This week, we return to part two of the discussion published on May 16th, Lungta in the Time of Corona: Leadership During a Crisis. This recording took place on the first of May, 2020. That day I sat in my kitchen, about a month into this new “sanitized and separated” way of life, and pondered if my mountain internet was functioning enough to record a “Zoom podcast.” Nonetheless, I quickly became absorbed by this conversation that gracefully discusses the layers of vulnerability as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic: a consistent, invisible force, spreading throughout every aspect of life. This conversation exemplifies compassionate leadership—that holds space for reality while simultaneously offering seeds of hope.
This offering brings together leaders of Windhorse Community Services and its sister entity, Windhorse Elder Care: Polly Banerjee Gallagher, Jack Gipple, and Stephanie Kindberg—joined by moderator Chuck Knapp. They invite us to appreciate this reminder of impermanence, of both the good and the bad, the fear and the pleasantries, and to remember what Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche discussed during his talk at Windhorse in March 2020: that “the present moment is the safest place to be.”
As the conversation carried on, I became increasingly aware of the mysterious, novel fears and anxieties that had been creeping into my own body and mind as similar sentiments swept across many parts of the world. I had yet to let myself relax into it, to accept the communal vulnerability and sadness these circumstances were presenting.
While exploring tangible approaches to maintaining some semblance of balance, Stephanie reminds us of the value of intention and routine, Jack recommends media hygiene, and Polly describes using Zoom “to not isolate in isolation.” We recognize the safe and comforting things that remain within our control even when a rabbit hole of unknowns threatens to swallow us up.
They also delve into the less tangible—yet equally important—suggestions for awareness: with the exchange of suffering within our homes, communities and throughout the world; and how to maintain a radical trust in our natural inclinations towards health, sanity and balance.
You will find within these words a reminder that although we may—at times—feel alone, we are all going through some version of this together. Whether it is relaxing into putting germs aside for just one moment to offer a client the freedom to send a kiss to their husband through your cell phone (tune in to hear this heartwarming story from Stephanie Kindberg), or seeking connection from those you trust, there are so many valuable and uplifting ways that we can find faith within each moment and maintain consistency amidst inconsistent times.
Although life has dramatically continued to change since this recording took place, it provided me with comfort and timeless wisdom. I hope that it gifts you with a similar sense of relief, and acceptance within this momentous challenge of our human experience.
Enjoy and take care,
Polly Banerjee-Gallagher is currently the Director of Windhorse Community Services. She has been a part of the WCS community since 1998 as a Housemate and Basic Attender, Team Leader, and Psychotherapist. Besides her clinical roles, Polly was also the Assistant Director of Admissions until 2019. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a MA in Counseling from the University of Colorado. Polly comes from a multicultural background as she was born in Burma and has lived in India.
Jack Gipple, MA, LPC, CAC III is the Clinical Services Manager of Windhorse Community Services (WCS), in Boulder Colorado. He earned his MA in Transpersonal Psychology in 1991. He has worked extensively with families, couples, and individuals dealing with issues related to behavioral and substance addictions, as well as a wide range of mental health challenges. He taught in the Naropa Contemplative Psychology Department for a decade and has been affiliated with the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless since 1992. Jack co-authored an article with Chuck Knapp “Windhorse Treatment: Group Dynamics Within Therapeutic Environments,” in Group: The Journal of the Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society. He has studied and taught T’ai Chi Ch’uan since 1985. He is a top-bar bee keeper, pinhole photographer, yogi, gardener, home orchardist, father, and husband.
Stephanie Kindberg is the Director of Operations at Windhorse Elder Care as well as a Team supervisor. She is a Recreational Therapist and worked at Windhorse Community Services for 5.5 years prior to Windhorse Elder Care. At WCS she held the roles of Basic Attender, Team Leader, and Community Relations team member.