Winding up our fascinating and hope-inducing dinner conversation
Recently at dinner with two old friends/colleagues, we plumbed the depths (and heights) of our reactions and feelings about recent events in the political landscape. The following reflections build on this rich conversation with my longtime social change companions, Mark and Teresa.
A World in Trouble
Our current political turmoil is turning up the heat and sparking the kinds of conversations we have not been having. People are scared. We are feeling pressure to keep our country, even our world together.
In these un-United States, our guiding vision of ‘one nation’ that is ‘indivisible with liberty and justice for all’ has gone off the rails. We are experiencing an onslaught of ‘othering’, with the harshest impacts falling on those who are already the most vulnerable. Continue reading
Recently I joined in a “Wisdom Circle for a World on Fire” convened by Shams Kairys and Cindy Spring—a space to join others in exploring our deepest thoughts and feelings about climate change. Here is a summary of our purpose, from Shams’ email that brought the group together:
“Those who are willing to peel back the forces of denial and look at our actual condition, who are often left feeling isolated and distraught, need to be talking with each other. In a dedicated space with a small group, we will peer into our hearts and minds and engage in honest conversation. This milieu is conducive not only for informing each other, but also for hearing our own trials and emerging recognitions in a fresh light. The focus is not so much on the facts of the matter or actions to address it as on expanding our capacity to face and integrate what we are learning, and its impact upon us.”
Onstage banners at the West Coast memorial for Grace Lee Boggs
On March 20, 2016 a celebration of Grace Lee Boggs’ 100-year life was held at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. The memorial speakers offered stories and lessons learned from Grace, who was active in social change work for three quarters of a century. Here is a sampling of what was shared, followed by my full journal notes.
1. We remake ourselves to remake the world.
2. What do I need to change in myself to be more effective in changing the world?
3. What does it mean to “grow our souls”?
4. Praxis is about changing our minds and our perspectives in response to changing conditions.
5. Questions are more important than answers.
6. Go beyond simply complaining and waiting for others to change it or fix it.
Grace Lee Boggs, photo by Ryan Garza (Feb. 2014)
Social change activist, philosopher and visionary Grace Lee Boggs died on Oct. 5, 2015 at age 100. Such a life of meaning she lived! If you didn’t know of Grace, I would like to introduce you to her.
Grace endeavored to better the world in every possible way, right up to her last days. Working for social change wasn’t something that she could ever retire from. It’s who she was, for over 70 years.
Browse the quotes and links below to learn more about Grace’s fascinating life and her unique vantage point on the human condition. For lots more, visit the Boggs Center website.
“The world is waiting for a new dream… We are shaking the world with a new dream. Feel it! Guard it! Treasure it! These opportunities do not come often.”
“These are the times to grow our souls. Each of us is called upon to embrace the conviction that despite the powers and principalities bent on commodifying all our human relationships, we have the power within us to create the world anew.”
Charles Eisenstein in Oakland, June 2015
Last weekend’s Whole Person Economy Satsang at Oakland’s Impact Hub featured speaker-author-philosopher Charles Eisenstein, who is conceptualizing new ways of living on the earth.
Eisenstein’s grounded hope, great mind, big heart, and gritty vision all conspire to inspire.
Below are 20 ideas I was particularly struck by from his Oakland remarks. If these quotes speak to you, follow the links in the endnotes for abundant ideas and inspiration.
1. We are witnessing the death process of the story that has been part of humanity for thousands of years… the story of separation.
2. Racism, sexism, ecocide are all the fruits of a world view rooted in domination. The ideological core of our society is hollowing out. We don’t believe the old story any more.
3. In the space between stories, our own understanding of causality has become suspect. How do we navigate in such a moment?
These days my adventures in learning center around how we as humans can shift our course and our consciousness to create more harmonious relationships with the biosphere and one another.
A Collective Learning Journey
We have entered a new era of humanity, a time when the continued viability of the biosphere to sustain life is no longer assumed or assured, but must be worked for. It is unknown whether our species can succeed in creating a long-term future that is biologically and socially favorable.
Time to get busy with the sacred work of transforming our world. As we go about reweaving humanity’s ways of being on the earth, this will bring much learning, connection and meaning to our lives.
In this blog I will share occasional quotes, resources, inspiration, and questions, exploring themes of personal and planetary transformation – interfaith spirituality and ministry – nature as beloved, nature as self – changing the Story – social justice – psychodynamics of social change – Hinduism – bedside singing – and more.