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Let the beauty we love be what we do.
 
-Rumi

 

#WYDWYDWYD is shorthand for What You Do, Why You Do What You Do, created by a group of consulting colleagues I’m affiliated with to share our stories with each other.

How do you describe what you do…and what inspired you to pursue this? There are many things that give our lives meaning, but most of us spend the majority of our days and our lives invested one way or another in making a contribution to the world (whether we are compensated for this or not).

I’ve been motivated by many people and experiences, and among other quotes, this Aldo Leopold reflection captures much of my own passion:

“There are two things that interest me—the connection of people to the land, and the connection of people to each other.”

From an early age, I was attracted both to nature and to culture: How did people understand and relate to nature, and make sense of and participate in their “place”; and, how did they interact with one another—in their families and communities, at work and at play, in the broader world?

This led me to studying politics and environmental studies, and to early work as an educator, organizer and advocate connecting environmental and community issues. Over time, I realized that my purpose was rooted in wanting to cultivate wholeness and connectedness at all levels—to ourselves, to each other, to our places, and within and between the systems that shape our experience.

My work with networks is a natural manifestation of this desire to seek for and surface wholeness and connectedness. The lens through which I see working with networks (and my work generally) is shaped by four intersecting (and, conveniently, rhyming) domains:

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  • SPACE: We need to create the space to have conversations and experiences that focus our work and create possibility for transformation. My work as a facilitator and coach helps cultivate opportunities for people to reflect and connect to make meaning of where they are, where they are going, and how to get there.
  • PLACE: We all live in and are connected to particular places—our neighborhoods, our organizations, our region or nation, our world. Understanding and advocating for practices and policies that can most effectively create healthy places for all is a vital part of my work and those I support.
  • RACE: There are many lines of difference that we must reconcile and learn how to effectively work across, and race (which I often refer to as the conversation we need to engage in, yet often don’t) is a perennial challenge on an individual, institutional, and systemic level in the work of creating a more equitable world.
  • PACE: Despite the urgency that many of us no doubt feel, true transformation requires an attention to pace—and often asks that we slow down. Providing an opportunity for self-care and well-being is a foundational part of my work with changemakers.

I’ll be writing about these areas in more detail over the coming months, to explore further the implications and possibilities of each.

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