Did you know that all members of the Partnership Learning Community are welcome to create blog posts?
Feel free to author posts anytime you have something to share - either about projects you are involved in that you think will interest the PLC community, or updates about your work as a Conversation Leader or Partnership movement-builder.
It is easy to make a post - just follow the instructions below and have fun!
Dear Partnership Learning Community,
I’m so delighted that leadership coach Todd Iarussi of Rhinomind Coaching invited me to join him on his podcast! We had an open and thought-provoking conversation about many facets of leadership, partnership, and personal empowerment, including:
- The importance of identifying and aligning with our core values
- Why it’s crucial to untangle some of the different currents of masculinity, femininity, and partnership—for men AND women
- Why I put the term "patriarchy" in quotes
- How we can move from systems of domination to systems of partnership (If you’re inspired to learn more about partnership models, please check out Riane Eisler’s book “The Power of Partnership: Seven Relationships That Will Change Your Life.” She inspired me, and much of this conversation.)
- How sex is actually a lot like leadership (yep--we went there!)
I’m still all revved up from the conversation—I think you might be, too! We'd love you to take a listen.
I'd love to hear your thoughts: did something resonate with you? Did I miss the mark? I think these are conversations worth having, and I'd love you to join in.
Love + courage,
Hi there PLC!
I just wanted to announce the formation of the Partnership Living Portland group on Meetup.com. I have decided to put my organizing capacities into focusing on building partnership-oriented community. My goal is to help catalyze organizing for a partnership future by facilitating events and groups that are educational, empowering, and connecting. I would love to find others eventually who are interested in helping me co-facilitate this group. Anyone with ideas for organizing around partnership in the Portland area are welcome to add groups and events. I'm excited to start this group as it is helping me more fully express my passions and helping me to contribute and help others more.
Within the Partnership Living Portland group I have already scheduled my first events. I am planning to facilitate (if the interest is there), two Chalice and the Blade Reading and Discussion groups, both starting in early October. I organized one earlier this year that went well and I'm wanting to offer more of these groups to provide those who are interested a supportive and encouraging space to read a book that I feel is certainly one of the most important books I've ever read. These groups are just my first attempts at organizing through this new platform. I look forward to continuing to organize and continuing to meet and work with others that are similarly interested! One thing that I love so much about the concept of partnership is how intersectional it is. You can literally organize around any topic through a partnership lens and it would be relevant and helpful (if done skillfully) at moving our society in a partnership direction. The sky is the limit with the organizing potential of partnership-oriented groups.
Ok, well, I just wanted to announce this to all of you! I look forward to providing further announcements as I continue to explore and experiment with organizing towards a partnership future. If you have any comments, ideas, etc, please let me know! I wish you all well! Thank you for all that you do!
My Caring Economy project was to incorporate some of the concepts from the Course into a book I am working on. It is in outline stage currently. The course has re-ignighted my enthusiasm for writing this book. The theme is to connect the dots to show how materialism has eclipsed higher principles and values. Here is a summary of some of the content.
In a democracy, power is to be vested in the divine right of the ruled. Unfortunately, special Interests and money have usurped that power from the people and the result has been devastating on many levels. Democracy assumes an informed and participatory populace. Certainly in the United States, antiquated educational models intentionally produce an ignorant population that has been programed to be mass consumers and mindless workers. Advances in the science of learning are ignored, subjects and issues that matter most are not taught at all.
Founding fathers were keenly aware of the difference between spirituality and religion. Religion tends to impose its will on others in a rigid or pushy fashion, spirituality emphasis is on oneness and love of self, others and nature. Globally, religious factions advance merciless policies often with political favor. Spiritual concepts of love, peace, freedom and compassion are discounted as weak.
When it comes to health and wellness, Western Modern Medicine makes us sick. Big Pharma controls the American Medical Association and money is the primary motive. Medical students are rarely taught nutrition or mind-body healing. Doctors are hostile to healers who are not MDs. Few will collaborate with alternative or holistic medicine providers.
Big Agriculture promotes genetically modified organisms, pesticides and herbicides which has resulted in depleted soil, plants with little to no phytonutrients and many damaging health side effects such as leaky gut. GMOs not only impact the food chain, but the pervasive use of antibiotics has created Super Bugs that are antibiotic resistant. In short, the entire process of harvesting and delivering food has focused on Profit, while the Earth is treated as an expendable resource for human exploitation.
An important topic that is not taught is money and finances. Money is very often a taboo subject at home. Parents cannot be expected to teach children things they do not know. Conventional thought teaches the young to go to school (conform), get good grades (don't think!), to go to college, to get a Secure Job (which doesn't exist). Often the emphasis is on career choices that earning the most income, rather than encouraging students to pursue careers that offer meaningful work. American student loan debt is $1.45 trillion, without about 44 million borrowers. That sum is $620 billion more than US credit card debt. A 2016 graduate averages $37,172 in student loan debt, up six percent from 2015. This system creates a large population of Debt Slaves with limited choices and unfulfilled lives.
Financial ignorance also allows greed and corruption in many other areas of both private and public life. Adults are urged to "listen to the experts" when it comes to money. Few know financial advisors are not required to act as "fiduciaries". It is perfectly legal for your financial advisor to recommend a product that pays a higher commission but is an inferior investment vehicle for you. On June 9, 2017 that changed, but the new fiduciary rule doesn't require advisors to provide fiduciary level advice on all investments, only those pertaining to retirement accounts. The Trump administration is reviewing the rule in an attempt to roll it back.
