I am meeting with a group for the first time. It is a group committed to doing good work and to growing community. This is a group of six people, various “leads” within one organization.
I learned long ago that meeting for the first time is not about planning. It is not about all of the details. It is not about fixes. Meeting for the first time is about making a connection together. It is a time to begin a deliberate pattern of listening, and of sharing. It is a time to begin a pattern of being spacious together.
I love the first meetings. I try to welcome and help shape a basic story line that we can be in together. It often sounds something like this.
- You have things that you care about and want to do well. That’s great.
- All of that doing well starts with connection and relationship.
- Connection enables us to be in our learning together or to add to the learning that you are already in.
- All of that, connection and learning, helps us to discern and imagine helpful experiments together that contribute to the things you care about and want to do well.
Of course, the path together will be about being in the nuance of this basic story. It will be about being in the joy of it, and the sorrows. It will be about being in the imaginative heart of it, and, in the implementing hands of it.
I know that none of it will happen in lasting ways if we don’t embody connection, if we don’t start with finding our way with honesty and imagination and welcome.
First generation American writer and psychoanalyst Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes some of the why for inviting connection. Her passage moved me as I invited context with this group.
Pinkola Estes writes,
In the dark times,
there is a tendency to veer toward fainting
over how much is wrong or untended in the world.
Do not focus on that.
There is a tendency too,
to fall into being weakened
by persevering on what is outside your reach,
by what cannot yet be.
Do not focus there….
We are needed, that is all we can know.
It is this last line that most moves me. We are needed, that is all we can know. Because, I’ve learned, if we start with that kindness and clarity, then our encounter together with the mystery grows much, much good.
Here’s to good beginnings.