Reflections and Predictions

It has been roughly a year since this blog opened. And I feel much more solid in my sense of what thrivability can be. That does not mean there are clear strategies defined or all partners are convened. There remains much work to do. But 2008 has been a wonderful learning journey solidifying my belief in the value of thrivability, and it has resonated well with a variety of amazing allies. Thank you.

I was glancing at an article in Utne Reader today about fear. And I realized a shift I am feeling, and I sense it is a huge piece of thrivability. Thrivability is not driven, at its core, by a deep dark fear of the world ending and all we need to overcome to jetison us off this precipice of history. And while I personally have been strongly driven by fears around climate change and a forecast of the end to humanity, somehow this has shifted. Perhaps it is Obama’s hope spreading “Yes We Can” or perhaps it is the collective voice of human consciousness declaring agency. It could perhaps even be a spiritual shifting that is ongoing internally for me. Whatever the cause or causes, what I sense in thrivability is a powerful resounding passion to evolve beyond our current cultures into a new form of being together, united, whole, diverse, conscious, respectful, judicious, abundant, appreciative, and in flow.

Do you want this too? Are you what EnlightenNext calls an Evolutionary?

We have before us the greatest opportunity life force has yet had–to collect together as respecting and honoring individuals to know and act through our wholeness for the evolution of ourselves and conciousness …and life itself …to experience both our uniqueness and our unity while shifting the forms of the world to support a flourishing earth bursting in harmony. We can become the most spectacular orchestra of living systems reverberating with awareness. What is the sound of this magnificent joy?

Let us put our egos in harness to our purpose, set our minds to tangible tasks, reach into our hearts for whole system empathy, and let our spirits’ wisdom lead us forth into a new age. One where we may thrive in harmony with each other and all forms.

I predict the near future will be frought with tension. Many will weaken from fear and anxiety as old systems convert into new arrangements that better fit our amazing flow. I predict we will often stumble and need to lean into each other in the dark night before the dawn. I predict that some will refuse to relinquish old patterns and this will lead to suffering. People will die bodily deaths. Humans will fight through the night in bloody conflicts of ideological wars to end all wars. And this very darkness, the very fear and negativity that seems pervasive will be the flood upon which a new way is made possible. It will be our very frustration with what is — that will make what can be: possible. Just as the bitter darkness of the Bush years has made a grassroots minority a more possible canditate for president of the US.

I see the light glowing from so many sensing this great opportunity, and I have deep faith in the very process of evolutionary consciousness to guide us together into a brighter day. Everywhere I see the flickering flames of hope, faith, interpersonal trust, and inspired vision gain energy. The tools evolve beneath our fingers, the partners meet and align around common purpose, and collectively we prepare the way forward.

Will you join with me in hope to great this challenging opportunity.

As Tracy Gary often says, “Hold hands, and stay together.”

Dream. Breath with me. Be with us.

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Future Predictions on Thrivability

Clay Shirky, over on BoingBoing, asks for predictions of the future – 5 years.

There are many possible futures of course that could arise. And I can’t predict the likelihood of this one, but it is the one I am working to make manifest.

  • Convergence of multiple generations around social change actions. From boomers to Gen x, and down to millenials and beyond, more attention will be flowing toward making the world a better place. Efforts like Earth Councils will blossom in the post election energy of community organizing success, helping to weave the best of different generations together into community action – local groups having local effects compounded across the country and possibly the world.
  • Evolution of tools, practices, and vision addressing the information flow issues, enabling unification of relevant content streams, edit-ability and gardening leading to more refined, less noisy information for timely actions. SocialActions.org, wiser, and connectipedia as examples of what is moving us in this direction.
  • Part of the evolution of tools will be leaps in understanding and use of metrics and currencies including a major burst in how we see and leverage acknowledgment currencies – especially the reputation of people and information.
  • Massive contractions in financial resource flow (and thus attention too) will drive major flow innovations. Let’s expand that to major innovations in many domains – particularly community infomatics, green science, and collaboration technologies (and practices) -will be high-speed driven by necessity and visionary leaders.
  • The social benefit sector will carry markets to a much greater degree, as everyone knows someone who has suffered losses/poverty/or illness pushing acts of compassion/sympathy to become acts of empathy. This further connects us all, even as greater divides in wealth expand (for only a few more years before collapse). This empathic connections leads to greater philanthropy and support of social benefit organizations.
  • Rolling or cascading crisis wake up the sleeping giants of philanthropy, with those of wealth (including foundations) opening up to radical shifts in practice as their best opportunities for impact (which is desperately needed). More donors will give while living. While wealth transfer predictions will be off base in a changing evaluation of US currency, still massive amounts of money will be in the hands of people compelled to use their inheritance for community and innovation investment rather than market investment.
  • B corporations and social entrepreneurship will become the darlings of the business world to ever greater degrees – luring talent (and investment) focused on social good. (See B corporations, Social Markets, Good Capital, Skoll, Ashoka, Acumen, etc.) Marketing will continue to follow suit with companies racing to be triple bottom line (creating a spike of opportunity for accountants who can manage multiple forms of currency). Greenwashing will be squashed through crowdsourced data on companies, which we can already see emerging. Imagine OsoEco and dozens of other green social networks already online resonating with  information flows like Twitter and service companies like GetSatisfaction.
  • There will be less chatter about so called “democracy” and more focus on how functional systems really work while offering fairness and justice. Not only we will be rebuilding physical infrastructure, we will be evolving human structures for collaboration that are more fair and better honor participant contributions and needs in balance with group purpose.
  • Work will happen differently. Less formal organizations and more loosely affiliated networks grouping toward some shared vision and action will band together, act, and disband like flashmobs to make things happen without wasteful overhead.
  • So much more! And it will be more and more sudden as convergence of energy, purpose, and opportunity accelerate how what we do manifests in the world… things will appear low visibility, but the ability of networks to connect with what is visible AND seen by the right collaborators; thus fluidly merging networks of purpose.
  • Finally, a deepening sense of spirituality will underscore all of this with people acting from a sense of their karma and happiness to do good in the world (as well as people acting from fear and pain to do good in the world too). Beingness is on the rise.

