Completions, Wonder & Emergence

Flowers & Trees

And forget not that the earth

delights to feel your bare feet

and the winds long to play

with your hair.

~Khalil Gibran

Our lives in seasonal flow embrace this autumnal time as one of wind, change, letting go, and sometimes new beginnings. It is a time of contemplation, as I slowly turn pages to end important chapters of my life in preparation for dynamic change, emergence, and fresh movements, following a long chapter of mourning and coming to terms with significant losses.

The past several months have been focused on inner healing and clearing the decks, freeing up my time and energy for what is wanting to emerge. There is a sense of release into a spacious interior room swept clean by gusts of wind. This room is in my heart and resonates with connection … to Spirit … to beloved kin … to the pulsations, draws and pulls from the cosmic web of life.

conversationswithwisewomen

In the midst of this internal decluttering process, Coach Helene Van Manen invited me to do a recorded interview for her Conversations with Wise Woman series about my years living at The Farm Community in Tennessee (2000-06). She also wrote a lovely blog post “How The Farm in Tennessee Changed Lives.”

Young Emma at The Farm, circa 2002

This conversation has helped me to see my years at The Farm with a clearer perspective and also to finally find closure to that chapter of my life. Those experiences, work and lessons in right livelihood and good love are cherished, and someday I will go back to The Farm to visit friends and touch base again. Now The Farm Chapter of my life story is complete with this letting go.

I’m moving on from the past into mindful living in the present in Oakland, California with greater energetic aliveness. I have work that I am called to do here and now. In letting go of what was before and making a peaceful closure within, this better enables me to:

  • come more present to experience each precious moment now with a greater degree of wild aliveness,
  • see more clearly what needs to be done without an agenda or attachment to a particular outcome,
  • hear the voice of Source within guiding me to the next action steps, and
  • be open, allowing, compassionate and responsive.

Onward into October and emergence! I wonder. What will arise, become and expand? I intuit big changes on the horizon. Feels awesome to experience release of blockages and stuck places, step back into creative flow, and to be writing and sharing in my blog again.

Emergence

Posted in Coaching, Community, Gratitude, Health & Well Being, Higher Consciousness, Mindfulness, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seven Emergent Questions in Giftivism

nipun_meditatingNipun Mehta, a friend and colleague in ServiceSpace community circles, recently returned from a four-month journey through India sharing Giftivism. He wrote an inspiring blog post sharing his travel stories about seven emergent questions that came up during his visit, and I’m sharing those questions and nuggets of wisdom here, together with an awesome, recent interview with Nipun about his trip (and life) at the end. Enjoy!

Where do we find Gandhi today?

“What rises up like a fountain, will return in the form of many distributed drops,” Vinoba used to say.  That’s what we’re seeing today.  We call it “Gandhi 3.0,” where Gandhi stands for the age-old principle of leading with inner transformation and 3.0 represents the many-to-many networks that are popularized by the modern-day Internet.  It’s a bridge from the Internet to the Inner-Net.

Slowly they are building a new world, leading with the heart, but also engaging hands and head. They move to a different beat, with the common understanding that being the change, changes the being. This is the transformative force that can move worlds. The work is slow and meticulous, like the formation of mountains. That’s a good thing, because while we build the road, the road builds us.

How do we build a social network of “noble friendships”?

“Noble friendships isn’t half of the path, it is the entire path,” Buddha said.  Living in a fast-paced world where “defriend” is a dictionary word, there’s a growing need for deeper ties.  Our Facebook friends are loose ties, our movie buddies are deep ties, but it is our service kin who can be noble friends.  Without sensitivity towards our inner resources, technology is blindly pushing us towards external, loose ties but many are now working to shift the center of gravity along that spectrum.

… [This network is] a field of gratitude and connection.  It’s a foundation on which we can build.  Post Hurricane Katrina, all man-made structures were annihilated but centuries old oak trees survived — because of their intricate network of inter-connected roots, sometimes for a hundred miles. That takes time and it’s slow.  But it endures.

What does it mean to “lead with inner transformation”?

The crux of the matter is how sensitized we are to the connection between our internal transformation and external impact.  That becomes clear through practices.​ Those practices often become a way of life.

