Tisiola opened our final Focus Group meeting by reading The Earth Charter Declaration of 2000, and I am going to quote it here, because at the end of 2020, it is so relevant to us all.
We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognise that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.
Much to everyone’s delight, Julie then accompanied herself on the piano and sang Over the Rainbow, which paved the way for Tisiola’s rainbow metaphor, that we use the evening for thinking widely, highly and deeply as we reflect on the year that has been. In this regard, Ricci read a poem outlining just that.
And let’s face it, world-wide, this has been a very difficult year. It has also, however, been a time for us to pause and reflect on how much of our precious time, we waste running hither and thither on the frantic treadmill of life. Usually for nothing.
And that is what the evening was about. A time to assist us all, hopefully through our reflections, to co-create something that is worthwhile. Something that is going to make the world a better place. Not just for us; for all. A world that works because it is about women coming together to share what matters to them. What they value as women.
And about time, I say. For the last 3,000 years the world, as we know it, has by and large been driven by men, with predominately male energy only driving the bus. This is our time. Not at the expense of men, but with men. Not as passengers, but equal shared driving skills. Equals in our differences. This is not the time for us to delay with further excuses. This is our time to rise, and we are the people to make the change happen.
An important part of making it happen, is our decision to attend the last Focus Group meeting, and to reflect not only on our own personal journey as a person, but also on the collective journey we, as a community at Embracing Women’s Potential (EWP), are embarked on.
I agree with Tisiola, that our community members have all arrived at this place (EWP), at this time, as part of a greater plan for the greater good. I very much believe it is by design not by accident, and whether any of us will ever fully understand the mysterious ways things work at this time in our journey, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter, is that we lean into and reflect on the great questions of life:
· What is the purpose of my being here?
· What is the purpose of this co-creation?
· How can I serve others better?
· How can I relate to others better?
· What are the qualities, the inner capacities I have yet to discover within myself?
· How can we encourage and appreciate one another more?
For twenty minutes or so, we each found a quiet place to sit and reflect on what we had learned or enjoyed about the various topics presented by the EWP community throughout the year. We noted and then attached them to the provided Reflection Board. We like-wise noted what we appreciated, or felt gratitude for, and attached that to a Gratitude Board, and on the Ideas Board we noted topics we would like to discuss in our 2021 Focus Group meetings, or social activities we would like to participate in, within our community.
On return, Julie led us on the guitar with John Lennon’s beautiful song; Imagine. And between you and me, we were pretty darn good accompanists, for amateurs.
Before going on to discuss some of the things we individually reflected on, were grateful for, and would like considered for discussion next year, Tisiola read a small piece outlining the importance of us recognising our own achievements, qualities, good work done, and even just the efforts we make to self-develop, or help others to do so. Because acknowledging and appreciating ourselves and our personal qualities is an important part of building and maintaining a healthy self-recognition.
Some of the reflections and appreciations shared were:
· Appreciation and gratitude for all the hard work Tisiola and Barb do throughout the year for our benefit.
· Gratitude for Tisiola’s amazing team and the support they give her, making possible the Embracing Women’s Potential – Transformative Learning Community.
· A round of applause to everybody, for sharing their lives with the community. For what is a life, if not shared?
· Appreciation for the improved understanding, love, respect and connection we have learnt to enjoy more with our families and friends as a lesson from Covid-19.
· Appreciation for the welcoming, non-judgemental and safe environment EWP provides for us all, to learn, to laugh to listen and to grow.
· Maybe the creation of a cook book and a sing-a-long book, in 2021?
· A new appreciation, and understanding for fellow life travellers who all have interesting stories. For they are road maps that explain their journey, and how they have arrived here and in their present state.
Because yes, we do all have stories. And as interesting as that makes it, the plot is enriched even more because we are also, all multi-layered. And quite often, it is only after hearing the stories of others’, their wounds, and transformations, that we are able to heal our own.
As one member put it, by listening to the stories of others, it often helps us with the writing of our own new story. Or the old story, but with additional new chapters. I prefer to think of it this way, because I’m happy to put my name to my whole story. It has delivered me here, as the person now writing the new and very different chapters of my life-story.
Which is such a large part of what EWP is all about. Learning and developing the skills, enabling us to become the very best versions we can be of ourselves; and to help others do likewise.
Because of our core values, which include Transparency, Trust, Authenticity, Honesty, Efficacy, Quality, and Respect, our unique community comes together, with our similarities and differences being freely expressed and appreciated. We are learning to love ourselves, here in this space because we feel safe, unjudged, and encouraged to develop to our full capacity.
This mining for the very best of ourselves often comes about through our sharing of stories, and learning the value of deep listening to one another. And, in an ironic way, developing the skills of deep listening to others, also often revels to us unexplored places and qualities in ourselves.
Tisiola rounded the evening off saying that hope, is not passive, and then reading us a lovely quote: A rainbow is a prism that sends shards of multi-coloured light in various directions. It lifts our spirits and makes us think of what is possible. Hope is the same; A personal rainbow of the mind.
Well, quite apart from all the delicious food we ladies brought and enjoyed together, it was a truly wonderful evening, so it was not only very appropriate, it was wonderful, that Julie took us out with Louis Armstrong’s song, What a Wonderful World, and once again, I think “we done good!” We did indeed, do ourselves proud!
Well, that’s it from me for this year, so from all of us at Embracing Women’s Potential – Transformative Learning Community, have a wonderful, loving and safe Festive Season, and we look forward to you joining us again in the New Year. Either In person, on Zoom, or here; until then, it’s…..
…..Toodle pip from me,