Not Fixing The “Held-Back Place of Goodness”

 

Parker Palmer, author and founder of The Courage to Teach program, speaks of the shyness of our souls. Instead of “soul” you may call it your “heart”. Native American Joseph Rael calls it “the held-back place of goodness”. We may have different terms for it, but all of us have a sense of the immaterial part of us that holds our emotions and we all know the need to protect it and entrust it only to those who are trustworthy.

At the core of the workshops I lead based on Palmer’s work are the guidelines, “Invite, don’t demand” and “Put aside your need to fix, save, advise or correct others”. It’s a sad thing to say, but as a member of a “helping profession”, it’s awfully easy to think that I have what is needed to cure the ails of the world. I have lots of simple exercises up my sleeve which have helped people connect to their hearts and stitch together the broken bits. I have a Neurofeedback system which has moved mountains of emotional baggage. Yet, from this work I know that each person in front of me has their own inner wisdom which only they can access. My job is to make a space safe enough for them to poke around the edges of that wisdom, find what it has to offer and to provide the resources they want, when they want it.

This spring everything I have learned about care for a shy soul came to fruition with a boy I’ll call “X”. Most often he is lost in the music playing in his ear buds. He speaks in a whisper and uses as few words as possible. One day he appeared with his hoodie pulled up, staring at the floor and more downcast than I have ever seen him before. In a private conversation he told me he was depressed. We talked for as long as we were both able and shared the resources I knew of that could be helpful to him; but it was apparent that for the moment he was unable to mobilize himself. I saw the same boy every day for the next week, and reminding myself to give space to this shy soul, I offered him little more than kind greetings. The last day of that week he sat himself down beside me and for a full hour the story of the complexity of his life tumbled out. I don’t know for certain that sharing helped him connect with the “held-back place of goodness” in him, but I do know that in that moment, and the moments leading up to it, every single skill I had been taught in “Courage to Teach” rose up and served me in being present to his brokenness and his desire to connect with an estranged parent.

Advertisements

Summer Institute – Upper Canada Board

 

It Takes Courage to Teach!

July 24 or Aug. 22  – part of UCDSB’s Summer Institute series

 

The Courage to Teach program is designed to renew, sustain and inspire teachers.

Past participants in these days have reported feeling:

-calmer and more energized

-more clear about work and life decisions

-more able to balance work and life commitments

-much more competent in working with “difficult” colleagues and students

-appreciative of the way they were listened to.

To register by  July 7th  contact anne-marie.bulbeck@ucdsb.on.ca.

Thrive Youth Information Session – NG Public Library Feb 16

thrive

Next week, in Kemptville, I’m opening “Thrive Youth”, an individuated program designed to make life easier for young adults. The information session will include a demonstration of neurofeedback.  journey@ripnet.com , cell – 613-285-5715

 

Empowerment in the Face of Planetary Suffering – a workshop series based on the work of Joanna Macy

ctl2

Last month our village council held a public information meeting about the TransCanada Pipeline proposal. The company was seeking endorsement to transport 1.1 million tonnes of bitumen/day over our Highly Vulnerable Aquifer and across the Rideau River.  Although our village did not endorse the proposal, the next level of government did and I was left feeling a great deal of despair. If we couldn’t affect change in our own backyard, how could we ever hope to see the level of cooperation required to tackle the enormity of Climate Change?

Despair isn’t the only response we can have when we feel alone and helpless in the face of big things – we can easily slip into denial or grief, the helpless states that leave us totally ineffective.

But there is another way which has been used since the 1970s to help hundreds of thousands of people find the solidarity and courage needed to act despite the rapidly worsening social and ecological conditions.  The process outlined in the book “Coming Back to Life” by Joanna Macy can “help bring us into a fresh relationship with our world, and not only arouse our passion to protect life, but also steady us in a mutual belonging more real than our fears and even our hopes.” Using the book as the basis, the following is being offered:

 

EMPOWERMENT in the FACE of PLANETARY SUFFERING – workshop series based on the work of Joanna Macy.

Wednesdays, Nov. 9 – Dec. 7th, 6:30 – 8:00pm,

Merrickville United Church (Main St. entrance), Merrickville, ON

For those who are concerned about the environmental and social state of the world and want to both integrate their responses and move forward with creative action.

Led by Carol Williams, 613-269-4427, journey@ripnet.com

Donations of cash, time or in-kind services to the value of $12/evening or $50/series will be forwarded to “Merrickville Bridge to Canada” (MBC), the non-partisan, non-religious group formed of local folks from all walks of life who will help sponsor and support a refugee family in our community.

 

Guidelines for this workshop series:

  1. Attune to a common intention.
  2. Welcome diversity.
  3. Know that only the whole can repair itself.
  4. You are only a small part of a much larger process, like a nerve cell in a neural net.
  5. Open to flows of information from the larger system.
  6. Speak the truth of your experience of this world.
  7. Believe no one who claims to have the final answer.
  8. Work increasingly in teams or joint projects serving common aims.
  9. Be generous with your strengths and skills – they are not your private property.
  10. Draw forth the strengths of others by your own acknowledgment of them.
  11. You do not need to see the results of your work.
  12. Putting forth great effort, let there also be serenity in all you doing.

 

Aims of the workshop series:

  1. provide perspectives and practices that reveal our connections
  2. reframe our pain for the world as evidence of our mutual belonging and hence our power to take action on behalf of life
  3. awaken our stamina and buoyancy
  4. act for the sake of all earthly creatures
  5. identify the strengths and resources we can mobilize in our commitment to the self-healing of the world
  6. face the challenge that every one of us, in collaboration with others, is fully capable of meeting in our own distinctive ways.