I believe that our inner and outer work go hand in hand, pursuant to the ancient wisdom, “as below, so above.” That each feeds and strengthens the other so that we may both embody and act from the change we long for in the world.
The world is calling for our engaged action, and action that is uninformed by some form of personal practice is likely less effective, or may even create more harm. As I see it, the call is to heal ourselves inwardly, while we simultaneously co-create and midwife in a new culture and civilization.
Among my personal passions in designing programs for the Bioneers conference is to bring together both the inner and outer dimensions of social transformation. Revealing the relationship between the two can lead to greater integration. That integration is essential for developing the leadership capacities in each of us, as I believe that this time on Earth asks us all to step forward with our own unique style of leadership.
In response to your feedback, and how apparent it’s become that we learn from our experience, we’ll have many more experiential and interactive sessions this year. On the inner plane, to advance learning about cultivating our own leadership by learning from nature’s model, I’m psyched for Leadership Lessons from the Living Earth. To develop greater inner awareness about cultural bias and a capacity to become a better white ally, check out Transforming our Relationship to White Privilege in Service to Beloved Community.
Another particular pleasure for me is assembling diverse viewpoints from people who are wise of heart, creative of hand and insightful of mind to explore a highly relevant topic in a way that brings differing modalities or disciplines together. To explore the positive benefits, outwardly, of acting on behalf of a racially healthy and equitable society, In Pursuit of Happiness: Becoming Beloved Community assembles just such an array of eloquent thinkers and doers. And, as last month’s e-letter noted, the Society and Inner Resilience emergent conversation also exemplifies that spectrum of diverse perspectives.
Perhaps the most important muscles we can develop, as leaders, involve our capacities to connect across differences and to unite apparent paradox. Now more than ever, we need to find our way through seemingly intractable dualities toward a future where we can appreciate our differences while joining together in unified values and action on behalf of the whole web of life.
And studies now show that the most critical factor in community resilience – whether or not communities pull through crises – is the strength of social ties. As Sarah Crowell of Destiny Arts puts it, “The way we’ll hold it together is to hold it – together.”
Multiple programs address each of these aspects of inner and outer resilience, and I’d like to share my perspective on a few.
To address reconciling apparent contradiction in the interest of full-spectrum leadership, the Council on Restoring and Honoring the Sacred Feminine and Sacred Masculine will be hosted by two facilitators who’ve bring real depth to this inquiry. The gender session on Moving Beyond Binaries and Polarity into Possibility and Wholeness may offer insights about how we all live somewhere on a continuum of feminine and masculine, and that our human wholeness requires the full engagement and complementarity of each within us. Regardless of gender, we’ve all been damaged by a culture that’s assigned strange definitions to each one, and these sessions may offer insights we need to reclaim human wholeness and dynamic equilibrium, inwardly.
Dr. Rangimarie Turuki Rose Pere, or Rose, a Maori elder and educator, says “Women will be the ones to lead in ending the destruction of Mother Earth because, as women, we have an invisible umbilical cord that connects us to her.” The truth of her statement still reverberates within my cells. Her bold and fierce declaration is a clarion call I’m hearing among many peoples, traditions and inquiries about how we may best, as a species, navigate this precipitous time.
The women’s track will bring together great women leaders across many differences, including age, ethnicity and discipline, to reveal what women may be uniquely contributing to the reinvention of leadership. The Cultivating Women’s Leadership Leadership session will gather Ai-Jen Poo, Sandra Steingraber, Nikki Henderson, Anisha Desai and Jess Rimington with Toby Herzlich to surface and articulate this fertile territory. Because gender difference and contributions are often among the last to be seen or acknowledged, and our existing economic system suffers in part from being quite so heavily masculinized, Women in the Economy will help make visible how women, a gender lens and living systems are reinventing an economy that works for all, while surfacing common, shared values that we can all bring home to further inform our work.
As we navigate the increasingly daunting challenges we face, now more than ever we need each other and our web of connection. Come and celebrate our collective co-creation, this new civilization that we’re all midwifing into being, while encouraging, inspiring and strengthening ourselves for the year ahead. I hope to see you there!