Provoking Hope

Triskele - Triple SpiralReading Karen’s recent blog got me to thinking about hope.  While she was talking more about harvesting hope, her post stirred within me the question:

How do we provoke hope in others?

Ok maybe inspire is a better word for it.  I have been learning lately how to tickle instead of poke; to gently move things in the direction I want them to go.  Bring lots of others hope and thereby the motivation to tackle the challenges facing them in their personal transformation and in the greater world is a passion of mine and so I’m inspired to reflect. Continue reading “Provoking Hope”

Confronting Failure

Sistine ChapelI was working on an outdoor project yesterday – probably one of the last before winter – and looking around saw how many different failures that I’d had in getting everything wrapped up prettily.  In the same moment I reminded myself that each of the failures was simply just a project that has yet to be completed or still in process.  What I was judging success by was based on the time it took to finish, which has nothing to do with whether it ever gets done or is even necessary.

I’m sure if you looked at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel on day 4 as a complete work you might have though that Michelangelo was not doing his job very well.  But you see, that’s the point.  At any given moment we are only looking at a piece of the process.  While some things so seem to be finished products, or projects we can always re-visit them.  This means that we are really only ever looking at a piece of a process.  Know this as well that the greatest beauties can come from what seems in the moment to be a disaster.

Don’t stop trying to achieve.  Don’t stop dreaming big.  In fact, dream bigger and try for more because you can’t ever fail at following your heart’s calling.

Going Upstream

What’s the real problem here?

Recently I was pondering shifting the burden while blogging about City Bees and it lead into something that sometimes gets missed in the process of finding a solution to our challenges.  Often when looking at a problem you need to go further upstream or deeper into the process in order to find the origin and create a more systems aware solution.

One of my favorite solutions came time and time again when I was working as an Associate Dean.  Part of my job at the time was to met out punishment for absences.  I took it a different way though, if there were no absences then I was also doing a good job.  So when the teens came into my office there was no heat or anger, we simply discussed why the absence had occurred and worked on going upstream to find out what the real problem was.   Continue reading “Going Upstream”

Mushroom Festival

Two boletes connected to make a heart
One of my favorite shots that Shroom Fest shared

For the past 32 years Telluride has held Mushroom Festival. This year the festival was under the direction of The Telluride Institute. Four of Paititi’s family in the US – me (Kirsten,) Scott, Indira, and Anastacia – spoke about the work that we are doing down in the Amazon, held a screening of the Sacred Science, and had a booth sharing our information and selling items from the Shipibo and weavings from the Andes to help support the land purchase. Both of our sessions were well attended and with thoughtful comments and questions came through. Continue reading “Mushroom Festival”

City Bees

Cities could save bees?

Reading The Grist I came across a blurb about cities saving bees. Following this summary back to the original article in the Telegraph I read up and developed a few questions about the real potential for city apiaries’ ability to provide a safe haven to these stinging pollinators.

So what is the solution to our declining bee populations? Well in order to figure out any challenge you have to look at the underlying problem and then try to find a sustainable solution for that situation. Continue reading “City Bees”

Changing Culture Norms through Storytellling

Cultural norms help to shape who we are. The stories that we hear every day. Those going against those norms are often outcast, but they are brave and being true to themselves in their actions.

What if this was all about gaining equality. Equality in the races, in gender, in identity. We are all people after all. Men had been forced to hide their feminine side and women their masculine. Many behaviors seek to overly espouse the opposite. Business women with short hair in suits. Women smoking. Or driven to over expression through hiding their true nature. Men who become over powering and violent in action. Culturally we seek to numb and hide in our actions. Drinking, drugs, over-consumption. We are obviously sick and getting sicker. While some of this can be attributed to our diets, those have been controlled by the cultural norms and so we must look deeper at the root. Continue reading “Changing Culture Norms through Storytellling”

