The exercise was not an unfamiliar one — use actual photos and images from magazines to present a picture of your life to the group. We’d been warned so I had a few nice shots of my “framily” But the tension of how to convey in my 5 min what my 53 years have netted me — now that was an interesting dilemma!
I decided to go with the idea that even if the group wasn’t that interested in me, I could give the a gift of a great tool. So I introduced my spot with a look at systems (some of you are now shaking your heads, I know). I explained that events are what people see, trends are what we measure, system structures are how it all works and the mental models are the core of the why of what we do.
I then launched into the the outer circle of the image I’ve posted here — the things that are more superficial, that they possibly see when they look at me or have heard in our few days together:
— I am a writer
— I love to travel
— A precious moment is when my I share a perfect bite (and those are sometimes paired with the perfect-for-what-we-can-afford wine)
— I like to walk
When i got to the things we measure, I hope in my excitement to finally be presenting (I’d been delayed and then skipped in the line up) that I remembered to say, I measure my life by the depth of my relationships. And my “framily” — supportive of all that they understand and even what they don’t about me — make up the bulk of what I believe to be valuable in me.
As for the “what leads to this that makes this and causes that” aspect of systemic structure, I shared that I had investing much of my professional career in the faith world that shaped my commitment to service, then moved to politics which helped me see some changes just take too long for me, and finally winding up in nonprofits.
As for the mental model that shaped why I was coming to the Peace Corps, I gave them a taste of Mary Oliver’s “When Death Comes”:
“I want to be the bride married to amazement; the bridegroom who embraces the world.”
“I have come to Costa Rica for mi abrazo!”
SIDENOTE: Struggles are becoming apparent as we take in the enormity of what we’ve done. You see individuals on phones for the precious free hours after dinner. Lots are turning to their go to releases of running, exercising, meditation (we have several into yoga and extensive meditation). I’m trying to process where I am with it all so I haven’t much to offer on insights at the moment. But I’ll let you know when I do!