On Endings

This is the seventh in a series of posts describing my experiences at Integral Agile Wizardry Boot Camp attended December 3 - 7, 2014 in San Francisco.

Post 1: The Starting Line of Integral Agile Wizardry
Post 2: The Integral Race Begins
Post 3: Learning to Pace Myself
Post 4: The Me
Post 5: Getting Over Myself Already
Post 6: Impact

So a crazy thing is, 6 months after the Integral Agile Bootcamp ended, I have a huge ending of my own happening. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

The last day of the Integral Agile Bootcamp was a tough day. After spending the week in beautiful Petaluma, CA I was mourning the end. I spent a lot of time during the week looking out the windows of the worn-out, minimalist building that was our training facility, noticing the beautiful rolling hills backdrop. This place is so beautiful and plush and green, it almost looks unreal. It looks like it could be a movie set. And what irony that I compare the truth of a beautiful, natural setting to something created by people! I noticed that the frame of the windows and sliding glass doors and the building blocked my view. I could only see fragments of the hillside. It’s a lot like what you can know about people. You can only see part of them, and even then you don’t see them clearly. You see only what they make visible to you, clouded by what you want to see through your own lens, a view obstructed by the frame of your own windows of reality.

I wanted to see the purity of the landscape, without it being spoiled by human-created structures. So I went outside to the back of the building. I kept walking until anything human-created was outside of my line of sight. I stood there and I cried. This was not just a few tears falling from my eyes. This was not just a brief sadness. This was an all-consuming cry, the kind that you think might never end. The kind where you can’t breathe through your nose and your throat is constricted with sadness. The kind of cry that leaves your eyes and nose red and afterwards you’re exhausted. Petaluma is such a beautiful, serene place. Leaving there that Friday felt like I was leaving home.

But home is not a place, is it? Home is people. That week, the participants of the first Integral Agile Bootcamp became home to me. We created the kind of connection that is very rare. The kind of connection that means the next time you speak with one of those from the group, it’s like you’ve never stopped talking no matter how long it’s been. 

How much of what I saw in the people I met was only what they let me see? How much of it was obstructed by my own windows of reality? One can never know another entirely. Nor can one know themselves entirely. But I digress.

So the week ended, but it didn’t end there. It was just the beginning for many people. The beginning of a life-changing transformation. “There has been a ripple created in the plane of the universe.” That’s how I described it to the facilitators afterwards. I still don’t think they appreciate or understand the extent of what they opened up.

Many of us have been to ‘fucked up’ and back again and then some since that week in December. But those of us that I speak to regularly would never say we wished it didn’t happen. Even though I may have been to hell and back since then (and might still be in hell or headed there again – who can say for sure?), I would never wish for a trip back in time to choose another path that didn’t include Petaluma.

I try to put my finger on the one thing that created such an impact from that week, but I really have no idea what it was. I guess it could be this group of people in this place at this time. I know now more than ever that there are things at play in the world that I can’t explain and don’t understand. I’m sure this is one of those things. One of my new friends said “this group has been together before in some past life.” Maybe that’s it.

After leaving Petaluma, armed and ready to change the world, who would think 6 months later I’d be leaving my company to start a new adventure?

For the last four years, my company has been ‘my home’. I felt like I had finally found the company culture that matched my values and goals. World Wide Technology is a people-first company. They want to build strong teams and realize that the people make a company. I worked with some really wonderful people who have become very important to me. And home is people. They are home to me in many ways. 

And today is my last day at WWT. It's been a tough choice to make, but I think there are good things coming from it already. 

I sure will miss home. Terribly. My last day at WWT is not joyful. I'm very sad to be leaving. I've helped build and been a part of some really great teams, and that's the point of all this anyway. Connection with people. 

I used to be pretty scripted and have a solid plan before going to the next step in my career. Not this time. I’m certain about the immediate future with my husband’s company, but this change also opens up all kinds of opportunities that have never been possible to me before.

My son says all the time, “anything’s possible mom.” You’re right buddy. Anything’s possible. 

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.

- Gilda Radner (SNL comedian)