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It started out as a conversation between two colleagues and then expanded to include a group of aspiring educational leaders. What is a caring economy and how does that relate to the world of teachers and principals, their students and families?
Several participants were struck by the quote, “We must give visibility and value to the work of caring for people and nature.” But how do we make caring work both visible and valuable? I shared my own experience working with a principal who was fighting his district’s focus on the state’s tests to the exclusion of the work his teachers and students were doing to improve academic performance. Together with his faculty, they implemented the Project Approach (see http://projectapproach.org/) to provide deep engagement with topics the students identified as important to them. As the culmination of several months of study, families and community members were invited into the school to hear directly from the students themselves through poster presentations and classroom demonstrations what had been learned. Then, following the state tests, teachers met by grade level to disaggregate test data and examine the impact their projects had on student performance. Over time, the school moved from its failing status to a high performing school (see http://www.edutopia.org/newsome-park-elementary-project-learning-video). As a result, families were involved in their children’s learning and appreciated what their children knew. Performance on the tests was only a single indicator rather than the whole picture. According to one participant, “I like this idea of looking beyond the mandated and considering what is important to you...to your school...to your community.
But in the current educational climate, standardized curriculum, teaching, and high stakes assessment is the reality for many teachers and principals. “We measure what we value” was a quote that hit a nerve for my participants. Alfie Kohn, in Schooling Beyond Measure and Other Unorthodox Essays about Education, noted “Collecting information doesn’t require tests, and sharing that information doesn’t require grades” (p. 34). One of the participants in my screencast pointed out, “Caring is difficult to measure in schools… so we tend to grow standardized test-taking skills because that's what we measure. We have more difficulty quantifying caring.” And yet the value of caring was significant for this group of teachers. One of the participants in my screencast wrote, “I am a firm believer in the power of caring for our students and building relationships. There is much research that shows that a strong relationship with the teacher increases student learning and achievement (in addition to making students more caring themselves), plus I've witnessed it firsthand.”
But once again, how do we make caring visible and how do we demonstrate its value to us? What are the barriers to creating a caring economy that recognizes the value of teachers? “Teaching and other human service professions consistently rank at the top of the most “noble” careers lists, but the salaries do not match… I do think a big reason why teachers, nurses, and child care providers earn so little is because these are careers that are majority female and so far they can get away with it.” Another teacher continued, “If we say educating children is the way to transform a nation, a method of promoting peace, etc., then those doing the educating should be paid in such a way that reflects that value. In other words, put your money where your mouth is!”
Participants reflected on the complexity of the issues that must addressed if we are to overcome the current barriers to a caring economy. “For example, the first key to a caring economy is to provide meaningful supports to the people who do the work of care, and [and that includes] parental leave, sick leave, FMLA, flexible work options, etc. As a mother who teaches, I fully appreciate this. Still, when I hear people talk about the need for paid maternity or paternity leave, I can't help but wonder who will pay for that. Taxes would go up, putting a tighter squeeze on an already-struggling middle and lower class. Also, when we talk about things like increased leave time and flexible work schedules, we remember that we are working with real little people, who depend on us consistently being with them. This is especially important when we consider the relationship we have with them. When my children are sick or have other needs, I take off work to be with them. During those times I do think of my students who rely on me. This is not an easy issue to fix.”
Another participant reflect, “Dr. Eisler explains that true prosperity is achieved when all three kinds of wealth [social wealth, natural wealth, and material wealth] are sustainable and vibrant. This made me think about my personal priorities and the demands that society has on me, which I indirectly or directly allow to influence my priorities. I believe that society still values material wealth and there is a pressure that if you do not possess items of value than you are not wealthy. I think these things are of least importance to me, but then again, I value having a nice house (not the most expensive house, but I want something more than a shack) and a nice car, and nice clothing, etc. I could survive on less, but there is this desire to have something better; to want something better for my child. This also makes me think about what values are indirectly, or even directly, influenced on school leaders. I can sometimes see the conflict that my principal has when she is being pressured to demand certain things from her teachers when she may not necessarily believe in their value. I can see this being a struggle that I will need to face and I am one to speak up when I feel that something is lacking in value; I need to learn how to express my discontent in acceptable ways (is this even possible).
These educators have begun to grapple with the significant issues associated with moving from an economy that privileges a few to one that demonstrates the real value of work that this one segment of our population does with and for us. I look forward to continuing this conversation with more of my colleagues.
At the close of class today, I will join the ranks as a conversation leader and join all of you as we seek to bring no less than cultural transformation. My first gig as a conversation leader was with a group of women, mostly young mothers, striving to balance their professional lives with mothering. I used conversation, questions, slides to make my presentation. The discussion was lively. The group seemed to be particularly inspired by the words that “care and caregiving are invisible” in our culture.
