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The Soul Goal

It has been a week since the closing of CPI’s Instructors’ Conference in New Orleans, and I’m still feeling the beat. 
Yes, there is great music in NOLA, but I’m experiencing the reverberations of a different beat.
A committed group of professionals that is beyond compare: Education, health care, security, behavioral health, and youth workers and many other human services professionals joining to learn and to teach. A single beat played out in a variety of complex choruses. Connected by values that guide their work practice and vision for staff development in a critical area. 
The single beat at the core of it all: There are ways to balance responsibilities for providing Care and Welfare with obligations to maintain Safety and Security.

We came to NOLA in search of soul, and it was in our midst.
I recall meeting with our creative chief, Marvin Mason, many months ago to talk about the Conference theme. He showed me the first Conference announcement that said:

Hear the beat & feel it in your soul.

He explained his thinking about enhancements to the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training program and how they surround and amplify the core precepts of CPI—like how different rhythms incorporate a single beat to create new songs.

We thought out loud about all that CPI Certified Instructors bring to Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training to make it resonate with staff they work with. It was the same thing: Surrounding that core beat with other tones to enhance relevance factors. 

We asked writer/CPI podcast host Terry Vittone, our resident musician, to join in our discussion, and more music analogies flowed. Marvin connected with some musicians in New Orleans who actually wrote two songs to play at our Conference kickoff. Both songs had the same beat, but they certainly weren’t the same song. Marvin’s message may have been muffled in the crowd of 500+ Certified Instructors celebrating their completion of an intense three days of training, but it wasn’t lost on this group. It had been playing out during those training days as Instructors built expertise in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training, wrestled with incorporating new learning, and collaborated to present content application considerations. Different tunes, same beat. 
And then, there’s the soul.
One can’t help but feel the soul of New Orleans, just by exploring its streets.

The music is most obvious, but when considering the devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina, you know it’s more than that.

At the Conference General Assembly presentation on Thursday afternoon, we heard from Certified Instructor Jeff DeMars, who shared his personal experience of survival—before, during, and after Katrina.
Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans, graced us with her presence at the Thursday evening recognition event and enlightened us through her perspectives about Katrina and the people of New Orleans. Her words and music conveyed an important message about shining what light you can through adversity.
Dr. Linda Hoopes’ Conference session on resilience put a frame around this picture of post-Katrina New Orleans. A resilience nurtured by the soul of a city.
At Conference, I also felt a distinct soul in the community of CPI Certified Instructors.

As I sat to share meals and eavesdropped in classes, I realized that the common beat was just a component of this collective CPI soul. Commitment. Resilience. Being the light through adversity. Holding on to what is at the core of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training while weathering storms that threaten its foundation. Standing up for quality standards—the fortitude of that foundation. Authentically portraying how it all really works when staff are up close and personal with crisis situations. Striving for the ideal while dealing with the realities that impact workplace training. Person-centered values conveyed through stories, questions, and problem solving. A shared understanding of the importance of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training and genuine interest in how it is cascaded through other settings.

These soul ingredients touch all of us professionally and personally. For it is this community of Certified Instructors that train staff who teach our children and care for our loved ones. I am touched and humbled by the work being done by Certified Instructors.
This is the soul of CPI, and as we learned from NOLA, the soul does not change.

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