’m thrilled to have a copy and be part of her tribe. I love her terminology “weapons of compassion and insight” So beautiful! I have always held the firm belief that within the context of social change and dispute resolution, any conversation that does not hold as central a deep and compassionate inquiry into why alienation and violence occur to begin with will only contribute to continued alienation and violence.
Take the example of bullying. Has anyone noticed that “zero tolerance for bullying” doesn’t prevent bullying? What if instead of trying to stop bullying we began to focus on what leads people to resort to behaviours that we label as bullying? I remember sitting in a classroom of grade 5 students when an outside presenter came in to discuss the subject. She began by asking the kids to describe a “bully”. Predictably, her question elicited more labels from the students: mean, pushy, hostile, aggressive, selfish and on it went. And so how can we develop compassionate solutions when we use and encourage language that segregates and divides? .. language that creates enemy images? How can we possibly find our way to effectively resolving issues when we engage in subtler forms of the very thing we condemn? Sadly the same divisive language is commonplace in marriages, organizational environments and politics. The enemy image is only a word or two away .. and while we’re quick to believe the enemy is somewhere “out there”, it hatches and breeds in our minds.
And so on that note, if you’d like to arm yourself with the weapons of insight and compassion, please consider joining me at Hollyhock May 26-31 on beautiful Cortes Island .. a wonderful five days of rich immersion and “warrior training”. Find out how incredibly satisfying it can be to experience the inevitable shifts that occur when people use language deliberately .. with skillful discernment, curiosity, openness and a deep underlying love for humanity.
Moving scenes from one of my all time favourite movies: Dead Poets Society. Also a little insight into what you can expect from me as a teacher 🙂
Rachelle Lamb is an author and speaker and is president of Mindful Communication. She has shown thousands how to courageously and skillfully navigate interpersonal tension and conflict, leading toward breakthrough. rachellelamb.com
Join Rachelle for her workshop, Mindful Communication, at Hollyhock on Cortes Island, May 26 – 31, 2013.