You learn a lot listening to people’s stories. We don’t do much of it in our society; the more I facilitate the more I see our destructive societal patterns play out. I watch how people listen, just so they have their own opportunities to speak. It used to be something that would upset, or anger me; why do we all have to be so innately selfish? The more I worked, however, the more I saw the truth. This is only the case because all of us so desperately want to be seen and heard. It still continues to astound me, the power of bringing people together to provide a safe space for sharing. The way people’s defences drop, and they become more and more receptive to opening up and welcoming vulnerability. In my career I’ve facilitated workshops, and spoken to audiences, totalling more than 250 000 people. I’ve been blessed to meet diversity of individuals; from varying social classes, education, sex, culture and religion. I’ve seen something that not many of us get to really see, and understand; and this is it; there is far more of what makes us the same, than there is what separates us.
I’ve watched school bullies break down, and let go of their mask, when provided a space to be properly held. I’ve watched how victims of abuse find the courage in a group to disclose information that’s held them shackled to their past and to their pain. What I’ve realised is that all of us are seeking the same thing. We all crave resolve. We all desire unity with one another, and more importantly, we perform better as individuals and communities when we are surrounded by love.
The communities I’ve worked in with the highest rates of violence, substance abuse, bullying and unemployment all have something extremely noticeable in common. Very few figures in their communities remodelled love. Vulnerability was not something talked about, let alone celebrated, and young people felt a strong need to defend themselves because there was nowhere safe for them to just be. Yet, as soon as there was, their willingness to surrender their defence was always present.
One message I’d love to leave you with; how can we really cultivate genuine behavioural change, if we only negatively reinforce the very behaviour we are seeking to shift; only feeding energy into the problem. The solutions remains so simple, yet rarely touched on; we must focus our energy into role modelling the solution, in being the change we seek and never compromising our strength of love.