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The Revolution of tenderness starts between you and me

Written by Irene van der Does de Willebois

A journey of thousand steps starts with one step

Lau Tzu

“Sometimes all that we know seems to come together through one single event. When you realise that all the other events were just a preparation for one big invitation to show up to one of the most difficult points in your life. The invitation, seemingly too frightening to open on your own, starts with a courageous leap of faith, a first step into the unknown.

My invitation was delivered a few weeks ago. I had been in the Netherlands 2 weeks prior to my mothers passing. 10 days after I returned back home, my sister called me early in the morning to tell me that my Mum had died. The days following, I made one of the most difficult decisions in my life. I did not go back to the Netherlands for my Mother’s funeral.

Instead I decided to celebrate her life in my own way. I created a ceremony in her honor, whereby I was kindly supported by the family I have created for myself in Australia.

It was 12 days after the Paris terror attacks. During the ceremony we reflected on the terrorist attacks worldwide. Finishing something along the lines that if we do not stand up against the violence, our western civilisation will be gone within a decade. Boooooom! That hit a nerve….

I was brought back in memory to earlier this year, the 11th January 2015, her 85th birthday. My mother invited the whole family on a guided tour to the exhibition “I care about you” in Dutch ‘Ik Geef Om Jou’. A broad cultural and historical exhibition through the ages on the history and development of Christian charity and based on the 7 works of mercy (Matthew 25).

Looking back maybe she had predicted her fate already, and knew that this was her last opportunity to summon the family and show us the importance of looking after one another. The day she passed, I knew intuitively she’d invited me, firstly to  care for those within my own environment, secondly leading by design, giving me permission to grieve and celebrate her life in my own way. No one in my family at first may have understood why I did not go back for the funeral, but have come to accept.


I care about you

Look right and look left at your colleagues. We’re all human beings that experience loneliness, discomfort, feeling misunderstood, have little fights/frustrations disappointments etc. in the same character as we see at a macro level in the bigger picture of the world. There comes a time in our lives where we’re invited to show up in an authentic way. Inevitably it might go against what’s expected from us. The invitation, seemingly too frightening to open on your own, a courageous leap of faith, will be a first step into the unknown. An invitation to serve a larger purpose then the more obvious one. One that goes beyond yourselves.

….so where do we start?

Let me encourage you to join the revolution of tenderness in your own way and take that first step into the unknown today. Create your own ritual to express that you care. One whereby we courageously trust ourselves as we open our heart and connect with those around us. To the ones who make it easy to love, and find the strength to reach out to those who make it more challenging. If we can show up and show we care, we indeed will start to contribute to a better place to work…..and who knows, perhaps a better world.


Start #leading by design and show you care follow us on twitter I care for you @ikgeefomjou, @shinealight so we can turn the tide of violence. Or donate and buy a heart bracelet today (20% of each heart purchase will be donated to charity)





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