What do Black Law Enforcement Officers in the USA & Health-Care Workers in Myanmar (Burma) have in common?
I had the good fortune to spend face-to-face time with both these groups this month. On March 1 I was a guest presenter at the Annual Conference of NABLEO (National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers) in Rocky Hill, CT and had the chance to interact with inner-city police, women and men. Eleven days later I flew to Southeast Asia. After 36 hours and three different planes, I reached long-isolated Myanmar, the country of Aung San Suu Kyi, where I met with young grassroots health workers who are dealing with HIV-AIDS education, prevention, and treatment.
What do these opposite-side-of-the-world groups have in common? Lots!
Both have dear ones who suffer from ongoing violence and less than optimal health in their neighborhoods. Both face stark trauma on a daily basis. Both look for root causes to radically alter the reality of the cities and villages they live and work in. Both recognize their professions as missions. Both are greatly challenged to balance their passion for the good of others with their own well-being. Both are hungry for justice and for peace.
It was a tremendous privilege for me to be invited to enter both these worlds. I am not Black, nor a police officer, not Burmese, nor a grassroots health-care worker. How enter their worlds in a respectful way? I wrestled with that question long and hard.
Finally came up with: do my best to practice what I preach in my coaching, in my OASIS Training, in my day-to-day life: be present in each moment, meet each person exactly where she/he is, listen with my whole mind and body, receive the love that is present all around me – in each person, each place – share whatever I have that might be useful, and do what I can to bring out the best in each person, each place.
Gangbusters, it worked!
NABLEO and Myanmar gave me wisdom that continues to deepen. And I gave them the simple OASIS in the Overwhelm strategies which they dove into and made their own. Anthony, a New London police officer commented, “I learned how to relax/have a way to get more clarity.” Thapiang, one of my guides in Myanmar said, “I love that 4-D Dump… now I can dump whatever (he loved that word!) and make room to bring in good stuff.”
The photos will give you some idea of the joy that I experienced with both groups.
NABLEO Conference Banquet, L to R:
Millie Grenough, Mubarakah Ibrahim (an OASIS Graduate), her husband Shafiq Abdus-sabur, President of NABLEO & New Have Police Officer, two of their four children
Mywe Saung Beach on Bay of Bengal, Myanmar, L to R:
Gin Pi, Millie Grenough, Thapiang. Both gentlemen are from the state of Chin, close to the India/Myanmar border, and both play guitar proficiently. We shared many songs, in Chin, Burmese, and English. (They knew Tequila Sunrise in Burmese & English!)