Often times, my Circle opening explanation includes something about ‘perspective’. I point out that we can all see the items in the Center, we just see them from a different ‘perspective’ and we all get our own ‘perspective’.
I think the way we “think” about things, the “perspecitve” we take can have a powerful influence on who we are and how we act.
Mother Theresa’s quote on Peace: If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
I use this quote in some training matierials. A few years ago I found myself challenged to defend it. The class was given time to pick something out on the handouts that made sense to them, or that they really liked. One person wanted me (and everyone in the class) to know how he felt. Instead of doing as I requested (selecting something he liked), he decided to latch onto the quote above and tell me how full of crap this was. He was certain in NO WAY did anyone that misbehaved in ‘his’ school “belong” to him!
I was kind of stunned to be in front of the room, trying to train 30 people about Restorative Justice and having this person dispute my Mother Theresa quote. “Who argues with Mother Theresa?” I was thinking. Thoughts of “what a jerk”, “how do I save face”, “what do I say now”, bounced in my head. I looked around the room, desperate for a face that might connect with mine and respond to Mr. Sunshine, so I didn’t have to.
The silence, pregnant pause.
So out of a desperation and uncertainty what to say. I said, “Sir, that opinion ‘belongs‘ here.” I was desperately thinking and trying to position myself to ‘belong’ to him, to not feel seperate.
I wish I could tell you a different ending to this. Like if he came up to me later and said sorry, or had some huge epiphany. But it didn’t happen like that. What it did, was remind me . . . that I needed to cultivate belonging in others. I need to find my own belonging and allow others with different ‘perspectives’ a place of belonging with me. Even though we don’t see belonging the same, to exclude him because of they way he sees it, wouldn’t be very congruent of me.
Or maybe I just need to let it go, that guy was a jerk and he won’t ever get it.