Special Message from Ginny Whitelaw
CEO of Institute for Zen Leadership, Inc.
April 16, 2020
Dear IZL friends –
How weary you may be growing of interaction by email and screen, yet I feel the need to reach out to you in these extraordinary times. For those of you who have lost a loved one, or suffered illness, or have had your lives upended, I suffer with you. I also join those of you who lean into these times with curiosity, co-creating what is on the other side of this curve we are trying to flatten.
We are living history. This time was variously described as volatile, uncertain, and exponential before Covid-19 gave new scale to those words. Increasingly, there’s a sense that this virus exposed fractures and fault lines that were problematic before and hardly represent the “back” to which we want to return. From heroic individuals and teams patching holes in their healthcare systems to the racial inequalities in access to care, from the devastating effects on our economy to the promising effects on our ecology, this virus has highlighted matters already in front of us at IZL, and has thrown the world into a ripeness for change.
We at IZL are changing, too. We’ve adapted our in-person programs to a virtual format, both our Zen Leader (ZL) series and our HEAL series. We’re trying out two different formats: a concentrated weekend program similar to the in-person experience in terms of daily intensity and, starting in the fall, a serialized 6-session experience with an opportunity to build practices over time. That’s not to say we won’t return to in-person programs when it becomes safe to do so, but we are excited to explore the possibilities of this new necessity. You may find, even if you’ve attended one of our programs in person before, that the online experience becomes an excellent refresher and integrator as the training reaches you in situ. If funds are an obstacle, we can help with that, too, as we’re making a number of partial scholarships available. You can learn more about and register for these programs here, and contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
There’s an even broader sense, though, in which we are changing, and that is through you. As I hear story after story from physicians and nurses who have trained with us where a breathing practice helped them, or centering into hara resourced them at a critical time, I’m so grateful that they’ve taken the training into their bodies. As I hear from coaches and leaders who are volunteering to be a calming resource for others or are reinventing their businesses to resonate with the new needs of the people they serve, I am heartened that we are among those who can lead the Way, no matter what the conditions. These are the times we’ve trained for. And these are the times demanding our training.
Together, let us connect to the earth, expand to the universe, feel our own heartbeat in all people, and let a long, slow exhale clarify what’s next.