It Shifted My Way of Belonging

It was a real surprise to get an invitation to the 2017 World Conference. Why me? I’m so—different!

I’m still not much able to see the person I am and what contribution I make to the Community. So I was surprised. And with my isolation pattern I was not eager to join two hundred and forty people for five days. It didn’t feel like my party. So I needed to discharge to get my pattern to keep its mouth shut.

I booked myself a ticket—to be honest, mostly relying on the wisdom of Tim Jackins and Diane Shisk, who had decided about the invitations. Pattern number sixty-seven knew for sure that they were mistaken, but thinking that also seemed a bit arrogant.

After arriving at the conference and staying for a few hours, I had, surprisingly, the wonderful experience of inner rest, knowing that I belonged to this group of people. I was one of us. Having inner rest among two hundred and forty persons?

First of all, there was the warm welcome from the organizers and their help with transport. It wasn’t just the big hug, nice words, and how they thought about me personally. The organizing as a whole was so elegant and well thought about that it made a huge contribution to what we could do at the conference. This included Diane Shisk and her group working double-time and so thoughtfully to help us all through the process of discussing and finishing the Guidelines and goals.

There is a bit of a low sky in the Netherlands. It’s physically cloudy and wet—and also mentally, like in every country where common patterns don’t allow us much space to move. That’s what oppression, and more specifically class oppression, does. It’s the same everywhere but with a bit of a different color in the various places we call home.

Meeting with this group of people from so many countries and backgrounds, all having our own space to think, to act with, to offer to the group, to dance with was an experience that shifted my way of belonging.

Being there together with time to discharge, to let in each other’s company, and to notice the richness of the group before getting to “real” work made such a difference, at least to me. It made it clear that because of our various backgrounds and life experiences we move the sky for each of us and for the group as a whole. What a relief!

And of course there is more than that. We all are long dedicated to the same perspective. We have worked for years to get our brilliant minds in better shape [better condition]. We are willing to do what needs to be done to move the world, each other, and ourselves forward. We know what decisions, time, money, and so on, it takes to stick with what we have long found one of the most important jobs in our lives. And we know how to keep track, so we can move forward and not fall apart because of issues we don’t agree about. We have our tools. We know that we are getting smarter all the time. We have our huge, and every time clearer, perspective. That’s why RC and RCers are so meaningful and dear to us. For me this was the moment to realize all this.

We give each other and ourselves more and more permission to be different together—all belonging, despite the feelings we sometimes have about each other. This motivates me a lot and will have impact. As soon as I fully understand it for myself, I will be able to use my unique skills and thinking for whatever I think is important, inside and outside of RC.

On Sunday morning at the conference I had to leave a bit early to get my flight, and I noticed a feeling of panic. I asked two Dutch longtime Co-Counselors for a mini-session, and together we laughed and felt joy that I was panicked about leaving. Me? Feel panic leaving a group? It was a bit upside-down.

When I got home a colleague was interested in how we had set up the conference to give everybody a voice and to not let anyone get lost in all kinds of confusion and complications. It was wonderful to explain the organization of RC and the conference and to show how much our Guidelines are based on inclusion and growing together. I described the issues we discussed, the level of honesty, and what we could show each other without losing track of our goals and integrity. I felt so proud of one of my most important homes: you and us.

Monnie Paashuis

Doetinchem, The Netherlands

(Present Time 190, January 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00