Wednesday, April 25, 2018

I went to the Bar as she pulled the pint I said, "Tell me one person on your mind right now"?

I went to the Bar,
my turn to order the pints of lager,
and as she pulled the pint I said,
"Tell me one person on your mind right now"?

She looked at me and said it was unusual
to be asked such questions but
could I ask her another question .

The young woman, as I found out later, was nineteen - Kelly by name.
She serves at the bar in a Hotel in the Midlands of England.

I was away there for four days,
facilitating a conference.
It was a midlands region of YMCA's with their
CEO's, Chairs, young staff members and young humans - 
all living in hostel accommodation because 
they were homeless and with needs ......
....... haven't we all?

"What is your favourite scar" I asked.
I pulled my jeans up to the knee
pressed on my shin - revealing a big dent - 
"This is mine"I said, "a rugby injury".
Kelly lifted her top from the waist and
pointed to her belly button - "that one",
and moving her finger to her left,
"and also that one - keyhole surgery on my appendix."
She went on to show me
one on her forehead and the side of her head
each one with a story attached.

Kelly repeatedly expressed how she had never
been asked questions like these and then ....
..... asked me for another one ........

The guys were really impressed when eventually
I returned to our corner with the beers.
She wouldn't let me pay for ages
and delivered the drinks to our seats 
because she was engaged in all this Q&A.

Then we all started to engage .
All the young adults, all over 18, - we really had a great buzz going.
She was asking questions about our developmental programme
and more questions were forthcoming
for her to answer.

In years of serving drinks to the business community
she had never been involved like this - with questions and conversation.
She was really up for Level Five communication
which I said I would share with her the following evening.
The news spread around the conference – 
that Pip had seen her belly button!

The next day we all arrived in the bar pretty late that evening
following a hard-working, powerful and beautiful day.
In my case it was 11pm as I walked in the bar, it was buzzing.
The whole group of CEO's and Chairs were interacting with Kelly.
There was laughter and all sorts of questions being asked
back and forth.

Already the CEO of the local YMCA, which does wondrous work with
hostel residents, detached youth work and children's programmes,
had asked Kelly to consider joining their volunteer team.
AND Kelly was waiting for more questions ........

The questions I asked, as far as I can remember, were::
If you had to have a tattoo in the palm of your hand
what would it be and why?

What colour are you?
A colour which describes your personality and character?

We all have abilities and disabilities
Tell me one ability and one dis-ability?
Not staying with physical but beyond into vulnerabilities.

These are being related to you in Kelly order.
There is a process here,of going deeper and more intimate -
between the drinks and the drinks ordering.

Think of an animal which describes me, I asked.
And why choose that one?

At the end of the evening I asked the big one.
One which is most searching of the soul.
Most asking of personal self disclosure .......
When did you become and adult?

At the end of the evening, following great communication
with our conference members - and Kelly, I did what I had promised.
I used a bar serviette  to draw the Level Five steps,
and talk her through how, having this as a tool in her toolbox
can help in all sorts of personal and workplace transactions.

We said farewell with that feeling you get when you leave a conference
having worked together and bonded - collided - connected
and I love it love it.

Naturally I want to continue to ask you 
to go beyond my story.
This will/maybe take you outside your comfort zones where growth resides.
Are you willing to journey with me for a few more moments?

I also want to reflect on why I do this. 
What was the purpose and process.
So I start with this - why do I do this at airports, 
railway stations, curry houses?

L5 is how I work and live            
I am an Informal Educator - a posh title for a Youth Worker.

Superficial, cliche communication darkens my soul.
L2 (Facts)and L3 (Opinions) are so instant coffee - 
so why sip at these cups when we can venture into cappuccino, 
espresso, latte - all depending on our taste.

The process I use instinctively
is to dive right in and ask a question.
Then, if someone is interested, I go deeper.
I ask more questions which 
help in the self revelation process.
ALWAYS answering them myself first
which sets the climate of trust and openness. 

That was what I did with Kelly
and she was outstandingly receptive and keen.

The first three words in 'The Road Less Travelled' 
by M.Scott Peck,

There can be no vulnerability without risk; 
there can be no life, 
without community.
M. Scott Peck

Kelly said I was a Dog,
a Spaniel,
the kind the police have -
intelligent in searching!

Pip Wilson BHP