Monday, October 1, 2012

What difference does it make?

Showing up as who you are and for what you believe
A dear, now deceased, friend of mine, Rabbi Edwin Friedman, had a formula for making radical changes in relationships, families, congregations and communities.  I grant his formula this recognition for helping me bring about radical changes in myself and because of the results I, personally, have attained by applying it. The success Ed’s formula has afforded me, especially when I have found myself in a particularly challenging organizational snag.

Ed credited three major elements, consistently working together, to be particularly important in healing dysfunction in any human system. I have found this to be so in my experience.
The lift is the
The three elements are:
  • Self-definition;
  • An investment in connection with others; and
  • Handling oneself with a non-reactive presence.
Some people quite naturally come to the displaying of the tenets of this formula in their lives and relationships. Call it an innate affinity for human relations, an instinct for building unity or simply a fellow feeling. Such individuals often serve to magnetize collective good works from others. Others are a bit more challenged.  I certainly was, even as I was beginning to write this blog.

I never knew Ed to hold that his formula brought about any significant lift in the lives of those with whom he consulted, as in lifting people up to awe. But I know that it did as did he. But he did always believe he was immensely effective, utilizing the organizational principles he professed.  That was Ed, “not always right, but never in doubt.”
However, in my own inimitable way,  I discovered that when I apply his formula to important interactions in my life, time and time again, almost magical results seem to flow forth. Not necessarily immediately, oftentimes, more subtle than dramatic, but come forth they inevitably do. This blog site has afforded me almost endless opportunities to experience the kind of impact on myself and others that Ed claimed. (His, now classic treatise for clergy, Generation After Generation, as well as his posthumously published, Failure of Nerve, attest to this wisdom of his.)

The rewards to me from consistently challenging myself to “self-define” and keep reaching out to readers of this blog site has helped me do away with many of the thousand and more masks I was hiding behind before I began writing it. Much to my surprise, blogging has truly been a wonderful exercise for me in developing ever increasing adeptness with Ed’s formula, particularly if the third element, handling myself with a non-reactive presence, is put into effect.
The gift is the lift I create for myself and others, a taste of reaching the peak of the Mountain of Awe.

That’s the difference showing up as who you are and for what you believe can make, alongside a healthy dose of diplomacy, compassion and personal integrity.

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