An out of control war machine, deregulation of financial institutions and the unlimited printing of money out of thin air by the Federal Reserve Bank (it's NOT Federal, there are NO RESERVES and it's NOT a BANK) steals wealth & creates Debt Slaves II (taxpayers). The result is re-concentration of wealth as all benefits flow to the top of the hierarchy.
The dominator model plays a significant role in all aspects of our lives. Working together we can create an integrated progressive, economic & social agenda with policies that no longer leave family, community, values & morality to regressives.
dear Learning Community & Cohorts -
We were invited to share our Caring Economy Advocate projects here on the blog. I presented a lecture series for a philosophy class at a community college this fall :
I. Patriarchy, Bonobos & the Sociology of Partnership Societies -
What is the true opposite of patriarchy and how do we get there? An introduction to the partnership lens, and an in-depth look at Bonobos as a living example of partnership and our genetic possibilities for cultural transformation. We discuss dualism and the relationship of opposites in both dominator & partnership paradigms. A look at the Cosmic/Human Timeline from the birth of the Milky Way to the present, in a quest to see how much has been forgotten in order to understand how we got here.
II. Gender Roles & Sexual Stereotypes: The Iconography of Partnership vs. Dominator Cultures -
A visual presentation of the iconography of dominator & partnership systems, celebrating the power to take life (classical times to the present) vs. celebrating the power to give life (Paleolithic & Neolithic art). Addressing the “male gaze,” a product of dominator culture, and discussion of Laura Mulvey’s work Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. What then is the female gaze? Archetypes that activate: why are we afraid of Medusa and why is she so angry anyway? Did Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman escape the male gaze and why do we care?
III. Whose Lives Matter? Citizenship in the Polis Since Aristotle -
Asking the question, whose lives matter in a dominator ideology? Whose lives matter in a partnership paradigm? We delve into Aristotle’s Politics / Book I, The Dred Scott Case of 1857, the Abolitionist, Suffragette & Civil Rights movements with a look at the criminalization and/or assassinations of our brightest Civil Rights leaders (read: Partnership Resistance Movement leaders). We address the current Prison-Industrial Complex and the Black Lives Matter movement, which like Standing Rock, uses a non-localized or distributive leadership model - a partnership solution to the targeting of individual leaders.
IV. The Standing Rock Water Protectors & Indigenous Justice -
Deepening the discussion on whose lives matter. Citizens’ United vs. Water is Life - a divided Supreme Court granted personhood to corporations in the U.S. in 2010. Why not water? The Nonhuman Rights Project asks, why not animals? A look at dominator language: Environmental Terrorists or Water Protectors? Black Identity Extremists or Civil Rights Activists? A history of Standing Rock and the Fort Laramie Treaty. A look at the partnership culture of First Nation Peoples.
I am currently working on The Amazon Circus Project, to bring a fusion of circus and yoga to women & girls at risk.
Last spring, I wrote & directed Circus Bonobo and raised $1,000 for Sally Jewel Coxe’s Bonobo Conservation Initiative.
Thank you Riane for your continued inspiration. Your work permeates my life. Thank you, Sara, for being an incredible facilitator and teacher, as well! The C.E.A. is a living manifestation of partnership paradigm resistance at work. Thank you for connecting us. What an incredible group <3
For my initial project, I wondered if there might be a way to get National Public Radio’s Marketplace to pay attention to the partnership/caring economy. Before contacting them, I decided to listen carefully to get a sample of what they actually cover. So I listened and listed the topics during one week—Monday through Friday, 30 minutes per day.
I then reviewed those 51 topics and noted which of Riane’s aspects of the economy they reported on.
The Market—29 topics;
Caring (home or volunteer—1.
Next, I then categorized the same topics according to Riane’s continuum of economic systems. They divided as follows.
Domination—25. (Examples included the daily stock market numbers, company takeovers, etc.)
Partnership/caring—16. (Help for hurricane victims, education funding, etc.)
Neutral—10. (Such as who might be the next chairperson of the Federal Reserve.)
Looking over my notes, I was startled to see that most (10 of 16) of the stories regarding Partnership/Caring were actually about inadequacies—such as insufficient help after the hurricane in Puerto Rico, shortage of college funds in Pennsylvania, and that the Social Security cost-of-living increase would not match actual cost-of-living increases for a number of seniors.
Given the general upbeat pace, sound, and tone of the program, I was startled by the number of discouraging reports regarding Partnership/Caring. I think part of the disconnect, is that the hard numbers in the stock market are currently going up and up, while the more nebulous stories regarding Partnership/Caring can get a brushed aside because they lack hard numbers.
I’m still pondering how to raise all of this with Marketplace. One possible approach is to encourage them to use Riane’s language regarding economics. For example, suggest they identify stories about the caring economy with that term. Another approach would be to encourage them to report regularly on they Caring Economy’s “Social Wealth Economic Indicators.” They might more readily do this if they had a list of the indicators, their sources, and when the numbers are updated. Several people have rightly advised me that Marketplace would be more receptive if they heard from a number of us, rather than just one individual. So my current plan is to do some more thinking and planning. Once I have the material ready, I’ll invite all of you to join me in contacting Marketplace. Maybe we could even get them to interview Riane.
