I recently did work with an organization that had approached us with an interest in designing a retreat during which staff would consider options for embracing climate action and environmental organizing strategies as part of their efforts moving forward. In one of our early planning calls, I asked how this new direction made sense given where the organization had historically focused its resources (affordable housing, open space advocacy, community beautification), and the response was a very thoughtful, “That’s a good question.” Furthermore, I asked if there was anything they were planning on letting go of. Again, pregnant pause and . . . “That’s a good question.” And so began a very fruitful conversation, the upshot of which was an opening segment of the retreat that focused on developing a coherent frame for the organization that could more easily and sensibly integrate climate and environmental work. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for September, 2010
This video of Seth Godin’s funny Gel Conference talk about why so many things are broken around us has, from my perspective, many truths and considerable wisdom to it. One thing that has become clear from the last few years’ worth of meeting and working with community groups and social change advocates is that it’s time for more of us to step up and name what’s broken. From our antiquated and alienating public participation processes (see this link for a list of 21st century engagement techniques) to mind-numbing soul-sucking meetings to our siloed and overly simplistic ways of seeing and approaching complex and systemic problems, we know we can and must do so much better. So say it with me – “It’s broken.” This isn’t about complaining or assigning blame (because that would be broken too), it’s about getting curious about the brokenness and creative about reassembling the pieces into something that better supports our collective humanity. And, to follow Mr. Godin’s lead, why not have a sense of humor about it?
“The process of coming to terms with vulnerability is one that necessarily shifts a person’s values focus to one that emphasizes self-transformation and interdependence.”
The word “vulnerability” seems to be up in many parts of my life. On the home front, there is a lot of discussion about vulnerability as being key to building stronger relationships with my wife and daughters. What this generally means is being more in touch with feelings of not being in control, of concern for those most dear to me, and of desiring greater closeness. At times I seem to be good at ignoring these either because I perceive them as painful or inconvenient, and subsequently create a buffer to my ultimate aim which is depth and richness of connection. Read the rest of this entry »
I read from the poem below at our staff meeting this morning, to recognize one of many transitions we are making as a collective. Now settling into our new space that features an amazing “Collaboration Zone” that is garnering some attention locally (wait until you see the pictures!), we are also recognizing the new season that is upon us. By way of checking in with one another during our inaugural in-gathering in our Seaport offices, I invited people to take Robert Penn Warren’s lead below and think about what they hoped to preserve of summer and what they look forward to embracing in the fall. “Transcend and include,” is what we like to say around here. So what about you? As you pause, what do you hope to keep and to strive for?
First Moment of Autumn Recognized Read the rest of this entry »
Beautiful and timely video. Historically, we have shown and unbelievable ability to dehumanize one another. We seem to like dehumanizing one group at a time. In the United States today, it seems like Muslims have become the latest target – this video goes a long way to bring our beauty into perspective. Art leads.