When I take the time to really slow down and tune into my breath, the silence, nature, I begin to experience myself as part of the larger whole of life. I feel power, depth, connection. I feel alive. I sense what the poet Joy Harjo described “That you can’t see, can’t hear; Can’t know except in moments steadily growing, and in languages that aren’t always sound but other circles of motion.” When I am in the presence of redwood, hawk, mountain or river, the politics of division loosen their grip on me. I lean in to the collaborative nature of life, the universe breathing through me, my inherent capacity to connect and transform.
From the killings this week in Aleppo, to reports of Russians hacking the US election, to the water protectors at Standing Rock, to the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, to the President-Elect’s unfathomable Cabinet nominees, reality has become difficult to stay fully present to. Grief and overwhelm arrive on the daily. I am generally oriented towards hope, but it’s taking deeper and deeper work to source it. I have been turning to love and prayer, not as passive or sentimental acts, but as practices that root me in true power. The reverence I have for the earth and the resiliency of life help me find hope.
Here in Burlington, Vermont, the snow is on the ground and we are in the dormant time, resting and readying ourselves for new growth. This website represents our first new shoots of the year, a work in progress with room to grow as we work in communities across the country, supporting new and established leaders, urban, suburban and rural communities, and people from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Together we are cultivating new ways to engage around the pressing environmental and social issues of the day.
This blog will be our space for sharing updates, new ideas, and opportunities with you. We welcome your feedback and conversation!
In 2010 our board and staff put into motion a three-year Breakthrough Campaign (2010-2013) during which we raised $500,000 to intentionally enhance those parts of our work that have always been strong and transform that work to break new ground.
The Breakthrough Campaign support our efforts to:
Build new relationships with organizations in cities to model collaborative leadership and co-create new home places for whole communities work.
Invest in staff, board, and faculty training to transform into an effective intercultural organization and challenge our alumni with what we learn in the process.
Ensure that all the places we work are welcoming and inclusive to a diversity of people.
Identify and cultivate new faculty to help us deepen our support of alumni, and strengthen long-term impacts of our work.
Create entirely new formats for delivering our most sought-after programs to many more people and organizations.
Develop a fundamentally new approach to generating revenue that allows us to sustain all of the above long into the future.