Balance purpose, relationships, and self-care

Empathy works. It always does.

Building collaborative communities

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Mediate your LifeThank you, John and Ike, for facilitating the Mediate Your Life retreat.

I thoroughly loved it. I loved the community, the safety, the acceptance, the learning, and the comradery on the path of compassionate communication. I feel grateful for all the practical tools and practices that I directly can use in my daily life. And most of all, I feel touched, inspired and appreciative of the respect, inclusion and openness you showed towards any idea offered by anyone at any time. With all your years of experience in teaching, training and mediating you never pretended you knew it all. Every day seemed like a fresh, new day with new answers to new challenges to best support the participants in this workshop at this moment.

You modeled how I want to build community and collaboration. Not contracted and constricted, guarding my carefully crafted opinions. Not scared that my ideas will be swept off the table as irrelevant and uninteresting. Not attached to my points of view, thinking that I know the truth, and the only truth.

I aspire to stop my chatter mind when someone offers an idea I don’t know, or might even feel resistance to. And then listen. Just listen. What does the other person have to say? What is important to them? How are they contributing to expanding my world view? Where is the valuable gem in their words? How can I honor their willingness to share their unique wisdom with me?

It seems so simple. Just stop and listen. And then, with an open heart and curious mind, explore their ideas. Like tasting wine. Or chew chocolate. Oh, the wonderful nuances of this idea… how it reveals itself… what an unexpected surprise to hear this…

My monkey mind immediately protests. ‘What if the idea is harmful, like blacks are lazy?‘ I don’t have any other answer than that you can always empathize with them. Understanding where the speaker is coming from, their fears, pain, desires. How those are captured in this idea. How there might be something precious in their idea, even if I don’t like the way they express what is important to them. And I can imagine that creates connection, and maybe a new understanding for both of us.

It sounds simple. Just stop and listen. I guess it takes a lot of personal growth, radical honesty about where you’re stuck, and courage to let go of preconceived ideas, before you can show up like that.

Ike and John thank you so much for being role models, as I strive to be who I want to be.

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Contact me if you want support to open up to new ideas and build collaborative communities 512-589-0482

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping professionals schedule time for relationships and self-care. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

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