Zendor...

 

Mission: Earth Dance

March 17, 2001

Summary

Below are synopses of the day's presenters who were: Jerome Landau, JD., Marilyn Oyler, Calvin Terrell, Tom Ollerman, Ph.D., Rev. Jean Henderson, and Ali Craig. Ali is a high school sophomore who is quite aware of the emotional and physical challenges within the academic environment.

Jerome Landau's presentation on Alternate Dispute Resolution offered tremendous opportunities for learning and applying a living awareness- that conflict truly does not exist. Misperceptions are the cause of nearly all miscommunications bringing uncomfortable feelings to the surface, which we perceive as conflict. We bring 'our' dictionary to the table in negotiations of any kind and may not understand the 'other' dictionaries involved. Seeking first to understand and then to be understood is a prerequisite for effective communication. What happens is that the court systems are overloaded and when the dates do arrive, the tension level in the courtrooms exacerbates the uncomfortable feelings. Alternate Dispute Resolution seeks to create dialog first and then a greater family circle of realizations. Indeed, with this practice, nearly all 'conflict' can be removed from the Court and placed in the hands of the people once again. An Aikido instructor as well, Jerome shared some great techniques for re-centering and balancing our physical bodies, which promotes greater ease of movement within any environment. We all are coaches in many situations we encounter. Much of the 'so-called' conflict in our lives can be eliminated, right NOW, just by putting into practice this basic understanding. (see Landau Law)

Marilyn Oyler shared her expertise on the processes involved in developing an intentional community. When groups of any kind get together it is critical that everyone get the opportunity to know more about each participant. Even a simple process of introductions begins to create the building process. Who are you? What do you do? What do you hope to receive from this exchange? When initiating meetings with multidisciplined people, especially multidimensional ones, an understanding of the co-players is critical. This adds many ingredients to the creative soup that is in process with the group. A skilled facilitator is also necessary for group interactions to be effective and productively work toward a goal. In closing meetings it is best to recap with a process of establishing future direction, the goals and objectives, of the energy of the group. For our group the question was, 'What do you want to do next?' Items included: following thru to connect, networking, create a web ring, tell everyone you know, set goals, have teen meetings, market the need, learn your mind, community service day, bring a friend next time, extend dialog 'casually,' get radio and TV coverage, get validation of s/Self and establish truthfulness of s/Self. The last question, 'Who wants to help?' brought forth a small group of people willing to work together on future Earth Dances and developing Genesis, a model community to demonstrate new living systems. (see Institute of Cultural Affairs)

Calvin Terrell brought a very real issue to the table- prejudice in our schools and lives. Preference is not the same as prejudice. The audience was taken through a series of examples, demonstrating how easily we accept prejudice into our minds and hearts. These included conditioning, thoughts/self-fulfilling prophecy, verbal dehumanization, deliberate avoidance, hurtful discrimination, physical violence, murder, genocide/holocaust and the R2D3- rationalization, repetition, denial, discounting and displacement. Next was a small group exercise where alternatives to the previous mechanisms of prejudice were developed. Personal choices have to be made to live a life of acceptance and tolerance, seeking to understand rather than to avoid. Answers to the question included: honor experiences, be trustworthy and honest, be in the NOW, give hugs, create safe space, have empathy, demonstrate unconditional love, use affirmations, live in harmony with others, teaching what we desire by living it and show loving discrimination. Children don't belong to us; we are their caretakers for a time and a season. They will live what they are taught before being willing to consider new concepts or ideas. It is up to each of us to gently remind others to be conscious of the thoughts they think, the words they speak and the actions they make, especially in front of our greatest resource for the future of humanity.

