Wednesday, June 29, 2011

(Day 17) On technical assistance and "dead zones"...

I spent the morning doing some work on the IPCA computer used by the President, Dwight Cuff.  He was having some trouble with Windows Live - the default email client on a new PC running Windows 7. He could receive mail fine, but he could not send any mail.  No matter what I did with the settings I kept getting the same error.  To make a long story short I installed Mozilla Thunderbird and he can now send and receive email without issue...  what a frustrating exercise though.

To go back to a PC is such a challenge having been using an Apple computer for almost two years now.  In my frustration I was glad that I had read some of the book I had picked up the other day.  I will insert the title later but it is written by Buddhist practitioner who is inviting the reader to live more fully present in the moment.  She gives the illustration of a trapeze artist and how the "magic" of the trapeze lies not in the strength of the athlete but in how the athlete uses the end of the swing - dead zone.  Recognizing the dead zone and utilizing it to its fullest potential allows the trapeze artist to excel.  She then goes on to compare this to life, how in each situation, each encounter were are presented with a "dead zone" a moment in which we have a choice in how we will respond...  Needless to say, in coping with Dwight's computer issues, there were times that I came to that "dead zone" and wanted to toss that laptop down on the lawn of Toronto City Hall - but I didn't.

I look forward to reading the rest of the book as the week goes on...  that's all for now.  1:30 its time to head back into a workshop: Security vs. Rehabilitation being led by my friend and colleague Hank Dixon, former inmate at Springhill Institution and now a Chaplain in the Praire Region.

Hanks workshop was engaging.  He used a phrase to describe CSC that I had shared with him - a phrase that was shared with me by Catherine Gaw: "anarchy of unstructuredness".  He offered some useful insights from his experiences about how we as chaplains can survive the squeeze that comes as a result of ever increasing security on rehabilitative efforts within the system.  Thanks Hank.

Supper was another enjoyable meal with colleagues from BC and Ontario, and it was around the supper table that I realized that I am not as engaged in this event as I could be.  The reasons are many, but prime among them is the fracturedness of the event - of trying to be part of two events, two communities and I am not in a space where I want to extend myself to such extremes.  By partnering with IFC to host the National Chaplaincy Conference I believe that the community of Chaplaincy has suffered.  We have not have opportunity for depth of connection.  There has not been space for organized dialogue about what is challenging us in our day to day work situations across the country.  It is almost as if there is a desire to just fluff the surface because monsters lurk below the waves.

I believe that this is so unfortunate.  We are at a juncture in the history of Chaplaincy when we need more then ever to speak prophetically with a unified voices.  Yes there is a "Declaration Committee" working on a declaration that will be issued following our gathering... but there has been no attempt, not one, to gather us all in one room and have us seek to work together on what it is that needs to be declared!  People are invited one by one to speak to members of the Declaration Committee (of which I remember the name of one...)

I'm not too sure what to do with these thoughts and feelings.  I have expended so much energy over the past three years on two different National Committees and I do not see that much if anything has changed... nor do I have much hope of anything changing anytime soon.  If anything I am in dread of how the Conservative government's Crime and Punishment agenda is going to further hinder the system in its work of assisting inmates in making changes in their lives.  In addition to this, I have an awareness that some people in Management see me coming and duck for cover because they know I will speak my mind...

I guess I am weary... and perhaps it is enough to enjoy this space, the company of colleagues and the opportunities that are afforded me in this event for relaxation "to hang in the dead zone" and discern the next right action.

... on the Sabbath Road...

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