The Real Wonder Woman Challenge: Day 12

Lena Slachmuijlder

My soul sister and a Real Wonder Woman

I met Lena in Burundi whilst on my first mission to the field. I was developing training for trainers on conflict transformation and third-party intervention. At times, I would lose heart and felt the work to be insurmountable. But then, living and working with Lena I learned first-hand what it was to be committed to one’s team. I particularly admired her dedication to activism that naturally spilled from her professional into her personal life.

Lena showed me how to put aside the separation and keep the human connection alive through sharing food, dance, and drums. Most importantly, she taught me the commitment to self, and to conflict transformation.

The weekends we would go to train kids in the slums in Burundi and later on in Congo and Rwanda were so deeply inspiring. She would teach them how to drum while I would dance, feeling the earth underneath my feet and understanding on a deeper level that unless we connect to the trainees, to the people in the field, on a personal level we lose touch with reality and fail to bridge that which keeps us separate.

Lena and I reconnected again a few years ago, on a work project developing a training manual on Search for Common Ground approach to conflict transformation. I was so grateful for the opportunity to merge the spiritual psychology perspective and my professional experience in discovering a new approach to conflict transformation. Bringing spiritual psychology and conflict transformation together, I realized that, in its essence, the Search for Common Ground approach is that bridge where we humanize the other and we focus on what we have in common while understanding the difference. Lena inspired me so much during that process with her impressive knowledge, experience and deep understanding of the SFCG approach. It was an amazing experience and an inspiration to share and discuss my work with her.

The most important lesson I learned from Lena is how to be personal with the local colleagues you meet when working in the field. She showed me how to put aside the separation and keep the human connection alive through sharing food, dance, and drums. Most importantly, she taught me the commitment to self, and to conflict transformation.

Lena inspires me with her limitless creative flow, with a heart as big as the globe to encompass all beings and the suffering of all beings.

I love you, Lena!

To know more about SFCG and the amazing work they do in the world, check http://www.sfcg.org.

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