Saturday, May 14, 2011

Half of Day 7: Without Roger

Liz here....Linda might do her own entry, but I missed blogging so......

I think we functioned well without Roger, although his presence was missed. I can say that we have learned much about how to be with each other, but we still have a lot to learn about love. Roger’s unconditional positive regard for others is something I think we have barely started. Maybe I am just talking about me.

The check-in was interesting because three or four people brought up possible “case studies” of conflict. I thought about this and am wondering about the prevalence of conflict and how we really do want some help dealing with it. For some reasons we began to discuss a case study where the member of the group (our friend and a faculty member) is in conflict with the teacher in the classroom right after her. Although we do have 10 minutes between classes to set up, the second teacher wants our friend to vacate the class right on the hour and is making a big deal of our friend's (perceived) slowness in leaving. We all began habitually offering suggestions as to how she could “fix” the problem. I am wondering why we do this, and Linda even asked about this during our workshop, but maybe there is comfort in it for us. Maybe our friend did want answers or at least encouragement. Someone else offered that we might inquire if "fixing" is what is desired by our friend before we jump in. This definitely would be a step in the right direction.

But there are at least two strains of inquiry we could have pursued (in my mind, there are probably many more) that might have allowed her to move closer to a point of being able to experiment with the situation. The first is one I began asking about (after I had exhausted my habitual fixing options). I asked her about the meaning to her in the conflict. I know this was a very clunky way of inquiry, I am sure Roger would have done it better, but I was trying to get a bit deeper. She did volunteer that there was something about the devaluing of her discipline that was within the conflict. She was crying (which she was ok with), but was visibly upset. As a side: Last week at a workshop I was able to have a conversation with the leader of the workshop about my own fear around leading. He is a master at inquiry and as we talked I began to see more clearly my fears and with it came tears. He said that the closer we get to the nub, the more it hurts. I feel like I was seeing this in her tears. But I/we were not able to stay with it. I have been thinking about why. Partly, I was not able to think of any questions because I was attentive to her pain. I also think it was uncomfortable for us and we let the moment dissipate. The second line of inquiry that I wish we had started was about the unwritten rules at Cal Poly, or really anywhere. I have always thought is strange that no one told me, but that I know it is my job to erase the board before I leave, and to leave the classroom pretty close to the top of the hour. Our friend did say there are actually “written” rules about vacating the classroom, but I have never seen them. What other unwritten (or written and hidden) rules do we function under? This is related to how do we habitually behave without inquiry.

Unfortunately, Linda and I had to leave for the airport at 11:00 as I am traveling and Linda drove me there. Maybe someone else can add notes about the second half of class.

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