Monday, December 14, 2009


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Friday, October 30, 2009

Living Your Divine Design for Change

Emerging ChangeMaker Marianna (in the center with eyes closed and the biggest smile) talks about a book that is
moving her to change.

I’m reading The Wisdom of Florence Scovel Shinn. My brother turned me on to this book after hearing hiphop artist Common during an interview discussing the insights he was gaining from reading Shinn’s book. Written by Florence Scovel Shinn, an acclaimed artist and metaphysician, she counsels people to align their thoughts and words on positivity thus stimulating the superconscious mind to release one’s true destiny.

Shinn’s philosophy around manifesting the Divine Design of your life includes delivering health, wealth, love and perfect self-expression. “All power is given to man (through right thinking) to bring his heaven upon his earth”. Speaking the word into existence over your life will bring wisdom and creative insights and doing so will bring pure and heartfelt affirmations that can resolve obstacles and barriers. This book may remind you of one of those “think it” and “receive it” self help books, but it’s quite profound because it makes the winding road to success a straighter path. Heavily Christian based but it will resonate with any religion, faith or practice. Lastly, major gold stars are for the detailed examples (stories of clients she’s advised) that are so real with staggering faith delivered results.

It's great knowing that I'm amidst change in my life and have been truly inspired.

- Marianna

Monday, October 26, 2009

Doing Darkness

by: angel Kyodo williams

change vs. transform

These days, people are tossing the word transformation around and pasting it on everything from baby diapers to “How to Write a Budget” workshops as the latest hypnotic marketing voodoo. The same tired products and ineffectual programs are becoming “transformative” this and “transformational” that, hoping to gain the allure of freshly brushed pearly whites just by adding that oh-so-enticing gleaming star of transformation. The result is that in most cases in which we talk about transformation, we’re actually opting for a hyped-up variation on change, or worse yet, a dull and impotent rendition of it. This wouldn’t matter so much except for the fact that actual transformation–otherwise known as “deep change”–happens to be what we really need.

Owing to my own transitions and subsequent learning in the past year, I’ve been carrying two recurring themes everywhere I go. (1) The need for a clear articulation of the difference between “change” and “transformation” and, (2) distinguishing what is required to have the latter. I point to the metamorphoses of caterpillar-to-butterfly and nymph-to-dragonfly to illuminate both the path of transformation and some of the lessons we can take from their journeys to light our own Way.

As one of the oldest insects existing, the near-mystical dragonfly once darted where dinosaurs roamed at ten times it’s current size. But that was when trees were towering and provided more nutrients, cover and oxygen. Since then, dragonflies have downsized from wingspans as great as 20-30 inches to the more nimble 2-3 inches of today. Though dragonflies almost never walk, they’ve reduced their symbolic and consumptive footprint to a tenth of what it once was in response to the decrease in resources. We have much to learn.

Just as unique as their ancient friends, butterflies capture our imagination as embodiments of beauty and freedom. Their youth as caterpillars are spent doing nothing but consuming everything they can. Their voracious appetites cause them to shed their skin repeatedly, but they just end up bigger, stronger, faster caterpillars. That’s change. In order to complete the metamorphosis into butterflies, caterpillars must create and enter the darkness of the chrysalis where they break down into a kind of genetic goop. Special cells, unsurprisingly called “formative,” direct the actual process of becoming a butterfly. Both the seed and evolutionary inclination to transform exists within. Before that happens though, caterpillars must literally experience partial death and a destruction of their current form as they know it. That’s transformation.Just as unique as their ancient friends, butterflies capture our imagination as embodiments of beauty and freedom. Their youth as caterpillars are spent doing nothing but consuming everything they can. Their voracious appetites cause them to shed their skin repeatedly, but they just end up bigger, stronger, faster caterpillars. That’s change. In order to complete the metamorphosis into butterflies, caterpillars must create and enter the darkness of the chrysalis where they break down into a kind of genetic goop. Special cells, unsurprisingly called “formative,” direct the actual process of becoming a butterfly. Both the seed and evolutionary inclination to transform exists within. Before that happens though, caterpillars must literally experience partial death and a destruction of their current form as they know it. That’s transformation.