Jean Henderson began the afternoon session addressing our need to understand our inner lives and the connection we share as one people and one planet. Many of us have inner promptings, of many types, and yet have difficulty in heeding them due to many circumstances. Our outer lives are often chaotic because of old belief systems that just don't work anymore and create dis-ease within our bodies and minds. Bringing ourselves into a state of harmony is indeed an achievable goal. There are many worlds that interact in order to bring this goal to fruition and many know that their life path is to collaborate and cooperate in this effort. Some even have regular contact with these other worlds and science is beginning to prove that at least some of them really do exist. Others just know from their direct experience that these worlds are just as real as our common three-dimensional experience. To demonstrate intention, she lead the group on a guided meditation, with each holding a stone heart we picked from a dish of collective hearts. During the meditation, we were asked to connect hearts and minds with each other for the purpose of establishing Unity in Diversity. Then, after visualizing the group energy sphere in the room, we expanded to surround Phoenix, then Arizona, the United States and on to the entire planet Earth, feeling the connectedness of all things, people and places… all our relation. We were all brought back safely.

Tom Ollerman brought into focus how organizations are just family extensions, each having their own dysfunctions. Over 82% of American companies that have partnered with foreign companies have failed in recent years. Business leaders have forgotten that 'business as usual' does not meet the needs of the workers spiritually, emotionally, intellectually or physically. Corporations that consider the human element are beginning to show up on the scene at last, and are joining together to form an international collaborative to establish a more integrated approach to conducting business. As self-reliant individuals, we have several levels to consider- belief, thinking, feelings, behaviors, expectations and experiences. We may have common beliefs yet the one thing that people are reluctant to share is how they think… the process. When a level of vulnerability can be reached to facilitate a greater level of trust, then thoughts and feelings can be shared more openly, which brings opportunities for greater harmony. Business/personal archetypes were presented next. An archetype is your conscious or unconscious perception, role, or image of a company, person, or organization. These fell into four general categories with three sub-categories in each. They were: UTOPIAN (Idealist, Wanderer, Scholar), RISKTAKER  (Warrior, Rebel, Wizard), ALLY (Neighbor, Comic, Gourmet) and PROTECTOR (Guardian, Artist, King). The charge given is to manage our archetype effectively considering substance and value, leadership characteristics, competitive edge and knowing yourself. (see Institute for Collaborative Alliances)

Ali Craig brightened our day with the exuberance and openness of a child. Her directness of communication was refreshing. We got the chance to peer into the minds and hearts of today's teens, both the materialists and the non-materialists. As she related how her generation is interacting with each other- their fears and motivations, their hopes and aspirations and their distancing from what they believe to be a world in chaos. Listening to her stories of young life, we were able to see that there are an increasing number of truly sensitive teens developing in a world that doesn't truly meet their needs. The old regimen of school activities serves a purpose yet doesn't address the emotional and spiritual needs of this generation, who question authority more than any generation to date. They are finding ways to accept each other more openly, learning to work together and share their stories with each other, horrific as some of them may be. An obvious need established during audience interaction was gathering places for these teens to feel safe and able to explore the larger issues in life, or even just to play together without boundaries or barriers between tribes. Many have no role models, and the current gathering places available, such as Boys and Girls Clubs, just don't interest them. They seem to desire an environment where they have access to wisdom, yet are encouraged and nurtured to help them find their own answers. Teen clubs or these sorts are rare indeed. Shall we get busy and create some? Maybe we'll get a better idea of the future by listening more to our youth?

 

 

Bringing People of Purpose Together for Our Future

Robin Engel and Zen Benefiel, as concerned educators and parents, recognize the gap between academic and emotional growth that has been challenging to address in the school environment. They felt that bringing people together to inquire and reflect on the needs of challenged youth would provide an atmosphere of passion and purpose, open to taking an honest look at the current situations and creating dialog toward solutions.

They had no idea what might happen as a result, or even if people would show up. About 50 came for the day, engaged by presenters who knew how to get the audience into the act, providing some wonderful opportunities for doing things better. Our example is the best leadership for our youth, although meeting their growing needs for healthy and safe rites of passage is our greatest challenge.