My growth as a Partnership advocate continued most recently in the online course, The Power of Partnership, where author and visionary Riane Eilser and course leaders Susan Carter and Sara Saltee guided participants in considering how small actions can lead to meaningful change in addressing the human, environmental and economic challenges of today's world.
This course was both distressing and quite affirming to me. It invited us to look closely at our own life experience as we examined the Seven Relationships, the presence of the Inner Dominator (if you will) in all areas of our lives, in our relationship with ourselves, intimate others, work and community, national and international community, and nature. I’m sure that I wasn’t alone in gaining insight into the deep and ever present impact that dominator dynamics have on our lives past and present, in spite of any relative privilege we may or may not have enjoyed. Along with this was the gift of seeing that we can and often do live and successfully embody partnership principles in many areas of our lives, and in many cases to quite a great extent. This is cause to celebrate as it is what our work is all about.
The Power of Partnership experience is so valuable because in the most simple and practical of ways, Riane challenges us to ask ourselves how we can help further advance principles of partnership living. In the face of all the trauma, loss and destruction in the world today, Riane acknowledges our shared discouragement while she also encourages hope.
Most importantly, however, is that Riane Eisler gives us concise and comprehensive language that for so long has been elusive or completely lacking. These thoughtfully developed words clearly and precisely enable us to identify and name the social dynamics that so deeply shape nearly every aspect of our shared human experience. An article called “Life Without Language,” on the Neuroanthropology.net website, discusses the notion that without language, there can be no cognition or understanding. Difficult experiences for which we have no words can leave us feeling numb and confused. The article further states; Language is not simply an either/or proposition, but part of a cognitive developmental niche that shapes both our abilities and (unperceived) disabilities relative to the fully cognitively matured language-less individual.
We must have clear language and adequate words to define our experiences in order to bring awareness and understanding to them. If we are too shocked or traumatized by the harm and cruelty around us, it will be impossible to identify and speak about the social and cultural dynamics that threaten life rather than support it. This book contains the framework, language and tools needed to better understand and work to change this.
Riane Eisler's engagement in developing the language, educational leadership and a worldwide Partnership Learning Community is one of most potent tools available to the citizens of the world today. Never have we been so well-equipped and empowered to step out and share this concise overview of the dynamics that continue to characterize and injure civilization. The Tables in the back of the book that outline the differences between Dominator and Partnership Models are clear and easy to understand -- an invaluable tool for community education. The carefully thought out steps, actions and practices in each chapter offer many options to effect change on a daily basis. Pebbles of all sizes and colors for tossing out into a sea of change, both personally and collectively. As a Partnership Advocate, I will continue to use these words -- in writing, speaking and video -- to continue to make a contribution. Language is everything.