The intersection of personal and collective practices is also an open exploration.  Doing a prayer circle to start off a retreat or doing a group hug to close a circle is a collective practice.  In January, for instance, almost two dozen of us went together for a 10-day meditation retreat.  For many, even for those who had sat such courses before, the practice was significantly deeper because there was a sense of implicit encouragement from kin.

Similarly, volunteering together seems to have a multiplier effect on one’s inner transformation, too.

Conscious practices, in their thousand different varieties, help deepen one’s awareness and sensitize us to the profound connection between our inner and outer change.​

What does transformation-led impact look like?

Such impact is emergent, not predictive.  …  It depends on the context.  …  The point, though, is not to grasp the outcome but to trust in the values embedded in the process.  That subtle shift changes everything.

Once we get past the mild discomfort in not knowing the outcome, we arrive at the immense comfort in knowing that something is definitely emerging.  Hermann Hesse wrote, “Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.”

Wholesome values are generative. And like the seed, so the fruit.​

Leading with transformation, particularly in a “Gandhi 3.0” era, requires many shifts from leadership to laddership, from center to edges, from big to decentralized.  And from fast to slow, from shallow to deep, from efficiency to resiliency.  It’s a significantly different path, but you still arrive at impact.

What does it take for everyone to be a change-maker?

Each of our five fingers are different, but together they create an incredibly useful hand.  Many dream of a world where we can engage everyone’s diverse strengths and treat each as a change-maker.  Alas, holding such a vision within the construct of hierarchical organizing is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.  It requires an ecosystem, which takes time.

… [S]ervice doesn’t start when you have something to give, but rather when you have nothing left to take.   …  While traditional hierarchies are biased to externalize costs, ecosystems require ladders who externalize benefit.  Then, we have a field that can host everyone as a change-maker.

What is the shift from sympathy to empathy?

For many people, it’s unsettling to know Karma Kitchen isn’t set up to feed the hungry. We know that, as humanity, we produce enough food to ensure that no one goes hungry – but thousands still go hungry. Governments still dump grain in the ocean to protect the prices of their farmers.

The problem isn’t the food. It’s that we’ve become numb to the pain of others. That ever-widening gap between us and the others is the core of the issue. Sympathy is a noble feeling, but hasn’t been enough to solve the problems of our world. Where sympathy says, “I see your pain,” empathy says, “Your pain is my pain.”  It is a much deeper response, and we need spaces to cultivate that empathy.

We cannot afford to create a world where financial incentives are our primary motivation.  This goes for rich guys, poor guys and everyone in between.  Boxing the rich as funders can handicap their capacity as givers and limit other ripples from blooming.

Empathy is not just about sharing pain.  We also get to benefit from the merits of others, just as we share our smiles, joy, and compassion.

What is today’s “Charkha”?

Gandhi had the spinning wheel, the charkha, which symbolized so much of his thinking.  In a distributed and decentralized “Gandhi 3.0″ model, is there a spinning wheel?  Those are the kind of questions that Jayeshbhai and I ponder, in those rare moments of quiet that life grants us. :)  “I think today’s charkha is maitri.  What do you think?” he asked while sitting under a banyan tree once.  I agreed.  Maitri (or metta in Pali) is an internal vibration of love, that creates a field of deep connections, which then builds a matrix of inter connections where everyone’s offerings can flourish in a many-to-many gift ecology.  It is the plumbing for Gandhi 3.0. :)

As we genuinely do small acts of selflessness, it begets “maitri.” People express gratitude and offer their blessings.  Hundreds of times, people must have come to me in the last four months and thanked me for how “something ServiceSpace” served them in a meaningful way.  When an offering is made without any strings attached, it begets blessings, which then allows you to pay it forward with even greater vigor.  It creates a virtuous cycle.

All those little, and not so little, thank-you’s and many other silent ones which are only felt by the heart, is ultimately what sustains the movement.

That “maitri” creates the foundation for noble friendships. Falling into that field of security, detachment comes naturally. We then trust emergence. It’s that simple.  Dr. V called it “village intelligence.”

Noble friendships connected in good deeds: that was the essence of the whole trip.

