Campfire Conversations -- ground level?
Coffee House Conversations? Or, what??
I felt an urgency beginning toward the end of last week when the escalating controversy over the NYC mosque (and the pressures of near and dear loved ones) reached me, high up in the hills.
At a point energy vibrations were not ample for communication. What I needed most was to return home (ground level) -- and talk to my "right arm," board member, steering committee chairperson, spirit sister -- and -- more, Sue deVeer.
She has been a teacher in guiding me to become increasingly adept at the art of finding elegant solutions. "Quaker Sue" as we sometimes call her has -- probably because of her Quaker upbringing -- an amazing capacity for finding the way to elegant solutions. She truly deserves credit for showing me the way, again and again.
However, Sue, as it happens, was off at a Sufi retreat (Sufis = a mystical arm of Islam), nestled in a mystical cocoon of Muslims. And, I really needed to talk to her -- to help me find my own elegant solutions in the midst of chaos.
Yesterday, we were both "home." Me back from a temporarily aborted attempt to climb to the peak of the Mountain of Awe, she from the Sufi retreat.
In conversation, contemplation, email communication, internet exploring etc. Sue -- the co-architect of the Small "Zones of Peace" Conversations model -- and I set out, each in our own way to discover how "we" can best serve to aid the reconciliation efforts of the NYC mosque controversy; some thinking global, acting local time again, perhaps.
Together, we had guided the reconciliation in Frederick, Maryland (2006); me on the front lines, Sue, along with other of our volunteers, backing me up.
I was at that point involved in a heated local Jewish/Muslim controversy in dual roles; Executive Director of our non-profit and the local chapter president of a national Jewish women's social action group that refused to take any action at all regarding the conflict.
Out of my/our efforts the reconciliation occurred (Frederick News Post, November ..., 2006) and local celebrations between Jews, Muslims and Christians took place (Frederick News Post, December ..., 2006). This was the foundation for the development of our rewardingly successful "Coffee House Conversations" format -- and -- the basis for my manuscript in progress, "The Middle East Crisis In My Backyard."
By day's end, yesterday, our first step had emerged on how we might find a way to serve current circumstance. For starters -- Sue will be returning to the Sufi retreat center next week. (Serendipitiously she had left her tent there.) And, I am to go with her.
I feel a bit scared as I have almost never had any contact with Muslims -- and -- I am, as you know, of Jewish heritage. Now I will be surrounded for at least a day and, perhaps, a night by Muslims.
Will they want to kill me? Torture me? Eat me alive?
Hopefully what will occur is some kind of bridge building dialogue. We are already moving in the direction of planning for that.
I trust Sue, implicitly. So I will go. And, keep you posted.
Irreconcilable differences are not an option.
I must do my part now to lean in to the challenge.
Not turn my back when there must be, at least, something I can contribute.
Or, take the time now to go mountain climbing, even the Mountain of Awe, though its messages stay with me always.