Embracing Human Diversity
How we can be open in a divided world
“We practice creative ways to be comfortable and curious about our differences.”
Imagine yourself relaxing on a park bench on a sunny spring morning. You relish the warmth of the breeze on your face and reflect on all that is right in your life. A friend joins you and starts complaining about everything. The traffic is crazy, the neighbors are noisy, and a co-worker is obnoxious. As you listen to this tirade, you wonder if there is anything positive in your friend’s life.
“You have so much to be grateful for. Why can’t you feel good about it?” you say.
“I hate my life. I can’t think of anything to be grateful for,” the friend responds bitterly.
Later you are irritated that this person’s negativity tarnished your blissful morning.
Our lives are full of situations like this, when different perspectives and values lead to tensions, disagreements, and even bitterness.
Lynn Preston and Rommell Washington will be leading a workshop on how you can turn these interactions into healing moments. You can join them at our retreat in Old Quebec City at the end of April. To find out more, click here to visit the Event page on our website.
We spoke to Lynn and Rommell to find out what they thought about dealing with divisive situations.
They told us: “By definition Focusing is accepting and inclusive. You can’t do Focusing without an open attitude. On the other hand, the practice of Focusing itself creates this attitude. You learn to hold both sides, both points of view, both feelings, giving them space and time until something shifts.”
For instance, let’s see how Focusing allows us to deal with the above situation. As a Focuser, instead of telling your friend what they ought to do you might take a moment’s pause, then listen to your friend with curiosity. “Tell me more about you hating your life.”
After some discussion, you learn that, as a child, your friend was never allowed to express sad feelings. “It feels liberating to me to be able to say, ‘I hate my life.’” For your friend, this was a joyful statement, not a bitter one.
Lynn and Rommell trust that Focusing is a force for bridging differences and strengthening community ties. If even one person practices being curious it can make a whole group more comfortable with diversity.
Come and find new skills to put in your toolkit at this Spring Conference in Canada.