Archive for October, 2011

Oct/31/11//Cynthia Silva Parker//Facilitative Leadership, Featured

The Art of Listening

Last week, colleagues Andrea Nagel, Jen Willsea and I facilitated the workshop, Fundamentals of Facilitation for Racial Justice Work for staff at the Boston Public Health Commission. One of the most powerful parts of the workshop was an exercise where participants had to listen to a view with which they disagreed without opposing, fixing or leading the speaker to another viewpoint. Challenging, to say the least! It raised a great question about not just how, but when to listen without attempting to shift anything. Like many of the workshop participants, I struggle with this practice, particularly when the speaker’s views fly in the face of realities I see and history I know, or when the very act of listening seems to give comfort to views that diminish my humanity. The struggle brought me back to a classic essay, “The Art of Listening,” by  feminist author Brenda Ueland.

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Oct/28/11//IISC//Featured

Wheels

The following is a letter by Akaya Windwood, President of the Rockwood Leadership Institute and member of the IISC Board of Directors.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I (two gray-haired women) went downtown to support the youngsters Occupying Wall Street here in Oakland. The night was wet, but there were plenty of folks out with signs, songs, speeches and goodwill.

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Oct/27/11//Curtis Ogden//Sustainability

Going WITH Life

“We can only have honest, effective hope if the frame through which we see is an accurate representation of how the world works.”

– Frances Moore Lappe

With a warm welcome and opening offering of D.H. Lawrence’s poem “Escape,” Danny Martin and I launched into our session last week at the Bioneers by the Bay Conference entitled, “Belonging and Becoming: Practices for Regenerative Leadership.”  The framing of our 90 minutes was the call to connect more deeply with the ways of complex living systems, to align ourselves more fully with life so that we might thrive as a human community.

During the first half of our session we took the poet’s suggestion to escape the “glass bottles of our egos” and access “unlying life” by engaging in some paired storytelling focused on the values that have guided us in our lives.  This was our effort to cultivate a deeper sense of belonging in the room, and we were amazed to hear how much people took from listening to one another for even 10 minutes.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Oct/26/11//Curtis Ogden//IISC:Outside

Deep Listening

The following is a post from my friend and colleague Danny Martin, that appeared on his web page on Monday, following our joint workshop at Connecting for Change, a Bioneers Conference.  Tomorrow I will extend this reflection with more details about our session and regenerative leadership practice.

So much to say this week but it all turns on the same theme of how to access the wisdom we need to move forward together into a more sustainable and just society. In a recent article about what he calls The New Economy Movement, Gar Alperovitz, a Professor of Political Economy in the University of Maryland, says that, instead of feeling confined to the binary paths of reforming the broken economic system or revolting to overthrow it, citizens are opting to create something new that will replace the current economic regime, making the old system obsolete in the process. He calls this third way ‘evolutionary reconstruction.’ Read the rest of this entry »

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Oct/25/11//Gibrán Rivera//Collaboration

The LIONetwork and #Occupy

I have the privilege of being part of the team that support the Rockwood’s Leading from the Inside Out Leadership Network (LIONetwork).  I share our latest communication for two reasons:  first, it serves as a brief survey of how the professionalized social sector is responding to #occupywallstreet.  Second, it serves as an example of our team’s effort to increase the network’s self-awareness by reflecting it back to itself while also offering an opportunity for deeper connection and discussion.  The e-mail follows:

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Oct/24/11//Cynthia Silva Parker//Technology

A Whole New Mind

In A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink points to a set of right brain functions that are essential to creativity, innovation and effectiveness in our work and our world. Design and Play are two of these functions, and they are beautifully expressed in this fountain at the Detroit Airport. Enjoy the way the water dances, wonder at the way the paths of water are designed and synchronized. Let it reawaken in you pure delight and ask yourself how you can bring play more fully alive in your work for justice.

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Oct/21/11//Curtis Ogden//IISC:Inside

Wecome to the Collaboration Zone

If you have not had occasion to visit our Boston offices, the video above gives you a glimpse of this beautifully designed space that supports the work of IISC and our sister organization Interaction Associates in pursuing our collective collaboration for change missions. Come see us some time, either by signing up for one of our public trainings, or if you’re in the neighborhood . . .

