In a conversation I had last weekend with Roxy Manning and a group of leaders interested in bringing NVC-consciousness to diversity work at institutions of higher education locally, she used a phrase that I love: Focus on engaging, not changing

For me this translated into: Be in relationship with one another, and stop leading with so many demands for other to change. Let the relationship lead the way.

So, this week, I want to share a video with you about two women who committed to doing just that: Caitlin and Lauran, two friends on opposite sides of the political spectrum, sharing their “bi-partisan friendship.”

It’s powerful.

I love this example of how conversations can bring us together, regardless of differences in what we may (temporarily?) believe.

Their message about the possibilities that live in the practice of genuine dialogue is hopeful and so very important if we want to move forward, contributing collectively to a new political climate and a more compassionate culture.

This video gave me pause to reflect on some profound questions …

  • When do I speak and listen deeply to people who see things differently from me?

  • When am I able to listen, focus on understanding differences and stay committed to the quality of my relationships, even when I’m feeling reactive to others’ ideologies?

  • How can I participate in a deeper and meaningful conversations with people who are not like me, in my own life?

As I sat with these questions, more examples of kind, compassionate responses in the world came to me in various ways.

Like this example by Sarah Silverman, who extends compassion instead of judgment to triggering language – a hugely inspiring story if you haven’t read it yet.

Or, this one by Celine Dion, who could have chosen to respond in fear and judgment, but instead chose to respond humanely and generously when a woman accosted her on stage …

We may live in interesting times, frightening times, but we also live in transformative times.

We each have so much power to make life more wonderful for ourselves and one another.

I am so grateful for the acts of kindness that touch my life on a daily basis … this week alone I could personally thank Yves, Dave, Lynn, Samantha, Barb, Joel, Amber, Roxy, Jon, Lisa, Natalee, Nathan, Laveena and Matthew (to name only a few…) for specific, concrete acts of service and contribution that have absolutely made this week just a little bit brighter and lighter.

You. All. Rock. Namaste.

More than ever we are called to respond to hatred with love, to meet judgments with compassion and to respond to pain with empathy.