This past weekend I had the fortune of spending some time at the spa.
It was lovely and relaxing and I made a concerted effort to not think about work – but as I finished one of the hydrotherapy circuits, I wondered about the cycle and the link to D&I.
The spa I was at used a hydrotherapy system. Hydrotherapy is a practice that apparently dates back thousands of years. It’s a hot-cold-relax water cycle, and there is a reason for the stages.
I love the heat. So the hot portion (sauna, steamroom, hot tub) was very enjoyable. Believe me when I say that I seriously thought of skipping the cold and going straight to the relaxation. But as I read the pamphlet, I quickly discovered that the cold was part of the deal that actually aided in the relaxation. So I emerged from a glorious time in the sauna and then seriously contemplated how wise it was to immerse myself (head and all) into a tub of cold (9 degrees celcius water. My legs felt frozen the minute I put them in the water, and then I had to put the rest of my body in! It was awful. But I did it. And then something amazing happened – just like the pamphlet said it would. I found a hammock, and when the tingling stopped, I felt a really lovely hum and a deep relaxation.
Exquisite. And only achievable with the hot and the cold. Rats.
The hot portion causes vasodilation and reduced blood pressure. The cold portion is what pushes the toxins out and causes the muscles to reduce tension. Sounds counterintuitive. The relaxation portion helps stabilize blood flow and heart rate. Makes sense.
It got me thinking about D&I…
The link to D&I
When we start talking about diversity and inclusion in an organization, we spend the time listening to folks about their experiences. Those can be hot conversations, and not everyone likes or feels comfortable having or being part of hot conversations. They can be challenging. Some of us will last longer than others. But they are important because we have to know what’s going on for our colleagues, and what it means for them. If we listen well, we can learn and then participate in the creation of change. And community is built.
Sometimes after hot conversations people can get frosty… that’s likely self preservation, or survival mode. Or fear.
Think about immersing yourself into cold water! I heard all manner of sound effects from my vantage point just behind the cold pool:
Lots of hard breathing.
I couldn’t see anyone but I imagined them psyching themselves up (as I had) for the dip.
There are times when the work we have to do to build community and belonging is hard. Those are the times when we may want to stop, but shouldn’t. Because talking through the hard parts help us to stay connected, become more connected, and continue to create community.
Of course that requires skill. Skill we don’t always have and haven’t always learned as kids, but skill that we can learn together in the right environment: a culture of learning.
That sense of community allows us to relax, to rest, to show up, to just be who we are. And that’s what we are going for when we do D&I work: a place where we can be ourselves, when what matters to us and what impacts us is important – and if it’s not known, we can share it and know that because we are valued, something will change.
That’s the journey I’m on in D&I. How about you?
Book a call and let’s see how we can get you moving.
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(c) 2019 Annemarie Shrouder