In less than one week I start my new adventure on the Island of St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. I am equal measures of excited and anxious. I look forward to being there, being part of something larger than myself and I am anxious about leaving my very comfortable home and the way of life I have developed over the past few years. I will be staying on campus at UVI and I anticipate a very steep learning curve over this first month of offering classes and moving the intellectual property of PULSE to its new owners.
Am I ready? My suitcases are packed. I have my airline bookings and my accommodations are booked. I have made arrangements to have my apartment looked after. I have paid my bills and notified everyone who needs to know including my cell phone company. I have sent the proofs for the manuals for the courses I will teach. I have American money in my wallet. And I still have a week to say my goodbyes to family and friends and put the finishing touches on the packing and planning for a month in the beautiful Caribbean.
Am I really ready? On the SHIFT scales of well being that I ask others to use I would say that I am still getting ready for this adventure. SHIFT deals with five scales of well being for a well rounded look at how a person is experiencing the world. This seemed like a good time for me to take inventory. How Sharp, Happy, Independent, Fit and Trusting am I right now?
The S in SHIFT stands for a Sharp Mind. It measures intellectual well being. Intellectually I still have work to do to get the clear purposes, protocols and processes in place for me to serve the participants I will face in the next few weeks. I want to be totally prepared to further their understanding of PULSE and the Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge that PULSE, the Frame, represents. I have acquired so much information and experience over the years that my mind literally races as I search, sort and select, wondering about what to share during each of the programs and when. Timing is important for understanding and I know that there will be nine perspectives on the world watching me deliver the programs. Doing a good job of meeting all of those needs is important to me and my intellectual prowess will be tested as I juggle what I know with what they need to know and when. Even though I know that most of that I will learn in the moment by listening and adjusting as needed, I still feel some panic in this regard. I think I will need this week to think it all through again a couple of times.
The H in SHIFT is for a Happy Heart. It measures emotional well being. Emotionally I am not quite ready to go. I am leaving behind my father who is pretty mobile right now for an 85 year old but who I worry about all of the time. I am leaving my children and grandchildren who will all be very busy with September’s glorious beginnings of school and after school programs, new adventures of their own. I am leaving behind my friends from curling ( and occasional golf) who may need to replace me more often this year as the adventure unfolds. I am leaving my dear friends that I spend time with in St Albert and at the Lake. I have created a wonderful network of support here and I know they will be here when I get back but I have never been away for a month before … except when I was in Calgary for 15 years. I’m sure I will miss them all. I am also sure I can keep in touch and catch up with things upon my return.
I am also sure that I will meet new friends and be reacquainted with old ones on St Thomas. The sun and the sea always improve my mood. There will be lots of reasons to smile and to feel happy as I meet new students and work with them so that they become conflict competent. I hope to visit my favourite place on earth … the Baths on Virgin Gorda … while I am away and that will feed my smile bank for a long time afterwards. I will not be less happy while I am away. I will be happy in a different way and for different reasons. Nonetheless my happiness scale will fluctuate as it always does.
The I in SHIFT is for Independent Spirit. It measures relational well being and today for me is very closely related to the H – Happiness measure. I am independent. I am Oprah in my Talk Show life. I take charge and make decisions with careful consideration and deliberate thought. I can also be completely clueless, not willing to ask for or accept the help I need to move to the next step. I have more alone time than I need right now. Spending time with “coworkers” and workshop participants is something I have been craving for awhile. I am really looking forward to working with others and spending time with people again, especially like-minded people with similar goals and aspirations. At the same time I am cautious because I will be in a new environment where there is a different social contract already established. I will need to have my wits about me. I hope to create lasting friendships and collegial (double entendue intended) working relationships in the most mutually agreeable way while maintaining my sense of Independence and self control.
The F in SHIFT stands for Fit Body. It is a measure of physical well being. I am never really satisfied with my levels of physical fitness. Maybe that is because it is something that requires daily attention and takes time away from my intellectual pursuits which I much prefer. Am I ready physically for this adventure? I think so. I have packed the necessities … tooth brush and other tools for physical hygiene. Although I will miss my first few tap dancing classes, I did put in a pair of runners just in case a university campus has a fitness facility. I say that facetiously hoping they don’t and knowing they do. Any excuse for missing a work out that isn’t tap dancing or curling is worth hoping for in my world. I am armed with Yoga videos to maintain my flexibility and will TRY to walk everyday and because I will have kitchen facilities I am PLANNING on eating well … not out every night.
The T in SHIFT is for Trusting Soul. It is a measure of spiritual well being. Am I ready for this adventure spiritually? Yes. Firmly yes. All roads have lead to this adventure. At times it does feel beyond my control, that the universe is unfolding and that this will be my legacy. I am ready for that and willing to work as hard as I can to see that through. This opportunity is a gift to me that I will not squander. I am grateful for it. I intend to work hard to revive the PULSE dream of a world full of people who know how to be gentle and honest with each other, people who can use the tools of mediation to create wonderful relationships, people who recognize each other as whole and complete, where people take the time to honour each other with deep listening and careful consideration of other peoples thoughts, words and deeds in context, where people care about what they say, how they say it and the impact of their words on others. That is my personal vision and mission and this is another vehicle for me to accomplish these things on a larger scale.
The adventure begins next week. Stay tuned for updates.