Like majestic Monarchs, if we really intend to achieve the beauty, power and freedom that is our birthright as a movement of people that seek justice for all, we need to go beyond ,or TRANScend, our current FORM as we know it.

Six Ways to Know Transformation

Here are six key points to help you recognize (and influence) when change becomes deep change…when it is transformation:

1. it can’t be undone: it can’t be undone: Unlike change, which can be undone with a shift in context or the swipe of a presidential pen, there’s no going back on transformation. The depth of change that takes place is so deep, rooted and resounding, that the former way of being is no longer possible. Though our prison system may suggest otherwise, the truth is that our current society can no longer bear slavery as we know it. Likewise, while institutional racism abounds, pre-Civil Rights segregation is essentially socially unacceptable. Our society has moved beyond these once common fundamental injustices.

2. it is neutral: As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, the reality is that we can have transformations, social and otherwise, that are neither life-affirming nor progressive. Think war-crime worthy Nazi Germany or occupation & bombing of Palestine. the transformation of those societies to allow heinous injustice to other human beings to be widely and popularly acceptable exemplifies transformation’s inherent neutrality. While transformation can’t be undone, a dangerous new can take the place of what came before without clear intention. The decisive question we must ask is “Transformation towards what?” If we want positive transformative outcomes, we must intentionalize and work toward them.

3. it is rigorous: To the naked eye, transformation often takes place at such a slow rate and on such a subterranean level, it is nearly imperceptible until you’re on the other side of it. But further investigation reveals a consistency and rigor to the process that is undeniable. Deep change requires deep practice. Simply put, we have to stay with it in order to see transformation through.

4. it is whole: Transformation must take place at all levels in order to be achieved. It isn’t enough to transform only ourselves as a slew of self-help and navel-gazing spiritual teachings may profess. People form organizations, organizations become institutions, institutions inform cultures, cultures give rise to whole societies. Through and through, we must weave the fabric of our movement culture with ways of being, knowing and doing that embody precisely how we want to see society transformed: into an equitable, sustainable and just place for all.

5. it always unfolds in the present: Transformation is both path and goal. While it appears that transformation has a beginning and end, we are always somewhere in the process of one cycle of transformation or another. But our current shape, where we are along the way, shows up in the NOW.Not in the past, not in the future: How we are showing up right now is the state of our transformation.

6. we don’t know what it looks like: This does not mean without intention. As affirmed earlier, a strong, aligned intention is not only desired but critical to affecting the overall direction of the process. However, if you can imagine the exact outcome, it’s more likely to be change than transformation because our vision is necessarily limited by our current perspective and conditions. At the point at which we surrender to the process of transforming, even our vision for desired outcomes dissolves into the “goop” which makes room for those formative aspects to direct our emergence into what we will become. So you want transformation, but are hell-bent on control? Um, not so much.

What’s In A Name? Ideally Everything

Finally, I submit that in naming and framing the new social movement that burgeons just beneath the surface of our everyday work for justice from Ithaca to Istanbul, we need a descriptor that embodies the principles of such a movement into the very name itself. More than any other movement that has come before, this one must embody it’s principles at all levels…including in it’s name. Thus we need an expression that is as much the path as it is the goal. A name that is now, not later. One that calls for us to be active, rather than passive; generative rather than prescriptive; a verb (action from inside) rather than adverb (qualified from the outside). The theory and ideas might be transformatIONAL, but the movement and its practice must be transformatIVE.

And more than political, it must be social. Yes, our politics (ways of governance of people,) systems, structures must undergo change–they must be brought into alignment with the values of our heart’s yearning, not our fear’s recoiling. Indeed, our government must be aligned with our deep need for connection rather than our contempt for difference.

But the reason for shifting the political landscape must be in service to the greater goal of shifting our social landscape (ways of being with people,) so that we can change the fundamental nature of our relationship to one another, to the planet, to the world and to life itself through the vehicle of a deep change in relationship to ourselves. In our society and in our hearts, we are still willing to use force–to bomb people into peace–thus empowering our government to do so. This, we must transform ourselves to no longer be able to bear.

