I just had lunch with Jessie Sutherland from Worldview Strategies. It was one of those encounters that was a long time in coming: we both seem to run in circles that intersect and I’ve known about her work for about a year but until today we had never met. I first became aware of Jessie’s work through an email inviting me to join a conference call on residential school reconciliation. Following the links, I found her website and her company, Worldview Strategies.
Jessie’s life and work is about reconciliation and peacemaking and it intersects with my work on a number of levels. We are both interested in the power of conversation and relationships to build robust and peaceful communities, we are interested and work in the realm of aboriginal-non-Aboriginal relations and we are facilitators. But deeper than that, Jessie recognizes that social transformation comes through cultivating practices that support our ability to engage and catalyse transformation.
She has just written a book, Woldviewing Skills: Transforming conflict from the Inside Out, which is all about these practices. I recommend you pick it up from Jessie. In the conclusion to the book, she writes about “the stone in our shoe” the work we have to do on ourselves if we are to do transformational work in the world:
Jessie’s book details a model of doing reconciliation work that starts with getting “in” to the personal, developing ways of seeing and sensing oneself in the world, and then moving out to the political and the social. In this way it mirrors a lot of the work I have been doing lately on practices that support Open Space. Essentially Jessie and I are saying the same thing: your practice in the outer world must mirror your inner being, and your inner being is as great a practice ground as the outer world. It is Gandhi’s call to be the change you want to see in the world; it is the Shambhala warrior’s mandate to do all things with heart, to do nothing without caring, to be a “warrior of joy” as my friend Toke Moeller puts it.
In some ways this is as simple as saying “practice what you preach” but the challenge is to live life as the practice of transformation and change that we want to see in the world, our organizations, communities and families. It means living life as a constant practice, seeing opportunity in every interaction to, as Vaclav Havel says “live in truth.” It is to bind our work in the world to our selves, and live with authenticity and integrity.
It’s always delightful to find another soul out there that lives this practice of opening and invitation. I’m already looking forward to places where we can play together.