Nipun Mehta is the founder of ServiceSpace (formerly CharityFocus).  In 2001, at the age of 25, Nipun quit his job to become a “full time volunteer.” Since then, his work has reached millions, he has received many prestigious awards, and has tirelessly addressed hundreds of gatherings in person. In 2005, Nipun and Guri, his wife of six months, embarked on a walking pilgrimage in India to “use our hands to do acts of kindness, use our heads to profile inspiring people, and use our hearts to cultivate truth.”  The 1000 kilometer walk radically deepened their commitment to service, and also was the subject of Nipun’s address at UPenn’s commencement in 2012.  Nipun’s mission statement in life reads: “Bring smiles in the world and stillness in my heart.”

Listen to Conversation:  On this wonderful Awakin Call, Nipun shares stories from his four month journey to India and his life. He also reflects upon the emergent theme of “Gandhi 3.0.”

lotusfieldGreat gratitude to brother love warrior Nipun for sharing his stories and wisdom.

May we pay the gift forward.

 

Posted in Abundance & Prosperity, Collaboration, Gift Economy, Gratitude, Higher Consciousness, Love, Meditation, Service, The Great Turning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hummingbird Day

looking down the palm tree driveway toward entrance by greenkozi

looking down the palm tree driveway toward entrance by greenkozi

This afternoon I walked with my companion dogs Jimmy and Alice to one of our favorite destinations in the neighborhood just a long block away — Central Reservoir Park, a sweet diamond in the rough. It’s a public park without a sign or any real indication that it’s there, other than a chain-link fence with a gate. Yet, it’s an urban sanctuary with a small and beautiful redwood grove, large baseball field, and a long path lined with majestic palm trees.

No one was there, as is typically true. Being with the green grass and trees freshened from the rains, this special place is a quiet oasis in which to reconnect with elemental nature and to practice walking meditation. The dogs love it because they enjoy some off-leash time.

Hummingbird the Green
Danny Perez Photography / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

On the way home not far from the park, we found a green hummingbird with a red throat and white belly (like the one in this picture) lying on the sidewalk. At first glance, it looked dead; but I knelt down and looked closer and saw it appeared to be stunned. I picked it up, and it’s little heart was beating fast and still very much alive. I had just passed a house where a grandfather was out in the yard with his two granddaughters. They had waved and said “hello” so I took it to show them. Instinctively, I knew that the old man would know what to do. He cupped it gently in his hands and smiled into my eyes reassuringly. He said he thought the little hummingbird felt too cold, so they would put it on a little blanket and warm it. It was a special gift to rescue and hold this tiny creature in my hands today. Tonight I say a little prayer to the Universe that it lives to fly and pollinate tomorrow.

Summer Story

When the hummingbird
sinks its face
into the trumpet vine,
into the funnels

of the blossoms
and the tongue
leaps out
and throbs,

I am scorched
to realize once again
how many small, available things
are in this world

that aren’t
pieces of gold
or power——-
that nobody owns

or could but even
for a hillside of money—–
that just float
in the world,

or drift over the fields,
or into the gardens,
and into the tents of the vines,
and now here I am

spending my time,
as the saying goes,
watching until the watching turns into feeling,
so that I feel I am myself

a small bird with a terrible hunger,
with a thin beak probing and dipping
and a heart that races so fast

it is only a heart beat ahead of breaking——
and I am the hunger and the assuagement,
and also I am the leaves and the blossoms,
and, like them, I am full of delight, and shaking.

Mary Oliver

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A Mug Suitable for a Queen

One of my greatest joys in life is working with clay and glazes to create hand-built ceramic pieces. Here is my newest creation “A Mug Suitable for a Queen” commissioned by a friend. Lately I’ve been into making these unusually large mugs.

A Regal 6" Tall and 4.5" Wide with Butterfly Medallions at Base of Handle on both sides

A Regal 6″ Tall and 4.5″ Wide with Butterfly Medallions at Base of Handle on both sides

Front of the Mug

Front of the Mug

Handle with Purple Stars (for my friend Jean Star)

Handle with Purple Stars (for my friend Jeannie Star)

Super Beautiful Turquoise Ice Glazing on Interior of Mug

Super Beautiful Turquoise Ice Glazing on Interior of Mug

Virgil is one of my ceramics mentors. He is passionate about making beads, which he strings into necklaces and bracelets. He is very knowledgeable about ceramics and helps everyone who works in the studio. Virgil handles most of the firing chores.

