Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Wheel Is Turning

On Wednesday night of the May residency, a group of us went to the Barking Spider after class to continue developing our skills in group dynamics through experiential learning. (In other words, we listened to live music, drank mass quantities, and talked.)

During the first and second quarters, MaidintheSouth and I had spent a lot of time and energy 'seeding' the program's collaborative web site (iCohere). While we did this out of love and service, we expected that others would recognize the participatory model and join the fray - this did not happen to my satisfaction. As I griped about the low level of participation, my new friends helped me see that sometimes leadership is like that. You take the lead and hope that others will follow. Sometimes they follow later. Sometimes they never follow. But that doesn't mean you stop leading.

As Divining Millie later said so eloquently to Fast Freddie, "That was an aha! moment for Deedee."

Since that night, I have regularly been venturing far out of my comfort zone in exercising my leadership muscles. Sometimes this has made me feel incredibly vulnerable. While I seem to be developing a level of tolerance for this vulnerability, this last week contained some times that were much more difficult than any I've experienced before. I came through it alive, but I wonder if this kind of work is worth the pain. It certainly didn't feel that way by COB Friday.

Foshabelieves that experiencing affect won't kill you . . . in fact, that fully experiencing affect is the only thing that enables us to be completely functional human beings. I am desperately trying to buy into this idea, but my down-to-earth, Midwestern, first-generation values are being sorely tested.

Most surprising was that it came about for no real good reason that I can see. But I'm still trying to suss that out a little. More to come on this topic when I have processed it more fully.


Anonymous Fast Freddie said...

Maybe what I am coming to understand better, my help. I am finding that my great discomforts in these many new situations come less from the situations and more from me caring about them. For a long time I have kept myself detached to avoid the possibility of pain. This works, but it also significantly reduces the potential joy.

Reflecting on something you posted elsewhere, while you may not care so much about some of the people involved, you care about the situation and who you are in it. To care, to love something deeply leaves us open to being hurt. To be open to that potential pain and to at times, experience it is a necessary part of our lives. You cannot truly know one without the other.

Is it worth it? Yes my friend it is, lest we huddle in fear for our time in this rhelm.

8:19 PM  

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