It was session 2 of the latest iteration of the Peterborough Dialogues Core Conversations series. We were supposed to be delving deep into connecting to place. But as is his gifting, our host Peter Pula sensed into a different energy and proposed we swing on a detour for a time.
Peter confronted the small group with the blunt question, “What exactly are we doing here?”
The original calling question for the Peterborough Dialogues was this, “What if We Could Awaken Our Deepest Gifts and Possibilities to Cultivate A Resilient, Thriving Peterborough?”
(E)ach of us received space to discover and express what was coming up for us…
But is that still the question to be holding as the light yet clear boundary lines for our conversations and activities as participants in the Peterborough Dialogues? Is that the question that matters most to us at this time?
We could have had a debate.
Instead, through triad conversations marked by exchanges of deep reflecting and listening, a unique poetic exercise and some art making, each of us received space to discover and express what was coming up for us in response to Peter’s question.
Not surprisingly, those responses were covered with our individual “fingerprints,” our own personal aspirations, yearnings and visions.
In other words, we were not just detached talking heads intellectualizing on the value of the calling question and, by extension, the value of the Peterborough Dialogues, in light of what’s happening now, who’s in the room, world concerns, etc.
Instead, we were discovering, rediscovering and/or deepening the sense of our own individual callings within the broader call of the Peterborough Dialogues.
Discovering and living into our deepest possibilities as individuals can only happen as we are in true and alive community with others.
As more than one of us put it, discovering and living into our deepest possibilities as individuals can only happen as we are in true and alive community with others.
I think for me that was the greatest “a-ha.” Like many, I read, journal, walk, constantly seeking insight and understanding on the place I am called to fill in this world, the place only I can fill.
But my personal quest jumped to a new and exciting level as through this community experience combining deep conversation, art and poetry I saw possibilities I had not glimpsed before — much-larger-than-me, exciting, anxiety-provoking possibilities — for myself and for my community.
I especially loved what came up through the poetry exercise hosted by Deb Reynolds — a kind of stream-of-consciousness, game-like poetic expression thing that you have to experience to really get.
While each person’s poem was clearly deeply personal and no doubt evoked the strongest feelings and sense of possibilities in them alone, there was also this stirring sense of connectivity in the poems, as if running deep below are these roots, entwining each with the other, giving strength to the individual beauty that is above.
Just consider these lines pulled from poems by a bunch of the individuals in the group. They all clearly express people’s own images and desires of themselves as “the call.” Yet I love the idea of imagining them as also a call for our community:
Live into me
You will be nourished
Know All and Nothing
Hope healing refuge
Pilgrims from other places
Discovering a new story to live into
One way ticket
Delicious heart purpose
Called to work together
Called to let go of old patterns
We are being called
What is it to matter
Bringing life to everyday and ordinary places
The universe grants the ultimate permission
Using art to animate our city
Expand my awareness
Producing others’ albums with love
Producing others’ albums with love
Little boy, what is real?
Dollar bills y’all
A part of each other
Energy & light
Fearlessly on the edge
To Love is to Heal
With deep gratitude to all of those who were part of that conversation, for bringing their gifts of presence, listening and commitment and intention to seeing possibility.
Now I feel compelled to ask, as I did as that last session closed, “What if we are not the only ones?”