Clay Mentor Virgil with his Handmade Beads, Necklaces & Heads

Clay Mentor Virgil with his Handmade Beads, Necklaces & Heads

Our studio is highly cooperative. We share glazes in a glaze cooperative and everyone chips in on the expense. This way we have a large variety of glazes to choose from. Our big, old kiln was donated many years ago and still works great. Note the flame under the lid and temperature of firing!

Kiln Flames Showing Under Lid

Kiln Flames Showing Under Lid

HOT!

HOT!

My buddy Sweet Grass likes to make large bowls for gifts for her family and friends.

DSC07545

Retsie is an amazing artist in both ceramics and oil painting. She also has great fashion sense.

DSC07542

Steve likes to make abstract sculptures.

DSC07540

 

 

 

Posted in Artivism, Clay Art, Gratitude, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

V Day! Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down

Taking A Stand For Love

Today is V Day! Valentine’s Day! Validation Day! Self-Love Day! I’m celebrating the power and strength of the love in my heart and all around the world! Let us honor and validate ourselves and one another all day and every day. Let us sing the healing songs of Occupy Love: The Revolution to our best ability.

Enthusiasm and thankfulness are infectious, deepening trust and connection. Positive energy provides the most generative base for whatever comes next. Look for the good in what's happening and who people are, then work from there.

“Enthusiasm and thankfulness are infectious, deepening trust and connection. Positive energy provides the most generative base for whatever comes next. Look for the good in what’s happening and who people are, then work from there.” Image from a set of 91 cards called Group Works, developed by Tree Bressen, Dave Pollard, and Sue Woehrlin. The deck represents “A Pattern Language for Bringing Life to Meetings and Other Gatherings.” In the Relationship segment there are 10 cards. The second pattern in this segment is labeled Appreciation.

I am a stand for LOVE and the end of violence against women. I rise and dance with One Billion Rising today and tomorrow. I KNOW the rigors of a lifetime of recovery and the scorching pain and internal wounding of Survivorship, having been subjected to sexual and emotional abuse through my childhood and young womanhood. I also know the deep, abiding joy and liberation of thriving into health and wholeness with the recovery of self-love.

heartcandyHow Do Girls Survive? How Do Women Survivors Heal?

I survived by putting my beautiful child’s heart in a steel box in my chest when I was about four. I didn’t remember to take it out again until I was on a trip to co-create a Hawaii Spring Gathering for Network for a New Culture on the Big Island in 2003. It was my 45th birthday. That day, we swam with the dolphins. We were surrounded by turquoise sea, warm ocean breeze, watery sparkly air, vibrant flowers, green lushness, bamboo, beauty and peace. A dear friend and spiritual guide who knew more about love than anyone I’ve ever met helped me gently take my heart out of that old box. To assist us in this healing journey, a friend on the island had given me red foil hearts containing dark chocolate mixed with psilocybin mushroom as a gift.

What I remember most about this healing was that I saw a long, long line of people stretching out from the open door of my heart. Light was streaming out of my heart and holding everyone there in light. At the front of the line were people who I thought were my enemies — the people I had felt hurt by in one way or another. The love and space in my heart felt infinite, and the light was blessed with an essential for-giving. There was room enough in my heart for all. No need existed to possess, control or demand anything from anyone or to resist. And afterward, I felt a psychic, gaping hole in my chest for many weeks; but it slowly healed. Now I feel a sense of wholeness. It is good to remember this today.

Like many other women, I survived by also…

  • becoming a silent, fragmented, disassociated ghost of mySelf;
  • encasing myself within thick, impenetrable armor;
  • creating my own inner reality and nurturing a rich imaginary life;
  • not allowing anyone to get too close to see my shame and low self-worth;
  • compensating by being a good girl, working hard, striving for perfection;
  • attempting to write myself whole in journals, stories and poems;
  • turning my life into art.

I am a work in progress surrounded by sacred Source within and without. I am still in recovery and walking a path of healing; this may always be true. Sometimes I grieve for what could have been had I been fully supported, cherished and nurtured. Deep acceptance and honoring of this truth sets me free to dance with infinite possibilities in wholeness.

