March 4

Leading Through Uncertainty with Emotional Intelligence

Experiencing the World Right Now & other WE problems!

This is a synopsis of the iLumn8 Open House Discussion hosted on March 4th, 2022, with 64 people from around the world, including several Russian language speakers in both Ukraine and Russia. For the security of our Russian and Ukrainian colleagues we are not making the entire video publicly available. The clips contained below were approved by the speakers in those videos. 

Our capacity, as people, to experience and hold many emotions at once is extraordinary. While we desire to live a life that is always full of joy and peace for ourselves, our communities and our world, the reality is much more nuanced than that. 

So many feelings and experiences are happening right now as the war in Ukraine rages on and thousands fight for their homes while others flee their homes looking for safety as refugees. These feelings can include devastation and anger alongside love and laughter - seemingly happening all at the same time.

We recently hosted a conversation with folks from all over the world, including people located in Russia and Ukraine.  It was obvious during our discussion that many, including those of us in the US, Canada and Europe, are feeling that inner conflict of holding so many incongruent thoughts, emotions and feelings. 

Experiencing the World NOW - Denis from Ukraine

One of our guests, joining us from Odessa, Ukraine, expressed the feeling of tears close by. He shared the experience of waking up to the sound of explosions followed by periods of calm. This was mirrored in his feelings - waves of anxiety and fear, interspersed with moments of hope and peace.

Experiencing disbelief about what is actually happening, while also feeling and knowing what was likely coming. Amazingly, with all of that, no hatred. Instead, he feels hope, hope for peace and hope that lives could be spared all over his country.

Experiencing the World NOW - Vladimir
He lives in Russia and is working everyday to be a leader for his family and his people.

One of our Russian guests, Vladimir, expressed a similar experience of so much internal conflict. He shared being regularly moved to tears thinking of his Ukrainian brothers and sisters.

Like so many Russians, he has deep roots and relationships in Ukraine. He is experiencing the devastation and grief we all are, then uses humor and distraction as a way to cope. He also experiences joy and laughter when being with his children and excitement about the new baby on the way … this is then followed by the helplessness and worry about what happens if he were to speak up. So much incongruence of experience, it can be hard to feel ok.

Woman & Children at Ukraine Border - Andrei Dascalescu
Ukraine Woman & Dog - Andrei Dascalescu
Photos: Andrei Dascalescu - Documentary Filmmaker. Traveler. Father.  

Acknowledging our experiences and how we are feeling in these moments can be powerful. Humans are connected through shared feelings and shared experiences.  We call this connection “the WE factor”.

Also, knowing what bothers us, what makes us sad and angry is often pointing us directly to what we are passionate about, to our purpose and ultimately towards a shared vision. 

For those of us who sit far away from the conflict, we can be feeling empathy for our Ukrainian human family, and we can feel overwhelmed by the sadness that comes when we realize that while we can change the channel, they cannot. 

We can be caught between the paralysis of feeling so far away we can't do anything, and our desire to take action driven by our inspiration as we see stories of resilience, of resistance by everyday Ukrainians, of kindness shown to those who have fled their homes.

In this clip she talks about how WE can feel the feelings WITHOUT losing our sense of personal power. 

It is a reminder of what is important to us and where we need to take action. The same imagining that allows us to feel some of what it must be like to live in the midst of war and experience empathy, can also be used to imagine solutions and actions we can take.

This Open House discussion was an opportunity to acknowledge our experiences and emotions, sharing them in a safe space and connecting through those shared experiences. 

Through listening to and learning about the experiences of others - particularly those being directly affected by the situation, we can begin to ask the kinds of questions that propel us forward as a “WE” moving towards a SHARED VISION of World Peace! 

This article was written by iLumn8 contributing writer Sayfia Robinson, in-house copy editor Susan Bouet and founder Anne Peterson.