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Mark Ita – Switzerland



Dear All

This process is culminating, slowly moving to the big moment – retreat in San Antonio and publication of the book that is the fruit of decades of relentless hardiness to which you, we, all contributed in some way or other. I had planned to follow this process within this group regularly and get in touch with you more intimately, Jackie, Jim, Tim, Herb, Rachel, Eric & al.

Hélas, my elephant carried me down another path – an exciting one, I dare say, looking back on my last year. It took me (working now in the aid industry) to Pakistan, to the Himalayas, to India and since this summer to western Africa – a life appealing to my sense of fun. So in the end I was never on the call and hardly able to keep up with all the lectures and discussions on this list.

Yet FLOW kept steadily popping into my days, even if only as mails to be deleted (a time consuming task in itself J) – reminders to my unconscious self to keep kindling the fire within me. I have a notebook (paper, not apple). I have it lying on my desk. I use it to keep track of daily business, to jot down ideas, observations and frustrations (with a pen). On its cover I have drawn the cycle of “awareness”, “purpose”, “competence” and “wellth” and around this spiral I arranged the 12 FLOW elements. It’s a faithful companion, sometimes giving rise to interested questions. When meeting people I always think of my first lessons in coach2 – just keep quiet. Connect, clarify and commit is a helpful triad.

I am off to Ghana tomorrow where I going to spend two weeks working with our team there engaged in preventing and treating blindness. I am then spending another week in Mali getting a new project under way together with a young Malian ophthalmologist (he takes his mobile clinic in a Landcruiser out into the sticks and operates 50 cataracts a day (!) – makes you very humble). I won’ t be on the call again L, I am afraid.

I had seriously considered coming to San Antonio (my dad use to work for a Texan rice company and I heard a lot of stories about San Anton). If it were on this side of the planet I would have been the first to come. I believe this process to be very significant – I learnt a great deal in these last six years with you, Mike (your warned me, this will be a lifelong relation, hehe). I would have liked to touch base with you all in person (some again) – the only way to really connect.

But the idea of coming home and then a fortnight later, rushing across the ocean for a short week-end is too much of a good and pricy thing to do. So I will not come, knowing I will no doubt miss out on something. Let alone bearing the frown on my wife’s forehead (I am high acceptance).

This morning I went to my boss to say good bye and we got talking for about an hour, about my work over the past year, about the state of the world. Somehow we got round talking about our organization, about burn-out cases, stress, productivity, the tension between ideality and reality in this kind of work. Requisite organization jumped to my lips. I told him about my American friend who tried to bring happiness and success together and was on the verge on publishing a groundbreaking oeuvre. He was very, very interested and suggested I give a talk on it sometimes after I am back … (no, he didn’t have any funds for a ticket to San Antonio, very sorry – I had the cheek to askJ).

Well, I’ll be with you in my heart. And this venture is only at its prenatal state. So I wish you all a very fruitful workshop and a lot of fun. Take care

Best Mark

 

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