We had a short workshop over the weekend looking at publicity and the like. There were six of us - several people had had problems getting there. We all knew each other and as far as I know liked each other and yet ... At times it seemed like we were meeting for the first time - storming away - trying to establish ourselves in the group, sometimes not listening and at times seeming to fall out over minor details. Thankfully we ended with agreement and with some actions.
I could have been frustrated by process. Perhaps I should have structured it. But my experience at previous workshops is that people like an input into the agenda. Perhaps I had not been calm enough at the beginning - it was my birthday and I had had several emails, Facebook messages, texts and phone calls before I left home and then two en route about the workshop. One was when I was trying to buy a paper and one was as I was parking the car. Of the six people, four thought it started at 9.30 a.m., one at 9.00 a.m. and one at 10.00 a.m. And at least two of the people were in the midst of some work-based and/or home-based stress. So perhaps ever-wonder that we were all a bit jumpy and not quite meshing together.
We can always look to the negatives and ask what went wrong? Or we can look to the positives and think, with all the confusion and the tired individuals, we actually ended as friends and we ended with achievements - which was an achievement in itself. Things aren't always going to run smoothly and there are times when we begin to doubt ourselves and our communities, but this is how life is. If we are to be authentic then sometimes that's not pretty!
But what it certainly does remind me is that I will take nothing for granted. Every day (or at least a few times a week) I have to consciously work on myself and on my relationships. Whilst there is a time for negativity and despair, that time must not be the end but the beginning of doing things just a little bit better.