 “I began writing when I was a kid. And I was writing to break silence. I think in growing up our feelings are very simplified. You’re either quiet or loud. So writing was kind of a quiet way to be noisy. I could get things in order out of chaos. I was trying to find a crack into something… into some other world.”  ~Ferron

The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics

What would our world be like if every woman were whole and empowered? What would your life and the lives of future generations of women look like when we put an end to violence against women by dismantling misogyny, patriarchy and the dominator culture? How would it feel to live in a world that was free of domination? How do we accomplish these aims?

We can start by loving and fully supporting our precious, womanly, resource-FULL Selves and the sacred voice in every woman we meet. We begin by putting an end to competition, sizing one another up, devaluing and dismissing women. We do the challenging, inner work of healing ourselves into wholeness and peace. We embrace our sisterhood. We stop objectifying women as sex objects. We read books like Rianne Eisler’s The Real Wealth of Nations to educate and awaken ourselves to our glorious power. We live from our visionary heart-minds (instead of from our damage) and do the concrete actions steps toward co-creation of our visions. We stop hating our mothers. We share and preserve our personal stories and our collective herstory! We come out of the dark and lonely closet of shame. :-) WE STOP THE F***ING WAR ON WOMEN!

TURNING A TRAIN OF THOUGHT UPSIDE DOWN (or What We Learn)

as a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world…
—Virginia Woolf

Under the bottlebrush tree the lovers sit,
circled by each other’s arms, all alone
right in front of us all
on our walks around the city lake,
their kisses blind to the afternoon
breathing down on them and us.

I think of my own first love,
how a woman can learn not to take
but to give, how not to gain a self
but to lose one inside another—
natural as breathing, to be in exile
under her own skin, colonized
without knowing she was occupied.

Long ago, women in my family
carried bundles of wash on their backs
down to the creek bed to scrub it all clean,
later balanced books on their heads
for good posture and the possibility
of a cover shot on a fashion magazine,
having been fed a diet of Cinderella,
Sleeping Beauty, the Snow White tales.

Just look at the statistics—how many
of us have sported the split lips,
bruised eyes, broken limbs,
how many assaulted and betrayed,
how many isolated and afraid,
our homes gone up in flames
from so many hearts afire.

Yet we have resisted and rebelled,
conquered enemies, negotiated peace.
We have also had our feet bound,
bodies girdled and gagged, some buried
beneath layers of cloth. We have been
overthrown, dispossessed, imprisoned,
enslaved, burned wholesale at the stake.

We have also been venerated and feared
as Congolese leading warriors into battle
with shields and spears, as Mongolians
riding steeds armed with bows and arrows,
as Seneca ruling the land and the clan
drumming and healing, as Balkans singing
in the company of women just for the song.

Some of us now build muscles in our legs
and take to running for the thrill of the race,
work them in our arms wielding swords
and wrestling whatever might confront us.
We grow strong enough to carry ourselves
to our own shade tree, dream beneath its leaves
in the kiss of our own breath, learn to love
ourselves deeply and with great abandon.

—Andrena Zawinski (from her Anthology of Women’s Poetry, Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down, published by Scarlet Tanager Press and reprinted with permission)

Girl On A Road

Does this road of recovery go on forever? I’ve wandered my whole life seeking to fill an inarticulate longing for wholeness in Self and running… running from unknown phantoms of a lost little girl. As I heal into wholeness, I find myself facing those phantoms. They are vanquished in the light of my awareness. Finally, I am ready to stop running, settle down, and co-create home wherever I am in the NOW within my own open heart. Ferron’s song Girl On A Road speaks to this healing journey (click on picture to listen).

 

Posted in Coaching, Health & Well Being, Higher Consciousness, Love, Occupy Love: The Revolution, Poetry, Self Love, Spirituality, The Great Turning, Uncategorized, Women's Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Visionary Bridges to a Life-Serving Future

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASandhill Farm Community

In the autumn of 1988, I visited a small, family-based, egalitarian, income-sharing, intentional community in northern Missouri called Sandhill Farm for the first time.  It was instant love and a solid match for my idealistic, homesteading dreams. A long, steady courtship commenced with regular visits back and forth, handwritten letters, and phone calls.

