The Power of Humility: Choosing Peace Over Conflict in Relationships; Charles L. Whitfield, MD, Barbara H Whitfield, RT, CMT, Russell Park, PhD, Jeneane Prevatt, PhD
Instructor— Russell Park
Grandmother—Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance; Oglala Lakota
I’m laughing a little at myself, in a good-natured way, as I reflect upon the somewhat mad scramble of my initial attempts to “work the process” of this program. Navigating various facets of virtual and remote communication tools and techniques in this context is a new experience for me. One meaning of humility is a willingness to learn.
It feels like I’ve been blindfolded and am being led on a trust walk into an invisible school. So the deepest connections I feel with the community are when I am practicing the daily prayers and practices. After the first day of telling myself “This is a dream,” I had vivid, lucid dreams of an enormous school in a beautiful, ancient building surrounded by sky. It seemed I could never explore the vast extent of this school, yet wherever I went I would be recognized and welcomed. It felt wonderful.
The most useful practice from this module has been identifying moments I veer into blame, judgment or guilt. The increased awareness has led to sensing the slightest whiff of these Triangle 1, victim-based attitudes, and I’ve been able to remind myself I have options, and find my way into the co-committed attitude of Triangle 2. The concise descriptions of direct communication were very helpful here.
The practice that I find myself resisting is teaching and learning through story-telling, especially when I’ve heard the story before. This is difficult for me to admit because I love stories, and my identity is very attached to being a person who is known to love stories. So I laugh gently at myself again, and nod at the courage to be honest here. The fact is, I crave facts. I want to rush to the point and check the task off my list. It’s a form of spiritual materialism, I suppose. Somewhere in this training, maybe in the Grandmothers module, I think it was said that stories are told over and over until they are absorbed into your being. You don’t ask questions, you wait for the answers to unfold. Only we’re encouraged to ask questions, as well. Our learning is steeped in paradox, so it’s best to keep the sense of humor handy!
This reminds me of Russell’s statement that “challenges become tests” and the tests will be repeated over and over as we transcend old patterns. I liked how he said, “Don’t fear you’re falling backwards,” as it has comforted me when I wondered why I seemed to be regressing instead of advancing. To fall back a bit becomes the opportunity to develop the witness, and to observe the choices I’ve made before, and the options that are more perceptible at this time.
Grandmother Beatrice most definitely loves her stories, and so do I. I see how her life directly informs her practice. Our job isn’t to lead others but to cooperate with each other. Her prayer is so clearly a spontaneous expression of the heart. She speaks of humility as a deep respect for the Creator, as a way of showing gratitude and appreciation for our lives.