In 1993 I stumbled into being an activist. That year I filed a formal complaint of clergy sexual misconduct with the Unitarian Universalist Association. While the minister was found guilty of “conduct unbecoming,” the process turned out to be a nightmare that served no one well. I chose to speak up — and so, unknowingly, waded into “truth to power.”
Now 30-years into this work, I’ve continued to stumble along while also (to my surprise), slowly accumulating a body of skills so that I could play an active role in a sea-change for Unitarian Universalists. It’s been an incredible odyssey which, in time, became not unlike Joanna Macy’s four-stage spiral journey of work that reconnects.
Looking back at the arc of learning how to effectively communicate (particularly with those in power), here’s a summary of the trajectory:
- In the first few months, following the lead my lawyer husband and a few dear friends trained as therapists.
- By the end of the year, learning to watch power dynamics.
- Reading books by Martin Luther King, Jr., and trying to emulate the love he spoke of.
- Starting in 2011, training in Nonviolent Communication.
- Reading Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.
- Training with the Compassion Institute.
- Recommitting to Buddhist practice.
- Reading Joanna Macy’s World as Lover, World as Self.
My Hope for This Site
My activism is confined to one tiny area, and my hat’s off to the many nonviolent activists covering an astonishing mosaic of incredibly hard work: saving our environment; anti-racism; addressing sexual assault and domestic violence; and more.
Now, with this site, my hope is to offer techniques and pointers that make your work at least less difficult for you, and perhaps even “taste our own power to change, and feel the texture of our living connections with past and future generations.” [The Work That Reconnects]
Anna Belle Leiserson