A Stone Soup/Stone Curry Story

Submitted by Harriet Greenwood, Linda Hill, Rod Keays, Nola Landucci and Linda McDaniels

Our September 9 online Inclusive Leadership visioning meeting was much like the ancient Stone Soup or Stone Curry story. We each brought a little bit of this and a little bit of that to help begin dreaming this next year of Inclusive Leadership. We encouraged each other to add inclusive, life enriching ingredients into our dreams for the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative. As we each contributed a little something, suddenly it was happening without trying to push anything into existence.

We shared how Inclusive Leadership is desperately needed in a world that is not a level playing field; a world that disconnects people from each other and from nature; a world that tells people to park our personal lives at the door and get back to work. The paradox is that no matter how hard we work, we can never do enough. In these precarious times, in our precarious lives, none of us know how much we have to give or how long any of it will last.

We envision Inclusive Leadership as a practice that recognizes self care and family care as just as important, just as hard, and just as passionate as working and volunteering with dozens or hundreds of community members. Self care involves clarifying our boundaries, knowing our limits and defining our commitments in terms of what we can no longer do, what we can continue to do, and what new things we can take on. Family care involves caring in ways that work for the people we love. Our loved ones who are aging or who live with mental illness and other disabilities experience so much exclusion within mainstream society, that everyone in the family can become invisible. Inclusive Leadership in families involves learning how to help things get better by balancing support with letting go and by practicing the art of inter-dependence.

We envision a year of integrating Inclusive Leadership practices into the groups and organizations we work and volunteer with within our communities. We try to leave each Inclusive Leadership event with more skills for meeting people where they are with understanding of their perspectives. We are learning to go into situations that might be problematic in inclusive and non-combative ways. By exploring inclusive alternatives and becoming inclusive role-models, we are learning to be courageous and not afraid. The more we can each integrate Inclusive Leadership skills into our daily lives, the less we will feel the need to expend energy on holding up the sky.

We envision a year of continuing our Vancouver Island events such as our annual Cultivating Inclusive Leadership weekend.

We will continue to develop Inclusive Leadership Online through a weekly practice group, a monthly heart to heart cafe and a new online course. We are reaching a time when founding members are beginning to step back from the centre. This is a natural process that creates more space for new people to become involved. We are already sharing leadership internationally which is an amazing gift. Most people who have been part of Inclusive Leadership online this past year have been surprised about how much togetherness, emotional support and empathy we each give and experience. We envision new Inclusive Leaders being supported by experienced mentors to learn the fundamental principles of Inclusive Leadership via distance learning and well as in person learning.

Our shared vision for the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative over the coming year is a vision of building a relaxed and intimate international community based on diverse people skillfully meeting each other as equals. Our diversity is our strength. The Earth Charter is our ethical compass. The directions we are following point toward respect, integrity, justice and peace. We are part of an international movement of people around the world engaged in life-enriching ways of living, learning and leading in our diverse communities. We are promoting the Inclusive Leadership protocol and supporting the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative to expand and be recognized as one of many life-enriching practices.

Online and in person, we are supporting, encouraging, and reminding each other that we are each learning to be amazing, mighty and powerful Inclusive Leaders who know how to transform ourselves, our families and our communities by embracing diversity.