I belong to several groups, that have periodic meetings with a stated purpose, agenda and regular attendees. They each have their own personalities and varying degrees of pull on my enthusiasm. What causes one group to ‘click’, make me jump hurdles to never miss, leave me chewing over discussions we had and trigger followup conversations and reflections, while the other …. well … makes me question whether I will continue to attend?
The one I jump hurdles to get to is a book club of seemingly homogeneous educated, white, upper-middle-class women, who apparently have wildly differing world views, politics, religions and who knows what else we have not yet uncovered. It could be a very bland, polite conversation each month that elegantly dances around and skips over all diverging opinions, leaving us with a pleasant apres-high-tea vacuous feeling. Or it could be a noisy, messy, heated debate revealing opposite world views and the joys and wounds that shaped these, leaving us wondering if we said too much, got too passionate, or clung too hard to a position. The messy, noisy path always leaves us wanting more. Can’t wait til next month!
How did this group just ‘click’? How did we end up down the messy, noisy path? Someone was willing to risk it. They spoke their truth. It was recognized. It was respected. Then more truths were piled on top of that. These truths conflict, and yet we create space for them to co-exist. This happens every month. All perspectives are invited into the discussion to be processed, understood and used to extend our starting points.
That someone is the catalyst to making the group click. It’s not always the same someone each time. It’s not easy being that someone. You can leave with doubts about what you said and how you might have impacted others. However, it’s precisely that daring catalyst that shifts the group into something enriching and memorable.
Thanks to those who are willing to risk being that someone with the spark. They make the group ‘click’.