Seven years later, I finally fulfilled my dream and moved from St. Louis to Sandhill Farm with my infant daughter Emma, who was 10 weeks old. I was a green newbie to rural community living and to motherhood. It was the beginning of an intense growth period in my life that I will cherish to the end of my days. If you wish to step up into accelerated personal growth, move into intentional community! Sandhill Farm was an exceptional environment to grow and nurture my child.

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

During an autumn visit when I was five months pregnant and a few months before I moved to Sandhill Farm, I enjoyed working in the sorghum fields stripping and cutting cane with Tony Sirna, Cecil Scheib and other members of a small group of young 20-something, pioneering visionaries from the SF Bay Area. They were traveling around the country seeking a good place to co-create their ecovillage.  Favorable impressions and easy dynamics all around during this initial, short visit led to Sandhill members discussing a year or so later whether we could host their small group for a long stay (possibly a year or more), while they searched for land nearby upon which to build. After several meetings, we reached consensus and gave them a “Yes, come live with us!” Over the years, I’ve kept my finger on the pulse of this evolving project and the lives of a few dear friends who live there.

DRsignEventually the group found their land three miles away, decided to name their community Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, proceeded to create their ecological covenants, and build an ecovillage from scratch. (If you’re not familiar with Dancing Rabbit, please check out their website or see this good, four-minute video about them.)

Toward a Life-Serving Future

How do we gracefully transition from where we are now to where we want to be in terms of preserving this planet for future generations? I believe communities like Sandhill Farm and Dancing Rabbit hold important keys. These visionaries are doing the challenging, hard work (and fun play) of pioneering our future on this planet. They are showing the way to share our precious resources cooperatively and responsibly.

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage’s accomplishments in the intervening years — from when their small, hardy band of founders established their community in 1997 to today with over 70 members living in an 100% off-grid village — are nothing short of AMAZING.

Dancing Rabbit may be the most ecologically rigorous of any ecovillage in the U.S.   ~Diana Leafe Christian

Maikwe TEDEcovillage Education US

Ma’ikwe Schaub Ludwig is one of those long-time friends I mentioned and also a former colleague; we both served the Fellowship for Intentional Community for a number of years. She’s the inspiring Executive Director of Dancing Rabbit and also the author of Passion as Big as a Planet, which brings together her main passions: sustainability, spirituality and personal growth, and community. Recently she gave an inspiring TEDx talk about ecovillage life (click on the picture to watch).

Ma’ikwe’s newest project is Ecovillage Education US — a premier training for sustainable culture creators and supported by the cutting-edge sustainability curriculum of Gaia Education. She is the Course Director and Lead Teacher.

GaiaEdlogoGaia Education is a cross-cultural educational program developed by the sustainability educators of the Global Ecovillage Network, and it is this curriculum that grounds the course. This curriculum has been declared by the United Nations to be a significant contribution to their decade of sustainability, and has been successfully delivered on every continent.

EEUS1This training held at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, sourced and taught by the talented pioneers who live locally, is a crucial bridge in the successful transition to a life-serving future. Sustainability needs leaders: those brave souls who venture into the unknown, and tug us all along in their wakes. Ecovillage Education is hands-on, transformative, inspiring and wholistic training for those leaders to take their skills to the next level.

EEUS2Would you like to get involved and help train the next generation of sustainability leaders? Ecovillage Education US needs your help to fulfill their mission of equipping the next generation of sustainable culture leaders with the skills necessary to positively transform our world. Check out their Indiegogo campaign to raise $14,000 in needed funds to provide scholarships and professional videography (making parts of the course available for free and cheap online!). Please consider supporting this important work.

In the words of 2013 course grad Marita Albert: “what the course is ultimately doing is putting a fire under people to change the world… and that’s always worth funding.”

Posted in Coaching, Community, Intentional Community, Radical Self Care, Social Evolution, Systems Theory, The Great Turning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Become Open Collaborative

alphaphoto4Alpha Lo is a brilliant and becoming social architect and a colleague in Gift Economy circles. He writes Open Collaboration Blog: we are birthing a new we. The blog is an intertwining of his ideas on open collaboration with the story of the evolution of a gift circle he started in his community.

Alpha experiments with different types of social, cultural, economic, and political systems. I resonate with his work because he is particularly interested in emergent, participatory, non-hierarchical, open, gift culture systems. He is interested in how systems theory, higher consciousness and facilitation techniques intersect in these systems.

opencollaborationAlpha is co-author of “The Open Collaboration Encyclopedia” (www.pioneerimprints.com), which is about such systems. He has organized gatherings where the participants themselves become the organizers of the gatherings.

