Pointers for Navigating Group Dynamics

Pointers for Navigating Group Dynamics

I recently participated in a day-long retreat composed of people who want to develop a regenerative economy in Northeast Tennessee. I loved being with folks who have similar values and who are invested in addressing the needs of our community. I plan on writing more about regenerative economics and why I believe this type of system is healthy and necessary for our region, so stay tuned.

For today’s article, I decided to focus on the way our retreat was facilitated. I was so impressed with the facilitator’s skill and their kindness that I had to share some of the lessons I learned by observing and by receiving their good work. I figure we all could use some pointers on how to navigate the needs and the desires of multiple people, even people who like each other and have similar goals. As always, take what you want and leave the rest behind.

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Find the courage to be with the mystery.

Find the courage to be with the mystery.

In a country where “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are considered “self-evident” truths and “unalienable rights” there are still discrepancies, based on sex and gender, to the application of the law.

Gender and sex discrimination are not exclusive to the United States nor is this type of discrimination a recent phenomenon. Historically girls and women have been perceived and treated differently than boys and men. I know you know this.

My purpose here is not to regurgitate facts or to remind you of notable injustices. Rather, I invite you to notice how humans treat people and ideas that they do not understand, and consequently, fear. We make them smaller…

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Barriers to change: Pro tips for creating an intention or goal

Barriers to change: Pro tips for creating an intention or goal

Happy New Moon! Today is a wonderful time to begin anew: to sit quietly, to reflect, and to set an intention. To support your intention being realized, I offer the following guide which I learned from listening to Lisa Lahey, founder of Minds at Work and co-author of Immunity to Change.

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The gap between stimulus and response.

The gap between stimulus and response.

My mission in life is…to close the gap between when something happens and when I react authentically to it. ~ Geena Davis, episode 145 We Can Do Hard Things

The gap between stimulus and response can be a tricky space to navigate. There are so many variables which affect how we respond. The following recommendations are based on the assumption that you are not in fight, flight, or freeze mode: involuntary responses which occur when you are over-stimulated by a perceived threat.

Assuming that your pre-frontal cortex is still engaged (not so much in fight, flight or freeze mode), you have the ability to pause and to choose your response. This ability to review and to pick from a variety of options is contingent on two things: consciousness and competence.

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In the web of life, there is no hierarchy.

In the web of life, there is no hierarchy.

Last Saturday, Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, a Mexican American poet, novelist, painter, mother, and plantswoman, guided a School of the Lost Arts’ workshop entitled “Decolonizing the Garden.” Through beautiful and thoughtful conversation, Raquel shared the following tenets which guide her relationship with the Land.

• The Land can hold trauma, bad intentions, and curses.
• The Land can be healed.
• The Land contains spirits and is a spirit.

As we dove deeper into the significance of the tenets, Raquel encouraged us to acknowledge humans are part of a vast and interconnected web of life. She also invited us to recognize this web does not rank any being – animal, plant, insect, bird, stone, fish – as being better than or more important than another. In the web of life, there is no hierarchy.

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How do we use hardship as a way to grow?

How do we use hardship as a way to grow?

In the Northern Hemisphere, there is less daylight and cooler weather. Mother Nature is inviting us to pause and to reflect. And I am wondering how many of us are struggling to slow down?

As I have shared before in this forum, modern-day culture discourages a slower pace. In fact, there are incentives for moving quickly and doing more. Work places often evaluate employees based on productivity more than integrity and kindness, and personal relationships may feel judged by how much one gives rather than on how well one listens.

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Our imposter voice plays in the Shadow.

Our imposter voice plays in the Shadow.

Last Sunday the Sun moved into the sign of Scorpio initiating the season of the Shadow archetype. The Shadow represents the parts of ourselves we shun, ignore, and even loathe. The archetype is so named because the undesired and unwanted parts of us are regulated to the shadows and left in the dark to fester and molder.

When we avoid our Shadow, we limit our freedom. Pretending that we don’t have things we are ashamed of, embarrassed by, or afraid of keeps us stuck and limits our choices. Imagine telling yourself…

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Craftivism: a gentle way to speak volumes

Craftivism: a gentle way to speak volumes

While scrolling through Pinterest recently, I came across a cross-stitch kit from an ETSY seller that said, “Warning: This is proof I have the patience to stab something 1,000 times.” While I definitely don’t condone violence, I totally get this sentiment! If you’ve ever crafted, especially sewn, knitted, or crocheted, you know it can take a great deal of persistence and precision to finish a project—so much time and energy goes into your creation. When it’s complete, you may share it with others so they can admire your efforts, or you may quietly keep it to yourself.

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Celebrating the Fall Season (+ Recipes)

Celebrating the Fall Season (+ Recipes)

One way I like to celebrate the season of fall is by cooking with food and herbs which are best harvested this time of year, and therefore, are very supportive of our physical and mental bodies. Food and drink which are resourced locally are even more potent because they are harvested at peak ripeness and embody the characteristics of the land and people who grew them. When combined with mindful preparation, our food and drink become an elixir which strengthens and cares for us.

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Struggling to find balance.

Struggling to find balance.

This week we usher in a new season (Thursday) and recognize a new lunar cycle (Sunday). Both of these new beginnings occur in the sign of Libra which is the energy of balance: finding balance in our personal life as well as seeking balance in the world.

I don’t know about you but I have been struggling to find balance. Or maybe a better way to express my experience is to say I’ve really had to work hard for balance. (I do have moments of balance.)

While we all have personal reasons as to why finding equilibrium is a challenge, I also believe there are some universal reasons why we humans struggle with maintaining an even keel.

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