How Can We Ride the Ebbs and Flows with Power and Grace?

Last week on Mother May I , I wrote about the impact of empathy on sustainability, a topic I’ve thought about often over the past two decades as an educator. Last week my team was struggling to define our next steps for the Community Resource Centre. Questioning how it could take so long for the project to materialize during an ebb last week was, of course, counterproductive.

We watched the video I posted on MMI last week together, which meant that we each watched it in our own countries, and then reminisced on Skype. The team concluded that down time can be just as important as productive time to the outcome of a project. Low or “slow” periods allow us to tell stories and share memories, creating the culture and lore of the journey. Our mutual empathy gave us the space to remind each other that we can become energized after thoughtfully experiencing “slow.” So what has the “slow” taught us about the “flow?”

The slow is a great time to define and redefine, to check our mutual understandings, to look back. Viewing Kadyamadare School on Google Earth was a great way to start because it helped us remember where we had been. When Kadyamadare students first saw their school projected in my lab in Harare, they were astounded. So the decision to label a map that shows our humble beginning of the Resource Centre went a long way to raise spirits. It would be part of our story. The flow was beginning. Then one of my former Zimbabwean students contacted me from university, asking if I thought that his tech team’s project ideas for extending Internet coverage at a lower cost might be tried in Juru. The power of his sustained empathy catapulted us right through the ebb and back into the flow.

Have you experienced a slow period that actually helped you grow?