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Oct/20/11//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

The Pattern of the Whole Thing

“We seem to have been living for a long time on the assumption that we can safely deal with parts, leaving the whole to take care of itself. But now the news from everywhere is that we have to begin gathering up the scattered pieces, figuring out where they belong, and putting them back together. For the parts can be reconciled to one another only within the pattern of the whole thing to which they belong.”

- Wendell Berry, The Way of Ignorance

Throughout the past few years readers of this blog have seen some discussion about the tensions that exist between those working on individual behavior/spiritual change and those striving for structural transformation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Oct/19/11//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

Grace to #OWS

Grace Lee Boggs’ message to Occupy Wall Street – 10/9/11 from American Revolutionary on Vimeo.

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Oct/18/11//Gibrán Rivera//Facilitative Leadership

Leadership, Passion, Connection

Talent thrives within diverse ecosystems.  The straightforward and linear has given way to the complex and emergent.  This is the nature of evolution.  So it’s no longer about putting two and two together but about noticing patterns – it’s about sensing our way into the web of connection.

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Oct/17/11//IISC//Featured, Love

Love

An emergent collaborative spoken word poem by IISC staff.

You find yourself walking

there’s focus and intention

in appreciation of each soul’s journey

an openness to what we don’t know

and ever surrendering to the confusion of conviction

unfolding, becoming, self-giving

you notice the beauty of all that’s connected

and then you think about love

it flows forth and around

and through play

you can hear it, you can see it

supports justice whether its for you or against you

binding us and guiding us

and suddenly your heart opens wide

so that you can listen fully, be present fully- right where you are

so that what is unimaginable is possible.

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Oct/14/11//Curtis Ogden//Power, Equity, Inclusion

We Grew Apart

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Oct/13/11//Curtis Ogden//IISC:Outside

Connecting for Change

For the third year in a row, I am looking forward to presenting at the Connecting for Change conference, also known as Bioneers by the Bay, sponsored by the Marion Institute. The community of New Bedford, Massachusetts becomes the host and scenic back-drop to some amazing speakers, well known and not so well known, as well as presentations by an incredible array of people doing important work in our New England region. Read the rest of this entry »

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Oct/11/11//Gibrán Rivera//Liberation

Solidarity with Occupy Boston

More than one hundred Occupy Boston activists were arrested last night for acts of civil disobedience.  We stand in solidarity with this local expression of the growing national effort to expose the economic injustices that have come to plague our democracy.  Please contribute legal aid to Occupy Boston – donate here.

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Oct/11/11//Gibrán Rivera//Liberation

A Different Stance

Photo By: Zach

We take stances.  Some are weak, some are empowered.  Most often, they are habitual.  There are stances that have powerfully served us but might no longer be helpful.  These might be our habitual stances, our automatic postures, our best known ways of reacting.  It is important to become conscious about our stance. To be awake as we take a stance.  To loosen the grips of our habit.  To make room for new possibilities.

Adrienne Maree Brown, my dear friend and colleague and one of the facilitator’s I most admire, wrote a beautiful post about her visit to #occupywallstreet.  She invites us to consider our stance.  It is re-posted here:

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Oct/10/11//Cynthia Silva Parker//Featured

What kind of elders do we need?

The first person I met when I went to Dewey Square was a mom, about my age, who came down to see what her son was involved with. I have sons in this age range myself. Occupy Boston has me thinking a lot about what kind of elders we need and what kind of elder I hope to be.

In my college days, I had the privilege of knowing Bob Moses, of Freedom Movement reknown. He mostly spoke to us about issues of the day, always in a way that challenged our thinking and pressed us to think about what was calling our generation forward. He had taken a page from Ella Jo Baker’s book, focusing on building our capacity and confidence to shape our own agenda. We rarely talked about his Movement experiences and I was a little intimidated about asking a living legend about those days.

Early attempts to link Occupy Boston and community efforts focused on related issues have me thinking how best to share lessons and wisdom without squashing the enthusiasm of the younger folk. Younger folk—what kind of elders do you need? And older folk—what kind of elders do you want to be?

