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Holding Space for Change
When we work together, big things can happen
A lot has been going on this past month, both in the context of my own life and my family as well as the larger world around us. There have been so many moments, big and small, that call on us to pause, reflect, and connect with the whole spectrum of human emotions.
I am really grateful to those who joined the “Nature as Self Care” online workshop that I co-led with my spouse and partner, Bryna Campbell, a few weeks ago. Amidst everything happening in the world, it was a much-needed space to slow down, breathe, and connect with nature in ways that bring care and mindfulness into our lives.
Sometimes we just need a reminder that we are a part of—not apart from—the natural world, and there are so many simple ways to rebuild our relationship with nature and our planet. As environmental scientist Jessica Hernandez reminds us in her book Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science:
“when we take care of nature, nature takes care of us.”
Transformation is becoming
Something else I think we can learn from nature is that transformation and change are constants. Here in the Northern hemisphere, we are about to experience the Summer Solstice, which is a notable reminder of how much things have changed since the dark days of winter just a handful of months ago. It’s also a timely moment to slow down and reflect on our personal journeys of transformation.
After I wrote my post “It’s Been Two Years Since…” about my own journey through anger, forgiveness, and healing since being laid off from my museum job, I received so many comments, responses, and stories from people experiencing change in their own ways. Many shared their own stories of pandemic (even pre-pandemic) career changes, and the challenges of being faced with so much uncertainty.
For me, what rang true the most across all these responses and comments was a sense of possibility—the courage to move forward after life turns upside down, and emerge with a renewed sense of purpose and joy. While it doesn’t mean that we’ve magically left all the anger, frustration, and hurt behind, I do think it’s important to give ourselves the permission to let go, look to the future, and ask the question: “what are we going to become?”
Transformation is never easy
Transformation is hard, and it takes time. Whether we’re focusing on the internal work of transforming ourselves and the way we show up in this world, or whether we’re doing the external work of deeply transforming our institutions and organizations, it is never easy.
There is no magic button to make change happen overnight, nor a magic wand that will erase the complexities, challenges, and obstacles we face when advocating for change.
We have to break from old ways of thinking and dominant patterns of behavior, question the status quo, challenge the “business as usual” approach, and develop a new mindset for how we want to work and be in this world. None of this is easy, and we cannot do this alone.
We’ve got to be intentional about coming together, holding space for change, and recognizing our collective work together.
Coming in July: A Summer Institute for Changemakers
This summer I am going to be building on the ideas I’ve been sharing here in this Agents of Change community, my book, and the talks and workshops I’ve been leading on change this past year to develop something that I think will really help with this process of change.
I’m calling it a “Summer Institute for Changemakers,” but what I’m envisioning for this is really more than that. Imagine it as an online community of people like you who are dedicated to collectively exploring transformation and change.
Through a 3-week series of online activities, workshops, and discussions, we’ll be digging into some of the biggest questions and challenges that can be encountered when we work to become changemakers.
For me, this Agents of Change community has always been about finding ways to bring people together and form a community of changemakers. It has been about staying motivated to embody the change we want to see, AND developing action strategies that help us push through the challenges we’re facing.
I believe with a passion that when we work together through our challenges, big things can happen.
This Summer Institute for Changemakers will be happening in late July and early August. I’ll be using a few different online tools throughout the process, including Zoom and a private Substack group (for resources, prompts, and reflection questions).
I’m envisioning it as a fairly small group—about 15 participants total—so that we can focus on getting to know each other, learn from each other, and build a community of changemakers that can stay connected after the summer ends.
In addition to weekly Zoom meetings, there will be additional opportunities to connect with each other to share challenges, successes, and burning questions.
I want to hear from you
I’m very excited to launch this Summer Institute officially, but before I do, I want to hear from you.
We have readers from all over the world within this Agents of Change community, and I want to learn more about the kind of schedule and times that would work best for you.
[Survey Closed - Thanks for all who responded]
Let’s make change happen together
This work of transformation requires that we build community, and work together in community to support each other. That’s why we need to come together as a collective of changemakers to bring focus and intention to making change happen.
We all have a role in solving our current crises because I believe that we absolutely can transform museums and nonprofits. We can have hope for a better future and begin building that future right now. It is up to us to choose to step up, be a solution to the problems we’re experiencing, and make this change happen together.
More ways you can work with me:
Email me for one-on-one Change mentorship and coaching sessions
Invite me to give a workshop or talk at your university, museum, or organization
Use our work with us form at Super Nature Adventures to contact us about a creative project idea on environmental education and/or place-based learning.
Thanks again, and please share this post if you like it.