ALPHA’S GREAT LIST OF QUESTIONS TO MAKE YOUR PROJECT MORE OPEN COLLABORATIVE

  1. Have you found people with a similar vision as yours?
  2. Have you created a rapid prototype of your project. If so, what is it? If not, what might a rapid prototype be?
  3. If you have created a rapid prototype of the project with collaborators, have you and some of these people created a next iteration of the project?
  4. Are you helping to satisfy individual needs?
  5. Are you finding ways for individual passions to flower?
  6. Have you created feedback loops so that you can find out how prototypes and iterations of your project has landed? If so, what are those feedback loops? If not, what might they be?
  7. Have you created a process that enables users of your project to co-develop the next iterations of it with you? If so, what is this process? If not, what might this process be?
  8. Have you enabled a process which allows people to play multiple roles?
  9. How well have you connected people with each other?
  10. Have you created a safe space where people can listen and empathize with each other?
  11. Do you have a facilitated discussion process that allows everyone to participate in the discussion? Core project people as well as more peripheral people?
  12. Do you have facilitated discussion processes which allow a diversity of opinions and belief systems to be expressed?
  13. Do you have a facilitated discussion processes which can assess, synthesize and integrate different choices, viewpoints, and opinions?
  14. Has your project facilitated autonomous groups to form? If not, how might you facilitate these groups to form in your project?
  15. Have you created a way for outsiders to become participants in your project?
  16. Have you created a gradation scale of ways people can become more and more involved in your project? If so, what are these gradation of steps? If not, what might the steps be?
  17. Do you have sandboxes where people can experiment around with parts of the project without fear of failure?
  18. Do you have a way of incubating new ideas and projects? If not, how might you encourage that in your project?
  19. Do you have metrics with which everyone can track to measure progress in the project?
  20. Have you created a platform where people can constantly communicate with each other? What does this platform look like?
  21. Have you created a culture that inspires people to communicate more compassionately and non-violently?
  22. Are you using restorative justice rather than punishment in your group? What does this process look like for your project?
  23. Are you creating a shared pool of resources that everyone can tap into?
  24. Are you creating non-owned products and services?
  25. Do you have ways that can allow people to gift? If not, how might you do so?
  26. Are people listening to what the collective field is asking to emerge?

Here is a video about his Gift Circle, and Alpha has also put together the Gift Circle Book.

 

Posted in Coaching, Collaboration, Communication, Community, Gift Economy, Higher Consciousness, Social Evolution, Systems Theory, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Universal Foundations to Wellness

conversationswithwisewomenJanuary is National Financial Wellness Month. In collaboration with my mentor, Coach Helene Van Manen, we focused in on this theme during this first month of 2014. It’s a great time of year to take a fresh look at our finances and financial health. We recorded a few of our thoughts in a short, juicy segment of Helene’s Conversations with Wise Women (click image to listen).

Yin + Yang
h.koppdelaney / Foter / CC BY-ND

Financial Wellness has two dimensions — the spiritual and the material. Cultivating a spiritual understanding of life can help us develop a clear, balanced perspective on the human condition, including how we view money, wealth and financial health.

When we develop ourselves spiritually, we are engaged in personal transformation. We can transform anxiety into peace, anger into compassion, and confusion into clarity.

In connection with this universal Source of existence, our actions become infused with authenticity and wholeness. Taking action from this still ground of our being, we become more aware and effective. The process of change becomes laced with liberation, ease, fun, satisfaction and the ability to be responsive to external situations (versus reactive and acting out unconscious patterns).

Liberto...
Eduardo Amorim / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

As we end the month of financial wellness, we encounter another rich beginning with the New Moon / Super Black Moon transit (Jan. 30) and Chinese New Year of the Horse (Jan. 31), with fire and wood elements.

Fire element fans optimism while wood element promotes spontaneity. In terms of financial health, fire and wood are not the best combination because the tendency is to gamble and take higher risks with money. It is best to temper optimism with caution and impulsiveness with research and discipline.