I am always amazed how things get miraculously moved into and out of ones' life - often times with no obvious connectivity! I recently took a job in my community in the 4 Corners, as an Economic Development Specialist. Though I wasn't 'excited' about the job per se, after about a month I began to realize that something bigger was happening for me here that plugged into the book I had been working on for several years, Women, Economy & the SHE Future. As a result of this new job, I was exploring alternatives to the current economic paradigm, especially those that impacted women. I was familiar with the work of Marilyn Waring from New Zealand and found Riane's book on The Real Wealth of Nations. Things suddenly came full circle for me and I signed up for this course.
Years ago, I had been teaching a class entitled "Cakes for the Queen of Heaven" about women and their early history, Before the Common Era. In my exploration of women's history, I came across Riane's new book, "The Chalice and the Blade" which helped me take my work with women even further. And now, miraculously, here she was again, in a different yet familiar form, decades later.
I feel that women, the roles we play in our society and our place in the economy are key to significant change, hence the title,“Women, Economy and the S.H.E. Future”. I have been researching, looking to find ways of describing a paradigm shift away from our current, destructive and violent way of being, to something that returned us to a sacred, humane way of living and working that honored other humans in a balanced and equitable way as well as embracing the sanctity of the Earth and the environment on which we all dependent. I became familiar with this SHE acronym because of James Robertson and a book he wrote in 1972 about the "Sane Alternative". I changed the wording, (with his permission) because I feel strongly that we need a society that has a sense of the Sacred, something sorely lacking in our western thinking. Much of my life I have worked with Indigenous elders and Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing. Ceremony, ritual and a deep connection to nature are all part of the sacred. In our culture we have an absence of the sacred, leaving a gaping hole in how we move forward in our everyday lives. To me, working with the Sacred, is the Caring Work at a whole other level. Riane's work with the Caring Economy, the Dominator vs. Partnership paradigms and her other books has provided me with new and valuable insights about ways humanity might move forward.
Given that I needed to do a project for this course, I took this opportunity to gather a small group of women to present the ideas of a SHE Future, the Caring Economy and the Dominator/Partnership paradigm and open it up for discussion. There was a lot of excitement and interest as we discussed all these aspects of how we might make a difference. There was a discussion for how a Caring Economy foundation had been laid in our community over the past 7 years and an exploration of using different language and policies in our current system. We discussed creating a SHE Network that would connect people all over the world with ideas, solutions and organizations that were working in this direction. Overall, the presentation was a success and I look forward to giving it to a variety of organizations in other areas of Colorado. It was truly an honor to participate in this course and I look forward to staying connected to the Partnership Learning Community.
As with many other Caring Economy Advocates, my understanding (i.e. “aha” moments) of power-sex-wealth dynamics expanded dramatically through reading Riane’s trilogy of books, The Chalice and the Blade, Sacred Pleasure, and The Real Wealth of Nations. Deep within, a quiet knowing emerged that Cultural Transformation Theory and its practical applications would become my life’s work. Yet, for years, my public voice about these topics felt constrained by my own inner critic – very much on the dominant end of the continuum.
This past week, I had the opportunity to begin finding that voice.
I live on Orcas Island – a small, rural island in Washington State. Though the immense beauty of this ecological niche enables me to cultivate living in partnership with the earth – and to share that deep connection to place with my young son – I often feel isolated from larger cultural change movements. In the aftermath of the 2016 elections, however, I joined over 200 island women (only 5,000 people live on Orcas) in a gathering—to grieve, organize, and support one another. The Orcas Women’s Coalition, as it came to be known, began looking at critical areas of concern through action committees that focused on climate change, women’s rights, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, healthcare, education, LGBTQIA rights, affordable housing, and civic engagement.
When tasked with doing a presentation for this course, I reached out to the PACE (Political Action and Civic Engagement) committee and their immediate response was a resounding, “YES!”. It would be a manageable –and potentially scalable—way to begin developing my public voice.
In my introductory dialogue on “Caring Economy and Political Action”, I presented the foundational concepts of the dominance-partnership continuum, had participants do the self-assessment and share any insights gleaned, talked about its relation to a Caring Economy, shared how I was able to weave caring policies into my work with nature-based education, and then opened it up for a dialogue on potential county and state-level entry points.
As tangible ideas emerged, I was reminded of the beauty of living in a small community--where politics is still an intimate social process.
On October 28, I was delighted to give a Caring Economy presentation at the Black Dot Underground in Seattle, WA. This was part of a day-long planning workshop for youth social business entrepreneurs in the region.
About 20 people attended, about half are members of Bellevue College’s Social Business Club, an organization that will host a second, more in-depth training in early March. The finale will be a full day of students presenting their social business ideas in a Shark Tank format, with access to mentors, at the Youth Rising Summit in March, 2018. There will be prizes for the best business ideas.
The sponsoring organization for all of these activities is Global Social Business Partnership, which is also in Bellevue. GSBP’s mission is to educate and support youth social business entrepreneurs, using an international model developed by Nobel Prize winning economist, Muhammad Yunus. The Summit is funded by the City of Bellevue.
Black Dot Underground, a working space for black entrepreneurs and community members, hosted us for the day.