A doula in the group (doing primarily post partum care) told us that a common issue among mothers is that the work of running a household has been so successfully undervalued that when they spend time caring, cleaning, organizing, planning, or shopping for the household they feel that they are being unproductive. As if this work will be done by magic, and is truly invisible labor. She has to remind them that this work has value; caring for the home and children is a necessary work. Whether it is done by someone else or themselves, they need to make time for it, and/or set funds aside for it. It is real work and requires attention. Their intellectual mind tells them differently, but their hearts have picked up the message that the work of care and caregiving is not work.
My interest is in women’s empowerment, so I believe that my groups will probably be similar to this group, though I also would like to work with young women, teens and twenties. My intent is to plant seeds, and start or continue the conversation. I feel that to awaken ourselves (despite all the hard-won success of the women’s movement) to women’s still subordinate role within a dominator system will empower women to seek change first for themselves and then in ever-widening circles of influence. I think it is essential to first be awakened to the “pot” we are still stewing in, then find the words to describe our experience to ourselves, eventually turning that uncomfortable “heat” into power. When Betty Friedan spoke about “the problem that has no name,” the unhappiness of women in the 1950’s, she could be speaking about women (and men) today. We have a problem that is hard to do anything about until we name it: the continued subordination of women within a dominator system and its consequences which are making both men and women stressed, overworked, and unhappy. And as important, it is overstressing our planet.
I have a facebook page called Feminine is Rising, (https://www.facebook.com/feminineisrising/) where I post articles about women’s issues, and other. I also have become involved in the refugee crisis, mostly through an organization called Carry the Future. I have been collecting articles on another facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/RisingWatersRefugee/) to gather information daily on what is happening, hopefully eventually to contribute in the efforts to draw attention to the growing crisis, and to remind myself that our work of cultural transformation is desperately needed now. And to be reminded daily that it is a groundswell of unpaid volunteers who are doing most of the work of caring for the refugees. This revolution of care from an army of volunteers gives me hope that their work, and our work, and other work like this, is evidence that we are gathering and preparing for the "Great Turning."
This morning I had a beautiful experience. A few days ago, I was part of a meeting called Jornadas for peace, compassion, and justice that was held in one of our main universities here in Monterrey, Mexico. This meeting is part of the Compassion Campaign that we started last year in order to certify our cities as compassionate cities.
After that meeting where several religious leaders (a Muslim leader, a Rabbi, a Catholic priest and a Christian pastor) were invited to talk about compassion, I was invited to a meal. There, I had a really interesting talk with a good friend of mine that has a radio show called “Activate líder” which means: Now is the time to be an active leader.
We talked about this meeting and she was so interested that she invited me to have a half an hour interview to talk about Caring Economy on her show. We also talked about Riane Eisler and the Center for Partnership studies. We invited her and her radio audience to come and meet Raine Eisler next October in our annual event: Worldwide Meeting of Human Values, where Riane Eisler will be giving a conference and will have a panel with Elizabeth Peredo from Bolivia and Susan Taylor.
It was a great opportunity to inform not only the community in this state of Nuevo León but also some others states in México, that we'll be joining this complementary economy care campaign and unifying it to the compassionate campaign.
We also talked about the new wealth economics indicators, that could be included in the new government state plan for education, social development, health programs, and environmental projects And how could we measure the quality of life with this.
The interview flowed beautifully and we received some calls from the public wanting to be involved as volunteers in this campaign.
I thank you, Ann and Sara, for helping me with this exercise and including me in this building caring economy movement.
The Caring Economy Course was the final of three webinars I have taken with the Riane Eisler Network over the past year or so. Having first read Riane’s The Chalice and the Blade in February of 2015, I immediately recognized her genius in synthesizing and articulating a holistic feminist vision, and her contribution as a theorist, activist, and spokeswoman for one of the most important movements of the 20th and 21st centuries, the reawakening of the feminine energy on our planet. After reading The Chalice and the Blade I flew to California to hear her address a woman’s conference and met her personally to share with her my idea of applying her insights to the Indian tradition. She encouraged me and invited to me sign up for her Cultural Transformation Course. Having now read nearly all of her books and taken all three of her webinars, two with a scholarship for which I am very grateful, I thought I would share some of my observations.
As soon as I read Riane’s first book I started recommending it to other women. After taking The Cultural Transformation webinar I presented her work to a woman’s group of about 25 women in my hometown. Nearly all of these women were white, older retired women, most were well travelled, educated, and had worked as teachers or nurses, and knew well the “Caring Economy,” both its rewards and challenges. Later I made a similar presentation to a group of working women in a spiritual group in PA. In each case I showed the first video in the series of the Cultural Transformation course and all responded very favorably. In each case I recommended that the women explore Riane's website and programs for themselves.