Down the Garden Path Again at Great Comp...
antonychammond / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Our perspective is enhanced when we access and connect with universal Source energy and our inner stillness. A clear, grounded center of being in a place of stillness blended with prudence, discipline, and radical acceptance, supports us to:

  • determine what “wealth” and “financial wellness” mean to us individually,
  • set realistic financial goals,
  • outline clear action steps to achieve our goals,
  • apply discipline combined with flexibility to accommodate changing conditions; and
  • optimize our chance of growing in financial health this year.

 

 

Posted in Abundance & Prosperity, Buddhism, Coaching, Meditation, Radical Self Care, Self Love, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Women's Spirituality | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

New Moon Wisdom Circle

Are you aware that 2014 brings a rare 13 new moons, each one with its own unique energy that will inspire new beginnings, transitions, and re-boots of universal energy?

Would you like to be more attuned with the lunar cycles and share a personal growth experience that’s rooted in the moon cycles and guided by a professional life coach?

  • Where in your life do you desire a new beginning?
  • What would you like to “reboot?”
  • Where are you in need of a recharge?

During a new moon phase, the sky is completely black with the exception of little sparkles of light in the form of stars. It’s the point in every month when the moon takes a retreat and begins to grow again, redoubling her light and reflecting new creative energy on all worldly things.

Moon Goddess

A new moon phase always brings a time of new beginnings.

This phase marks an ideal time for connecting with your inner self and your heart’s desire.

By looking for the “light” and knowing that it’s there, somewhere, waiting to be discovered, you can reach a place where your personal reflection begins to shed its own light.

What wants to emerge? What wants to be born?

This is a time where dots start to connect and patterns start to reveal themselves – just as the stars do in the night sky. Everything has a place and everything has a purpose – and all with divine timing.

So what’s being divinely-timed for you in 2014?

What do you want to manifest in this new year?

The New Moon phase is rich with wisdom and energies that support new beginnings, transitions, and fresh starts. It’s an ideal time to clear your personal and professional space, disposing of any clutter and unwanted energies in order to manifest your deepest desires.

Tina Games, a friend and colleague, is leading the New Moon Wisdom Circle from January to December, each with its own energy and wisdom. This year-long program is ideal for those who are interested in following the New Moon and Full Moon cycles and working with them throughout the year.

Join the New Moon Wisdom Circle to be inspired by the wisdom of our lunar goddess and begin manifesting your innermost desires!

Moonlight Muse -JournalingTina M. Games is the author of Journaling by the Moonlight: A Mother’s Path to Self-Discovery (an interactive book with an accompanying deck of 54 journaling prompt cards). As a certified creativity and life purpose coach, and a gifted intuitive, she is the “Moonlight Muse” for women who want to tap into the “full moon within” and claim their authentic self, both personally and professionally. Through her signature coaching programs, based on the phases of the moon, Tina gently guides women from darkness to light as they create an authentic vision filled with purpose, passion and creative expression. She lives on Cape Cod in Massachusetts with her husband and their two children.
Posted in Abundance & Prosperity, Coaching, Health & Well Being | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mini-Retreat Into Freedom

What makes you feel free and what does freedom mean to you?

I cherish the freedom to make autonomous choices and to live my life as I choose. I love that I have co-created the freedom of living a retreat way of life and can take a mini-retreat right NOW if I desire. I love that the Earth and Sun give their abundance generously and that I am a free spiritual being walking a human path.

There are many vehicles to liberation and a diversity of perspectives on the freedom way. That alone is great cause for celebration. Yet, there are many in the world who still live in bondage and the fear of bondage. May they find peace within through the struggle for freedom.

In honor of the legacy of all the love warriors like Martin Luther King, Jr. who gave their lives to the quest for liberty and justice, would you like to take a short, musical mini-retreat into FREEDOM?

Here’s one beautiful opportunity: “To the pulse of a drum circle rhythm track and backed by traditional gospel choir harmonies, Suzee Waters Benjamin (Suchi WB) extols the many dimensions of the universal instinct for freedom. Listen as she takes us on a musical journey of truth and healing.”

Video from KarmaTube

 

Posted in Buddhism, Coaching, Gift Economy, Gratitude, Lotus Peace Retreats, Occupy Love: The Revolution, Retreats, Service, Uncategorized, Women's Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment