The Grasp of Your Hand

handsThe Grasp of Your Hand

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but
for the heart to conquer it.
Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved,
but hope for the patience to win my freedom.
Grant me that I may not be a coward, feeling
Your mercy in my success alone; but let me find
the grasp of Your hand in my failure.

-Rabindranath Tagore

On Monday and Wednesday last week, as part of the New Mexico Municipal League’s Municipal Officials Leadership Institute (MOLI), I had the pleasure of facilitating leadership training for 10 mayors and council members from small communities around New Mexico.

On Wednesday, I presented the Poetry Table. The basic details of the activity are that each participant picks a poem that has meaning from a selection of approximately 100 poems. Each participant is invited to read the poem twice in his small group and answer a series of questions about his experience of the poem.

Dave, a mayor, picked the above poem and talked about how lonely it can be to be an elected official. The demands are non-stop and aren’t confined to ‘office’ hours. He was struggling with the city council. Citizen-allies of those council members were lined up against him. He was feeling isolated and his isolation was feeding a growing sense of doubt and defeat. His fellow mayors and council members nodded their heads. They could relate to his challenge. Continue Reading »

A Moratorium on Advice

overflowing cupWhen Someone Deeply Listens to you

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.

When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind’s eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.

-John Fox

“We need a moratorium on advice.”

-Peter Block

On Monday and Wednesday last week, as part of the New Mexico Municipal League’s Municipal Officials Leadership Institute (MOLI), I had the pleasure of facilitating leadership training for 10 mayors and council members.

On Wednesday, I presented a modified Case Clinic process developed by the Presencing Institute.

The basic details of the activity are that participants gather in small groups of 4-5 people per team. A case giver presents a leadership situation that is current, concrete, important, one happens to be a key player, can be presented in 10 minutes and could make a big difference moving forward. The rest of the group engages in generative dialogue and solution brainstorming. Continue Reading »

On Serving

Dr. KingFrom “The Drum Major Instinct”

If you want to be important – wonderful. If you want to be recognized –
wonderful. If you want to be great – wonderful. But recognize that he who is
greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s your new definition of
greatness. And this morning, the thing that I like about it . . . by giving that
definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great. Because
everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You
don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have
to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know
Einstein’s’ theory of relativity to serve, you don’t have to know the second
theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of
grace. A soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Monday and Wednesday this week, as part of the New Mexico Municipal League’s Municipal Officials Leadership Institute (MOLI), I had the pleasure of facilitating leadership training for 10 mayors and council members.

All the mayors and council members were from small rural towns with populations of under 10,000.

They were hungry to learn. Their commitment to become better elected officials was inspiring. They had taken a week of their time away from their workplaces and families to come to Santa Fe. Continue Reading »