Given the urgency of issues we fact today, we need to branch out in spreading Riane’s message. I feel that it is important to reach younger women as well, from ethnically and economically diverse backgrounds. I consider this a challenge for Riane’s supporters. How can we reach these audiences if we are not members of these particular groups? I find it is difficult even to reach women of my own ethnic background who belong to a different socioeconomic background, no matter what issue I am trying to promote!
I was fortunate, while teaching for a Semester in the Himalayas Program last fall (2016) to use Riane’s book The Real Wealth of Nations for a course I taught on “Human Security” and to apply her framework to global movements for gender equality and economic justice. During that same period I was fortunate to have an opportunity to speak to a group of about 25 young women in India who were attending a teacher’s training course at Kumaon community college in the Eastern Himalayan city of Raniket. As an anthropologist literally “married” to Indian culture, I have spent most of my life “between East and West,” involved in social and environmental issues on both sides of the world. Gender issues have been a special concern of mine and as a scholar of comparative religion, as both a scholar and an artist (practicing and performing Indian Classical Dance: see my book, A Yoga of Indian Classical Dance, http://www.innertraditions.com/a-yoga-of-indian-classical-dance.html) I have studied and participated in Goddess religion since my first trip to India in 1972. It has been a blessing of my life to work cross culturally in India and I very often have less problem communicating with a group of Indian women than I do with trying to reach some of my own family relatives whose political and religious views are very different than my own! My presentation to the young students in Ranikhet went over very well and I felt that Riane’s basic vision of gender equality and the value to be placed on women’s and others’ “caring” work could and should be “packaged” for the countless NGO’s that are led by and for women in India. But how? For this we need resources.
Finally, to fulfill the assignment for the Caring Economy course, I made every attempt to reach a local, ethnically diverse group working for social change. “Tools for Social Change” was for me the perfect target audience for Riane’s Caring Economy slide presentation. But the hoops I would have had to jump through required more of a commitment than I could make at this time in my life given the many other causes to which I am committed. When it became apparent that this was not happening, I decided to reach out to the women with whom I am again working on a project this summer in Central NY called Prayer for the Finger Lakes: 108 Sun Salutes on the Solstice. Co-sponsored by my own project www.suryanamaskarforworldpeace.org and www.yogafortheearth.com, our event on June 19th will comprise a ritual of community, spiritual and environmental support with proceeds going to www.wearesenecalake.com, a group fighting the industrialization of the beautiful Finger Lakes region in which we live.
At a Sunday brunch meeting, I made a presentation on Riane’s Dominator-Partnership spectrum by showing four women Riane’s first Cultural Transformation video, followed by a discussion of where we locate ourselves on the spectrum. The positive reaction to this video reminded me of something I had mentioned to members of the Riane Eisler network before, that it would be an excellent tool to have in hand a very good DOCUMENTARY on Riane and her basic framework. If we had such a video it could serve many purposes, educational, fundraising, recruiting.
For example, I wish I had a documentary on Riane to submit to the Seneca Falls National Women’s Hall of Fame. Riane should be nominated for induction into this organization while we still have her on this planet! For now, I will continue to use the excellent first video from the course to introduce others to Riane as it works very well. In our meeting we followed the video with the handout which allows participants to locate themselves in their various relationships on the partnership spectrum. Our only regret is that we ran out of time for further discussion.
Due to my association with the Riane Eisler Network I now have a much deeper appreciation for the depth of Riane’s vision. It has been a great learning experience made rich by all the amazing persons I have met in each of the webinars, including the program organizers and facilitators to whom congratulations are in order for a job well done. From the beginning I felt that most of the ideas articulated by Riane were not totally new to me, although she has opened my eyes in quite a few of the details and has been an amazing example of how to communicate profound ideas in simple that truly communicates. Having had this close association with her network I now feel much more a part of her project and empowered to share her ideas with more confidence. I am sure in the future I will continue to incorporate her ideas in my projects and to expand her sphere of influence to the best of my ability.
Here are my reflections on the marvelous gathering of mama's I brought together on April 14th, 2016, to have 'A Conversation about Caring' - my 'practicum' as a Caring Economy Advocate-in-training.
