Renée Bradford, author of JUMP: A Woman's Guide To Getting Her Bank Back, reflects on bringing gifts out of exile in her time as a BKF fellow.
When I entered the fellowship, my deepest desire was to become a curator of experiences. Through this trusted community, I have become a gracious host that holds brave space.
Years ago, I was a Disc Jockey (DJ). Yes, I used to spin records at a radio station. I found myself reaching for my DJ gift when myself and 11 others embarked upon redeemthe10.com. The concept of Redeem the Ten (RTT) was birthed out of a call to action during an early morning Prayer Call. The question was asked, “What will you do with your ten minutes?” The presumption at the time was that it took approximately 10 minutes for George Floyd to succumb to the weight of the Officer's knee on his neck. While our country was engulfed in uncertainty and uprisings, this group responded in unity to offer a virtual vigil for activists and allies.
In February, I had identified three personal goals that I hoped to accomplish through this fellowship: launching the Lemonade Stand Leadership Refreshing Periscope series, A Podcast, and an E-Book. Throughout each of those achievements, the Art of Convening written by Berrett-Kohler authors Craig and Patricia Neal, graced me with the tools to slow down and allow for the inner pauses to inform who I was becoming as a leader. Our monthly Oasis gatherings as a cohort helped me to face the challenges of building a virtual community during a time of isolation and uncertainty.
As Redeem the Ten moved forward in our commitment to action, I found myself returning weekly to the Art of Convening wheel to pause and reflect upon:
Who do I want to be in relationship to others?
Who am I and what am I doing?
Are you okay?
I served as the gracious host to develop the platform and agenda for change. We co-collaborated with thought leaders, artists, musicians, storytellers, and theologians to focus on 10 themes for 10 weeks. The topics were learn, seek, correct, bring, plead, power, strength, justice, focus, and endurance. The RTT Team emerged as a platform guests who served to power the broadcasts with their many gifts including broadcast engineer, website designer, social media manager, resident educator, guest liaison, and all things administrative including coordinating strategy meetings. The height of our week was our Tuesday evening 'celebration' sessions in which we took time to reflect upon the difference we made together.
As Redeem The Ten and the fellowship ended, I became obsessed with chairs. I am particularly drawn to the chairs that are structured, weighted, and reliable. One that will not bow or break under the full weight of whatever the burden is. I have been holding space on our virtual platform for nourishing discussions about what is fueling us right now.
I ask questions like
How is your time, how is your heart?
How are you taking care of yourself as you take care of others?
On some days it feels awkward to slow down for this type of reflection, especially when there is so much work to be done in the world. But then I am reminded of the single candle that we offered at the end of each Redeem the Ten Episode. The slow flickering light serves as a gentle reminder that an inward-leading is just as powerful as an outward fight.
And click on these images to find out more about Renée's book, JUMP: A Woman's Guide To Getting Her Bank Back, and Redeem The 10