What do you think will be emerging in the next 5 years? What will vital junctures or decision points be? How will these changes be made possible and powerful?

Note: this video of Tom Munnecke with Barbara Marx Hubbard resonates here.

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What is the World We Want?

You tell me. Phil Cubeta of GiftHub.org used to run a blog called World We Want pointing to Peter Karoff’s book by that name. It is time to revisit the question.

What is the World We Want?

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Converging for Thrivability

HOPE

There are times when I look at the news of the world or see the state of things, and I feel tired, fearful, and lost. But those times are few. I manage to be positive – not because I have had tons of coaching (which helps) but because so much of what I keep learning about our world is what people are doing to make it a better place.

NETWORK OF POSSIBILITIES

Those people – they inspire me – they range across so many communities of purpose. What happens in the world when we make progress across:

  • water accessibility (and clean sanitation – multiple fronts including Engineers without Borders, Rotary International grant projects, Clean Water for the World, and so many others including social entrepreneurial ventures)
  • child mortality (disease and health practices such as Measles Campaign…)
  • disaster relief (numerous – and gaining ground with peer to peer efforts seeded in Katrina and growing both in the US and abroad)
  • tool innovation and accessibility (OLPC, projects listed in Appropedia, etc…)
  • human rights (Humanity United, multiple genocide intervention groups, etc…)
  • women’s issues (orgs supporting women as head of household and helping girls get to school – numerous, also groups addressing domestic violence)
  • green issues (bioneers, etc and hundreds of green blogs, orgs, and actions)
  • literally hundreds of other cause areas…internet freedom, digital rights, healthcare, organic foods, the lists go on and on and on!

SHARING

Why are we making progress? The internet. Is that all? No, but it is vital, because we can network and know our network. We can find people who share our interests and take action together. We can find people to support and evangelize our projects. We can link together research, solutions, actions, and people. We can route information and opportunity. See socialactions.com weaving together actions from a good number of social action platforms. Calalytic Communities collecting and sharing community solutions. We can have conversations – see change.org or a good number of Ning communities for better world building. See earthcouncils.org. We can begin to see the network – wiserearth.org. There are others – coming together, working toward fairness, encouraging entrepreneurship, and caring for our planet. The DO-ACTION network may be in its infancy, but it is already potent. Nurtured by online connections, the collective organism strives for greater health.

Not only are greater actions possible along traditional lines, but innovations proliferate too. Innovations in financing (kiva and many others), innovations in business models and accounting (social entrepreneurship and double/triple bottom line accounting) but also innovations in community organizing, fundraising, and collaboration.

Improvements in process – for gatherings/conferences like open space, unconferences, barcamps as well as tools of the process arts. Improvements in organizational structures fed by growing awareness of social network analysis – supporting shifts toward holocracy and do-acracy forms.

Shifts in our very being-ness, as seen in the rising of non-religious forms of spirituality and cross-faith collaboration within religious traditions. Tolle, Chopra, and many others feeding the collective organism of our being-ness with clear paths, shift our behaviors, and uplift our being.

And there are shifts in the money flow. Whether it is currency advocates for alternatives to money or open money which goes beyond tradeable wealth to address a broader awareness of wealth and currency flows, there is a growing awareness of what works and what is needed. Tools are built. Models tested.

And there is a convergence in people’s focus too. Whether people are over 50 and looking for a more purpose-driven life or under 30 and charged up about a world that could end in their lifetime, people of nearly all living generations are more interested (or more likely to be interested) in a meaningful life and meaningful action – they are more clearly connected to what happens in the world and more knit together across multiple boundaries – perceiving the eco-system of our living together.

It feels to me as if change is in the air. It used to be that I would drive through traffic thinking to myself that all the other folks on the road were part of the zombie people: nose to the grindstone for money that wouldn’t make them happy and destroyed our shared world. Now I drive or walk past them wondering what they are doing as part of their effort to make the world a better place. Why the shift in belief? Because such a great percentage of the people I come in contact with are that way – working for a better world: participating in local governance, advocating for causes that are personal to them, donating funds to orgs and projects they believe matter.

We could slice thrivability up by issue, by audience, by being-ness, by process or whatever slicing and dicing works for the question at hand. But if we zoom out and look at the whole, the messy whole, there is a living organism bubbling with life, zest, even zeal so that humans can live worthwhile lives on a planet that can support us. We are co-creating our future and determining our own evolution. And we begin to know it. And the more we know it and create with intention, the greater chance we have to create a thrivable world

What do you notice that is converging for our thrivability?

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Action toward Thrivability

Posted at http://blog.socialactions.com/group/wizard/forum/topic/show?id=2062983%3ATopic%3A8412

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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