‘My humanity is bound upon yours, for we can only be human together.’
- Desmond Tutu
It was a fresh and breezy afternoon in July 2009. I was standing in a circle with other people, in the beautiful grounds of Harmony Hill, in Washington State. I could see some luscious green woods in the background, and standing with me, welcoming, warm faculty of Generating Transformative Change (GTC) 6, a program which was starting the following day. Little did I know that I was about to step into a process that was going to turn my world upside down, open my mind, heart and will, and lead me into a journey of learning and growing with so many people around me.
As a participant of GTC, I was seeking for a community of participants and faculty to put the mirror up for me and point to my blind spots, and I found it, I was looking for a safe space to be vulnerable and let go of habits, interpretations, experiences, and I did. I didn’t know I was seeking to strip away so many layers of me, to rest in a comfortable place of emptiness, nestled in sweet not knowing about what would be next, but I did. And in that space of rest I witnessed the planting of seeds of the recreating of many aspects of my life.
With colleague participants, in the process, we paid attention to how we were growing to be more than participants, but a newly formed community of friends, which embodies so many qualities I was striving to nurture in myself, with a fascinating new way of re-configuring our relationships: more authentic, deep and more mindful. The feeling of being interconnected was moving, and memorable. And I started seeing how such healing and creation of the self and relationships, in any context, to go a long way to create a better future for ourselves, families and communities.
‘What if,’ my Ethiopian colleague and participant, Negash Shiferaw, and myself, asked: ‘What if, GTC happens in Africa too? What if it’s made accessible on our continent as well?’ And this was a vision that had gone back ten years, held and nurtured by so many, faculty and champions of this programme alike, and lived in a possibility for creating something much greater than us.
Responding to a Vision, an Inspiration
We had the certainty that great individuals living in Africa, in a life transition, seeking for a community of support in which they could open their heart, mind, and source of action for new possible futures for themselves, and others, they would join us for GTC Africa. In November 2013, we were indeed joined by some extraordinary leaders coming from different sectors, for a nine-month process of introspection, dialogue, fun, laughter, challenging conversations, tapping of collective brilliance and intelligence. It’s needless to say, our own transformation in the process continued.
Since then, GTC Africa has had two cohorts completing the programme, and we are looking into how this can continue in the future.
Knowledge Becomes Wisdom, Relationship Becomes Love
Here are some testimonies of some of the alumni’s experiences:
‘Gratitude, friendship, sharing the unshareable, mirroring, reciprocating, holding each other…reaching out for our soul; facing ourselves, forgiving, being vulnerable without feeling exposed. I am ready to do it all over again! …it was close to rebirth and I am ready in action to give back what I received to my beloved rural communities.’
‘You all have given us the wisdom to know the power of Love, Graciousness, Generosity, Trust and Respect. You have shown us the essence of life and who we are! Indeed, we are the world! Thank you for all the cohort team for sharing your profound experience and for being who you are! I will always embrace you in my heart.’
An alumni from another part of the world described his experience as: ‘the opening up the heart. Knowledge becomes wisdom, relationship becomes love.’
We keep on being humbled to witness what happens when anyone is given a safe space to be vulnerable, and explore each other’s greatness moving in this world.
We look forward to continuing this journey to deepen and grow with wisdom, and to see where these ripples of inspiration will go.
Written by ~ Nadia Waber, Pacific Integral Africa Co-founder and Faculty
Perhaps, this is the kind of program and journey you wish to be part of. As a nine-month certificate program, Generating Transformative Change (GTC) continues to receive praise for a new kind of conscious leadership and action that infuses all aspects of life. The participants, inspiring people from diverse backgrounds, cultures and ages, seem to share the yearning to transform themselves and positively contribute to their families, systems and countries, for a more beautiful, equitable and sustainable future for all.