– Marc Gafni’s colleagues, friends and supporters speak out about being on the Marc Gafni Team, for the sake of restoring integrity. This response by LK Littlefield was first posted as a comment to the CIW statement on centerforintegralwisdom.org. You can read the statement below or listen to the audio. –
I’ve worked closely with Marc on projects and with the Center for Integral Wisdom for over four years. I am continually touched and amazed by the caliber of the team, the Board and the community that has gathered. These are some of the most professional, accomplished, open-minded and willing-to-be-vulnerable people I have ever met – for whom honest sharing, curiosity about the other, and clear communication are tantamount.
I first met Marc in a brief public moment, as people filed into a crowded conference room to take their seats. What struck me most was his warmth, and a genuine friendliness that made me feel immediately at ease and welcomed. Eventually, I met Marc again, at a time when I was mired in a lingering sadness and ennui from a recent breakup. I was trying my best to see friends, meditate, exercise, help those in need – to do whatever I could to get myself out of it. Marc’s quality of attention had an unmistakable presencing effect. It awoke me to my own aliveness, and pretty much abruptly shook me out of my slump.
Perhaps it’s this same aliveness that makes Marc so resilient, able to work those long hours, generate new and nuanced thought, all while bringing that special quality of attention to those he loves and serves – even when such unimaginable meanness is being directed at him (like now).
I remember introducing him to a dear friend of mine on Skype who was going through a major financial and health crisis. He and Marc chatted for maybe 5 minutes; afterward, my friend said that, for a moment, he felt like life was beautiful. He was struck by this – how could Marc affect his perception of reality so much?
I think that one aspect of the blessing and power of Marc’s transmission is that its energy wants to fill a vacuum, to add what is missing, to heal what is broken. If there is loneliness, Marc fills it with loving. If there is hopelessness or closedness, he fills it with invitations to recognize and action the beautiful. If there is half-baked or incomplete thinking, he fills it with brilliant dot-connecting. And if there is ambivalence or uncertainty, he gives it direction.
I myself can be easily directed by a strong-willed person. This is not a “problem” per se – it’s also the foundation, in its empowered form, of the gift of conscious merging and co–creation that I can give my beloveds and my collaborators. I honor the people I most admire and trust by letting them influence and impact me – in this way I expand my horizons and grow as a person. At the same time, I can let my boundaries be crossed, in a way that doesn’t work. One of the greatest lessons I learn from Marc ongoingly, is the practice of maintaining my voice and my autonomy (aka my power) in the face of compelling direction from others, at the risk of causing conflict.
On a few occasions I gave up my power with Marc, in much the same ways many of us have, in many of our relationships, throughout our lives. In other words, I didn’t speak up when something mattered to me in our working relationship – same as I’ve done with all the various men and women I’ve given up my power to over the years. On one such occasion involving Marc, I shared what had happened. It was hard for me to do, but once I did, he deeply grokked the dynamic that had played out, deeply apologized – and cried. He cried at not having seen how much this mattered to me, cried at not having been who I had needed him to be. He thanked me for having the courage to keep sharing until he understood – rather than go silent and passive – enabling us to grow together as people and collaborators, and deepen in all the possible ways. During this talk, we both saw each others’ strengths and trustability. There could be true sharing, and true listening. He could let me influence and impact him, just as I have let him influence and impact me.
When I do know my needs, speak up, and set a boundary in work, Marc has never been anything but respectful. He has asked me to push back on every dimension of our work together, with my own voice.
It is MY responsibility to speak up. If there is one demand that Marc has made on me many times, it’s that I own and claim my power as human being.
He has demonstrated he is a space for that; so any reluctance or fear I have is about me, not him. This is the case in all my relationships, and, I think for many of us women and men, this is a great life learning on the road to greater loving and deeper intimacy.