Archive for October, 2008

Action toward Thrivability

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Thanks for opening the conversation Christine. I have been hoping to integrate several fronts of my own striving for social action. First is philanthropy. I have been writing about the sector, especially around innovation, for 5 years. And given what I have learned in technology, there is much we can do in social media to evolve the philanthropic sector. Second is the evolution of my interest in sustainability to something much broader and positive – thrivability. I am hoping others, seeing from their angles and perspective, can help flesh out what thrivability is and how to pursue it. Third is a spiritual evolution tangled up with my coach training which compels me to sense how our being-ness needs to evolve if we want new outcomes – and that shift is about focusing on the positive, directing our driven egos toward our higher purpose, and recognizing the intertwining of doing with being. Lastly, and interest in currencies – as defined as as formalized structures for incentivizing flows in a system, and the social network analysis that needs to accompany currnecies, can be used to catalyze the shift we are attempting.

My hope is that each of these fronts converge together, as well as bring together like-minded change agents filled with compassion, authenticity, and creativity to collectively co-create the structure for the change we need.

All this can be simplified to (philanthropic web + social media + sharing) (given the presence of humility + compassion + generosity) = emergence of a > consciousness + > power to take positive, efficient, and compelling action.

Note, I am also interested in transcending some of the silos in the current system where grassroots action happens so far from great financial giving as if they were entirely different. We need to evolve spectrums and ecologies rather than creating artificial boundaries which prevent people from converging on issues and opportunities of mutual interest. It is the difference between zoos and the natural world. And these cages do not serve us if we are able to go beyond ego – and those in philanthropy are well primed for this leap.

Thank you again for being a path-sister Christine. And I am eager to see what we can attract and create together for the common good.

This conversation is within the context of convening a gathering in Chicago in April to weave and evolve the philanthropic web toward thrivability. Are you interested

I am only one person, and my knowledge is limited and often while broad, not very deep. It is only together that we can co-evolve. So please share your wisdom if you believe in the mission


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Women in Thrivability

What role do women play in thrivability?

1. First, before I talk about women, let me be clear that there is often slippage between the divine feminine or the feminine aspect and the embodiment in the female form. While there is often great overlap and thus the similar naming, the divine feminine resides in all people to a greater or lesser degree regardless of what form the body takes. So I always feel a certain tension when writing about the feminine. Please hold that tension with me.

2. While I often enjoy moving through intellectual or spiritual ideas, this post will ground itself in action and politics.

There are many who speak of the dawning of a new age (or maybe they don’t explicitly call it that, but they nudge in that direction anyway). This new way of being in the world is a shift toward feminine principles. We move from the blade to the cup – from power in the form of domination and intellect to power in forms of nurturing, collaboration, collective wisdom, knowing beyond the mind (heart/spirit/body). Personally, I yearn for a balancing and dynamic tension between both.

In the US election this year, we see these forces in our presidential choices. The male element of power through force, resistance to – even oppression of – the feminine aspect reveals itself as a regressive/conservative yearning to go back to earlier times. The female element, amazing demonstrated by power through collaboration, swirling in complexity and multiple-perspectives (as comes so naturally to “minorities” as they must always see through many roles). The female aspect offering hope, connection, and a vision of flourishing.

It is no wonder then that McCain/Palin are no friend to women. McCain voted against breast cancer research. McCain and Palin do not believe in a woman’s right to choose even in cases of rape and incest. Eleanor Smeal, President of Feminist Majority, proclaims: Obama/Biden are running on the strongest platform for women’s rights of any major party in U.S. history

So when I urge you to vote for what you believe in I don’t mean you should vote merely on identity politics. Men and women voting for Obama because he supports women. That is well and useful but go beyond that to the beingness. The reason Obama supports women is because his beingness is suffused with the feminine element – he works for collaboration; his campaign efforts have built up community connection and collaboration; he pushes power to the edges (for example, he advocates for transparency). Obama will usher in a time of generativity, collective wisdom, greater connection, and strength in diversity. And it is this which is our best strategy against the many-fold crisis we humans face as our greatest challenge to achieving thrivability. He will do so – not through force or authority – but through evoking our higher purpose, our collective covenant with each other, and through handing us increased agency to co-create a better world. Because it is for us to do the work, and for our leader to nurture us toward thrivability.

For more information and videos on the feminist perspective on the election, see Feminists for Obama and Feminist Majority.

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Updated description of thrivability

I contend that thrivability is sustainability+vision to flourish+ways of being. And by ways of being, I mean working in open distributed networks, heightened levels of collaboration, and certain quality of something that tends to fall into spirituality now. That last one has to do with how we compose ourselves and our work with others, honoring the both the whole and the individual in a delicate balance, so we move beyond what spiral dynamics calls the green meme. I haven’t got this totally figured out yet, and I am eager for conversations that will help clarify this distinction.

I also contend that thrivability goes beyond sustainability by including social justice. It is not enough to find ways to sustain life and human life on the planet. Real thrivability means no one gets left behind in poverty, exposed unfairly to disaster, or suffers at the hand of corrupt governments.

Thus thrivability requires a massive shift both in consciousness and in action: incorporating social justice work, environmental efforts, and process arts. We must include all these efforts and also transcend them through our growing understanding of complex adaptive systems and flow patterns.

Thank you for the work you and others do to move us all forward. I am eager to learn from and with you.

I intend to participate in the Open Sustainability Network Unconference mid-October in San Francisco to move this work forward. Join me!

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