Since returning from the Whole Thinking Retreat I had the privilege to attend in August 2011 on Knoll Farm, my life went into fast-forward both professionally and personally, despite my best intentions to maintain a sense of decceleration. Upon my return to the office, my workload increased and my sense of responsibility toward my colleagues amplified. I’m not complaining – I love my job! But the past two months have been a time of movement and evolution, an experience of taking one step back and then two steps forward. And the transition continues.
Personally, the theme that has been hovering within and beyond me since my experience at the Center for Whole Communities is that of possibility.
What is possible for me? What is my vision for the future? What are the risks of pursuing such a vision? What are the potential rewards?
Since my experience at Knoll Farm, the sense of possibility of what and how I can contribute has shifted. Prior to the week I spent with a unique cohort of amazing men and women on this special land, I had been working hard toward accomplishing a number of objectives related to family, job, and community (although not necessarily in that order). During the past month or so, I have revisited those objectives. How can I foster meaningful growth among my colleagues in my place of employment and strengthen my own contributions to the organization and its membership? How can I communicate more effectively and efficiently? And to whom should I be directing my attention?
We walked up and down the hill at Knoll Farm a few times a day. I am an active person, but not accustomed to breaking during the day to walk or, really, to breathe. What a joy this was. Returning home, I promised myself I would find the time to breathe, and observe, and remain silent, at least once daily.
Not a week passed before I had forgotten my commitment.
And yet, as I look back to my experience and its impact upon my work and my personal goals, I find that the impact lasts. I return to silence when I can, even for a few minutes a day. I am thrilled at the prospect of all that is possible.
I can write that book I’ve been dreaming about and sketching notes for in a journal for over a decade. I can connect with people who are both like and unlike me. I can be me, and reach others, and ask questions, and learn.
Today I am struck by all that is possible, despite, or due to, each of our own unique conditions and life experiences that include our families, friends and colleagues, and the men, women and children we encounter in our neighborhoods, grocery stores, farmers markets, and community gatherings. Each of them helps shape our stories and make us who we are. And is it possible for us to help shape their stories, and help them in their journey of who they are, and who they will become. This is the possibility of community.