Spiritual Morality of Caring Economics vs Separation of Church and State
by Rev. Dr. Karen Tate
Admittedly, my approach to caring economics and partnership might be unique, or in the minority here, as it comes integrated with the added dimension of sacred feminine liberation thealogy, otherwise known as Goddess Spirituality, manifested as deity, archetype and/or ideal. Since I've embraced Riane's partnership work many years ago and incorporated it within my spiritual teachings I've been surprised no one in all these years has suggested it might be some violation of that sometimes flimsy wall between church and state and at my practicum presentation the subject was gently broached. An attendee, lamenting the fact feminists more often seem to have divorced their political beliefs and work for social transformation from spirituality, asked if I ever felt uncomfortable publicly connecting the dots between spirituality and politics, feminism and caring economics. Until now, one of the most awkward questions I'd fielded was "Who are you to speak for Goddess?" to which I gently replied, "Have you questioned the patriarchs, who for thousands of years, have not hesitated to speak of, shall we say, their "divine inspiration?" That stopped that inquirer in their tracks. I say that because of the obvious double standards. Is anyone holding the feet of primarily white Christian men to the fire as they pass legislation, based on their religion, that stifles the constitutional rights of women to control their own reproduction? Or tells people who they can love and marry? Or has caused so many to feel they were an abomination for not conforming? Sacred Feminine liberation thealogy, on the other hand, is quite the opposite; it is life-affirming and embraces the values of freedom and partnership, not oppression and domination, and unlike the fundamentalist Abrahamic religions, it is not used as a means to control or have power over the masses. Goddess spirituality suggests and encourages equality, justice, wholeness and inter-connection. Separation of church and state laws would seem more necessary to protect us from zealots who would impose religious conformity, not a spirituality of liberation.
That said, I'll admit, it could be a slippery slope. Who's to say one day there won't be a Royal Priestess who will tell men they must please their wives in bed or burn in the fires of the Hawaiian Volcano Goddess, Pele, or perhaps risk some sort of community shaming. Maybe they'll be forced to mutilate their genitals to control their roaming manhood. All kidding aside, about the separation of church and state, let me share a quote of someone I admire, the scholar Gus diZerega, who said, "A Pagan can no more be a Republican than a Jew can be a Nazi." I love that quote because I've run into many people who have not done the critical thinking to reconcile their spirituality and politics. They're all over the place, not perhaps realizing how at odds the two might be. I've met feminists who believe because they've been oppressed, they're entitled to be the oppressors now and discriminate according to gender. Or so-called environmentalists or earth-based spirituality practitioners who vote for politicians who sell out Mother Earth to multi-national corporations. Or support women and men who feel entitled to "put Baby in the corner" and prefer her barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.
To me, laws and government budgets and politics reflect the morality of our society and our morality should be in sync with our spirituality or religion, otherwise there's a cognitive disconnect. If we have spent our adult feminist lives trying to dissolve the suffering brought on by marginalization or subjugation or opposing the domination and patriarchal values of the status quo or Establishment, I believe Goddess Advocates are obligated to consider if they should be using their Sacred Roar to help rebirth a world where caring economics, equality, peace and partnership are valued as our real wealth, and where the common good and win-win outcomes are always the goal.
I hope to see the day humans will have nothing to fear from another's traditions, religion, politics or economic values, but obviously we're not there yet, so I support the separation of church and state, but I don't lose any sleep worrying I'm in violation of the First Amendment of the constitution because I reconcile my spiritual liberation thealogy with my caring politics - and suggest my students do the same!
Photos below are from my Earth Day practicum presentation at the Museum of Woman/Goddess Temple of Orange County in Irvine, CA on Sunday, April 17. 2016
About Rev. Dr. Karen Tate.....four-times published author, speaker, sacred tour leader and social justice activist, Karen is the host of the long-running internet radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine on Blog Talk. Named one of the Thirteen Most Influential Women in Goddess Spirituality and a Wisdom Keeper of the Goddess Spirituality Movement, she can be seen in the film produced by actress Sharon Stone and Wonderland Entertainment, Femme: Women Healing the World, alongside her mentor, Riane Eisler. Karen's book titles include: Goddess Calling: Inspirational Messages and Meditations of Sacred Feminine Liberation Thealogy, Walking An Ancient Path; Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth, Voices of the Sacred Feminine; Conversations to ReShape the World and Sacred Places of Goddess; 108 Destinations. For more information about talks, tours, radio shows, free meditations, books, interviews and classes go to www.karentate.com or check out her Goddess Calling audio book series on YouTube. She invites inquiries and communication to email@example.com or say hello on her Karen Tate Facebook Page.
This sunday I will have my first Caring Economy workshop here in Brisbane and so I decided to introduce the session at the 4ZZZ radio. I will post soon the link so you can listen to it (it was a live show) and if you feel like giving me advices, I'm open to feed backs!
A smile from Australia!
As a family physician and a hospice and palliative care doctor, I know a lot of ways health care doesn't work. For years I searched for respectful language to illuminate the situations and stories of my patients and other care providers were struggling with. Language that would "explain, not blame”.
