Saturday, February 18, 2023

Step By Step

Traversing the Panama Canal by water is an all-day event.  First, the ship must have a reservation (date and time) to enter the canal zone.  Second, as you approach the southern locks on the Pacific side or the northern locks on the Atlantic/Caribbean side, the captain and crew are directed by pilots and canal workers to the correct locks.  Third, tugboats (for the new locks) or "mules" (locomotives for the older locks) secure and guide the ship through the three chambers that raise you a total of 85 feet to the level of Gatun Lake (going into the canal) or lower you 85 feet (leaving the canal).  The lake -- created over 100 years ago and renewed each year with torrential rainfall -- powers the canal system and allows passage over the Continental Divide.

It's a day of Steps Choreographed for safe passage, and as a tourist on a cruise ship, I am in awe at human ingenuity that envisioned a way to slice off almost 8,000 miles on a sailing from New York City to San Francisco.

Who has mentored or guided you?
(Photo: moving into 1st chamber of Agua Clara locks,
Panama Canal - Larry Gardepie)

Between 40-45 vessels a day use this 50-mile canal to get products to various parts of the world... that's 14,600 to 16,425 a year!  In fact, the Panama Canal is the most traveled canal in the world... and a wonder of this modern world!

Why am I using the Canal in a dialogue-focused blog?  I had a lot of time to think while walking around the ship: noticing how the ship and land crews communicated; observing the tugboat guide the ship and hold us in place as tons of water rushed into or out of the chambers; and moving to different vantage points to witness this event.

How do you address unequal dynamics?
(Photo: water in the 1st and 2nd chambers equalizing,
Agua Clara locks, Panama Canal - Larry Gardepie)

In many ways, practicing dialogue is similar:

  • Step-by-step moving into new or familiar relationships;
  • Noticing what is important as people guide us with their words and actions;
  • Observing when we feel safe -- or not safe -- as we negotiate equal -- or unequal -- power dynamics; and,
  • Moving physically or evolving mentally to see different points of view.
Also, we cannot expect a closer or more intimate relationship until the doors are opened and we are invited in.

Do you wait for opportunities to open up?
(Photo: moving into 2nd chamber of Agua Clara locks,
Panama Canal - Larry Gardepie)

I would suggest that dialogue is awe-inspiring as well: that is, when we approach another person with respect,
take a Long Loving Look at the Real, and acknowledge that person's Sacred Worth and Value, we are ready to remove months of misunderstanding and mistrust.  And, we are ready to listen when we approach one another with willingness and humility to be guided into safe places for communication and acceptance.
What steps will you take this week to understand a loved one?

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

No comments:

Post a Comment