Thanks to the excellent resources provided by CPS, I easily put together a PPT, adding some slides targeted to the youth. I especially wanted to make these points:
The REAL WEALTH exercise was the high point. Everyone was given a pencil and just three sticky notes. As a professional trainer and speaker, I believe in interactive learning. This means people are invited to move around and talk. I also asked the young children to contribute their ideas. After everyone put their answers under the heading of each wealth category, (Material, Social or Natural), on a large white board, Naomi, age 8, read them aloud.
This was her mom’s idea, and I glad I quickly yielded the floor. Naomi only needed a bit of reading help and it was charming. More importantly, a little girl got to practice taking center stage.
Before closing, I asked each participant what they would do differently because of what they learned about Caring Economy. In this very multicultural group, I was surprised that several answered, ‘be more inclusive’. They responded positively to my challenge to work across generations in order to find solutions and build a healthy America.
I hope to offer this information again at the Summit in March, 2018. Thank you Rianne and staff for this opportunity.
About Lee Mozena:
Lee is the founder and owner of Zena Consulting. Our motto is Communicate Better about Working for Good. Our clients site these benefits:
I just finished the Caring Economy Advocates Program. My first project was my blog post that you can read at BreatheRevolution.com, scroll down to "Start the revolution within yourself" and my blog posts are listed there. I touch on some basics of the Caring Economy.
The following is a list of projects I'm considering:
1. Seek out receptive listeners/action oriented individuals: Unitarian Universalists (which I am a member of), see if the UU is open to a social justice group on Caring Economy or a small group.
2. Continue to host events where child care is complimentary. I have an upcoming event Friday, July 14th…I would like to give out cards with info on a caring economy…put out information about my blog regarding Caring Economy, future Caring Economy events/discussions, etc…continue to teach Caring Economy/philosophy into my martial arts program. I teach Cuong Nhu Oriental Martial Arts to kids (6 years old & up) and adults.
3. Encourage the local UU to add The Real Wealth of Nations to their library/bookstore & add any literature (with permission) in printed format & for distribution at my studio & the UU.
4. Connect with Oneida community, showed a movie about Standing Rock activists in February and over 80 people showed up…I want to catalyze on the interest from this event and keep empowering people.
5. I plan to be involved in our new local UU minister's mission of prison reform... I will also start penpal communication with a Waupun Maximum Security prisoner, who is also UU.
6. My goals are to continue to connect with our community, micro and macro communities! Happy Interdependence Day! We are all connected!
On Meeting the Spirit of Global Economy
New Caring Economy Advocate: Polly Lazaron, Elephants Cohort 2017
Excited and inspired by key common threads between The Real Wealth of Nations: Caring Economy and shamanism, I chose to present my Program Project at the Richmond, VA Shamanic Drum Circle Summer Solstice meeting on June 16, 2017.
The Circle is an open community, monthly gathering that recognizes shamanism as an over 30,000 year old universal spiritual practice/way of life grounded in respectful awareness the world is sacred and interdependent. Our oldest know physical, visual depictions of images identified as shamanic, by archeologists and anthropologists ,were made during a dramatic, global environmental change that occurred that long ago.
With drums, rattles, shamanic journeying- into an other than ordinary, purposeful awareness- and joyous celebratory ceremonies rooted in ancient traditions- the Circle honors everyone's place in the sacred hoop of life, our essential nature and relationship with all life.
Prior to the industrial revolution, solstices, equinoxes and all major, astronomical and planetary cycles were cross-culturally times of community celebratory ceremony and communion with the environment and spiritual forces of creation. The seasonal and global timing was right to introduce this community to Caring Economy. So was the stormy night!
Each meeting of this Circle is unique in that there are seasoned participants as well as newcomers, all genders, diverse ages and cultures. A simple opening ceremony creates a welcoming, safe space and sacred container for the group. This includes drumming to come together in alignment as community, introductions using a candle passed from person to person as the group repeats their name, invoking the seven directions, use of a talking stick for group sharing, drumming, dancing, moving in time and space together around a central mesa/altar, etc. and returning to sitting in a circle. Twelve people participated in this gathering.
Weaving a simple introduction to shamanism, the Caring Economy material and the evening's format, I also initiated questions and brief sharing to give breathing space/integration time as well as for participants to consider their personal, work and collective experiences. What is real wealth? What is reciprocity? How are you a care provider at home? In your neighborhood? They began to open up, to light up as they engaged with the Caring Economy information and each other. As if they were seedlings sprouting.
Shamanic journey work- a phrase used in contemporary, global neo-shamanic circles- is rooted in an ancient, purposeful way of entering into an other than ordinary awareness with focused intention to be of service to the world, community or an individual. The rapid sound of a drum or a rattle similar to the sound of a human heart beat is often used to facilitate journey work. This kind of awareness has been and is achieved in many other non-shamanic practices.
As I played a drum, each person journeyed to meet the Spirit of Global Economy. They entered the experience prepared, hearts open, to offer respect, three imaginational gifts and this question: How can I embody and cultivate Global Caring Economy in my life, community and world.
Their experiences were unique to the individual- ranging from conscientious interdependent relationship in a multi-species planetary wide community, launching a support and discussion group, how life is a dance and new ways to integrate dance as an energetic exchange in a holistic, partnership economy, to creating a small, backyard garden in which to invite neighbors, family and friends as community engaging in true wealth.
Touched and excited by the group's responsiveness and willingness to quickly dive deep into the Caring Economy presentation, I celebrate their focused attention, beginning to think in new ways, openly engage in conversation with each other and to an experience that was completely new to them.