When predictable needs are not being predictably met, and the next step available appears to be wasteful, harmful, exceedingly complex, or unclear, you are in “The Gap”.
Language that illuminates a next step leading to a sensible, compelling solution allows interested and able people to move forward on a common concern while they join collaborative conversations to build bridges to clear, compassionate, right actions. from there they are to where they go next.
Language that inspires optimism and invites interested and able individuals to explore collaborative solutions to current “ in the trenches” problems is respectful, descriptive and actionable.
As a case in point, I find that the phrase "Bridging the Gaps in Health care business-as-usual"™ is self-explanatory. Frequently as clients, loved ones and health care provider we all find ourselves "In The Gap".
This weekend I was asked by an out of town family member to assist in making decisions about for long term patient of mine on a ventilator in the ICU of one of a large chain on hospitals here in Atlanta. I used the same language with the my patient’s daughter, with the nurses and physicians and even the hospital liaison and the Chief of Staff.
By language that declares that we are all on the same team, and points to solutions that provide current and future care for our loved ones and ourselves, we are better able to take each situation that arises. This leads to creative ways to Bridge the Gap for the immediate needs, and expand language to include more people into refining a sustainable Client and Community Centered Collaborative Model of Service.
A number of my patients and/or patient family members are co-writing a book of their stories with me: "The Medicine of the Heart”. We hope to share some of the stories with you in the future.
Blessings, and thanks for allowing me to share this recent adventure in creative partnership.
By Maura Conlon-McIvor and Regina Miller
Perhaps the wild, cockeyed dream that won’t leave us alone is all about permission.
Permission to engage our deepest self with others—to never again short-change our language in order to squeeze into the old dominator straitjacket utterly ill-suited for the future of planet Earth.
We love the world earth. Unscramble it and you get other words, like heart and art and hear and ear. Words are alive. They shape our psyches, so rendering permission to explore language is critical!
With this permission to challenge language, imagine changing the name of our planet. What if we became Planet of Partnership? POP for short—quite likeable!
“Permission” presents as both obstacle and opportunity. Obstacle because it can be difficult to shake one’s self—and one’s culture—of an old paradigm. Opportunity because we know deep within that a new way of loving, being, working and caring is knocking at the door.
Let’s take this permission further. On our Planet of Partnership, we are tending to the new territory called Global Climate Love. When language changes, you can feel the domination mindset melt and colorful pathways break open. We have given ourselves permission to envision a different reality.
We no longer speak about Global Climate Crisis. That represents the language of the paradigm that created the endemic problem. We take permission to call this the time for Global Climate Love. This era holds huge opportunity for how we organize businesses, how we run households and communities, how we tend to those at the edges, how we honor the earth, how we innovate across disciplines.
Global Climate Love recognizes a reverence for life’s evolutionary process in which we are all embedded. Global Climate Love asks us to know ourselves, to transform our traumas, losses and darkness individually and collectively. Global Climate Love gives us permission to protect the Planet of Partnership. In our new roles as protectors, we choose to live in self-awareness, humility, generosity, and gratitude.
And yet we ponder the magnitude of the old systems that are failing. Government efforts are slow. Businesses eschew accountability for crimes incurred to the earth. Scientists’ voices are blindsided even though the climate data is evidenced. How do we bridge the chasm? How do we move from small hands, individual efforts to BIG heart movement? It is now time for leaders of the future to foster a sense of collective permission.
Riane Eisler, in The Power of Partnership, speaks to an “integrated agenda.”  She writes “that we must look at the cultural and economic factors that brought us to this place where our very life support system is at risk.” In the dominator paradigm, business leaders have been problem solvers, many “burying their hearts in conference room B.” New leaders care for the life support system of which Eisler speaks, leading from the less-known territory of the heart. Global Climate Love breeds a new permission for leaders to explore the Planet of Partnership conversation.
How to initiate this conversation? Simple is best. What we’ve found to be successful is rather than launching into what’s logical or rational, we ask leaders to remember a time in their childhood when they fell in love with nature. Perhaps there was a favorite tree to climb, a favorite neighborhood hangout to watch the world go by, a sea for swimming, a field for playing in. When we engage that primal memory and the whole body, the heart is activated and immediately, the conversation shifts.
We realize a Planet of Partnership has been living inside us all along. Now it’s time to embrace that and from our mature, reflective state, invite others into the place where a new permission brings forth creative ideas and realties for Global Climate Love.
Ultimately, I have come away from the Power of Partnership course with a deeper compassion for humanity. With a new lens in which to understand intimate, workplace, national and spiritual relationships, I am much more able to perceive and navigate dominator relations - as I encounter them directly, or as I observe around me.
In concrete ways, I am using partnership dialogue with the group facilitation work I do in intimate relations. This program of work will continue to evolve as I more tightly integrate my meditation, arts therapy and Gestalt therapy and now, partnership frameworks.
