“Can I say something hard?”
Over the past three and a half months, I have found myself saying this phrase out loud often. I will say this to my family, my closest friends, people I met only a month or two ago, and to my new coworkers. I have found that I use this phrase when I want to say something out loud that I know will be either difficult for me to say or difficult for someone to hear. I learned this phrase from Louise, who learned it from Susan, who built Longacre on the idea of open and honest communication. Yesterday, a new friend of mine pointed out to me that I say that phrase often, and it really got me thinking about how I communicate.
I’ve been living at the Longacre Farm for three and a half months, and I have already noticed a huge difference in how I communicate with others. Louise lives open and honest communication, not just during the summer, but all the time. She has been empowering me to be open and honest as well. If you ask anyone who knows me well, they will tell you that I am an open book, but I have been communicating more openly and honestly than I thought would be possible. I find that my relationships are fuller, and my self worth is stronger. I also find that when I practice open and honest communication, those people feel the same way; richer relationships and empowered sense of self.
I found an article today, about how Trees can communicate with one another. This article shared the research of Suzzane Simard, an ecology professor and forester who has devoted a long period of her life to the Canadian Forests. In her TedTalk, she explains her story of discovering how the trees in the forest send carbon to one another when they need help. She explains the relationship of trees are a “two-way street”, and that the two trees in her experiment, Fir and Birch, were like “yin and yang”. They had been communicating in so many different ways, in different times of the year, when each tree needed a little bit of help. You should definitely watch the TedTalk if you haven’t already. Or read, The Secret Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, which was my summer book last year, or this NPR Article that summarizes the book. Trees are incredible, and I think that it is not coincidence that Summer Camps happen in the forest, surrounded by trees. That’s a whole other blog post I could write!
Just like trees, at Longacre we communicate to help one another. Our communication is not for our benefit only, but for the benefit of the entire community. Just as the forests will self heal themselves through cooperation and diversity, we believe that we can do the same at Longacre when we practice open and honest communication. When you join us this summer, we will use communication as a tool, for each one of us to find our most authentic selves.
I’ve already experienced this growth in myself, and the summer hasn’t even begun. I can’t wait to experience a summer full of great conversation with all of you. I hope you will join us.
LONGACRE LEADERSHIP CAMP