Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Integrity in your compassion

Tonight in our trainings, our presenter said to us that, "Demons only have power in the dark, so if we bring them to light, they no longer have a hold on us." I know for me, I have a lot of demons, and one of those will always be pride, and the fear that revolves around my image to other people.

One of the big things I struggle with now is the stigma I think i carry because I quit TFA. It's no secret, and I'm not scared to admit it, but I really struggle with that idea. I'm not one to quit things, and I hate the idea of thinking I failed.

I think part of this reserve comes from the stigma TFA places on the people who quit, regardless of situation or circumstance. I remember sitting with a higher up in TFA when contemplating my decision, and just hearing all this nonsense that made me feel as if I quit, that I would never have any affect on positive change in our country. Though those weren't the exact words, the intent was very clear. When I was really struggling, and needed help, and was asking for some guidance, my emails remained unanswered, and my requests remained unfulfilled. Two weeks before quitting I remember sitting in the TFA office, and in big red letters on a dry/erase board, seeing the names of a few kids who had left the program crossed out followed by a big RIP. Kids still in the program laughed, and the higher ups who manned the board obviously found humor in this.

Tonight we had a roadie leave the program. This is the second person to leave, and with 14 days left before we leave on tour, this is a pretty big deal. But the difference between TFA and IC is simple, IC practices what they preach. Instead of ostracizing the girl who left, or making her feel even worse for her decision, the director of the movement (one of the branches in IC) came in as if someone had passed, addressed all the roadies about our loss, then proceeded not only to speak highly of this girl, but encourage everyone who was friends with her to reach out and support her through this difficult time. He acknowledge that sometimes things don't work out, and praised her for making the decision. We now have to find two new roadies, put them in place, teach them how to book, try to make up for a months worth of relationship building, and leave on the road all in two weeks. But you know what, that is OK. It's Ok because sometimes things don't work out. It's Ok because in this organization people support one another, and seemingly unattainable tasks become much more tolerable because of our supportive community and collective action. IC truly practices what they preach, and even though the mission is to create sustainable peace in Central East Africa, they start with creating peace in the office in San Diego.

Having to quit something you've committed to sucks a big fat one. Living with demons sucks pretty bad too. But one thing is for sure, it's much easier to deal with demons when they are in the light, surrounded by people who want you to succeed.
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