What Can I Do To
Bridge The Distances That Separate Us?
For those of us who value person centered approaches and believe that they are effective ways to deal with differences and conflict, it can be unsettling to experience how quickly our empathy, authenticity and acceptance disappear when we are confronted by others whose beliefs, values and attitudes are so different and even hostile to our own.
Feeling threatened and under attack triggers defensive responses, such as:
- Lashing out with anger and attacking the other
- Justifying ourselves
- Demonizing, labeling, judging, blaming or criticizing our perceived adversaries
...all of which further separate us.
In these situations we need to ask:
- Are we willing and able to engage in respectful dialogue where the aim is to understand, not to convince?
- Do we believe that differences are built into our human nature, and accept these differences as the natural order of things?
- Can we accept others' privilege to have different perspectives, ways of seeing and reacting?
- Are we clear that our capacity to change others is limited, that we can only change ourselves and how we react, or do we seek to change or restrict others and the external world so that they reflect our preferences?
Join us to explore what each of us can do to bridge the gulfs that separate us from others.
Our conference will provide ample opportunities to address this theme in the company of others - informally, in small and large groups and in our presentations. As in the past, we will provide the space, the climate to be open, to speak our piece, to be heard and understood, and to hear what others really have to say. Through these experiences we hope to develop a greater understanding of how we contribute to or help maintain these divisions, and what we can do to reach across them.
Call for Presenters
There is still space for a limited number of presentations. We invite participants to submit proposals for presentations workshops, demonstrations, lectures, panel discussions, stories of significant import, and other formats not yet imagined. We request that presentations relate to our theme Bridging our Differences in Challenging Times but we will consider other topics which you consider of value to our participants.
Please address your proposals to Will Stillwell firstname.lastname@example.org