Tag Archive: poetry

October 22, 2013

Finding What You Didn’t Lose


|Photo by Britt Reints|http://www.flickr.com/photos/23724661@N00/8672736002/in/photolist-edo3g5-bLLq6D-9TNBMk-9K8JD7-877WgZ-87b9gq-87b9J9-87b8db-87b9Zd-877WJK-87bai7-8yUg5m-aBjCdA-cZRB4S-dZibct-bdNMCr-7UxW4y-9TNCwM-9KfTc9-7CXm6D-djaFhx-7NCbqY-fm2CKt-fUCwSF-a7ofHQ-7Za1Bg-dsQ3GS-bqCBEg-8T3Hzn-cRpQcA-djaFet-e3RwjX-9KY7rx-atQEAm-7yZwfM-7yXPYm-84QSeo-cnHVSd-axtohs-8PDUBW-7Nyd36-cu1VmW-9acyQz-dDK9E9-dDK9Hd-9pUsHG-a64ak1-7RfDxU-fCPjk6-9VpVpq-85UK7p|

With appreciations to Carole Martin for passing this along, I wanted to offer this poem as a reminder of the important role of listening in helping to create trust and grounded-ness in the work of social change . . .

Finding What You Didn’t Lose

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water. Read More

October 16, 2013

Networks: Trust, Drive Time and Other Offerings

“Creating a culture of trust in a network can have a big payoff. Why is this so? First, when trust is well-developed in a network, people are willing to get involved in high-risk projects where their reputation and resources are at stake. These kinds of projects usually have a lot of impact. Next, high levels of trust usually make decision making easier and less time consuming. Finally, a culture of trust enables people to accept and work with people who are quite different from them, which increases the number of people working on network activities.”

– June Holley, Network Weaver Handbook

Trust Fall

|Photo by Mike Baird|http://www.flickr.com/photos/72825507@N00/6827018401/in/photolist-bphfHP-ayA7wy-bKZzec-e4iaNi-aaixFs-bKZArr-e58faj-e52zee-e58ah1-e5838j-e586eo-e58cR5-e584Hq-8Wcf9Q-csNfzU-dftPtq-dZTbw9-bWm4ku-d6vnvU-d6vg8U-awDsBx-dz9vRu-7CW4pj-acYjbQ-agyEHk-9XrqN1-9XouvF-9XowsD-9XrpRj-9XrorW-d6vBWJ-d6vpE5-d6vFUQ-d6voKN-d6vJaN-d6vuLJ-d6vRoQ-d6vUZW-d6vxbE-d6vDLf-d6vSBq-d6vvPL-d6vWoA-d6vXLJ-d6vybf-d6vqN1-d6vQrY-d6vGTA-d6vma9-d6vzeb-d6vKqG|

The importance and power of trust in networks for social change cannot be overstated.  Time and again, and despite what might show up as initial resistance, being intentional about getting to know one another beyond titles, official positions, and transactional exchanges reaps tremendous benefit, for all the reasons June Holley mentions above and more.  Taking time and making space to build trust helps people to do the important work of social change and is in many cases an embodiment of the change we are trying to make in the world – when we expand our circles of compassion and inclusion; when we create new patterns of opportunity, exchange and resource flows; when we see and validate previously unrecognized or undervalued assets.

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August 28, 2013

Glimpses of Wholeness

Last Friday, as we closed our joint offering with the Center for Whole Communities, “Whole Measures: Transforming Communities by Measuring What Matters Most,” at Knoll Farm, participants and facilitators alike carried forward insights and ongoing questions about what wholeness is and what might help to create more of it in our communities and organizations.  The timing was auspicious as the nation has been marking the anniversary of the March on Washington and reflecting upon the progress we have made towards wholeness as embodied in Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, delivered in a speech 50 years ago today.   Read More

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June 5, 2013

Keep Dancing

Dancing Feet

|Photo by Joanna DeSilva|http://www.flickr.com/photos/22699882@N05/3925277668/in/photolist-6YS5ib-731gRb-7xiBcx-a1ytiD-7CaEeJ-ajVWkp-98jyKZ-dpFP4y-a4Kv9w-a8mSWm-a4Kth5-c3wLoG-7UDmJg-cJkmD7-7MfYHF|

I read a quote earlier this week that I had seen before that went something like, “We need to act our way into a new way of thinking.” Indeed, increasingly what seems to be called for is the practice of prototyping and risk-taking, breaking the more linear and often drawn out process of plan-act-reflect-refine. This poem by Mary Oliver, from her book A Thousand Mornings, captures something of this spirit for me: Read More

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December 2, 2011

Tactile Speech

Nikky Finney recently won the National Book Award in Poetry for her collection Head Off and Split. If you have not seen or heard her acceptance speech, it is to be seen/heard (if you go to the link, you will have to fast forward a bit through John Lithgow and Elizabeth Alexander). In so many poignant and wonderful ways, she reminds us that, as Audre Lorde once wrote, “Poetry is not a luxury.”

