Giving Up Leadership and Starting Over

I thought I'd update you on my activities since I moved to the Pacific Northwest, almost a year and a half ago. It's been good and hard and definitely re-emergent. I recommend such a major move from one totally different geographic and cultural area to another-pulling up all one's deepest roots with family, friends, work, RC Community-as a way of shaking things up real good! Some big chronics surfaced that I might not otherwise have faced if I'd stayed in my "comfortable" life back in Albany, New York (though I've never thought of my life as comfortable). For a year I discharged heavily on early losses and grief, and I continue to discharge recordings of helplessness around having to take initiative in everything I do because I don't have "roles" to fall back on.

I most missed leaving my Region and my job as Regional Reference Person, which kept me constantly on my toes. But it has been useful taking a supportive role and "leading from behind." Supporting Rachel Noble (Regional Reference Person for Oregon) and Teresa Enrico (Area Reference Person for Portland, Oregon) has been good for me. I constantly run into my owning-class patterns of "taking over" and wanting to do things myself. So I sit on my hands and bite my tongue and refrain from chiming in with my two cents. I listen, offer counseling resource, and ask them what they want me to do. Rachel and Teresa are brilliant. It's fun getting close to them and thinking about them. We laugh and are open about our differences, and I'm gradually learning what it means to be an ally-putting into practice Jo Saunders' principle of owning-class people "knowing nothing" while discharging arrogance and humiliation.

I'm committed to working hard, organizing, and leading where necessary. I've organized a bunch of things and am leading women, wide-world changers, owning-class people, and recently-elders. I'm leading in family work and teaching a fundamentals class, which is becoming the nucleus of a Community. It's fun to start over and learn from a fresh situation as well as use the years of experience and mistakes I've logged in. As I begin to get a better picture of this Area and Region, I can think more accurately about contradicting patterns and where to put my resource. I'm well connected with most of the leaders in the state. Both the Region and the Portland Area seem to be experiencing a surge of growth. Lots of things look good to me, and there's lots of work to do.

I'm loving the Northwest for its pure beauty. I look out at pristine, snow-clad Mount Hood on clear days. I love having so much wilderness close by and the many opportunities to be physically active. People here take care of themselves and their environment in thoughtful ways. Spring is indescribably beautiful. It starts so early, compared to the Northeast, and it just lasts and lasts and stays green as long as it rains, which it does pretty steadily for seven months. I enjoy the relaxed friendliness and courteousness of people. There are lots of interesting, progressive things happening in Portland, with ample opportunities for building my women's work. The only limitations to my building bigger and faster are my chronic isolation and powerlessness, and I'm challenging them as hard as I can.

Ellie Putnam
Portland, Oregon,

Last modified: 2017-05-06 23:35:41-07