I often muse that if the aquatic larva knew that it would one day leave its known realm to take to the sky, it would never, ever go, and transformation would be averted. But it is birthright that calls. In this Way, we have to allow ourselves to hear and respond to the evolutionary and revolutionary call that pulls us inexorably forward into becoming our newly formed selves–personally, politically, organizationally, institutionally, across all society–making room for a vision yet to be seen.

Right now, we must actively, generatively, take rigorous, intentional action towards wholly being that which we envision, and surrender to what we cannot. We must be so that we can become.

In it’s new form, the dragonfly can dive breathtakingly into a precipitous vertical drop, become a mere blur as it darts about at breakneck speeds, only to come to an apparent dead stop, hovering magically in mid-air. For the most part, it’s the sun that dragon and butterflies need to fly…but they need the dark to grow their magic wings. So do we. It is only once we emerge from the darkness that we will dare cast off our hardened shells to truly take flight.

Let’s do the darkness so that we can all fly together.

With gratitude to Robert, Staci, Steven, Adrienne, Zulayka, Claudia, Marie, the New Dharma Community and all my transformative teachers, mentors, students and friends–aKw


copyright MMIX. angel Kyodo williams

angel Kyodo williams is a maverick teacher, author, social visionary
and founder of Center for Transformative Change. she posts, tweets &
blogs on all things change. permission granted to retweet, repost,
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Social Venture Network Announces 2009 SVN Innovation Award Winners

Eight Pioneering Socially Responsible Business and Nonprofit Leaders Named Honorees, All To Be Recognized Oct. 23 at the SVN Fall Conference in La Jolla, California

Submitted by:Social Venture Network

Categories:Ratings & Awards

Posted: Oct 12, 2009 – 06:55 PM EST

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Oct. 12 /CSRwire/ - Social Venture Network (SVN), the country's leading peer-to-peer network of socially responsible entrepreneurs, investors and nonprofit leaders, has announced five winners and two honorable mentions for the 2009 SVN Innovation Awards. Now in its third year, the Awards program honors and supports the next generation of socially responsible and sustainable business and nonprofit leaders by providing them access to the people and resources within the SVN community that can help them achieve the next level of success.

A panel of 16 judges, including investors, CEOs, academic and nonprofit leaders, selected 13 finalists from the many applications received by SVN. The judges were looking for entrepreneurs who are addressing the world’s most pressing social and/or environmental problems. After a final round of judging during which the finalists were assessed on their innovation, impact, and ability to scale their work, the judges selected these five inspiring winners and two honorable mentions:

Brent Baker, Tri-State Biodiesel - New York, NY: Brent is the CEO and founder of New York City based, Tri-State Biodiesel (TSB), which operates one of the largest waste cooking oil collection companies in New York. Under Brent-s leadership, TSB is the first, most well-known, and biggest biodiesel company in the region, and a national leader in urban, sustainable biodiesel. Brent is a pioneer of the biodiesel movement and has been a biodiesel educator since the fuel emerged in the United States about 14 years ago. He is a nationally known spokesman on biodiesel and related issues.

Shannon Boase, Earthcycle Packaging - Vancouver, BC: Shannon is founder and CEO of Earthcycle Packaging. Earthcycle has used the design brilliance of nature to develop innovative sustainable packaging made from a renewable resource, palm fiber, which composts in less than 90-days, turning into a healthy contribution to the soil. The reuse of palm fiber also eliminates the air pollution that results from the burning of the fibers. Having gained immediate momentum in the US and Canada, Earthcycle's packaging is now currently available in select Wal-Mart, Publix, Safeway, Loblaw's, Kroger and Wegmans, among other retailers.