In other concrete ways, and fashioned into fable and fairytale, I continue to trust my dreams and their source of wisdom. I write them into fables and fairytale. It is uncanny that they represent themselves as a shift from the dominator to partnership paradigm. Now that I know that framework, I am interested to see how my stories will write themselves. I will continue writing for now, and I foresee that my stories may become a volume of work that I can use in my group facilitation work and with work I have designed (and will embark on once I am settled into a geography that stops spinning - in other words, when I stop my gypsy travelling) for vulnerable groups ie prisoners, domestic abuse victims.
Here is one of the fables - should you feel curious :) Grace, Abundance, Peace
I have always known that one day I will become active in some way in guiding the dying process and death back to its origins as a natural part of living. Back to partnership with life and away from conquering or dominating death. To bring grace back into dying, into life, so that dying and death, and indeed life, is a mutual partnership with gratitude and nature. I am not in the medical profession, so it is not from that angle that I will approach this work. I don't know what it looks like yet. I trust it will unfold in time. In the meantime, I recommend this book to you on this very thing. By the author Stephen Jenkinson, called "Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul".
I wish everyone well on the Partnership journey.
I recently completed the first online class of “The Power of Partnership”. It was a powerful adventure in realizing the interconnectivity of all life through our relationships and a huge, multi-faceted journey getting to use the great tips and tools to do relationship in a partnership way in my future. I was often struck by the realization that some of us relate well in partnership in some forms and others of us relate better in partnership in other forms. Each of us has our strengths and our areas to improve upon if partnership is to come to be a way of life for us as a whole humanity. The good news is that this class gives anyone practical how to’s to live into the big picture of what Riane depicts in her book, “The Power of Partnership: Seven Relationships That Will Change Your Life”. The biggest learning for me was how much time I don’t spend on my relationship with myself and my close family relationships. I am so out in the world working to forge a partnership future that I fail to make sure I am living this way all the time myself. Ouch! And so glad to have been re-centered in what really matters during the class. It takes time to be in partnership and to do it in a way that meets the needs of everyone in the relationship. Since the course I have continued to take more time to breathe, to have “do-nothing” time, and have planned weekly open chat time with my partner. Because I am of service to the world as a relationship educator and coach, I am deeply grateful for the plethora of paradigm shifting information from my study time in the class and the gifts of practical activities I can do to stay on the partnership pathway. I continue to regularly use quotes from Riane’s writings and make suggestions from the rich list of ways to partner in the book. I am creating a book study class using “The Power of Partnership” to offer to students at www.instituteforrelationship education.com in the summer. Kudos to Sara and Susan for their compassionate and enriching facilitation of this class!
The Power of Partnership course gave me a nice boost to continue the partnership way and caring economics work in my community. It so much more effective to do excercises and discuss the seven relationships every week with others instead of just reading the book by yourself. It is always so interesting to hear different stories and insights from people that already know about Riane's work. The group gives me energy (as always).
One of the highlights of this course for me was the realisation, that the relationship with one self is the base for all other relationships. If the relationship with oneself is not in a good place, it is hard to maintain healthy partnership relationships with other people and communities. The article 'The inner work of partnership: tools for making personal shift from domination to partnership' written by Susan Carter and Sara Saltee, that we studied during the class, is a wonderful guide for partnering with oneself. I feel that I will be coming back to this tekst to help myself and others.
What was also very effective were the activity points that were prepared for each class. E.g. some quotes from David Whyte were shared and discussed during the class as a preparation for ' Partnerships relations with work and workplaces'. The preparation for the class inspired me to build up the courage and talk to a colleague, the project manager and my manager about the tense situation in our workplace. As a result the tension between different parties at work has reduced, we don't have to tiptoe around certain people and issues anymore and there is room for discussion for some long term improvements.
During the course many interesting sources were shared by the people in the group. One of these is the 'Sacred Economics' by Charles Eisenstein. The theory how the current usage of money has messed up the old gift 'economy' is fascinating. As I read this book, I feel that this theory together with Riane's new economic map and the SWEI will give me sufficient background information and the necessary tools that I need to be able engage people in discussion about caring economics and necessary cultural shift to partnership way.
This was definitely one of my favourite courses that I have followed the last couple of years. I very much recommend it and the book 'Power for Partnership' for everyone.
Three observations from this past week, and planting the seed for a weekly podcast with PoP Practitioners.
I'm considering starting a weekly podcast series, using a combination of iTunes, Blab and Stitcher. Some of this is new to me, but I've run webinar series for clients a number of times, so the tech side is relatively easy for me. Content (i.e. awesome guests) is my single biggest need, and that's where you come in ;)
The benefit for you is that these broadcasts add to your credibility (by "borrowing" influence from other guests) and they extend the number of people you can reach beyond your website (many people prefer audio or video to reading, since they can consume your content while on the move).
