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Glimpse of the Future #2: Relationships are the soil from which everything good grows

The thing that stands out most from our online OD for Life event in December is the overwhelming sense of warmth, depth, curiosity, and connection. It’s not a small thing, in one day over Zoom, to create a field of safety among 27 strangers, through an agenda that was pieced together almost overnight as we pivoted from a two-day in-person retreat to a one-day online call. And yet our gathering was a gentle and inspired arriving together, noticing who else is here, appreciating them, reflecting together on what is needed. None of that would have been possible if the four of us hosting the event hadn’t spent many months building our own relationships. And even before that, three of us had spent two years weaving a pattern of care through the Bio-Leadership Project and a series of Inquiry Circles. All of this set a tone and a mutual attunement that seems to have infused our invitation and our hosting. Michelle pointed out the similarities with a previous hosting experience that she had written about, and how our work of the past months had similarly carried the feminine energy of the womb. “[O]ur work focused on tending ‘the field’ — the relationships and rhythms of our group that enabled us to be strongly in community — in ‘common unity,’” she wrote of her earlier experience, though she could have been describing our own. “[It created] an ease in being together, a strong trust in each other, a shared understanding of what needed to be done and what each of us brought.…” Then, as we moved rapidly into designing and delivering our online session, dividing segments of the day between us, she noted the masculine energy of the will, “of decisions and discernment. Of divergence, as we divided to conquer,” she had written. “Again, we were reminded how important it was to take those months … to strengthen the field. With that foundation, we could trust [each other] to make the right decisions.” It was fascinating to notice that we had initially defaulted to the journey metaphor. But this invitation to consider the energies of womb and will guided us into new metaphors of nurturing and holding space. Cultivating a field of practice. Tending the soil of community. There was richness also in these framings of the work. In our online gathering, we didn’t hear a lot of clarity about what a more life-aligned future will look like for organizational development, though there was clear resonance on this topic. But we all recognized that we can’t do it alone. There was a sense of wanting to find courage together, to practice presence, to embrace not knowing and not being the hero, as some in the group shared. There is such a need for places like these, where people can reflect on their profession in a carefully held environment. Caring relationships make that possible.

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