Sam Goldman and Ned Tozun, D.light Design - Palo Alto, CA: Sam and Ned are co-founders of D.light Design, an international consumer products company that serves customers without access to reliable electricity. The mission of D.light is to enable households without reliable electricity to attain the same quality of life as those with electricity, beginning with replacing every kerosene lantern with clean, safe, and bright light. D.light has sold tens of thousands of solar lanterns, providing bright light to over 300,000 individuals in India, East Africa, and around the world.

Mark Hanis, Genocide Intervention Network – Washington, DC: Genocide Intervention Network empowers individuals and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide. As a grandchild of four Holocaust survivors, Mark became involved in the anti-genocide movement when he was outraged by the international community's inaction when the Darfur conflict began. Based on Genocide Intervention Network's investment guidelines, institutional investors in 27 states, 23 U.S. cities and 61 universities have placed targeted restrictions on their Sudan-linked investments, and eighteen countries have launched divestment campaigns based on the model.

Gregg Keesling, Workforce, Inc. – Indianapolis, IN: Workforce Inc.'s (WFI) dual mission is to help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully transition back into civil society by providing transitional employment supported by a host of social services and to keep as much waste as possible - especially electronic waste - out of Indiana's landfills. WFI launched its first recycling enterprise in late 2005 with 2 employees. WFI has since grown to 56 employees and has processed 5 million pounds of electronic waste. WFI has served more than 190 formerly incarcerated individuals with a recidivism rate of 11%, a dramatic improvement over the national norm of 70%.

Honorable Mentions:

Joseph James, Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CEO) - Columbia, SC: CEO's mission is to assure that rural, African-American communities in the South, are part of, and benefit from, our nation's new, growing green economy. CEO works in three areas: 1) Developing inner-city farmers markets, to create new markets for black farmers and to bring fresh produce and health services to low-income, black communities. 2) Creating a biodiesel system, which will convert oil seed crops and waste cooking oil into biodiesel 3) Assisting black farmers and forest landowners to produce, harvest and process biomass into renewable fuels.

Ben Powell, Agora Partnerships - Washington, DC: Agora Partnerships gives developing world entrepreneurs the management tools, networks and financing needed to launch successful, socially-responsible companies. Agora Partnerships' focus is on serving the "missing middle"- entrepreneurs running businesses that are too big for microfinance and not large enough for traditional commercial lending. Agora finds great entrepreneurs and gives them practical, hands-on help and the opportunity to obtain equity financing from an investment fund specifically designed for them.

"This year, our judges faced a tremendous challenge in selecting our final group of winners and honorable mentions. We are proud to support such an impressive group of entrepreneurs who are working to build a just and sustainable economy," said Deborah Nelson, Executive Director of Social Venture Network. "We look forward to recognizing all of our honorees during our fall conference and integrating them into the SVN community, where they'll be able to tap into a wealth of resources, ideas and connections."

SVN Innovation Award winners will be honored at the invitation-only SVN 2009 Fall Conference, to be held October 22-25 at the Estancia La Jolla outside of San Diego, California. In a special ceremony on the evening of Friday, October 23th, each of our winners and honorable mentions will have the opportunity to share their pioneering work with an audience of nearly 300 socially responsible business CEOs, investors and social entrepreneurs.

To support them as they grow their enterprises, Innovation Award winners will each receive a one-year membership in SVN. They will be promoted for one year on the SVN website and be partnered with select SVN leaders, who will provide mentorship and make helpful introductions throughout 2010.

Since 1987, SVN has inspired a community of innovative business leaders, investors, and social entrepreneurs to collectively pursue a more just and sustainable economy, through the growth of such initiatives as socially responsible investing, organics, fair trade, sustainable consumer products, local economies, and green building. SVN champions this effort through member-led initiatives, sharing of tools and best practices, Peer-to-Peer Learning Calls, the SVN Book Series and bi-annual conferences that empower SVN members to work together on behalf of this shared vision.

About Social Venture Network
Founded in 1987 by Josh Mailman and Wayne Silby, Social Venture Network (SVN) is a peer-to-peer network of CEOs, investors, and nonprofit leaders committed to building a just economy and sustainable planet. SVN believes in a triple bottom line for business, one that values healthy communities and the human spirit, as well as high returns. SVN members are part of an expanding global network of pioneering entrepreneurs who share this vision and are helping to transform the way the world does business.