My next steps include aligning opportunities to introduce the Caring Economy to other organizations and communities including the planning committee of an annual Interfaith Peace Festival, local and regional activist groups, a local progressive arts initiative, as well as local and regional environmental and activist groups. As local coordinator of a 100 Thousand Poets for Change Global 2017 Event on September 30, I'll provide CE print information at the event. As a visual artist, the drawing below has been posted on my Facebook page and is the first in a series of CE related energy drawings. This one is titled Cultivating a Caring Economy.
Oh traumatized, lobotomized,
confused and vicious state;
thou drug-induced, that flees-the-truth
avoiders of our fate…
God hides Her face from Thee,
and spurns your waste, and all your wars
from toxic shore to seas.
Oh don’t you fear
your crimes of hate,
backed up with endless toil;
tear souls apart, and leave a wake
of slag-filled, useless spoil?
where once your Light did shine,
now darkness fills the minds of men,
who spurn all things divine.
Our schools are shams,
our cities rot, our populace are dumb.
We’ve lost our way, can’t find the path
because our minds are numb…
Where did your greatness go?
Did apathy, and self-conceit
take everything we know?
I pray for you, I pray for me
to find some courage and
take back our land, our grid,
and then restore our Freedom stand.
I pledge my heart to thee,
I’ll fight the foe, in Capitol,
bring back Democracy.
Oh Beautiful, I love your parks,
your fields, your lakes, your trees,
your woods, your plains, your snow-capped peaks
your flora, and your beasts…
I am made of your clay,
I love you now, and always will
throughout my life of days.
We once were great, can be again;
if we could learn to dare,
and realize that we share the world
who needs us now to care.
Your Angel calls us all…
to be our best, our sovereign selves
and rise above this squall.
Melissa Ellen Penn
July 3, 2017
I first learned of the Center for Partnership Studies through my employers - Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D. - Founders of The Sister Fund and a new non-profit organization called Relationships First, based in Dallas, Texas.
Like the Center for Partnership Studies, Relationships First seeks to inspire a more relational world, where partnerships thrive, and everyone puts their relationships first. With this purpose in mind, Relationships First uses Safe Conversations® to empower people to talk without criticism, listen without judgment and connect through their differences. The practice of Safe Conversations strengthens the social, emotional and physical wellbeing of individuals, couples, families, friends and coworkers which, in turn, contributes to social cohesion and economic success of communities and cities
I’ll provide a brief history of this initiative, as it relates to my Caring Economy Project. In July 2010, a group of six therapists and their spouses were invited for a weekend discussion about collaborating on a project to translate their therapy systems and processes into educational curricula that could be distributed in the public domain. What began as a think-tank of distinguished relationship experts has grown into a dynamic group that has come together to catalyze a national healthy relationship movement.
For my Project, and to advance the work of the Caring Economy Advocates Program (CAP), I plan to share what I learned over the past few weeks with this dynamic and diverse group of change-agents, whom helped to launch Relationships First.
This group of 40+ people is comprised of top national leaders and influencers from various disciplines – therapists, marriage and relationship experts, business professionals and entrepreneurs, TV & media professionals, celebrities, scholars, philanthropists and social activists. Together, these individuals have broad networks, and the ability to reach thousands.
This group cares deeply about human social relations and the health of our society. I hope to add to this, a deeper understanding of the important linkages between the health of the family unit and the impacts on the health and wellbeing of the larger society. This group also recognizes that healthy relationships contribute to the economic success of communities. In sharing the work of the CAP, I seek to expand this understanding to include an appreciation for the work of caregiving, and how the gender relations within the home are mirrored in the macro economy, in politics and in the culture.
I will share the work of the CAP, through a comprehensive memo that includes an introduction to:
I hope that this new and expanded understanding of this multifaceted work will translate into paradigm shifts – both within their own relationships, but also in their places of work, and in the other areas of their lives where they lead with significant cultural impact.
To learn more about Relationships First, and how you can become part of the movement, visit www.RelationshipsFirst.org.
For me everything started by reading Riane Eisler’s books that were translated into Italian, discussing them with my mother, exchanging ideas and other books, and dreaming of a new economic system that adequately value the most essential human work: the work of caring for ourselves, others, and our Mother Earth.
I followed up attending the inspiring Caring Economy Advocates Program with the Cohort Elephant team and organizing an exciting event with my family in Milan, North of Italy, on Saturday 24 June 2017. It was a loving, interesting, and empowering discussion for all of us. I’m happy to share with you what we have discovered during our journey, what materials and resources I used to organize this event and my goals as a Caring Economy Advocate.
To prepare my presentation I used the ideas and presentations we discussed during the online seminars as well as the materials and resources available in the advocates toolkit and I took as a point of reference in particular one of Riane’s book, The Real Wealth of Nations. To give you an idea, below you can find the presentation agenda prepared for the Milan event:
We started our meeting pointing out that in our inextricably interconnected world none of us has a secure future so long as hunger, extreme poverty and violence exist in our world and we accepted Riane’s invitation to explore the caring economy’s prospective. To this purpose I introduced to my family the Domination/Partnership systems and caring economy principles. Thereafter we used the Domination/Partnership Continuum Handout available in the advocates toolkit to assess where we are in the Domination/Partnership continuum.