In the video segment above, Finney brings greater dimension (and a sense of history) to the creative writing and speech act, by describing her affinity for blackboards as a way of engaging in more visual and tactile ways with her craft. Her words remind me of what I think many of us at IISC love about visual facilitation and graphic recording in our collaborative capacity building work, of putting marker to butcher block paper, rather than simply or exclusively relying upon conversation, PowerPoint and/or video projected word processing.  Process design and facilitation is a contact sport.

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November 23, 2011

Occupying Experience

Poetry is what you find

in the dirt in the corner,

overhear on the bus, God

in the details, the only way

to get from here to there.

Elizabeth Alexander (From “Ars Poetics #100: I Believe”)


|Photo by David Shankbone|http://www.flickr.com/photos/shankbone/6219944289|

Let me start by saying that I am well aware of the inherent irony of posting a piece with this title in the blogosphere and furthermore tweeting about it to my “followers.”  That said, I offer this in the same spirit of the saying, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill the Buddha.”  In other words, thanks in advance for reading/sharing, and then let’s get back to the work of being our own lights.

As I turn thoughts to this week’s holiday, I am thankful for so much: for health, for family, for friends, for the opportunity to do the work I do, where and with whom I get to do it.  And I am also grateful to be living in these uncertain, trying, and exciting times.  If we would believe history and the views of certain amateur and professional philosophers, we might see our current circumstances as the makings of a great age and evolutionary leap forward. Read More

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September 9, 2011

Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African American to win the Pulitzer prize for poetry following the release of her second book. She went on to publish over twenty texts and became well known in her home state, Illinois, and across the country for her outstanding contribution to American literature.

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August 25, 2011

Love and Sustainability

loving sustainably

|Photo by Shykh Seraj|http://www.flickr.com/photos/51937229@N05/5648441691|

Perhaps feeling wistful in these late summer weeks as we lean towards fall, I seem to have a penchant for all things poetic. Who better to read then, than my friend and colleague Danny Martin, who blogs at a site entitled, “The Art of Working WITH Life.” Danny wonderfully and naturally spouts poetry, his own and others’, as he reflects on what it means to live and lead sustainably. In a recent post on relationships, he writes, “sustainability is about learning to work with differences in a way that will allow us to address the challenges of everyday living and also thereby deepen the relationship with the world we live in.” In other words, it is about learning to love, or as Humberto Maturana has defined it, “respecting the other as a legitimate other.” I have noted that the whole notion of love resonates more and more deeply with people in leadership trainings. The mention of the word does not lead to the same kinds of winces, embarrassed grins, and occasional rolling of the eyes as it did even 3 years ago. What’s love got to do with it? “Everything!” a couple of people shouted in my most recent training in Connecticut.  As we discuss it, we revolve around the many different splendors and interpretations, but at the end of the day most everyone agrees that while it may be difficult to define love, we know when it’s absent. And we know we suffer for its loss.

So with thanks to Danny for drawing my attention to them, I pass along these poetic ponderings of Czeslow Milosz, and invite you to consider the link between love and sustainability: Read More

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April 21, 2011

Multi-Sensory Engagement


|Photo by scalespeeder|http://www.flickr.com/photos/scalespeeder/2652863086|

We are big believers here, at IISC, in pulling on all of the senses and our full selves to create engaging experiences that bring out the best that people individually and collectively have to offer for the sake of social change.  Often meetings and convenings only scratch the surface of our many sensibilities, as if we were simply brains on sticks, without bodies, without hearts.  Subsequently much is lost that we may not even be aware of.  As Kare Anderson writes,  “Even apparently small physical experiences make a big emotional and even learning difference.”

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December 17, 2010

A Process Poem

Thanks to the current ICL/Hanley Center Health Leadership Development class for the conversation that inspired this impromptu composition . . .

How Matters

How matters,

Perhaps more than you think.

Who you invite matters,

And how you invite them.

How you come together matters.

What you talk about and how you talk about it matters.

Where and how you start matters,

As does where you go next,

And where and how you end.

How matters.

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May 24, 2010

Poetry and Space That Matters


|Photo by cat's_101|http://www.flickr.com/photos/danseprofane/4349608/|

On the heels of a very rich Whole Measures training last week, along with a beautiful weekend spent largely outdoors, I have been reminded of the power of poetry and paying attention as means of creating individual and social shifts.  As part of our opening during last week’s training, we invited pairs to read a selected poem to one another, paying attention to any feeling they had in their bodies while doing so, and then speaking to their partners and then the whole group about the impressions with which they were left.  The exercise was a great illustration of how we can tap into the different dimensions of social space to open people to new ways of seeing, being, and doing, and to what really matters most.  So what better way to start off the week than with a little poetry that speaks to what is simultaneously obvious and often missed in our lives?
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