Notable SVN members include Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's, Eileen Fisher of Eileen Fisher Inc., Priya Haji of World of Good, Reem Rahim of Numi Tea, Adam Lowry of Method Products, Inc., Judy Wicks of White Dog Café, Julius Walls, Jr. of Greyston Bakery, Amy Domini of Domini Social Investments, Jeffrey Hollender of Seventh Generation, and Gary Erickson of Clif Bar Inc.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What Kanye Knows, The Oracle on Race Relations

My Spin-

Kanye West is not crazy. In fact, I like to think of Mr. West as the racial barometer of the nation, his outburst being the measurement of the woes facing our nation that are often inaudible by others. For me, Kanye is the truth. While he may be eccentric and emotionally drained at this point in his career, I am not prepared to dismiss his outburst at the MTV Video Music awards as a Hennessy filled rant. Instead, his actions are a revealing look into the countries current feelings around racism.

“Kanye West was right”. Those were the words on t-shirts being sold in Brooklyn following Kanye’s graphic exposure of the Bush administrations inability to support the displaced people of Hurricane Katrina. We all remember the way Kayne’s face looked as he shocked the world, and even himself, by saying “George Bush does not care about Black people”. At that moment, his words spoke to the feeling that many were having about the racial disparities following the hurricane.

Moving forward to 2009 and Mr. West has taken the microphone from a sweet faced young White girl who sings country music and believes that she has taken an accolade from another more deserving Black artist during the MTV Video Music Awards broadcast. Silence filled Radio City Music Hall as everyone gasped. Was his timing just off? Perhaps it was the fact that he was expressing his feelings about the disrespect being shown in the awarding of a girl who represents the epitome of white America?

Perhaps Kanye was reverberating an unspoken feeling about what is happening around race relations in America. Let’s be honest, there is nothing new about Black people pushing for equality and justice. The struggles of racism in the 1960’s and ‘70s ushered in civil rights legislation that supposedly removed barriers to success for African-Americans. Black people were told that if they could not succeed, then it was their own fault and with that a new lexicon of coded speech began to include words like ”melting pot”, “culture of poverty” ,“war on drugs” and “welfare queen”. This new language replaced open conversation about racism and forced our racial lens to erode.

With all the subtleties in language around racism in America we have been struggling to give voice to the structural realities of racism that are still holding our country back. The structural arrangement that perpetuates racism is no accident. Lee Atwater, chief strategist for President Regan’s administration, gave a telling interview to Alexander Lamis, a political scientist, laying out the strategy of that administration. In the interview, Atwater explains that “You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can't say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. Obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

Enter “Post Racial” America. This phrase has become the definition of our nations complicated history around the fight against racism and the misdirection of language that was used to lull us into a belief in a faux “color blind” society. Yet for all the musing around the term “post racial” we can’t help but realize that the moment we elected Barack Obama our nations President we ran squarely against what it means to really be in a “post racial” country.

Week after week, we have seen attacks against people who, by all standards, are qualified and above reproach. None are more glaring then the attacks against President Obama. From the New York Times cartoon that illustrated a monkey being shot with a caption that refers to finding someone else to write the stimulus bill to the outrage people felt during the healthcare townhall meetings to Rep. Joe Wilson calling the President of the United States a liar during his address to the joint session of congress. Even Professor Henry Louis Gates, a noted Harvard University academic, gets arrested while trying to open the door of his home. We can feel the ripping of the seams on our “post racial” America and people are mad- real mad.

As Kanye West took to the stage and pulled the microphone from White America’s hand he could have been saying that Black America is not going to stand by and watch a more talented and more justly deserving Black person being disrespected - or he could have been just a jerk. But I like to think that he was not even talking about the disrespect shown to Beyonce but rather he was signaling that Black America is tired of the disrespect shown to the best of the best – President Obama.

