Look deeply and find the gift given.

I am so blessed with a wonderful mentor.  He and I meet every few months, I share updates about SCVRJP and myself.

He recently gave me such an honest gift.  He told me that I am intelligent, beautiful on the inside and have enormous passion.  This was followed by the observation that I am not good at receiving what is or I perceive as criticism.  This was his observation, offered with my permission.  My mentor has known me for over 10 years, I value his perspective.

My mentor is skilled in using stories to give me wisdom.  He related the experience of sharing 99 Excellent ratings, and 1 Poor rating with a consultant.  The guidance was to really pay attention to the “poor” rating that is where the lesson in improving is.

So I did this recently.

Feedback on my performance review was that I should try not to get new grant money for new programs, that I should get grants for existing programs.  I thought of this, and know that you get grants for new projects.  I was thinking of stories to explain this.  A few examples were easy, demonstrating why a few other non-profits have taken on other projects.  I then thought about another non-profit that gets to stay very consistent with services and not seek out new projects.  It occurred to me that this non-profit receives state funding.  AH-HA .  .  . that is what I need to do!

I need to work on getting Restorative Justice government funding! H.R 4286,  is proposed to allow schools to use funds for Restorative Justice training.  As luck would have it I am going to Washington DC!  I’m going to DC to train a school on using RJ.  How perfect is this?  I emailed my WI legislators and plan to get a visit with staff and leave a message at each office.

Had I not spent time processing about the critique regarding my grant getting attempts, I would not have realized this crucial aspect of promoting Restorative Justice in a larger context.  I am nowhere near perfect now, at taking critique and not feeling offended.  What I have realized is that this gift of advice, which I suspect is a Buddhist practice, “to find the gift given” means I have to find a moment of pause and neutrality and instead of reacting to the feedback, I found my outlet to get to what the person providing feedback wanted – for me to find ways to get funds for existing programs.

Next time you feel insulted, try to find the gift given.  Next time you are helping prepare people for a restorative session, maybe you can relate a story about a gift you found.