Why are we still doing this?

Ten years ago, I was just getting started on my first sabbatical (actually, my only one so far, now I think about it).

To mark this moment, I’d signed up for a conference about as far from suburban Surrey as was possible: the wilds of New Mexico. Coming as it did just a couple of weeks after visiting one of our placement students in Cape Town, it’s fair to say that I was keen to demonstrate the value of all of this to the rest of the family.

And I hope that I have.

A decade -and 500 posts – later, I’m still benefiting from my time in Albuquerque, even if I remain resolutely unable to spell it without outside help.

I’m well aware that it’s unusual to have such a long-running collaboration, especially when it’s mostly online: in a good year, I’ll maybe see one of my ALPS colleagues once; otherwise it’s emails and comments on posts and the like.

Part of our durability is that we have a lot to share with each other in our practice. I’m still learning new things from them, and vice versa. Our paths have gone in very different directions, which has generated endless points for discussion and reflection, as well as material to put into letters of support for each other.

But it was also about the positivity of that first experience, back in 2011.

Before I hit town, I’d taken a road trip around the region; driving along deserted desert roads, soaking up the landscape, learning to live with MOR on the radio and generally being away from it all. Those few days set me up perfectly for a conference format that actively encouraged building collaborations and getting more fully into each other’s work.

So maybe it’s like my photo, above, from the Canyon de Chelly.

Many centuries ago, the Puebloans built homes at the base of the cliffs, as safe places that also provided them with access to what they needed. It’s not necessarily how you’d do it today, but it’s still pretty impressive, none the less.

Here’s to another decade of sharing and learning.