By: Faith Toran
One week into working with the organization New Colors and I was both excited and frustrated at the same time. Was it possible to be navigating in the wrong direction? If one was headed in such a direction, where was the point of return? I became frustrated in my working relationship with my colleague and that created tension that seemed to escalate. It was not so much about the tension we were both experiencing but I had to realize where the fault in behavior or perspective was. I wrecked my brain to try and finally understand and there it was, my cultural baggage staring at me. How could one work from a participatory framework with the organization, when there was the lack of dialogue with my colleague.
I tend to be aware of this baggage in my daily morning meditation and try to recycle it in a way that is conducive to cultural exchange. So, when one becomes aware of this baggage, one goes directly to successful tools that have been used in similar situations. I was listening but was I understanding?
My colleague and I arrived at New Colors for the Christmas and New Year’s celebration and were greeted with lots of smiles and joy. This environment of honesty, curiosity, freedom and innocence was contagious. I realized that there was something beyond self-reflection.
What might have worked before, may not be useless, but in need of expansion. So, I added a very important tool to my development field work toolbox. I added a simple yet profound tool, one Dr. Tanya Elder said to me “you must do more than just reflect you must learn”.
So, I decided to reflect and learn!
I realized that acknowledging your wrongs is one thing but it is equally important to learn your rights.