Last weekend, fourteen of these same leaders gathered from across the US and from three other countries to celebrate ten years of staying in touch -- some of us from as far away as Australia. We launched our reconnection time with some key questions inviting reflection about "then and now," including "What's guiding the choices I'm making right now?"
My answer came from this paragraph in Tom Rosenstiel's new novel, Shining City.
"Maybe Martin Luther King was right and the long arc of history did bend toward justice. It was pretty clear to Rena you shouldn't expect to recognize the curve in your lifetime. You just tug in the right direction, because if you do, others might too. And if you don't, the arc might bend the other way."
"Tugging in the right direction," for me, has involved making some changes in how I spend my time. I felt so fortunate to spend two days with people who spend every single day tugging toward justice -- empowering farmworker families, transforming math and science education, strengthening economic development, creating safer streets for youth of color, training community organizers, funding affordable housing, fighting Islamaphobia, and more. Being among these leaders felt humbling, inspiring, and hopeful.
The last time our alumni group gathered was five years ago. (See the fun photo below.) There are some folks I saw last weekend I hadn't seen in ten years. Nearly all of us have changed jobs, and some of us have stepped off the CEO track. Yet across time and distance and transitions, we still recognize in each other a common commitment to, as my husband likes to say, "creating the world we want to live in."
Somehow, one intense learning experience plus lots of smaller connections over the years have transformed us all. When we are together, we can be a community that speaks honestly, shares generously, laughs and cries easily. It's a group of people that tugs me in the right direction. I'm honored to be among them, whenever and wherever we can make that possible.
This week's invitation to reflect: Do you have a phrase, a quote, or a set of values that guides you from day to day? Who are the people, or what are the practices, that help you live in alignment with your aspirations?
I would love to hear from you in the comments or via my contact form.
Warm best wishes for a week filled with good connections. --Michelle