Submitted by: Jessica Norwood

The ideas relayed in this opinion piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the Emerging ChangeMakers Network or its membership.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No Coloreds Allowed in Healthcare

An Alabama native considers the role the South and race has played in shaping the debate around universal healthcare.

I came across a tweet – that’s twitter speak – on my cell phone the other day and I have been hard pressed to shake its message. My friend, Brentin, a brilliant wordsmith who has mastered twitter in ways I can only dream, sent a message that said, “I am wondering where the “universal” has gone in the healthcare debate?” Simple question and certainly to the point, where did universal healthcare go?

Having spent many years in Washington, DC and working around the country on political campaigns, I know the kind of brokering that takes place around the issues we care about and one thing is always true, in the end, someone always gets shut out. In a lot of ways Americans, especially those who are most in need, have come to expect this type of wheeling and dealing and have numbed themselves to the reality that they will never get what they need, let alone what they want.

To say “business as usual” is the reason why universal healthcare has drifted out of the debate would actually oversimplify the issue. After all, healthcare is tangled up in a promise to “life, liberty and a pursuit of happiness” -your life and the corporation’s life. When these two entities ability to pursue happiness is threatened “compromise” becomes the word du jour. Even as you read this, your elected representatives and senators are working on a “compromise “ on healthcare where some people get what they need and some do not. Wait, isn’t that what we already have?

Healthcare power brokering on Capitol Hill is a minefield of double entendres and code words that send us messages such as “Americans do not trust government to provide its healthcare” even when we know that millions of Americans use Medicaid, Medicare and Veterans Heath Services, which are all public health systems. It also sends us messages that tell us that the sole reason why universal healthcare is not possible is because of the economics of the country – we are capitalists - and while I know that this is true, simply relegating the healthcare debate to being just an economic issue ignores our ugly truth– the lack of universal healthcare is about race.

In 1946, President Truman had an idea for a national healthcare system that would help heal a country still recovering from the Great Depression. The New Deal created Social Security and unemployment insurance and universal healthcare would have helped secure the lives of millions of low-wage workers. Public opinion was strong for the new national health system all around the country except for the Southern U.S

In the South, where many people couldn’t afford health coverage, the argument about healthcare became clearly a fact of whether or not this new system would force the integration of hospitals in the South. Instead of providing healthcare to the droves of uninsured poor whites in the South, the Southern delegates to Congress asserted that keeping black people out of white hospitals was more important than allowing healthcare to all people. Because of the South, universal healthcare failed and current system was solidified.

Yes, the lack of healthcare coverage hits all people no matter their skin color and it feels like it would be easier to argue the healthcare issues on the basis of class and income but our problems in this country are more than poverty issues, they are about race. The Republican argument is that the healthcare debate revolves around smaller government and privatization. Conversely, the Democratic argument is that our failure to ensure universal healthcare is about insurance companies continuing to make money at the expense of poor people. Neither argument speaks to the heart of this matter. Our failure to understand and legitimately address racism will mean that any “compromise” that is made around healthcare will only continue to keep people of out the system based on their race.

I suppose the “universal” part of the healthcare debate has been swept under the rug, much like addressing race.

Submitted by: Jessica Norwood

The ideas and relayed in this opinion piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the Emerging ChangeMakers Network or its membership.

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Be the Change: Take a Child to Church#1

This one comes courtesy of my good friend Tee Barnes who I think really had it right. Every Sunday, she rounds up a group of kids - some of them she knows and some from her neighborhood- and takes them to church. Simple.

I remember being a kid and going to church with my grandmother. It was just what we did. I loved getting dressed up because it made me think I had business to do or that I was doing something very important. Often times, church was the place I ate breakfast and because my Sunday school class was small I could get some special one on one time from my teacher.

Children need to see adults standing for something they believe in. It helps them to know what integrity, conviction, pride and discipline look like. These are the kind of traits that make a community strong. When a person has integrity, pride, conviction and discipline they have what it takes to make change happen.

Change happens in small- BIG ways. You don't have to overdo it to make a tremendous impact on community.

BE THE CHANGE: Take a child to church (every week if you can)!

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