• Behind the Curtains

Travels with Harlene: Cancun

Hello dear readers! Welcome to another edition of Travels with Harlene, where Harlene Anderson gives us a peek into her life and her journey to fun and fabulous places where ideas and conversations are shared and many memories are made. We last left off with Harlene visiting China and Canada, and now she heads to the sunny tropical locale of Cancun, Mexico.

Cancun, Mexico. My next travel took me to Cancun, Mexico for the Taos Institute’s 25th Anniversary Conference. Oh, just looking at the exquisitely clear turquoise water and white sandy beaches as the plane approaches filled me with anticipation of being in this scenic part of the world and immersing in some of the Mexican customs and foods. Luis Castellanos and Becky Vela, dear colleagues for many years, met Sheila McNamee, Jack Lannamann and me at the airport and whisked us off to the hotel on the beach surrounded by stunning tropical foliage where we were met with welcoming and gracious hotel staff. It was one of those “all-inclusive” hotels, posing a delightful challenge of where and what to eat. The next day Sheila began our three day pre-conference workshop on Social Construction, Relational and Tranformative Practices. This welcome entry into the Anniversary conference provided a chance to have more intimate conversations with our workshop guests, including members from ten countries. We had lots of conversations, exploring issues of relevance to participants and their everyday work, inspiring discussions invited by questions: all conversations flowing from those in the large group to smaller conversation clusters. Not surprisingly conversations continued over lunch and in the evenings. The conference provided an abundance of workshops to select from (designed to provide ample opportunity for participants’ voices. We had fun receptions and a surprise rap performance by the members of the Board of Directors—though we didn’t win any Tony’s we had a great time. A big thank you to Jack Lannamann for being our musical producer. Next stop: Beijing.

I have no idea how she does it, but I am so thrilled that Harlene is able to travel to these places and be part of these conversations that are relevant to people's work while also continuing to grow and create more possibilities about how we view social construction, relational and transformative practices. I also secretly wish (though I suppose it is not so much a secret now) that there was video of this rap. It sounds like it was a blast for all involved. Thank you Harlene for sharing and we are looking forward to your next destination. I also hope that everyone has been enjoying their holiday season. For me this is a time of year where I reflect on where I have been and look into the possibilities of where I will be in the New Year. I also plan on enjoying my time with family and friends. So stick around, there will be more to come from us all at Behind the Curtains.

All the best,

Michael Pontello

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