A post I read today from a fellow blogger, John Cali, started me thinking. He was asking the question, “How Do You Know If You Are Making a Positive Difference in People’s Lives?” Have you ever thought of that or, maybe, you’ve thought, “What’s the point to what I’m doing?” I remembered, one time, when I was shown how a talking-stick and a poem can make a difference. Here’s my story.
In early 2000, I piloted a talking-stick group for my employer. It was an attempt to get to know one another and connect in the workplace, human-to-human, as fellow workers where you checked your title at the door. I was invited to give a presentation to an upper-level management board meeting, as an introduction to the pilot. It went well and they gave their okay to go ahead with the program.
So, I went about giving the same intro and presentation in supervisor meetings, making the rounds to get the word out, before I sent out flyers and e-mail invitations for the launch of the first scheduled pilot series.
I remember one of the first supervisor meetings I attended. I was first on their agenda to give my presentation. I gave a short overview of the pilot, shared a personal story and asked questions on how they felt about trust, while passing around the talking-stick. I finished by reading a poem called “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.
As they moved onto the next item on their agenda, I left, thinking that was uneventful. Then, as I walked out and down the hall, I was suddenly struck with emotions welling up inside of me. I started to sob. I felt so out-of-place, saying to myself, “this is the craziest thing I’ve ever done”, followed by asking, “what in the world was I thinking ― what could I ever accomplish?” I ducked into a break-out room so I could be alone and compose myself before going back to work.
A little while later, after I returned to my desk, I noticed the supervisor meeting had ended. One of the supervisors stopped by my desk. She bent over and softly spoke telling me that it took everything within her to keep from crying when I read “The Invitation”. She had just heard that her mother had been taken seriously ill and was dying. The poem touched her heart, putting things in perspective and making the preciousness of life more real for her at that moment.
We hugged, as we both wept, and she thanked me for sharing this in the meeting. I was moved by the moment and also how gentle and tender Spirit was to me, in confirming the answer to my cry. I wasn’t crazy and was exactly where I needed to be in piloting the talking-stick meetings in the corporate world.
There are times, when I can’t help but wonder if my voice is strong enough to carry through the storms of negativity and reach one person. But then, I hear from you and you tell me about stories I’ve written that matter.
I don’t have a large following but those that take the time to read and leave a comment mean the world to me. They have let me know how their hearts were touched. Maybe that’s all that is needed ― to let each other know we’re there for one another.
We never know how many lives are affected by what we say or do. We just have to trust and have faith in the work we’ve been given to do.
Pat from the ol’ kitchen table