This exercise helped us reflect on how our life would be different if the work of care and caregiving were socially visible and economically valuable within our economy. In my family, caregiver work has always been considered the most precious work we like to do. It is an act of unconditional love. It brings infinite energy and strength. It allows us cultivating human potential, sustaining and respecting all our capabilities and contributions, allowing us to be our best. It's nothing less than a miracle. However, we realized that the work of care takes a lot of time and when each of us carries out this activity in both the market and non-market economic sectors (parenting, household, taking care of each other, studying, volunteering, caring older people and children, social worker, teacher) earns a low salary or does not earn at all. More in general, we think that with the appropriate economic policies in place and existential security, people would:
Things like resilience, compassion, empathy, respect, confidence, hope, courage, curiosity, initiatives, creativity and well-being would naturally thriving producing human development and social wealth.
Then we explored the six foundations of a Caring Economic System and agreed with the idea that the economic systems are human creation that can and will change. We wondered what kinds of qualities, activities, services, and goods do we want to give high economic values to meet our authentic human needs and what kinds of economic inventions do we need for the construction of a more caring, effective, innovative, and sustainable economic system that helps us to promote hierarchies of actualization and meet the social, economic, and ecological challenges we face.
We used the useful handouts What is Wealth? to reflect on what things in our life bring us most fulfillment, happiness, and well-being, and we realized that social wealth is our top priority. In our life we hold most valuable things like happiness, peace of mind, and opportunities to choice how to invest our time. We agreed that is the work of care that grows the real wealth we all enjoy.
Later, we tried to figure out why the natural, household and community sectors of the economy have been economically invisible and our life-giving work so devalued for so long even though these are the activities that make possible all other types of work. We realized that an outdated gendered system of values has made the work of care invisible and agreed with Riane that to construct an economic system that responds to the enormous challenges we face in the new knowledge-service era, we must give visibility and value to the work of caring for people and nature.
Now we were ready to enjoy the video of the Caring Economy Campaign. We agreed that the first step to contribuite to a caring revolution is to change the conversation about economics to include the term caring and to raise awareness of the economic importance of caregiving.
We asked ourselves how we can practice awareness in our everyday life to foster a partnership culture and agree to:
At this point, I gave some of Riane’s books to my family and shared some materials to continue our conversation.
Eventually, we explored which policies, rules and practices of business and government can support the emergent caring economic system and looked at some examples of:
We agreed with Riane that the economic double standard is reflected in and perpetuated by economic measures that falsify the costs of uncaring policies. These measures blind people to the huge benefits society derives from the essential work of caring, be it in families, businesses, or society at large, and give a distorted picture of what are economically productive activities. Indeed, we can’t expect fundamental changes in either economic indicators or policies unless there is greater awareness of the hidden assumptions and values that keep us locked into a dysfunctional economic paradigm.
We understood that there is a close link between the presence of poverty and the undervaluation of care work, and the fact that worldwide poverty and hunger disproportionately affect women and children is neither accidental nor inevitable. It is the result of political and economic systems that still have a strong dominator stamp. It is not a question of money, but a matter of values.
At the end of the day we gave a look at the executive summary of the SWEIs Report available in the advocates toolkit to learn that the devaluation of caring and gender double standard not only impacts women but the whole social and economic system. Now it makes perfect sense for us to think that the status of women can be a better predictor of general quality of life than Gross Domestic Product, or GDP.
As Riane wrote in her book, we always have a choice:
We have chosen to join you because we believe that as we become aware of better possibilities, we can change how we think, feel, and act and when a sufficient number of us change our beliefs and actions, our culture changes.
I’m enjoying reading your blog posts and thank you so much Riane, Sara, Ann who are facilitating the Caring Economy Advocates Program and all of you for this wonderful journey!
We started out using the facilitating guide in the advocate toolkit.
“What do you value?”
“Mine is cheesy, mom. I wrote LOVE.”
“That’s perfectly OK.”
“So what can you do to bring more LOVE into your life?”
“Sleep.” (laughs all around)
“Create things to give to other people.”, my 16 yr old son offers. I’m amazed because we haven’t even talked about caregiving yet. This just seems to come naturally to them. I decide to just zip my lip and let them lead this. They discuss how different things bring us joy and how in the beginning maybe everything in our current “economy” started as creating joy but somehow became “transactional”. They, of course, don’t know this word. They called it “GIVE AND TAKE”, not in the sense that we usually think about that phrase, but to mean simply, the passing of items from one to another. Wow, they have just stumbled up the concepts of market economy by themselves. They get it. They really get it. So we brainstorm about what kinds of thing are “transactional” and they figure out that these are areas in which the needs of others are followed and satisfied in order to make profit, and for the most part are tangible products. We explore examples.
Now I am curious…..
“So what about the stuff we wrote on our sticky notes, the things we value? Do they belong in the “GIVE and TAKE” category?”
“No (all sticky notes are moved to another part of the poster)”
“Well…hmm, so what do we call this section here if it is NOT, GIVE and TAKE?”
“CREATE and RECEIVE”
“Wow. I love that. That really captures something loving and joyful, so caring.”
“I have an example, mom.”, says my 13 yr old daughter. “You tube”
“Tell me about that.”
She explains that most youtubers, until recently, created content with no intention of taking anything from anyone. Just to share, just to make others laugh. And then she notices that recently the quality of the content has suffered now that ad revenue is the goal of many youtubers. She notices that they seem not to CARE (that’s the word she finds). They seem to just be going through the motions, making sure that their videos are more than 10 minutes, so they can get the ad revenue.
