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The very wise Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” His words are ever present in my mind these days as I have become so exhausted by the negative tone on every avenue of social media. What saddens me most of all is the number of relationships that have been affected due to political unrest in our country. Desiring a change, I found myself elated to stumble across my neighbor, Marni’s Facebook post announcing her newest training as a Red Boot Coalition Guide. With the goal of compassionate listening, The Red Boot Coalition challenges biases, questions assumptions and brings down barriers. The founder of the Coalition, Molly Barker, has discovered that it is possible to share differing ideas with others in a way which does not result in the kind of mean-spirited negativity which is so pervasive in our world today. Sounds like a step in the right direction, doesn’t it?
Marni is not only my favorite neighbor, but she is also a Certified Life Coach with Thrive Unscripted. She works with women ready to embrace transition, including relocation, and fully thrive in their own unscripted way. Check out her website HERE. She is a wife, mom, and friend who also happens to love the beach and craft beer. And, as I previously mentioned, is a Red Boot Coalition Guide and an advocate for kindness and connection.
Marni Cummings has been generous enough to share with us more about the Red Boot Coalition so without further ado, here are her words:
Like a lot of people right now, I have concerns about our current divisive political climate. I have a desire to bring people together; to foster connection and unity. A reoccurring thought of mine, especially during the election last year, is that regardless of gender, religion and beliefs, we are all much more alike than we are different. And according to Molly Barker, founder of both the Red Boot Coalition and Girls on the Run, we all want the same things, as well, to feel safe and loved.
I received training and certification to be a Red Boot Coalition Guide in January so I can take my life coach certification farther and try to make a bigger difference in my community. The mission statement of The Red Boot Coalition is: “By engaging in honest sharing and compassionate listening, inspired by the Red Boot 11 steps, we create places where people feel safe, connected and loved.” Red Boot brings together people of different backgrounds and beliefs to not only share their stories and experiences but to also deeply listen to, support and understand one another and know that we all matter. Although the Red Boot Coalition is based in Charlotte, NC, there are certified guides and meetings held in cities across the United States.
At each meeting, the discussion revolves around one of the eleven core values, such as “We matter”, “We are intentional”, or “We are engaged”. Participants are asked to resist the urge to fix, save, advise or correct anyone during and outside of meetings. By attentive listening and use of “I statements”, participants take personal responsibility for experiences and stories shared. This helps keep the circle a safe place while avoiding the “we versus they” rhetoric that is so common today.
The Red Boot Challenge starts the week of February 13th and I am signed up as a participant. Although I have previously attended Red Boot meetings, I am taking the 12-week Challenge in a different area of town with hopefully a much more diverse group of people. The challenge involves a commitment to practice the steps and create an action plan. My plan will include learning from the stories and perspectives of others, and starting a Red Boot meeting in my community in the autumn.
For more information about the Red Boot Coalition, please go to theredbootcoalition.org.
Thank you so much, Marni for sharing a little bit more about the Red Boot Coalition. I look forward to hearing more about this very worthwhile challenge!
Why do you think the message of the Red Boot Coalition is so important to our country, and indeed, our world, right now?
Until next time,