Posted by Melissa Stephens on Nov 3, 2016
What an incredible kickoff we had on our Week 1 Laddership Circle!
We began with Birju laying out the flow and giving context as to what Laddership was meant to be. He read us a beautiful quote on the ServiceSpace site that states "Laddership" is the antithesis to traditional leadership. Rather than planning-and-executing, we look to search-and-amplify with the process being just as important as the end result.
From there, Pavi began the share out by reflecting on the submissions of each “rung” of this ladder and how deeply we all had gone with each other so early in this circle. And so the sharing began…
Chandni was our brave first volunteer to reflect on what brought her to Laddership. A chance meeting with her celebrity rockstar, Nipun, at her university was the catalyst after six years of experiencing ServiceSpace. From there she worked with Laddership’s own, Natasha, and here she is. The question she holds is how to go more with the flow.
Our forest fairy, Eva, was up next and shared the intense reflection she has felt all week. She was brought here after attending the “Kindness Temple” in Silicon Valley and feeling surrounded by the buzz of energy there. As a current resident of Casa de Paz, she lives daily with the question of how to continue cultivating this culture.
Greg was up next, and while he may have been having internet connectivity issues, we had no problem connecting with him. He is not sure why he is here, but he loves the unknown. He is looking forward to the surprises this circle will bring.
Judy…our "grandmother of love"…discovered Laddership by way of Rev. Bonnie Rose. She is looking to Laddership to learn how to love even more and how to turn that love into multiple projects of kindness and service.
Maki was next and showed us that we are all leaders and all have our unique gifts to share. She wishes to create an organization as such where the connection, sharing and wisdom is shared horizontally and not vertically. This beautiful connection was evident when it was revealed that Philippe had met up with her in Japan earlier this week!
So there was Philippe, fresh off his amazing trip and yet not feeling any jet lag! He came here through his wife’s participation in Awakin Circles and hopes to create communities based in the generosity model.
Sidni began her share with heart-felt appreciations for all, particularly those who do not have English as their mother language. How amazing it is to be able to communicate in so many ways even when it is challenging! Sidni came to Laddership through her “soul sister” Nicole, and has been participating in meditations at a Farm-to-Table space in New Mexico. We are grateful she has pulled up a chair to this “dining” experience.
Angela was next. We learned she is a student at Pranidhi’s yoga shala and had read many things that “made her go Hmmmmm.” When she was invited to a dinner with Audrey, Nipun, and Pancho, she could not resist. Her “Rethink Prayer” project is in full swing as she questions what her next step is in the present.
Audrey feels this all may be an accident on her way to discovering the extraordinary in the ordinary. So her intent is to listen more deeply and to be more present to those gifts.
Birju is here to awaken on his journey to the invitations he feels into spaces he may not normally go while enjoying the reflection that occurs from Saturday through Thursday.
Giang met Nipun and loved his idea of Laddership. Living in Vietnam, she wishes to connect with people in other parts of the world as well and to learn how to create space for children in her corner of the globe.
Sabin was perhaps the bravest of all…connecting with us at 3:00 AM! He came across Laddership after finding Nipun’s graduation speech online and focusing on the word “service.” How can he take service to a deeper level while letting go of physical, mental and emotional patterns on his journey?
Finally, Pavi ruminated on the mystery of why we are all here as she has been on “retreat” the past year to tend to her husband’s health. Having been a bit isolated from others for important reasons, she is grateful for the opportunity for virtual connection.
What a beautiful hour of sharing and connecting that lead us seamlessly into this week’s theme of stories.
Birju prompted us to wonder why we are focusing on stories and invited thoughts on the topic. He recounted a tale of conservatives who were so set in their story of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that even after they were told there were no such WMD, they insisted that there were. Pavi shared that 80% of our thoughts are stories we have already told ourselves that we are simply repeating. For Sidni, these stories tend to trigger the notion of being a lie. She is able to see more truth in the stories outside herself than those within.
Greg takes an old bumper sticker to a new level: question everything. He responds to stories with the question of, ‘Yes, but why?” Judy took this idea and connected it to point of view. We try to prove out POV to be true, even when it may not be. Judy also made us smile with her honest disclosure of understanding that it is easier to listen to people who do not annoy her. :)
Eva discussed how it is easier for her to listen to stories that feed her own which is why she marvels at the way children are able to listen to all stories so intently. Angela added that as a spiritual counselor she is trained to listen. Why, then, is it harder for her to listen in her other roles as mom, wife, etc? If only it were all as easy as the comfort of her “prayer chair!”
When Birju asked what we are hearing, Giang shared that she is hearing people in Vietnam questioning communism. This is bringing up a lot of anger and blaming. Therefore she is yearning for inner peace and feels that is the key: inner peace first, one by one, then growing to smaller groups and beyond. Looking even more beyond was Chandni who only needs to "look at the sky" to feel connected and discover the magic over and over.
Philippe, Sabin and Maki closed our discussion with thoughts of traveling the world to hear stories to inspire us, letting go of those stories which no longer serve us, and listening to all stories to accumulate others into ourselves.
With that, we took a final moment of silent gratitude together, opened our eyes and hearts to blown kisses and exuberant waves goodbye as we headed off to another week of wonderment, reflection and questioning.