Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Leaning in, bridging differences

A new friend of mine visited over the weekend. It was a special occasion I had looked forward to for weeks. And, it came off wonderfully, especially given the duration of time we spent together, getting to know one another. However, after the fact, we hit a snag; a minor one I hoped.

Still, being a wizened veteran of relationships, both personal and professional, on every imaginable level, I thought to address the snag rather than sidestep it; small snags, having taught me in the past that they can either be readily mended or the fabric nonchalantly tossed aside only to show up later as a gaping hole.  Thus I chose, as I have been preaching of late, to lean into the obstacle, seemingly small, as it initially appeared, rather than minimize its presence.
I am glad I did!

Sameness is often what draws us, one to another. But matching sameness is not enough to consistently spur on our very human instinct to grow. From this standpoint, however, we seem to naturally seek the motion of stretching ourselves, encountering challenges in the expanding of our selves, integrating the new-found with the old, coming into balance, briefly pausing at this juncture. Then, somewhere along the way, becoming ready for the next similar cycle.
It is all in the nature of the game of human evolution. Not always easy but part of the process lest stagnation be our preference. Adventurer of life, lover of people, in general, and seeker of truth and clarity, my choice, of course, must be obvious here.

Lessons learned the hard way via decades of mystified friends left behind by a silence I knew not how to break, survivor of un-reconciled family cutoffs and disturbances, amiss for generations, I now know not to carry forth this form of dysfunction. Thus, speaking the truths of my mind and heart instead of the pettiness of withholding must now become the new standard for me.
With new clarity, my pledge to family, friends and community alike, has come to be one of developing artistry in leaning in. Becoming a builder of relationship bridges everywhere possible, is now my mission, and my obligation. No more competing with the Sphinx for the gold medal of silence keepers, will I be.

With trepidation and the clumsiness of a novice I did manage to lean in to my friend in an attempt to head off differences in our new and fragile bond.  Unwilling to allow our new friendship to grow in the direction of superficial goodwill with shades of buried antagonisms that might potentially derail it.  I hope I succeeded.

I did my best to be humble and vulnerable to help clear the way to a higher consciousness and unity. And, told and listened to a few anecdotes on either side, in the process of leaning in, to smooth our way to that place of synergy beyond potentials for polarization.
Ah, storytelling. It is always with us as a viable pathway to peace.

I am reassured, today, that clumsy as I may be as I learn to live my new way; developing artistry in leaning in rather than pulling back, words such as those attributed to, of all people, Mr. Rogers, are likely truths to live by –
“There isn’t anyone you cannot love/like once you’ve heard their story.”

Herein lies material for building bridges across the river of our differences; “storytelling is a pathway to peace;” a vehicle for leaning in.


  1. “great insight and articulation, Anastasia. Thanks for the call to “arms.”

    Mike C. Frederick, Maryland

  2. “great insight and articulation, Anastasia. Thanks for the call to “arms.”

    Mike C. Frederick, Maryland