Please let me know by commenting here, or if you prefer email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Depending on the level of interest shown we may or may not go ahead ;)
All the best,
Two weeks have passed since I, Bonnie Sachs, finished the first online workshop of The Power of Partnership based on Riane Eisler’s book of the same name. Over seven weeks my colleagues and I explored partnership in the context of our relationships. Beginning with ourselves we moved outward through intimate relationships and into the larger world of work, community, national and international communities, nature and spirituality.
This is a vast territory to explore in a few weeks. Yet this group of individuals dared to think deeply and share from the heart, knowing, perhaps intuitively, that those of us gathered would listen attentively, respect all that was shared and hold it in confidence. This group of men and women from across the globe was for me a powerful example of good-heartedness in action.
Since the end of the workshop I’ve returned time and again to the idea of partnership carried into ever expanding circles of relationships. For me, this requires that I always attend to the partnership I have with myself. I have been a nurse for 40+ years and I know that if I don’t take care of myself I cannot care for anyone else. This is hard won knowledge because I was raised during the 1940’s and 1950’s when it was common for a woman to be socialized to think and care for others before thinking of her own needs. Over the years I’ve learned a different way of being in the world and caring for myself is one part of partnership with myself. This becomes the solid foundation from which I draw strength and comfort to participate in partnership relationships in all its forms in the larger world of my life.
I am approaching my 70th birthday actively engaged professionally and deeply embedded in many supportive, loving relationships with family and friends. I know I’m in an enviable place. I still have work to do that will be healing to others and myself. I also know that relationships have been my greatest teachers throughout my life and therefore relationships will be the way that I enable healing for others. Specifically I don’t know what this may look like, and, frankly, I don’t need to know. Great adventures lay ahead and my heart is filled with joy.
I have been collaborating all my life. I never cared for competitions. I dislike competitive games, competitive business practices and as I get wiser (we never get old), I dare to stand up and counter competitiveness in a peaceful way.
I counter it with my actions when I promote, support and live in partnerships rather than competition. I changed to rules of the game for myself and my loved ones. Literally, we took for example the Catan game Settlers and rewrote the rules so it is now a collaborative game.
But I also rewrite the rules in our community. As I ask organizations, individuals, businesses, agencies and schools to partner with my organization as well as each other, I realize that I am partnering with groups who actually compete as their primal existence and I am bringing them into a new paradigm, I have to be patient, yet firm, when I lay down the rules of the partnership. It has to be win-win. All parties must be happy and fully satisfied with the arrangement and the community and the ecosystem around us must be better off by having this work happening. Exchange is important. Fair and good. When we breath, we do not just take oxygen from the air. We also provide our 'waste' gases to the ecosystem, which uses it for food production. Everything is part of a circular service and exchange in the natural environment. It is our short sigthedness that labels nature competitive. It is not survival of the fittest that drives everything, but the service of the greater good and continuous exchange of energy, materials, supplies in essence, that enables everything to exists. There is only partnership in nature, even if one is a prey and the other is a predator. Together they serve their environment and each other.
Hi! Just completed the Power of Partnership course with wonderful, expressive, heartfelt fellow participants! Wow, what an experience!
As an aftermath, I would like to share how I’m going to use the material and the experience from the course in my life. I am writing a book called Change Within. The book is sharing about 19 blogs I’ve written about changing oneself within, with Treasure Hunts at the end of each to expand and deepen the topic. Thinking I was almost complete, I realized that I wasn’t! There are many “self-help” books out there with similar topics, and I would need to give my book an urgent context to entice readers to journey within. (As above so below, as within so without, perception is projection.) This led me to consider that we are at the 12th hour in needing to shift to even begin to deal with global issues, that no longer can any individual or even any nation solve these issues, like climate change, terrorism, and global financial collapses to name a few. We can no longer solve problems with the same thinking that created them, as Einstein so aptly put it.
I began researching major thinkers for the past 70 years or so to detect fractals and major patterns of where we are going and what hope there might be if any for humanity. I found in many places that we are at the end of the world as we have known it. We are at a crisis point, like caterpillar turning to mush to butterfly, where we must quantumly shift our levels of consciousness to a completely different paradigm. It’s been compared to going from two dimensional to three dimensional, or from three to four, a shift so huge that the mind can almost not comprehend. One of the most important prisms through which to view global issues has been Riane’s Domination versus Partnership! I am steeping myself in this to be able to include it in the book.
