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Monthly Archives: May 2010
A fable, a ‘drash, a parable…
At one time, women told the truth. They were honest with one another, and never ever let fear of someone getting angry with them get in the way of the truth.
Then, one day, a friend asked, “Does this make me look fat?”
Her friend, not wanting to be unkind, said, “No, not at all.”
The heavens looked down in horror. A lie! Women needed to be punished for the sin of bearing false witness.
The punishment was in the witnessing. Women would now be witnesses to the truth, as difficult as it would be to view.
And thus it was so… Women would have to bear witness to their spouses’ faux pas. And that is when it started; women having to bear witness and cringe at the actions of their spouses; men waxing eloquent on how much their cousin’s child looked like mom (when, indeed, the child is adopted), messing up names, and forgetting which relative just lost a parent, a job, a deal.
And so it began.
At dinner the other night with my newest friend-from-divorce-support we talked about how we had spent our lives being our now-ex spouse’s and children’s cheerleaders.
And that now it was time to be our own.
We don’t really know how to do that, but we decided that we would start by finding other women who were in the same position. Kind of start with cheerleading one another, and that maybe we’d get good at cheering ourselves. Just a few, to start.
Recently I tripped across the organizational development process known as Appreciative Inquiry.
When I was in corporate America we occasionally would go through these improvement initiatives – no doubt the brainchild of some middle manager who needed to prove his worth – that required us to get together in groups, find problems, document them and then figure out how to solve them. They came and went; we’d have the meetings, we’d make the charts, we’d create the PowerPoint presentations, and then we’d come up with ways to solve the problems we didn’t know we had until we started the process… Anyway, Appreciate Inquiry is one of those improvement processes that starts out a little differently. You start by figuring out what’s good – where the strengths are, and where the successes lie.
So I spent some time at the AI Commons website, and it occurred to me that this could be a nice way to start… not with what’s wrong but with what’s right.
You see, when you go through a divorce, you start to see (well, at least I did) your life through a rather dim lens. Something failed. You were part of something that broke. To use the corporate America metaphor, your organization went bankrupt and the management was responsible. And there was no government bailout. And we got fired.
Here’s the plan: find a small group of women (and, yes, that may be arbitrary, but I’m in charge so I get to pick and I only want women in this) who would like to figure out what’s right, would like to help one another move forward and participate in something where they can get unconditional support.
And I’m sure we’ll have cookies, too.