Jacob Needleman wrote that “the art form of the future will be group pondering.” I believe he’s right. In the service of that, I’ve been conducting group ponders online. I call them Conversations of Consequence. One of the women in my No Ordinary Time webinar sent me this email today. She’s been moved to action, and now she’s calling a circle that will move others to action. It goes like this. One at a time. We’re moved. We feel something. That feeling leads to action. We make a plan and move others. The movement is exponential. It is we who are creating the future. Right here and now. By these acts.
I wanted to thank you for the inspiration. As I have asked myself what’s required of me in this time, I feel compelled to reach out to others to begin conversations of consequence. A group of women living in Grand Junction, Colorado responded to my invitation and came together for the first time on May 7 through Zoom. They resonated with your word “insisters” so I hope we may credit you and continue to use it as a call to activate hope for the future. The text below is from a shared Google doc that outlines our plan and includes resources and reflections. (They are adding to the document, but I am only sharing what I wrote or selected.) My hope is that these conversations and the chorus of “insisters” will grow exponentially.
copy of text from a shared Google doc:
Conversations of Consequence (DRAFT)
- We’ll meet on Zoom 3 times to consider together what we are learning in these challenging times and what the future we want to build looks like. (Or in the words of Rebecca Solnit, “One of our main tasks now – especially those of us who are not sick, are not frontline workers, and are not dealing with other economic or housing difficulties – is to understand this moment, what it might require of us, and what it might make possible.” )
- For the first meeting I’m inviting us each to read ‘The impossible has already happened’: what coronavirus can teach us about hope and also reflect ahead of time on these questions: What am I noticing about this time? What am I wondering? What do I want to take away from the article/readings? What are my hopes for the future? What do I want to insist on?
- For the second meeting we’ll choose something else to read and repeat the process. (We decided to add possible resources to a Google doc for all to access.)
- For the third meeting, we’ll consider our next steps. Perhaps we’ll each plan to host other groups to help expand the conversations exponentially.
- Each time we “meet” we’ll practice respectful listening and speaking, compassion and curiosity…
We are all welcome to add resources and reflections to this document. You may want to choose a different color or font if you want to highlight what you are adding. Your comments and questions are welcome too!
“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate, and lack. We should not long to return my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.”
In the midst of fear and isolation, we are learning that profound, positive change is possible.
By Rebecca Solnit
“Hope offers us clarity that, amid the uncertainty ahead, there will be conflicts worth joining and the possibility of winning some of them. And one of the things most dangerous to this hope is the lapse into believing that everything was fine before disaster struck, and that all we need to do is return to things as they were. Ordinary life before the pandemic was already a catastrophe of desperation and exclusion for too many human beings, an environmental and climate catastrophe, an obscenity of inequality. It is too soon to know what will emerge from this emergency, but not too soon to start looking for chances to help decide it. It is, I believe, what many of us are preparing to do.”
(author, artist, activist) is the one who introduced me to the word “insisters” during a webinar about her book NO ORDINARY TIME – The Rise of Spiritual Intelligence and Evolutionary Creativity. You can find excerpts from that book HERE.
“At the end of this pandemic, whomever is left will stand together to co-create a new plan for our nation that represents the needs of all. That is, if we INSIST on that. It is up to us to unsilence ourselves, INSIST on our 3 principles: peace, justice, planetary protection. (at least that what I’m calling for and I’m talking, as the founding member of the InSisters:)” – Jan Phillips
In my webinar with Jan Phillips someone recommended an article about gaslighting. I believe this is it. It’s in 2 parts. Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting – You are not crazy, my friends.
The Gaslighting of America Has Begun – Understand your power, my friends. Business and government do. By Julio Vincent Gambuto
What am I noticing about this time?(Deb)
For me personally: I am given opportunities to meet uncertainty; let go of hurry and suspend planning; appreciate the pause/forced retreat; practice presence and gratitude; be compassionate with myself and others; honor whatever feelings arise…
In the wider world: I notice profound suffering and kindness; that economic well-being is tied to our health; that less consumption is possible; who and what is essential; in isolation we can sense our connection; the virus knows no boundaries in our global community; those already at risk are more impacted; tendencies are magnified; divisions and unity; service to others; creativity and artistic expression…
What am I wondering?(Deb) What can I contribute at this moment? How do we call forth positive transformation?
What are my hopes for the future?What do I want to “insist on”?(Deb)
- Civil society/peaceful cooperation
- New economy that honors the health of people and planet
- Food,shelter,healthcare,and opportunities for ALL
- Urgent, meaningful response to climate crisis
- Move away from wasteful consumption to responsible caretaking