let it breathe

moved to write more…

just home from occupy Oakland, and hearing reports from the first general assembly meeting in Detroit. last night I heard from folks who had gone to check out occupy sf, and i am following the budding of several cities in their parallel efforts.

in each instance there are various levels of excitement and disappointment.

there is such urgency in the multitude of crises we face, it can make it hard to remember that in fact it is urgency thinking (urgent constant unsustainable growth) that got us to this point, and that our potential success lies in doing deep, slow, intentional work.

we need to go beyond having a critique/counter analysis/alternate systemic plan for society – we have to actually DO everything differently, aligned with a different set of core principles for existence.

especially our movement building.

how do we LIVE compassion, justice, love, accessibility, in alignment with this planet and with the people on it? how do we live our values?

as we are, so it (our work, our movement) will be.

for the majority of us, myself included, this means VAST ongoing transformation from how we are currently living and being. and as we transform, we see more things that need transformation, within ourselves and the world.

it is so important to cultivate our patience, our thoughtfulness, our willingness to slow down and seek the wisdom of those not already part of our movements – not to get them in step with our point of view, but because we need their lived experiential wisdom to shape solutions that will work for the majority of living beings.

it is imperative to regenerate our curiosity, our genuine interest in different opinions, and in people we don’t know yet – can we see them as part of ourselves, and maintain curiosity, especially when we want to constrict and critique?

can we each take our little spark from the fire that has started and truly let it breathe enough to grow?

occupy wall street didn’t start off as big as it is now, it started small and built community, cultural norms and communication…and it’s still building.

the challenge in other cities is that we are all starting off with a lot more people at the table with ideas and directions and agendas to push.

that means time spent on getting a clear decision making process in place will be worth every second in the long run.

that means facilitators skilled in consensus and synthesis have an important role to play.

that means that individuals and organized bodies with all variety of experiences are showing up, and we have to humble ourselves to value all contributions, from the newest people to the most organized professionalized folks.

that means our socialized practices to control each other and compete are going to emerge, and we have to be attentive and accountable as we try to open ourselves to something larger than our particular formation or analysis.

that means we can do, be, and create whatever we want to see, knowing ours is one effort in the midst of many, and the multitude is where our power lies.

before joining occupy oakland folks today, I got to witness two incredible presentations on movement and network building at the engage community of practice gathering I am facilitating.

one of them offered a key metaphor that is used at allied media projects: the role of organizers in an ecosystem is to be earthworms, processing and aerating soil, making fertile ground out of the nutrients of sunlight, water, and everything that dies, to nurture the next cycle of life.

all that has come before is in the soil which now yields the movement to counter wall street and the systems of capitalism and create a new economy of relationships, a new society of care and respect.

in that paradigm there is no failure. everything we attempt, everything we DO, is either growing up as its roots go deeper, or it’s decomposing, leaving its lessons in the soil for the next attempt.

another lesson I observed from the people’s mic experience at occupy wall street…if someone called for the mic, they were granted it. but if people weren’t feeling the statement, eventually they stopped repeating it.

I shared that observation with Jenny Lee from allied media, and she observed that in a way, twitter has prepped us for this succinct and self-selected rebroadcasting of each other.

and just like with the people’s mic, and our social media efforts, what we pay attention to grows. let’s cultivate the movement we want, and leave space for others to do the same.

there’s room. let it breathe.

4 Responses to “let it breathe”


  1. 1 Robert

    The rich and powerful will never respond to calls for social equality, justice and freedom. They don’t believe that these ideals are anything more than ploys to beggar the rich in favour of the stupid and lazy. Its the world in which they live. The “Occupy” movement has to push for succinct and do-able political measures: electoral reform that will get the money out of the election process, control of lobbyists and their access to politicians, income tax reform that will result in a more equitable sharing of resources, financial reforms that will regulate banks and Wall Street, and make it more difficult for the rich to hide their tax-free money. You need trade reforms that will stop the draining off of capital and labour into China and other places, single payer health reform, energy and foreign policy reform, and to end the American addiction to war and oil. There are so many concrete and attainable goals that will result in the America the world used to love and admire, rising again from the pyre ashes of her own making.

  2. 2 robert e. livingood

    I really agree with you. The Establishment wants to compartmentalize the movement by rigid definition, and rush it into making demands. But they can’t. We’re seeing something brand new here. And I think part of Occupy’s beauty is its resistance to being categorized. Who we are is simple: we’re the 99%. What we want is a whole new paradigm.

  3. 3 ripley

    I love the earthworm metaphor! And I agree with your take.

  4. 4 Gloria

    I have watched and tried to feel the pain of the young people from NY. and around the world. I sent out an email because I thought Detroiters needed to engage themselves in hopes of understanding their pain and the pain of others, to me this is the deep work…we must all go into the burning house. This is not an easy journey but to go inside and seek understanding of who we all REALLY are (what does it mean to be a more human human) is critical.
    When we start to understand the depth,greatness inherited through the Divine we understand that we have all we need to do and be all that we can.
    So much talk, revolutionary talk ,speaks only to matters of the ‘head’ and there is not doubt in my mind that this is a ‘spiritual’ revolution that will require ALL to grow our souls. When we understand that I am You and You are ME, that one-ness will release fears and allow our true identity to shine, as creativity and knowledge, to transform and manifest our visions for a more perfect world. We must do the inner work, NOW.

  1. 1 Counter-Friction « zunguzungu
  2. 2 Occupy Everywhere…And? Possibilities and Problems « The Leftovers
  3. 3 <p>Let this movement breathe….</p> <p>“we need to go beyond having a critique/counter a : Occupy Love

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