Friday, November 8, 2013

My Shadow Side - the courage to share

Last week I had the privilege to be part of a retreat around courage, compassion and choice at the Global Retreat Centre, Oxford (more details here) . I was invited to attend by Andy Bradley founder of  Frameworks4change via twitter.

I have been thinking a lot about my learning from the Retreat last week. I found it difficult and returned home feeling uncomfortable about my experience. It wasn’t what I had expected and I guess as a somewhat impatient and restless soul I thought it would be a call to action. I have been looking for that rallying call to be in my vicinity and give me the chance to step forward and answer the call. I have been looking for my heroic leader, the one I can follow and to whom I can align my mission. Looking back this has been a recurrent theme throughout my career and has been dogged by disappointment and disillusionment; people who I have looked up to have not been up to it and have failed to see my potential. I have been over looked and ignored. As a consequence of this I have been quite cross for a very long time. Upset and hurt I have been festering away with resentment.
I took this to Oxford last week and hoped to find that hero within the participants. I realised I was a bit desperate to find people who I could follow (be asked to join their mission) but that wasn’t the focus. The retreat was about stillness and listening. I did a very good job in resisting any learning at the retreat. I wanted to run away the first morning and I felt somewhat disturbed by the proximity of the Retreat to my childhood town, Reading. We were even on the bloody bus route that my dad often uses when he goes on one of his jaunts. I felt quite distracted by this to begin with but sat with the emotions and recognised that the loss of my Mum 7 years ago is still unfinished business and maybe I ought to be a little gentler on myself.

Once I leaned into the stillness and began listening I started to feel calmer and less anguished, I stopped being miffed that there would not be any rallying calls and that action would come later. I also started paying more attention to what I was hearing about myself and taking on board  what wonderful folk were telling me about the skills I might have to offer.

I am still processing a lot of the learning and still inpatient to get on with using listening and support in practice. I want practitioners in healthcare to know that some of us are looking out for them, I continue to be frustrated about the distance HE has from practice but I also have started to spend less time in my head, reduce the drain of thinking. I have started to believe in role modelling compassion and thoughtfulness.
 I still get grumpy and I can still see that my default setting is melancholy and anger but I am also enjoying the times when I am feeling brighter and also hearing the positive in my interactions with other people.
Twitter is a wonderful place for learning and sharing and over the last few days I have a number of conversations that have helped begin to provide a solid foundation for my thoughts and ideas.

Thanks to a session facilitated by Francis Briers I have come to know about U theory ( more details here) and have also begun to see my own blind spots. I have always been fixated about writing things up and getting them published. This has often culminated in nothing, nada, depression and low confidence. I have often bleated on about how much better I am verbally, how I can express myself well and also that I really quite like an audience!! Well how about doing some clips about some of ideas, thoughts and projects? Thanks Andy for the suggestion I will explore this and as my daughter is skilled in the use of information technology I will make sure it will happen. Seems a bit scary because it might be ridiculed and mocked but that is a risk I am happy to take to see if I can share my thoughts around supporting practitioners and the role of values and beliefs in their practice.

When I stop thinking too much and I allow myself to calm I find the poems come..

Switching The Mind

It is in the stillness
that we can listen.

It is only in this time
can we really hear.

Nurture stillness, silence,
connection, clarity.


It is only by stopping
can we start again.

Hope, courage, growth
peace, resistance.
It is only by persistence
can we share the way forward

Together stronger –  joy.


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