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Tuesday
Jan102012

A Leap of Faith

By Patricia Bevan, CL11 Participant, CL12 Intern

In the autumn of 2010 when I reflected on my study of Nonviolent Communication, I felt so grateful that Marshall and others had brought this way of walking through life to so many people. I was excited with the growth in understanding and skill I had realized since I began my journey several years earlier. And I was longing for a guided, enduring depth and focus to my learning that I had not experienced with short classes or even a 10-day NVC International Intensive Training.

Then I saw a brochure about Compassionate Leadership 2011. Eight months of dialog, searching, and discovery with one group of people about becoming a leader using NVC! I felt thrilled! And then… a part of me became very anxious. I loved solitude. Would I want to just get the heck out of there after only a few days of the first retreat? At the same time a different part of me was reaching, longing for the depth of experience that I believed an eight-month connection with others would offer. I made a leap of faith.


The days of the first retreat were filled with sharing, discussion, practice, and reflection. I felt the joy of new learning and connections; the pain of old wounds triggered by fleeting interactions; emotional stretching that at times I found intensely unsettling. And somehow I experienced everything as if wrapped in the warmth and safety of five incredible trainers and the unconditional acceptance of everyone in the program. Yes, there were moments, sometimes very long moments, when I wanted to run, to return to the safety of the familiar. But I did not run. I did not because I also had glimpses of a deep sense of wellbeing and peace in the presence of these people.

Glimpses of these qualities were with me even in the midst of challenges -- a big one for me being a concept of leadership I had little considered. My working definition of leadership involved guiding others. Yet I was being asked to question what it meant to lead myself. My answer to this question is still growing and evolving. At its core is radical self-acceptance, as I both live and witness my life step by step; creating goals and developing strategies to embrace and support my mission as I look toward my vision of what my life and the world might be.
I struggled, sometimes desperately, throughout the eight-month program with how to lead and accept myself. I grew in awareness, understanding, and ability with each mentoring call, each group teleconference, each retreat.

I am so different now than I was before my leap of faith. I continue to struggle and to grow, to stride forward and to slip back. But I do this now with more tenderness toward myself, with a heart more open, and a vision more clear and expansive. And I do this with much more understanding of what it means to lead myself so that I can lead others.

Yet this is just the beginning of my path with Compassionate Leadership. I applied and have been accepted as an intern for CL 12. I am full of excitement and anticipation of what lies on the road ahead.

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