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.
Archive for October, 2011
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.
“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 »
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 »