In the summer of 2011, I found myself in a workshop with the Hendricks Institute in Ventura, California. This workshop changed the course of my life and I want to share one of the brightest gems with you.ย 

What brought me to the workshop was that I wanted to fix my relationship with my then girfriend, Christine. We had been together for just over a year and predictably, shit had gotten real. We were caught in a cycle of blame, criticism, and power struggles. Therapy had been no help to us – at least not the therapist we had chosen at the time. This workshop with Dr. Kathlyn Hendricks was a last ditch effort to recussitate our relationship.ย 

The final day of the workshop, we mustered up the courage to approach Dr. Hendricks during a break. With tears streaming down both our cheeks, we told her that we were afraid that we were just too different to be compatible. Katie, as we now know her, registered our concern, put her hands on our shoulders like a coach in a huddle, and reassured us with these words: โ€œYou two clearly love one another. You just need to build a bigger corral.โ€ย 

We wiped away the tears, breathed a collective sigh of relief, and got to work on building that bigger corral. Fast forward to today, weโ€™re living happily ever after, married with two beautiful children and aย  cat named Sneakers. In fact, Katie herself officiated our wedding the following year.ย 

As many of us are heading into the Thanksgiving break with various configurations of relatives who put the fun in dysfunction, I thought it might be helpful to pay it forward by sharing Katieโ€™s words of wisdom with you.ย 

How can you build a bigger corral for yourself – the wiggle room to be your most authentic self – and how can you extend that graciousness to others, too?ย 

Lemme know how it goes!ย 

Meanwhile, if youโ€™re bracing for heated debates about religion and politics, two of my favorite podcasts from our first season of Unleashing Social Change might be worth a listen (or re-listen) as you make your way to wherever youโ€™re going:ย 

Andrew Hanauer Director of the One America Movement talks about overcoming polarization.ย ย 

Cheryl Graeve, National Organizer for the National Institute for Civil Discourse talks about bridging any divide.ย 

And just in case, here is a helpful resource Christine, shared with us last week in her Anti-Racism for White People course (now enrolling for 2020):ย 

Rachel Elizabeth Cargle’s “How to Talk to Your Family about Racism on Thanksgiving.”


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