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October 2, 2012

Spirituality and Citizenship

I recently had the privilege of engaging in a public dialogue with Amy Edelstein, senior teacher of Evolutionary Enlightenment.  We were brought together to talk about the relationship between active citizenship and active spirituality.

The very idea of citizenship emerges in the context of a trajectory, a movement from less freedom to more freedom.  There is something aspirational in it, it is supposed to help us move towards an unfinished project – an ideal.

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October 1, 2012

Finish Each Day

Years ago, Bob Moses of the Algebra Project gave me some feedback I response to my request. He said “You have to make peace with the fact that there’s more to do than you can get done.” I’ve been trying to make that peace ever since!

What helps you to “finish each day and be done with it?” What gets in the way?

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September 28, 2012

The Ego and the Hub

I’m into networks.  It takes a significant shift in perspective to get into networks.  We develop aptitudes and ways of being-with that allow us to contend with grater complexity.

I’m so into networks that I had the privilege of participating in a community of practice on networks and decentralized organizing.  Networks thrive on trust and relationship and it was with this knowledge that we dove in.  We became friends, we grew to love, appreciate and trust each other.

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September 27, 2012

Racing to Justice

IISC staff is engaged in reading this recently published and important book by john a. powell, currently Director of the Haas Diversity Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. I sometimes have the tendency to skip to the end of non-fiction books, in this case the Afterword, to see where the story ends. Without wanting to be a spoiler, I wanted to share these words from powell, which I find a real motivator to dig deeply into the book and the work it asks of us:

“To reach our common ground, to create a sense of mutuality and common space, we must realize that the embodiedness that spiritual seekers know is also needed in the justice system and in efforts to end suffering in our society. Abstract concepts and cold individualism fall short of justice, fall short of addressing need, and allow the victory of greed. We need to reach out to one another from a perspective that makes group membership less determinative of opportunity and more related to enhancement of self and community. We need to increase our sense of abundance and improve our sense of well-being, as individuals and in relation to one another. Accomplishing this requires an identification of the white worldview along with an incorporation of the many of visions that tell America’s story. And it requires a renewed commitment by all of us to fulfill the promise of a truly democratic society.”

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September 26, 2012

How Vertical Are You?

I want to tip my hat to mentors and thought partners, both near and far, for fueling my thinking around the topic of this post – thanks to Carol Sanford, Richard Hawkes and Tom Lombardi at Growth River, Glenda Eoyang, Richard Barrett, and my IISC colleague Gibran Rivera.  There is much discussion in the social sectors these days about the need to be more fearless, to take risks, to fail early, to be innovative and vulnerable.  Influenced by my colleagues, I like to frame all of this as being about our need to think and act more “vertically,” that is, with an evolutionary thrust, in the direction of personal and systemic growth and development, opportunity generation, and a sense of  accountability to a greater community or “we.”  Read More

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September 25, 2012

Process and Culture

I’m a process junky.  I believe that good process makes it possible to do things that would be impossible otherwise.  Any effort ambitious enough to try and shift a system from competition to common intention is an effort that must rely on good process.  Good process provides and often temporary social architecture that is designed and facilitated to maximize generative collaboration.

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September 21, 2012

Playing it Safe

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

About a week ago I was in my car on my way home, and traveling toward me on the busy sidewalk was a young man (20-ish) on a skateboard. It took a moment for me to register that he had a toddler-aged girl on his shoulders. Neither of them had helmets or shin pads or any protection whatsoever.

My first thought was “Stop! Get that child off his shoulders — they could both be killed if he hits a rock! This is child endangerment!!!” All my alarms started clanging, and I was on HIGH alert.

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September 20, 2012

Coming Full Circle

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

-T. S. Eliot

It’s interesting to see how, as much as things evolve, there is also a circularity to this movement.  For the past few years we have been working with the Graustein Memorial Fund on Right from the Start, an early childhood system change initiative for which the Fund has served as core convenor and funder.  Come to find out that IISC’s new President, Ceasar McDowell, was in on early conversations that launched the Memorial Fund’s unique and wonderful Discovery program to seed community-based collaboratives for early childhood development planning. Read More

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September 18, 2012

#Occupy – Year 1

I love the fact that the mainstream can’t get its head around what #occupy is all about.  I am glad the movement does not fit a pre-existing paradigm.

I love the fact that occupiers themselves find no consensus on what #occupy is all about.  It means the movement is still emergent and therefore most alive.

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September 17, 2012

Change your map, change your world?

Beth O’Neill, of Interaction Associates recently led a session on Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). It’s the only thing she has seen in her many years as a coach and consultant that actually helps people change beliefs. NLP gets at the deep structure of what we’re trying to communicate, rather than focusing on what comes out at surface structure of our communication. It explores how our thoughts, actions and feelings work together right now to produce our experience. It’s a practical way to get at the unconscious, looking at what’s running our patterns, and creating opportunities for us to make conscious changes that bring forth the outcomes we seek.

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September 14, 2012

Get the Tools to “Be the change”!

Facilitative Leadership® is a model of leadership rooted in a whole systems approach, shared power and decision-making, and collaborative skill.  It is informed by some of the most important drivers of social change including a commitment to equity and inclusion and networks as levers for change, and a belief in love as a force for social transformation.

At the heart of the workshop are seven powerful leadership practices that will help you create a work environment distinguished by outstanding performance and personal satisfaction.

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