Habits of the Heart

habits of the heartIn mid-October, I was lucky enough to attend a retreat which meant I had a whole weekend to myself, no chores,  and a chance to connect with a like-minded group of people.  Most of them I hadn’t met prior to the Retreat, but true Perth-style, managed to work out I was connected to most of them in some way or other.

The theme of the Retreat was “Habits of the Heart” and reflects the work of Parker J Palmer, who I hadn’t really heard of before the Retreat;

“Habits of the heart” are deeply ingrained ways of seeing, being and responding to life that involve our minds, our emotions, our self-images, our concepts of meaning and purpose in life. I believe that these five taken together are critical to sustaining a democracy”

Most of us who attended the Retreat are involved in social change in one way or another; through managing not for profits, being in politics, helping managers and organisations work in a functional and healthy way, through living our own lives with some consciousness of what we think and how we want to behave.

There are five habits of the human heart:

1. Understanding we are all in this together

2. An appreciation of the value of “otherness”

3.  An ability to hold tension in life-giving ways

4.  A sense of personal voice

5. A capacity to create community

I am not 100% certain that I was holding the tension of last night’s discussion with darling husband in life-giving ways. In fact it felt a little more like the red mist may soon have been coming down if I didn’t remove myself from the vicinity to think things through.

It is just possible that my restless, reforming spirit looks at the world with a reformist’s eye, itching to roll up my sleeves and get involved actively in making change.  And accordingly, as I create what I see, I see opportunities for improvements everywhere 🙂  It is in fact possible that everything is unfolding just as it should.

But does that mean we stand by and let people go under that might have been saved with a helping hand?  Does that mean that we just maintain an “I’m all right Jack, pull the ladder up” attitude?  I think no!  and I don’t think waiting for the government to do things is a sensible idea.  I believe we are all creating our own lives and by extension the lives of our communities.

So, I guess that means I am going to carry on being quite busy.  And occasionally a little bit snappy in marital conversations relating to social justice.

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