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Oct/07/11//IISC//Inspiration

Ellen Ochoa

Ellen Ochoa is  best known for being the first Hispanic woman astronaut, having made 4 space voyages, since being recruited by NASA, in 1991.  But, she is also a noted inventor, with three patents for her work in optics, is a trained classical flutist and private airplane pilot

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Oct/06/11//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

Network Quotes

Offered to and gleaned from the Farm to Plate Network proceedings in Vermont:

  • “For the human species to evolve, the conversation must deepen.” - Margaret Mead
  • “‘The system’ is not out there; it is the way we work together.” - Yaneer Bar-Yam
  • “Do what you do best and link to the rest.” – Jeff Jarvis
  • “Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family; whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” – Jane Howard
  • “Networks invite us to focus on contributions before credentials.” – Gary Hamel
  • “Transparency of information breeds self-correcting behavior.” – Thad Allen
  • “When it comes to collaboration, it’s about trust.” – Tom Martin
  • “If you don’t think that small things can make a big difference, you’ve never slept in a bed with a mosquito!” – Arianna Huffington
  • “Discover a few vital behaviors, change those, and problems – no matter their size – topple like a house of cards.” – Kerry Patterson
  • “I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there.” – Richard Feynman
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Oct/06/11//IISC//Technology

An Artist and a Leader

Mr. Jobs was neither a hardware engineer nor a software programmer, nor did he think of himself as a manager. He considered himself a technology leader, choosing the best people possible, encouraging and prodding them, and making the final call on product design.

-The New York Times

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Oct/05/11//IISC//Featured, Liberation

I, too, sing America

I too, sing America

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.

Tomorrow,

I’ll be at the table

When company comes

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me,

“Eat in the kitchen,”

Then.

Besides,

They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed –

I, too, am America.

~Langston Hughes

I write this on a train to New York City, after a whirlwind half-weekend in the nation’s capital a/k/a Chocolate City.  My time spent in DC is always edifying — good for my soul. Monday, I attended the opening day of what I expect will be a history making event – the Take Back the American Dream Conference 2011, sponsored by the Campaign for America’s Future and the Institute for America’s Future. Read the rest of this entry »

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Oct/05/11//Curtis Ogden//Networks

Growing a Food Network

“Networks are not just about sharing the pie.  They are about growing the pie.”

- Ellen Kahler, VSJF

It has been a privilege and an inspiration to spend the past two days working with my colleague Beth Tener and the amazing team at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) to help launch the Farm to Plate Network.  Over 150 people came together to connect and take the conversation deeper around how they want to work together to double local food production in the state over the next 10 years, as a way of boosting economic development, increasing jobs, and ensuring that every resident has access to healthy food. A big rallying cry has been the devastation that Tropical Storm Irene wrought on the farming community. And as we learned from former Secretary of Agriculture Roger Allbee during a very enlightening presentation about the Great Flood of 1927, once again Vermonters responded in ways that have impressed those (including the American Red Cross) who came to help, with their self-organizing and neighborly efforts to get one another back on track.

In an encouraging speech to launch the proceedings, Governor Shumlin highlighted the challenges and opportunities that stem from the changing climate that is predicted to increase precipitation 20% in the state in years to come. “Our best days are ahead of us if we can pull together,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


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Oct/04/11//Gibrán Rivera//Featured, Liberation

My visit to #occupywallstreet

I made it out to #occupywallstreet last Friday night.  Here is how my experience unfolded:

1.  Culture Shock

I’m into showers, they’re not.  I’m in my mid-thirties, grew up in a working class Puerto Rican community and I’ve been yupified over the years.  I didn’t see a lot of people of color and I wasn’t feeling the vibe.  I wondered how people from my community could ever make a link to this crowd.  I was welcomed to walk around, curiously browsing, checking out the scene, the art and the people.

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Oct/03/11//Cynthia Silva Parker//Featured

Walk Out, March On

“My heart is moved

by all I cannot save

so much has been destroyed.

I have cast my lot

with those who age after age,

perversely,

and with no extraordinary power,

reconstitute the world.”

-Adrienne Rich

I spent a couple of hours at Occupy Boston this weekend and a couple more hours on line reading about Boston, New York and the burgeoning movement in cities across the country.  The issues in Boston are wide and varied, including student debt, unemployment, corporate “personhood” and greed, foreclosure prevention, and “deep green resistance.” Everything is loosely connected under the banner of the “99%” who want to “take our country back.”

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