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  • Andrea Andrade

A Complex Act of Wonder

Group Relations Work granted me a fair understanding of how I identify myself, my work and my purpose in community with others. It revealed parts of my identity that I am proud and ashamed of, which equally filled me with wonder. Learning about the shades of my own light and shadow elicits a, sometimes insatiable, reconciliation with a version of myself I once aspired to be. In this practice and play of group relations, we have an incessant phrase “do the Work”, for which we may all have a different meaning to what the Work means, for me it is rooted on the idea of becoming. The constant evolution and revolution of my own human experience. What the Work means to me is putting into action what I see and feel of myself bringing into a space. It has taught me to be constantly aware of who I represent, what privileges I am decorated with, what voices I stand for, and which ones I stand over.

This complex sense of awareness may be overwhelming and taxing in mind and body, so understanding the boundaries of my own capacity to do so is important to maintain the integrity and truth of my work. Reminding myself of this awareness before I interact with others, allows me to cultivate and nurture a practice that beckons compassion, love, and power in the healing process. The wonder that group relations experiences continues to give me, introduced me to a sense of maturity to the sundry of identities I claim; as a heterosexual woman of color, as a binational citizen divided by borders, a scholar, a daughter, a sister, and now as a new mother.

The effort of this Work and of the teachers, mentors, and colleagues, who have taught me, and joined me in, this practice have paved the way to the realization of how valuable it is to be mindful of who you are and what you bring to a space. We are sentient, interconnected beings, and I believe that the moment we realize what we are doing, and represent, to each other, will be the moment we honor and celebrate community, in all the sense of the word. The Group Relations experience may not be the language for all civil conversations, but it is one I resonated with and am working to interpret and make accessible for those willing to explore a deeper meaning to an experience.

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