A glimmer of hope has been flickering that we are actually approaching a tipping point in the world for this shift in consciousness. If 10% of the world population achieves this level of partnership thinking, it would be a tipping point for global thinking. At first it was guessed we were at 5%, then 7%, and now there seems to be evidence that we might actually be approaching this 10%! Several weeks ago we celebrated International Womens Week, where one billion of the seven billion world population participated in the Billion Womens March! That’s more than 10%! Like the Berlin Wall suddenly being torn down, maybe there’s hope.
If you have any thoughts, please share with me! (My email is jane@changewithin, if you prefer it.)
In the light,
Yangsi Rinpoche, a Tibetan lama, recently urged: “Be gentle. The mind is so complex…Be gentle.” This pierced my heart – as did our Power of Partnership course, where we were skillfully helped to lean into every level of our lives with gentleness – not with harsh, short-sighted domination, but with kind, wise partnering.
I felt challenged to the max by our assignment to do a self-chosen activity each week designed to push us into wider and wider circles of caring outreach – and then (yikes!) write up our experience on the discussion board. I was amazed that, in the warm, encouraging atmosphere provided, I could actually do this. The thrill of new, meaningful growth!
I will go forward with all of my partnership work feeling confident (not just abstractly, but viscerally) that I belong, that I am part of a wide, deep community of individuals - with faces and vulnerable stories I know – who, like me, are dedicated to helping the world move toward gentle, wise partnering. Thank you!
And, along with going forward – in gratitude and awe - with my daily partnership work with my husband/friend/passionate lover of 40 years and other beloved intimates, I will be going forward with my writing escapade – without a writing block! What a gift from our course!
The provisional title of my work is Attraction Revolution: Taking on the Advertisers Where They Target Us: Our Mind. A delicious, complex, paradigm-breaking book with enormous implications for our orchestrating a world based on kindness, rather than our allowing advertisers to lure us into one based on commercialism.
But I was stuck, too often falling into a field of fog and low energy when I was writing. During our course, I was inspired to try new partnerings – for example, by “downloading” certain powerful archetypes (the Irish heroine Maud Gonne and, later, Green Tara) – much as a child might “download” Superman or Wonder Woman. Not actually a new idea for me, but in the can-do atmosphere of our class, a practice I took on with fresh determination. And mirabile dictu! now I’m storming into my writing each day – not by trying to improve on or figure out a disempowered version of myself embedded in a long-ago dysfunctional field, but by stepping into an empowered version of myself embedded in an ever-present super-functioning field. Hooray!
Next week – and often, I suspect – I’ll be driving 500 miles for a writing retreat with a dear, magnificent friend – and enjoying creative collaborating with others. Vive partnering!
The Power of Partnership course I just completed with several other inaugural students can easily be described as mind-bending. Actually, mind-blowing is the more accurate description in some aspects! Either way, I’ll never look at Life and daily living the same way again.
My perspective was changed at both the meta and macro levels.
First, the meta level:
For some time, I have observed a natural progression for all of creation to be Order leading to Disorder leading to Reorder. We see this progression in the annual cycle of seasons and in the evolution of species and ecosystems, for example (think Darwin’s “survival of the most adaptable”).
In the development of human civilizations, we typically see this natural progression as Structure leading to Chaos/Confusion leading to Revised Structure.
So one of my “a-ha’s” during this course was the realization that we – we being much of humankind – are experiencing a natural meta-progression along a dominance/partnership line:
Dominance Emphasis leading to Cultural Chaos/Confusion leading to Partnership Emphasis
Though this meta-progression is not consistent across all segments and geographies, and though the necessary chaos and confusion can be harrowing and possibly deadly, overall the progression toward greater emphasis on partnership is hopeful and encouraging. No bets on how long the process will take, but it seems to be accelerating rapidly, at least in parts of the world.
Second, my perspective changed also at the macro level.
The course, based on Riane Eisler’s book THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIP: SEVEN RELATIONSHIPS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE (well, Riane certainly delivers on that promise!), explored the seven levels of relationship in which we each engage: self; family and intimate others; one’s work and community; one’s nation; the international arena; nature; and Spirit.
I now see these seven relationships through a macro lens, the lens of partnership.
It’s amazing how a subtle shift in awareness reveals an entirely new view of reality.
I gained insight in each of the seven relationship areas. A few stand out as particularly powerful, however. With self, the concept of nurturing oneself with support and compassion rather than berating and punishing. With intimate others, the realization that codependency is a subtle and pervasive form of dominance. With the national and international arena, that there is a fine line between liberty and suppression. With Spirit, that our view of God/Goddess -- loving and beneficent or harsh and punishing -- directly affects how we view sex, birth, pleasure, purpose, and death.
Read the book or take the course, or better yet, do both. As Riane promised, it will change your life!
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