It’s quite common, in my experience, to come away from a dialogical training feeling that I have learnt more than I have offered. The foundation training in Tel Aviv, Israel, has been one of the biggest learning curves thus far – a real honour to contribute to. There is something quite amazing about joining with a group of people so committed to creating new possibilities in contexts which are profoundly challenging … a shared determination, highs and lows.
At one point in the final taught block the bell we had been using to signal the end of breaks was broken. It was a beautiful porcelain bell; a treasured token from a far flung land generously loaned to us for the course. Aside from the sadness and worry we felt about it, I learnt something really special from the experience.
Firstly, one of the trainees spent her evening painstakingly reassembling the broken bell. The bell was not discarded or given up on. It was cared for.
Secondly, the reassembled bell was cracked and missing a large piece. It was not whole. During the day’s discussions we talked much about brokenness and cracks.
One trainee shared this quote with us that inspired me.
“There is nothing so whole as a broken heart”
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk
On the way home I read many articles about this concept and other quotes attributed to him. It nurtured something very deep inside of me, and I’m still mulling it over even now.
When asked to write for Dolly Sen’s series at the Wellcome Collection entitled “Broken brains not broken hearts” it felt like a wonderful synergy. If you’re interested in reading what I came up with, see “Cracks the let the light in“.
Most importantly, I’m curious – what are your responses to this quote. How does it move you? What does it resonate with? What images come to mind?
You are welcome to share, if you’d like.