- by Dorothy LeBaron and Mark McAlister
Dorothy LeBaron and Regine Kurek led us through a process with conversation and painting groups. In the course of the afternoon, we were challenged to loosen up established patterns and explore new social processes. The following is a summary of comments from participants.
Behind all our work is the recognition of the human being at the center, the striving for a human way of working. We need to develop new capacities of listening and heart thinking – these will give us the flexibility to cope with the dynamic equilibrium of inner and outer movement. They will also generate the courage for us to trust in the ever present help of the spiritual world.
It is amazing that our Charter was founded in 1953 by three housewives. What a wealth of accomplishment has come out of this initial group. We honour them. We have inherited riches and fruits from them. It feels like the first 60 years have been a gift. Now it feels like something else is required of us. We have the responsibility to do something with what we have been learning. We need to reach into the future. We need to cross the threshold.
In the artistic process, we took a step, faced this threshold. Rather than just having a discussion about the purpose of our Society, we engaged in an artistic process. At times, it was painful experience - it felt like it was beyond our capacity to be fully in it. We had to let go, to sacrifice everything to do with our selves, and have the trust of not knowing.
We stepped into something that is really alive.
It felt like we were responding to the conditions of today. What is possible now socially? How can someone new connect to us (the Society) and find a space? It can be challenging. In one of the painting processes, some judgments kicked in. An attitude of “we know how to fix this” was there. How much is this a reflection of an attitude in our Society towards the world?
Can we learn to move between I and We – to find a rhythm (expansion and contraction) between the self and the community. I will always need a social context to fulfill my destiny. Respecting and giving room for the other raises our consciousness. Working together redeems the separateness and loneliness of the individual – Together we create a harmonizing, a powerful force.
Can we learn to be inclusive but not intrusive? To understand the many individual reasons why someone would step into this experience? How do we create safe spaces for others – in which they are free to BE? Are we prepared to recognize and meet the Double when he appears?
These social processes always seem disjointed at first. The painting activity helps to find a unifying gesture that can pull it all together.