Chances are you know me as author of the Style Matters conflict style inventory. You may not know that I’ve spent 40+ years in peacebuilding, often in very challenging circumstances. That includes living with my family in conflict zones on four continents, sometimes in situations of high danger and always working closely with individuals and groups who were deeply involved in local or national struggles for justice, development or peace.
I’ve been deeply immersed in a lot of promising things over the years, ranging from street level work to initiatives with national political leadership.
Something stands out to me today in my sixties that I couldn’t see in my thirties: the biggest obstacle to doing the work for change, healing, just, or peace is not lack of money, training, or facilities.
It’s also not lack of vision or hope.
The big limitation I’ve repeatedly encountered in initiatives for healing in our world is the frailties and vulnerabilities of people leading them.
There are big obstacles “out there”. But there’s another problem that is deeper and more complex: the struggle of world changers to be the people we claim to be, want to be, need to be, year after year, in situations that are highly stressful.
I can’t tell you how many promising initiatives I’ve seen get stuck because of tension or competition among those trying to get them going. People are working towards the same goal, but they end up quarreling anyway.
I can’t tell you how many gifted peacemakers, activists, and healers I know who had to cut way back on their involvements, or leave them entirely, because they had grown exhausted by endless caring that seemed to lead nowhere.
I’m an expert on burned out world changers because I’m in this group of struggling folks myself!
The good news is that there are things we can do about this problem and that’s what this blog is about.
When I was in the Conflict Transformation Program at Eastern Mennonite University, I taught a course called “Transforming the Peacebuilder” every year for ten years and found it the most rewarding course I taught. Student evaluations made it clear they were as deeply touched as I.
I’ve spent 15 years putting the key insights of that course into a book, due to come out in 2020, Transforming the Healer. Many of the posts in this section of my blog are excerpts from that book.
If you’re interested in traditional CV type info on me, see my LinkedIn profile. Or send me a request for my full CV at firstname.lastname@example.org.