Next Monday I will conduct the first of a series of four 1.5-hour-long workshops at the Fetzer Institute, the organization for which I work.  Our founder, John E. Fetzer, believed that we need to be the work in order to do the work.  He was a visionary leader who intuited the needs of the future and built many organizations that met those needs.  The last and (I like to think) best of these was the Institute, the beneficiary of his estate.

I regret that I never met John Fetzer before he died.  But I meet his ideas every day.  He loved to learn and to help others learn.  He read voraciously and talked with scientists, philosophers, theologians, and ordinary people who had extraordinary experiences.  He was especially interested in metaphysics.  “Love is the core energy that rules everything,” he wrote in the 1970’s.  Our mission today, ” to foster awareness of the power of love and forgiveness in the emerging global community,” is based on his vision.

So how does the founder’s vision connect with the upcoming workshop?  First of all, it is just one set of gatherings within the context of our organizational learning philosophy.  In the last four years we have offered employees the opportunity to attend workshops on science, spiritual practices, and wellness.  This short series will be just one more opportunity for those with an interest to meet with others equally curious.

Secondly, it allows me, a teacher at heart, to practice the art that first called me.  One of my mentors and friends, Parker Palmer, has long been involved in the work of the Fetzer Institute.  His definition of teaching will guide me:  To teach is to create a space in which the community of truth is practiced Here is his classic text.

I will describe the workshop as I continue to reflect on how to begin it.

Since it is time to go to work, I will conclude and pick up from this point tomorrow.  I want to get to work early enough to spend at least a little time in the meditation room, practicing what I hope to live today.

Shirley Showalter


  1. […] have written about Parker’s important book, The Courage to Teach here before, when I was preparing to teach a workshop on reflective writing, but I have not written about […]

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