Being Effective in Achieving Your Goals

The challenges of operating in a changing world

The ‘old school’ as some would say with regards to being in business, has a lot to do with hierarchy. Domination of a sector ensures success and how much money you have enables that to happen even faster. Business owners sell most of their business to investors in order to bring life to their dreams, politicians kowtow to backers losing their morals and their concern for citizens in the process, and people sell their future earnings to companies for the privilege of taking care of their basic needs from day-to-day. As I was watching Les Miserables last night I thought of how people in the future would look to our current situation in disbelief and grief in the same way I viewed Jean Valjean. How could that possibly be ok that someone went to prison for stealing the bread to eat? Can easily turn into today’s predicament → How could someone not have a place to live when there are empty houses? Or → How could the government let that happen? Continue reading “Being Effective in Achieving Your Goals”

Evolving Consciousness as a Human Right

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” So begins the United Nations document The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Twenty two years ago I was faced with sexual slavery for the first time.  It was on a water testing trip with my high school to the Amazon basin and we were passed on the river by barges heading to supply the people looking for gold.  One of the supplies that barges carried were girls my age.  I was 14 at the time and that event made an impression on me.  One of my goals in life would become to create a world in which slavery couldn’t couldn’t exist. (Not to mention the practice of dumping mercury into the water to retrieve gold isn’t the best idea for the environment.)

Continue reading “Evolving Consciousness as a Human Right”

Games for Didactic Use

One of the things that is important to me is creating positive change in the world.  While I loved teaching, I felt that there had to be a better way to connect with people.  After watching the failures of schools to produce responsible students and that of the environmental movement increasing changes for the survival of the species it seemed clear that there is a better way.  So I researched and read and looked at what appeared to be successful.  What I’ve come to is that games area fun and engaging way to connect with and communicate a message.  While the message can be communicated through both the theme and the mechanics either should provide a better way for information to be retained as behavior change.

The use of games for education is a growing field, although it has been in practice for decades in experiential education.  Using games in education, in a didactic purpose, is linked with greater understanding and better assimilation of the information by players.  I may not be a scientist, but I can observe that there is movement on the games front as this understanding percolates through society and more play pops up. Continue reading “Games for Didactic Use”

Guest Lecturer or Learner?

I had the awesome opportunity to connect with a classroom students at Greenfield Community College who are working on their Permaculture Design Certificate this past week.  Invited by their engaging, dynamic instructor, Abrah Dresdale, who requested that I talk about waste.

With an hour to teach and bountiful ideas, I arrived at the classroom and jumped right in.  I have to admit that every time I step into a classroom or workshop I ask myself why I ever left in the first place.  It just feels so right to be teaching, and I am energized in a way that feeds my soul.

In case you didn’t know, I left teaching and private school administration in ’08 to study for my MA in Sustainable Communities an Socially Responsible Business.  While I had always thought that I would go back to teach, life after my degree lead me in the direction of working with businesses and non-profit organizations.

Waste NotThat brings us to today where I’m now launching my first game, Waste Not, on Indiegogo, and increasingly teaching through games and interactive exercises.  This also brings us to why Abrah asked me to come in and guest lecture.

Waste Not is more than a game.  Playing helps to teach about the different possibilities of dealing with what otherwise might be considered trash in a way that uses the least amount of energy necessary; rethinking the cycle so to speak.

So everyone in the course got a card and we played and shared together.  Many creative ideas came out of the room that day (infinity candles, computers with upgradable components, etc.) especially when we got to the point of playing the ReDesign process in small groups.

What I wasn’t expecting is that the feedback I got would be about the greater picture.  While the players definitely had fun and enjoyed our time together, the input that I was given was more whole systems.  One woman commented that she could see the game as a great exercise for any group of people who were trying to problem solve together, and that by playing they’d really be able to do a better job as a group.   Another man agreed that the applications of the game went far beyond learning about waste.  Overall I got to enjoy being both the teacher and student that day and look forward to my next opportunity to do so.

I’m grateful for the comments and suggestions I recieved and will be taking them to heart (including how to store value, or give more points for multiple uses, etc.)

Support Waste Not on Indiegogo!