the gratitude post

skeleton_gloucester

Sculpture from the Crucible exhibition at Gloucester Cathedral

It’s hard to know where to start when you come back. I’m in the office, things look very similar, hard to believe another trip’s done, already thinking forward to next year…

Trip reviews are dull for pretty much everyone [‘then on tuesday we went to Liverpool…’], so I’ll not bore you with all of that. My normal way of processing stuff isn’t to remember the detail, but rather the broad themes. The recurring themes on the trip this year were maps [they were everywhere – or maybe we were just seeing them everywhere], looking sideways, finding our human-ness, being gentle with the edges of the world… I’ll come back to each of those in days to come.

We are always so lucky with the people we meet with – and that was true again this year. Every conversation was a rich gift. I’m so thankful for people who went out of their way to meet with a ragged group of australians who could offer only gratitude in return. I learnt so much from hearing stories and wisdom, even if it was stuff i already knew. In every conversation i made sense of the world in a new way.

Today I’m thinking that if we do the trip again [chances are we will, I just don’t want to assume…] i think i’ll make it harder for people to come. I’ll ask for commitment up front – i think to be part of a long term learning community around curation. I’d ask questions like ‘when was the last time you learnt something that changed your mind’, and ‘what do you need to ‘unlearn” to see whether it’s going to be worth their time and money to come along. That’s no reflection on people who have come on the trip before – more a reflection on how we put people in a place where they can best be transformed by the experience. One thing i’ve noticed [and this is definitely a personal reflection, not on the group!] is that learning and change don’t happen unless we create a space where it might.

I’m aware how much this trip keeps me going for the rest of the year. It’s oxygen. It shapes my year, propelling me into a new space each time I go. There’s something so rich and transformative about being in a place that’s familiar yet different, having the opportunity to tell our story and have it heard with fresh ears, and to follow the stories of communities who have become friends. I fear I’m a scratched record – apologies – but I’m overwhelmed by how lucky I am to be doing what i do at this point in time, in the company of extraordinary people around the world. It’s such a gift to have their company on the way.

2 Comments

  1. cheryl, our conversation was one of the highlights of the summer for me – you gave me so much to think about! Welcome back next time, and let me show your group round some of our stuff.

  2. maggi – likewise. so lovely to finally spend time face to face… would love to come to yours next time

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