By Susan Lesh
It is the end of the year and I am again faced with how different it is. Because of COVID, I am not going to spend extended time with my family. Instead, we are briefly having an outdoor dining experience with Rachel in Philadelphia for our solstice celebration; all other activities will be via Zoom. There is a sameness to Zoom and while I’m really grateful for it, I’m ready for a change, as I’m sure everyone is. I’m ready to visualize that change.
The Board and Council held a virtual retreat on December 19th. Thank you to members Eric Sandhusen, Anne Wallman, and Deb Sgro for leading us in the discussions. Deb led us through a visualization meditation exercise that was wonderful. In it, she guided us to visualize “gratitude” for the prior members and leaders of our community who created a space for us. I could see past members who were very meaningful to my family and me, standing in the meetinghouse smiling their welcome. I could see images of people whose names I only barely know filling and spilling out of the meetinghouse reaching to embrace me. I am very thankful to those people and their commitment to our Ethical community so that there was a place we could go and grow and flourish. Her next visualization exercise was for “joy” and by the end I was visualizing our Society blossoming with many members for many years to come. What a joyful experience!
Anne then led us on a mind-mapping journey (see illustration below). We discussed many aspects, from issues to supports, of what we might bring to a new leader. The picture below is the result of our brainstorming. We saw many connections and raised many topics that have been discussed before, but this practice was energizing. It was also a little chaotic, but sometimes you need that to shake things up! We finished with Eric’s sharing of some Elements of Intentional Action. We ran out of time to fully discuss this but we may return to it as we continue looking at our community while searching for a new permanent leader. As the Leadership Advisory Committee reports, they are close to recommending one or two candidates to be considered by the Board for the interim leader position.
I wish Joe much love and joy in his retirement. I am happy to have an interim leader as part of my visualization of 2021. I am also visualizing peace, light, kindness, togetherness, and love for 2021. I include you, my Ethical community, in my visualization as an integral part of making it come alive. I look forward to seeing each of you in person soon. May you have a thankful end to 2020 and a joyous start of 2021.
Susan Lesh is president of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.