CREATE and RECEIVE. Partnership.
GIVE and TAKE. Domination.
I introduce these two words. They have no trouble seeing it. It seems obvious to them. They are like, “YEAH and…..”, as if it is absolutely obvious.” I giggle. If you only knew how many people are blinded to this concept.
Children are our future. Let them lead the way. Trite but oh so true.
Now I am curious again. Will the adults that I present this to, take to this so quickly....it only took me 45 years.
Hi future mentors and caring economy friends!
I am just finishing the Elephant Cohort Spring 2017 and am looking forward to learning more and joining other training sessions. For my project, I did a simple pilot presentation of the slide deck “Time for Care” with 4 family/friends. Together, we had an insta-feedback session where they stopped me at any point to ask clarifying questions and offer “gut” reactions to the material. That was fun & informative and really helped me find identify the areas where I need more study.
My primary focus - since I am involved in educational outreach, community organizing, social and environmental justice activism, and resistTrump actions - has been to explore all the venues where I can present the Caring Economy Campaign. I am booked into or exploring the following:
Also, Ann Annberg kindly provided me with contact info other CAP alumni in New Mexico. I will be following up with these folks so I can integrate my plans with their local on-going activities and connections.
Many thanks to Ann, Sara and of course Riane for their amazing scholarship, welcoming attitudes, and attention to detail for our training program.
May compassion and caring be our today and tomorrow.
I just completed the Caring Economy Advocates Program in Cohort Elephant.
For my project, I had the pleasure to introduce the principles of caring economics to a group of students I have been leading through an intensive program oriented toward business leaders through an organization called OneTaste. I had been a customer and then employee of OneTaste for the past 4 years. I just recently left my position there to put more attention on my coaching practice, but I'm still serving on certain projects as a contractor, and this Business Intensive is one of the projects. OneTaste teaches a practice called Orgasmic Meditation, which combines the power and attention of meditation with the deeply human, deeply felt, and connected experience of orgasm. I like to describe it as mindfulness meets sexuality, or as I put it for my cohort of this PLC, it's a practice that is all about reclaiming the pleasure of your sexuality from a toxic domination model to a more healthy partnership model.
So what does this have to do with economics?! You're not crazy for asking!
When looking at how to spread word of Orgasmic Meditation to as many people as possible, OneTaste chose to do so in the form of a business. And what happens when you run a business from the principles of the feminine? Lots and lots of innovation, new approaches, creativity, etc. In short, they now have a ton of really groundbreaking content to teach others from their own trial and error. It made me think of this quote from Riane:
As long as values considered 'soft' or 'feminine' are dismissed and undervalued, we cannot expect policies that support the work of caring for peopled nature.
At OneTaste, when they speak of "orgasm" it's not just the typical goal-oriented experience we tend to think of in sex, it's a much more integral definition encapsulating mind, body, and soul. It's the merging of the masculine and feminine. Where both are present, but as in nature, the feminine (source of creation) takes the lead and the masculine backs her. These of course are not gender-specific terms, I mean them more in terms of energy and duality. It reminds me of a famous quote by Einstein:
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
The curriculum in the OneTaste Business Intensive is all about honoring and amplifying this intuitive mind to it's rightful place, while also honoring the important role of the rational masculine mind. The students found the concepts presented from the Caring Economy work to be very resonant with this mission and it unleashed a wave of new ideas they have about how to introduce more Caring Economy ideas into their own business as well as future clients they may work with on culture and policy design.
What excited me most about this project was the opportunity to integrate two worlds that have a lot of overlap, even if they use slightly different language. This exercise in translation and integration was ver rewarding for me personally as I believe in order to spread great ideas like this, we need to always strike that balance between being able to put things in words that others outside of our immediate sphere can understand, while not compromising on our values or integrity of the concepts.
It's been a pleasure and I look forward to staying connected!
That's how many times I had to explain to Fiona Richardson, Minister for Women and the Prevention of Family Violence in the small state of Victoria, Australia that there was no strategy and no legislation for gender equality.
She didn't believe me at first. And how could I blame her?
After so many years of political advocacy by women for women, it is unthinkable that we wouldn't have a plan.
But it certainly explained why Australia has dropped from 14 to 46 on the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index. We're now behind all of the Nordic countries and many of our Asian neighbours. The United States is ranked at 45.
The leading nations on the Global Gender Gap Index - like Iceland who sits at number one - have plans and strategies for gender equality.
Between 2015-2016, the Minister and I set about removing this roadblock to progress in Victoria.
We hosted a series of state-wide consultations with the community,opened up a public submission process and examined best practice around the world. In November 2016, the Minister introduced Victoria's first Gender Equality Strategy.
Safe and Strong contains a number of foundation reforms, including the Victorian Government's commitment to focus on addressing the economic dimensions of gender inequality.
Developing a model for valuing unpaid work and care and its impact on the Victorian economy is one of the reforms. A modest budget has been allocated to focus on this project.
Other projects include the introduction of gender responsive budgeting and business cases for onsite childcare and flexible hours within Victorian workplaces.
I came across the Center for Partnership Studies and the Caring Economy Campaign while researching how to implement our reforms. I wanted to immerse myself in theory on the caring economy, before putting pen to paper about how to implement a model in Victoria. The Caring Economy Advocates has been perfect think and development time.
