Partnering for Purpose
I’m paving a road with intention. I don’t spend a lot of time considering where it’s going. We all know where the road will ultimately go. What I most care about is momentum. I like a road with as few ruts as possible of course, but mostly I am pointing this road toward what interests, what nourishes, toward possibilities that might answer some of my questions and heal some of the wounded spots. It’s my road after all.
Talking to folks I see how easy it easy to let the road stall, to keep traveling the same stretch over and over, to get stuck in the cul-de-sacs. The justifications about why are many, some real and some convenient or just well-practiced. Road building is exhausting, especially when you’ve got lots of miles behind you already. Need we always be building new stretches? What about the essential demand that the old roads be maintained, with better drainage, improved vistas and renewed landscaping?
Whether we are paving the road to somewhere yet unvisited or just filling in potholes, the progress, I suggest, goes better when we aren’t the only person paying attention. If I hold the belief that this is my life road alone, I can just choose to go around the rutted parts or keep circling the donut shop. But when we do accept the challenge of re-paving or extending, many of us just find intention is not enough. We need inspiration and we need support to remind us where we said we wanted that road to go.
Now you may be blessed with a life partner who can provide the support you need without letting their own road-building block or delay your progress. Perhaps that person is gone or never, as is the dear friend that provided reflection, or encouragement. Perhaps that person never really appeared. We men don’t seem so comfortable collaborating, but there are plenty of lonely travelers here of either gender. One way I’ve found that might serve as a model is a program called Cojourn, originally the Co-Accountancy Project, created by a UMASS doctoral student and her partner. I have found a Cojourn partner, and we are committed to a weekly half hour call, structured around sharing of intentions and the small weekly goals we set for ourselves. We have asked our partner to listen, to question but not to judge or suggest without being asked. What we’ve done is ask another person over the course of a year to bear witness on our behalf as to how we are attempting to direct our growth.
Here at Lathrop I am very encouraged when I hear about the deep benefit that a group of painters receive from their weekly time together sharing and encouraging their work. There is an active group of writers who serve to support and stimulate each other’s efforts. Ultimately as adults we are accountable for our own choices, but it’s important to know we are not alone in our struggle to be so. I hope all are continuing to place their paving stones of intention, whether it’s to strengthen a fitness habit, to address a better diet, to spend more time on a project or connecting with others. Enlisting a partner on purpose might be a way to get momentum started and keep the road rolling out ahead of you.
[Mollie, the founder of Cojourn still lives in the area and if folks are interested to learn more would love to come out to speak with us. They can be found on the web at cojourn.org]
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