Turning Toward One Another in A Time of Crisis

The more I try to grasp the many dimensions of the global crisis that has so fundamentally changed our lives, the more I care about how this crisis is affecting us emotionally. Unexpected disruptions can come with a range of emotions that are often challenging, perplexing, and rapidly shifting within us. Turning to one another and finding support in each other’s company through deep listening can be a place of relief and comfort. And with this relief comes an inner spaciousness and renewed sense of wherewithal, and the possibility to invite and perceive a future that is truly new. 

I experience this rapid shifting of emotions myself. For example, while I am often still in shock about the pervasiveness of the impact of the virus, I also feel I am letting go of the familiar, finding moments of acceptance. In these moments, I get glimpses of new possibilities and feel a sense of hope.  But these moments pass, sometimes quickly, and I find that I am actually angry. I notice this when I am reactive in situations where I am usually more patient. Then later, I may feel so […]

Recovering An Indigenous View of the World: Reflections on A Cree Sundance

* How can a person immersed in western society recover an indigenous worldview? What are the ways that indigenous and non-indigenous people can build bridges of mutual appreciation and understanding? Can building such bridges help create shifts and a transformation toward a more holistic, ecological, spiritual, resilient and life affirming approach?

In this and the next posts, I share about my experience of participating in a Cree Sundance near Calgary, Canada. Rather than going right into describing the experience, in this post, I reflect on the challenges and opportunities of crossing cultural boundaries and world views and why it is important to explore them.

RECOVERING AN INDIGENOUS VIEW OF THE WORLD

Inclusion: A Necessary Step toward Collaboration

A few weeks ago, I participated in my first Sundance ceremony with the Cree people, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near Calgary, Canada. It is not a regular practice for Native people to invite non-Natives. This group’s openness to share their ceremony with people from across cultures makes me hopeful for our future. For those who participate from other cultures or traditions, the ceremonies open the door to experiencing the Cree’s cultural practices and […]

Facilitating a Vision & Change Alignment Process for the University of California – Merced

Here is a case study written for The Grove Journal about one of several whole-systems change projects I have been co-leading with David Sibbet and other Grove consultants.

Driven by economics and demand, the University of California’s newest campus in Merced is expected to double in size by 2020. No fewer than 72 change projects faced Michael Reese, vice chancellor of Business Administration, in 2016 when he engaged The Grove’s Gisela Wendling, Ph.D., and David Sibbet to facilitate a campus-wide 2020 Visioning and Change Alignment Process.

The process combined large-scale strategic-change consulting, visual facilitation, Grove Storymapping®, and interactive-network technology in a series of large summit meetings with faculty, staff and students. The meetings were guided by a Change Alignment Team (CAT) of top project managers led by Reese and the former dean of the School of Engineering, Erik Roland.

At Chancellor Dorothy Leland’s insistence, the process streamed real-time to students, staff and faculty who couldn’t attend the face-to-face meetings. An interactive platform provided by Grove partner Covision allowed virtual and in-person table groups to share […]

Reflections on Racism and the Possibility of Social Healing

Reflections on Racism

Recently I attended a ‘dialogue on race’ which my friend and colleague Ronita Johnson hosted. Somewhat by surprise, it led me to reflect on how my understanding and experience with racism, as someone born and raised in Germany, might be quite different from those who were born and raised here in the Unites States.

Many participants, both people of color and white people, shared stories of their earliest experience of racism. We also talked about American slavery, the current presidential elections, black pride, the police shootings, and other injustices that African Americans experience. We discussed the notion of race as an anthropological construction and racism as a symptom of a power system that is rigged toward the advantages of a few.

I walked away from this dialogue feeling quite stirred up and touched by the often heart-wrenching personal stories that were shared. “Is racism really about color, or is it about maintaining structural inequality so that a few can profit?” Questions are like doorways and guides for learning; I […]

2019-01-30T12:04:25+00:00August 17th, 2016|Culture, Dialogue, Social Change|2 Comments

Californians and Water: From Crisis to Connectivity

California’s attempts, present and past, to help achieve effective water governance and sustainable water use have usually been riddled with contentious and conflict ridden interactions. Often attempts become ensnared in litigation between the diverse stakeholders rather than finding ways forward that address the real issue of limited water supply that all Californians must face.

Yet representatives on the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply (CRWFS), came together over the past four years and agreed on a transformational, whole systems approach they called “Connectivity ” to address California’s water and food supply issues. This post reflects on how they can to this remarkable resolve […]

2018-09-26T00:05:58+00:00February 2nd, 2015|Change, Research|0 Comments