The model I used for my project - educate, gather support and implement - is now being applied to how to shape our reform agenda and spend our modest budget.
I'm hoping Riane and her team will be able to work with our Treasury officials and progressive economic think-tanks to adapt the social wealth economic indicators into a Victorian context.
The pathway towards gender equality will continue to hit a roadblock unless women take a seat at the economic table and insist on reshaping of the value of caring labour.
As a member of the Australian Labor Party and National Co-Convenor of EMILY's List Australia, I'm politically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually committed to this journey, I follow my instinct and accept with surprise the joy that comes from investing my time on a caring economy.
It's a Labor of Love.
I do it with Head, Heart and Hands.
It's so nice to have been in a space with others on a similar path.
Disrupting the Core Characteristics that Keep us in a Domination System:
a Collaborative Effort by Two Disruptors: Sande Hart and Lisa Berkley
Compassion, Care, and Partnership
With more than 400 Cities of Compassion in 52 countries and 1800 partners organized into 12 sectors, the Charter for Compassion International has been building and hosting Cities and Communities of Compassion since 2008. Between the summer and fall of this year, the Women and Girls Sector will partner with the Center for Partnership Studies (CPS), Caring Economy, and the Compassion Games to pilot the establishment of three cities of Partnership and Compassion.
We will look at three categories of Cities of Compassion—one that is thriving (Sacramento, CA, USA), one that is developing (Vancouver, B.C. Canada), and one that is curious about becoming a Compassionate City (Marina/Monterey County, CA, USA)—and partner with local CAP leaders to determine each city’s key challenges and successes. Looking through the lens of the Charter’s 12 Sectors and the Social Wealth Economic Indicators (SWEI) we will assess the level of Compassion, Partnership, and Care.
You can learn more about the Charter for Compassion here:
Coopetition Time! Game On!
Once the local organizations are familiar with the CPS-Charter Tool Kit, they will reach out to their communities for a 3-way coopetition (cooperating to compete) in the Compassion Games.
The Compassion Games, Survival of the Kindest, offers fun and creative ways to ignite and catalyze compassionate action in communities around the world. Compassion is the bridge that connects and unifies humanity.
The Games are an engaging and dynamic opportunity to playfully participate in community building through unprecedented unified action, and in the spirit of challenging all involved to bring their very best for overall impact who can build a more compassionate world, and, in this coopetition, one that elevates the values of care and caregiving and is rooted in partnership and care. The ways to play are endless. However, for this project, we will be encouraging five primary ways to play:
Develop Measurement Index
What creative and pragmatic ideas can you come up with for assessing your community’s level of care and compassion?
From 2015 Social Wealth Economic Indicators Full Report p.15 http://caringeconomy.org/
Convene Community Gatherings
Who can engage the most number of people to spread the ideas and actions of Compassion, Care, and Partnership?
Photo: City for Compassion Organizers convening to hear about our pilot project idea.
Develop Creative Expressions
What are the most creative ideas and actions you are taking, and can take, that promote Care, Compassion, and Partnership?
The Charter for Compassion hosts 1800 partners to engage in your community efforts.
Question and Create Challenges For Kids
What can you to write/create art/dance/music around “what is caregiving?”
Invite Gov’t Officials: Integrate Compassion, Care, & Partnership into Policy Ideas
Report Your Story for points! This is where our players and teams share on the Compassion Games Report Map what you did, however big or small—from helping someone cross the street or listening to a friend or stranger in need to building a compassion school—and it gets recorded and tracked by your Team’s results to see who is the most compassionate city until proven otherwise.
What Do the Stories Reveal?
While the Report Map is how the projects are recorded and points tallied, it’s the “reflection” field where the real data is collected. In this place, people express what has unfolded for them during the process of the project, what surprised them, and what they learned about themselves and their community. Mere numbers cannot calculate how hearts and behaviours are transformed, but the stories gleaned from the reflections are what the Games are really about.
This project is a lot of fun and enables everyone to play in the spirit of creative tension. If you would like to participate with us, feel free to reach out!
The entire CPS Advocates Community can play too! We will convene a special interactive CPS Advocates call to learn how to join the Women and Girls Team. It’s easy, fun, and a great way to engage. Everyone wins the Compassion Games.
In this new Moms Pump Here post, Valerie Young, JD., public policy analyst and Outreach Director for the Caring Economy Campaign, discusses the need for more caring economic policies that values the contributions of women and mothers.
What’s holding women back from achieving a status equal with men in every level of society?
“Our lack of a nationally guaranteed paid family leave program is a big clue. Our culture and our policies ignore the economic contribution of care… the US invests the least in early childhood education and care than other developed nations.”
Who picks up the slack?
“Usually women, doing unpaid care within families, or as direct care workers in nursing facilities, home health aides, or child care providers. They earn, on average, less than parking lot attendants, dog walkers, or golf caddies. Our history of gender-specific behavior means women spend more time on care than men. That care is either unpaid or poorly paid, leading to women’s fewer years of work, low numbers in board rooms and C suites, and a pay gap stuck at about 20% for years.”
Visit The Caring Economy Campaign: www.caringeconomy.org
Join the Caring Economy Campaign May 9 for a by-donation webinar introducing the Caring Economy Advocates leadership program. Learn more: caringeconomy.org/may9
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