Connecting local responses around the world
It has been a long while since I did any activity with the Pinoy Competence, much more with anybody from the Constellation. That email inviting a facilitator from Asia came in as a surprise as well as invigorating as drops of rain in a parched field on a summer day!
One email, two preparatory meetings, and now we are into the second day of the third team in this 3 Day virtual Training on the Community Life Competence Process.
Listening to stories of the participants, thirteen ladies, and a gentleman, I am learning and sharing. Appreciating and feeling through the experiences. We are colleagues from three different countries in Asia, (Indonesia, Singapore, and The Philippines) we are all Humans, experiencing differently in this pandemic and yet we are happy being safe with love ones at home. We all dream of an equitable world that respects differences. We work with individuals and communities but we all look forward to a sustainable world that could be protected against us and for us!
“I wish at home my husband can see and accept my work. That he could see what I do with the communities is significant to them even if it is not significant to him for now!,” That hit me big time. Sometimes work is work for us because we have to earn and provide for the family's needs. There are those who work and do what they do because they are happy about it.
Learning and sharing via the 3-day virtual training can be quite challenging! I had my apprehensions…what happens when I could no longer remember the tools? The process? When the internet fails and I get disconnected in the middle of an activity?
In the end, curiosity and willingness to learn and share won!!! Am I happy to get connected once more through CLCP???? Yess!!!! CLCP is an opportunity to get back to those connections that matter and to look at strengths one more time when the impulse is to look the other way and go on a slump.
I remembered Rituu, Coach SALT/CLCP from India, said that SALT never fails. I think that I now completely agree that SALT has positioned us as human being and realizing our humanity. Learning together as facilitating team with Gerlita and Myrna from The Philippines and Mawar from Indonesia revoking my consciousness that our dream just the same simply because we all human. Value and commonalities reflected from individual and shared dreams suggested similar messages of humanity features. That made me felt accepted by the rest of the learning team.
I have challenges to be smoothly managing connectivity since was the first time I facilitated long virtual training that required discipline, endurance and felt that it should be rigorous note-taking, and yaa…I am so lucky that I am part of the proactive and attentive facilitating team that backs me up properly. I am thinking this. As well for me, this virtual training is very much instrumental to internalizing the facilitating skills and to challenge my self practicing SALT in higher and wider level.
I fond of stories of human beings, from that I learn and feel what going to happen behind that stories. Stories of us shared during our engagement during the training reminds me of a quote of Robbin William that said, everyone we met she/he face fighting we never knew, so be kind!. and then I found kindness is a practice prioritized by the participant to be nurtured particularly among children for better generation and sustainable life.
I make myself an unfolding book and looking forward to learning during this virtual training and I thankful to all the learning team as a facilitator team and of course Beyond SS and The Constellation.
This experience came at the right moment in my life. I was one of those people who stopped dreaming. And the pandemic that took over our lives, it sent me spiralling down. It was difficult to see my own strength. Funny though, I could see the strength of others, but not my own. And my habit of comparing myself to others began too overwhelming for me to handle. I went to the routine of simply surviving, one day at a time.
Then the opportunity to facilitate CLCP came at a time when I was trying to recover from a broken spirit. With a bit of hesitation, I signed up. But at the back of my head, I thought how can I teach somebody to be SALTY, when I, myself, am in a place where I find it difficult to see my own strengths.
Then I realized, I don’t need to teach. I will just be myself and be open and have an honest conversation. And from there the conversation flowed. I remembered that all I needed to do was to listen (which is still hard), but since my task is mainly to document the training, I was encouraged to practice it.
And by listening, I learned to pat myself on the shoulder. Nina said, “the best person who knows you is you, so be proud of yourself”. And Grace said, “small successes are successes. Celebrate it!”. I went through a lot. But here I am, just turned 43, and I am still alive - with plenty of bruises - but still alive and able to love.
By listening, the younger generation of Beyond Staff reminded me that self-care is important. So after week 1 of the training, for the first time in many months, I rolled my mat again and re-started practicing yoga. I went out biking. And I am trying (but still not consistent) to eat mindfully.
By listening, I learned that the easiest way to practice SALT is to put down the phone when somebody is talking to you. So after week 1, I did just that with my two preschoolers. This time, I would face them when they talk to me.
By appreciating, I began to notice small things that would make me smile. So by Day 2 of the training, I would always have something different to share with each team when Girlie would ask, “What made you smile this week?”.
By connecting with everyone involved in the training, I realized I have a dream. It’s always been there. I know what my dream is and it is very clear in my head. I actually dream about it everyday. But with the demands of life, I have set it aside so I could be a responsible mother, daughter, sister, wife. “ When we dream alone, it remains a dream. When we dream with others, it becomes a reality”. These powerful words connected with me so much. So I drew my dream and shared it during the training and immediately after, I realized that that was the first time I have shared it with anyone.
At the beginning of the training, I was recovering. I am still in that space - but with a better appreciation of who I am now as a person and an eagerness to make my dream a reality.
One day in early May a message came from Mbak (Sister) Wiwin to my cell phone saying "Mawar, can I call?" At that time I was lying down after having had a tiring day, and I immediately said yes because it wasn't a message I usually got from her. It turned out that Wiwin offered an opportunity to be involved in training. At first, I thought it was an offer to be a participant, but then she explained that I was actually involved as a facilitator. I was very surprised and felt a lot of worries. I am worried because I realize that my facilitation skills in SALT are still very low. I am worried about the language barrier because I am not confident about my English. I am worried because this training will be conducted online, while my ability and experience in doing online training is still very limited. I am also worried about the time because at this moment I am also still involved in a job that takes up a lot of my time and energy. But I also saw a great opportunity, an opportunity to learn and improve my abilities, an opportunity where I could do one of my dreams, which is to become a facilitator working with people from other countries. This is a very SALTY opportunity in my life.
With that motivation, I had the courage to say yes to Wiwin, provided that I would play more of a supporting role and prepare technical matters in the training process and adjustments to my other work schedules.
After doing it for two weeks, interacting with fellow facilitators, studying together with the participants, I felt myself improving. I learned a lot of new skills, my English has improved and now I have two sisters in the Philippines and many new friends in Singapore. I feel happy and believe that enrolling in this training was one of the best decisions I made this year.
Thank you Wiwin, Gerlita, Myrna, Marlou, and Luc, and thank you The Constellation for believing in me.