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Lions Roar : November 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2008 113 “It is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in finding peace in the present moment.” —Sharon Salzberg, author of Insight Meditation “365 days of wisdom that will last for a lifetime.” —Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within The Tao of Now BY JOSH BARAN $16.95 • Paperback Available from your favorite bookseller www.hrpub.com Drawing upon ancient wisdom, modern science, and the philosophies of East and West, Transpersonal Psychology expands our understanding of who we are and what we can become. Burlington College offers a B.A. Degree program through campus classes or through low-residency independent study. For information about this and other degree programs please call 1-800-862-9616. BURLINGTON COLLEGE 95 North Ave., Burlington, VT, 05401 www.burlington.edu asked for the opportunity for them to make some statements to- ward the end of the meeting. The organizers agreed. On the night of the event, Nancy and Bob prepared the room, making sure that there were tasty refreshments and setting up chairs in a circle to accommodate open discussion. The meeting was very high energy but as time went on, the most aggressive en- ergy depleted and some humor even emerged. Nancy was letting the energy function by itself, trusting that the anger would be bal- anced out by the parents’ appreciation of the loving care that their children were getting at the center. By observing quietly rather than trying to dominate the meeting as “the leader,” she surprised many of the parents and even unnerved the more extreme ones. When it came time for Nancy to speak, she simply asked every- one, including her and Bob, to take a few minutes to say why they were involved with this center as opposed to any other. When the sessions had finished, she said good night and mingled with people afterward. She dropped her effort to win everyone over to her side, becoming “spiritlike” as she hung out with the parents without an agenda. It took hard work to keep dropping her habitual way of acting, but it also seemed fresh and even exhilarating. In a follow-up letter, Nancy asked for a moratorium on major changes and suggested that they reconvene the parents’ meet- ing monthly. Bob concluded that he had done all he could do at the center and started looking for new employment, with his self-confidence and positive feelings about the school intact. A search committee was struck to find Bob’s successor. Life was not NANCY AS A SKILLED GENERAL So, what did Nancy do, based on what she’d been learning from the Art of War about forming and transforming? She could now see the upcoming parents’ meeting as a defin- ing moment, when the configuration of energy, the shih, would reach a high point. She needed to work with that ground. Act- ing quickly, she invited Bob to share an agenda-free lunch at her house on Saturday. She created an accommodating container— her home rather than the office, and a lovely meal—when Bob was braced for trouble. At the end of lunch, after they had re- laxed with talk of their own children, she pointed out to him that events had clearly reached a point where things would change— no matter how much he or she may want them to stay the same. They would need to be there for the parents’ meeting, to face the gathering storm. Through her gentle shaping of the situation, Bob faced the discomfort and unease that he had been feeling about this meeting, and realized it was important. Nancy wanted the airing of the problems and grievances to take place in an environment of openness, so she invited the organizers to use one of the day care’s rooms. In her mind, the playful child’s environment would not only be neutral ground, but it would also make the children participants in the discussion. She and Bob would attend, but the organizers would run the meeting. She only The Rules of Victory continued from page 73 NOV 106-120.indd 113 NOV 106-120.indd 113 9/1/08 12:25:59 PM 9/1/08 12:25:59 PM