I’m not writing because I am working on getting a job.
This is not my magic. It is not what I believe in.
I believe in the power of vulnerability to free myself, and to free more people than just myself. That if I am brave enough to tell the truth, it will help.
But I am not writing.
If I were writing, here’s what I would say: I would say that it is hard to be the first to believe in myself, but if I don’t who will? So, I check to see where my compass is pointing and I act as if.
My compass says that I should go in this new direction, of teaching and facilitating personal development and opening to whole self. I keep thinking that my audience is activists, maybe because my activist self was so shut off from my self-care… maybe because I want to keep contributing to the Great Turning…
But yesterday I had two meetings that helped. One with a long-time acquaintance who I would have as a friend, who is also a chef. We ran into each other a couple months ago at a little sushi place that we’ve both been going to since 1997, but never ran into each other before. She’s a writer too. So I dared to ask her if she could help me out with a hurdle that is in the way of finishing my novel: I need to get into a restaurant kitchen where I can observe the dinner rush for work flow, bottlenecks, tension points, dialogue, danger and tedium. The stuff of stories. And she’s going to help out!! Her wife is the GM of a fancy and delicious place downtown. Plus, she told me all these great stories of being a new cook, and the practical jokes, like the time that one of the other cooks pretending to slice his finger open next to her, and the spout of arterial bleeding, which turned out to be a bubble of beet juice and glycerin the fucker had made in his glove…
And I had a meeting with a long-time friend and former client. I was a little nervous about this one. Refer to aforementioned believing in self and acting as if. I know I am good at this. I can feel it’s where my passion is headed. I have always done well when I have followed this feeling. And I have never been able to say “I already know how to do this.”
This friend has a rare combination of blunt and loving, which is a very good thing when you are looking for allies to help you do well. In the past, she has been too blunt, though, and I have been too quick to pretend it was okay. Now, we have a pact that I will say something in the moment. Because even though she has been too blunt, she has also been so on my side, and still is. And I love her, even if I’m a little scared of her.
So I sat down with her in a café in Pike Market. I chose the place, got there first. Flirted with the baristas, because I flirt with everyone when I’m happy, and the lunch with my chef friend had my novel playing hopscotch in my head, and I guess it showed, that I am a creative and interesting person, because one of the eccentric market people called out to me in a smoked gravel voice, and said “I love your green hair! I’m so glad you are here!”
There were moments in my last job when I walked into a room full of folks I was coaching or teaching, and they called out to me with their voices and their energy: “I love you! I’m so glad you are here!”
I want that again.
I’ve been thinking about taking a job that I am not passionate about just to get it, a workshop for progressive candidates in another state, but I think they want me to come out and brief on polling and help people say the right words… not discover the truth that they will fight for in themselves. .. So I can’t do it. Not even for the love of a room.
And anyway, I’m in the search phase. The phase that I learned in my first consulting job at Pyramid Communications. The informational interviews phase, where I talk to people I trust and I say “I am interested in this… what does that sound like to you?”
Man its hard to say that I want to do facilitation and teaching people to bring their whole selves to the work. I know it’s important and asks for my gifts and I believe in it and some part of me thinks that it’s tantamount to admitting defeat. Like, I couldn’t cut in in the real work of campaigns, wasn’t tough enough, so I am retreating to the woo-woo fake work…
But campaigns don’t change what is possible! They make what is possible now happen.
I’m so tied up in knots about all of this, and I don’t know how to finish. Just write the scene with my blunt friend probably. But I need to go to bed. Not sure I can sleep without saying this. So…
The hardest thing is telling people who I used to know as a “Hot shot political consultant” that now I want to do this emotional intelligence stuff. Okay, first of all, I wasn’t ever really a hot shot. Edith just says that now to make my current goals look worse by comparison. But I had some standing and some influence and some fans, and I was invited to present to some pretty interesting rooms and I loved what I was doing and man it sucks to start over as a nobody. (Edith’s word. Again.) with only the courage of my compass, and also the deep conviction that this work is actually the most revolutionary of all.
So I said this to my friend.
And she said “Do you have any training as a facilitator? Any certification?” See? Blunt.
But a good question to be able to answer. Because no, I don’t have any certification. What I have is the training from Diana’s Grove in community priestessing, which taught me big things, like how to keep my integrity actually aligned with my values, when it is so tempting to gossip, or triangulate, or toss the little barbs that create the invisible hierarchy. I learned how to be honorable in the messiness of community. Not that I’m flawless at it. But practicing for ten years has given me a core to myself, where I can dare to lead by showing who I really am and not being afraid to say that I don’t know. And I also learned little practical things like the first five minutes of a meeting set the tone for the whole, so if you want the meeting to be participatory, get them engaged in the first five. In the Heroes Narrative, I learned how to facilitate teams trying to agree on goals and priorities with story tools and how to ask questions and set up activities that get people to invest or to answer tough questions… And some other stuff. Rockwood, Art of Hosting. Stuff. But no, I’m not certified in facilitation.
And at British Columbia Witch Camp, I learned a daily practice that helps me manage my stress and keep me cleared out of worries and I learned how building a labyrinth with a team reveals where your blocks are and I learned about gender equity and privilege and at California Witch Camp I learned how to teach dancing with your limits and with your ally as a way to break through and cross a threshold… But no, I’m not certified as a leadership trainer.
I just know I can do this. I’m just following this compass. Which says if I don’t post this, I will be staying low, dead, afraid. But I am too tired to edit. But if I close it now, it goes into the bowels of the computer and another day will go by without me posting because I am looking for a job. So...