Program Update 2.22.24

Please Note: We will not be starting the Restoring Sanity Practicum on March 7th as originally planned.  The reason for this change is that I don’t feel the current format, meeting every two to three works, is the right form.  I’ve concluded this from speaking to a number of people, as well as my own discernment. I’m also wanting more clarity on what are the necessary first steps to launch an Island of Sanity.

I encourage you to get the book which is designed as a manual.  No reason to delay in doing the practices to gather your initial island group and move forward into possibilities!

We will post our updated course information here on March 21st, the Equinox when the feminine and masculine energies are in perfect balance.

Restoring Sanity:

How to Create & Nourish an Island of Sanity

A Three-Month Practicum

An Island of Sanity is a place of both refuge and potential, created by people who realize they can no longer do their good work alone.  We realize we are drowning in toxic seas, increasingly  exhausted, overwhelmed, lonely, even despairing.  Our work is important, our desire to contribute is still strong, but to do our work we must separate from the destructive dynamics, policies, and behaviors of this time. We must come together, no longer casual about community, willing to do the hard work of building healthy relationships, committed to staying together to do what we can, where we are.  We understand that humans can get through anything as long as we’re together.

We create these islands in our organizations, communities, and with dear colleagues. We are not seeking safety, we are seeking contribution. We don’t move physically, but we withdraw emotionally and spiritually to create conditions that can awaken our human spirits. We willingly commit to creating a healthy community and to using practices for working together harmoniously to accomplish meaningful work. 

“I used to ask what’s wrong and how can I fix it?” 

Then I realized the right questions were,

“What’s possible, and who cares?”

– Marvin Weisbord, Consultant, Author, OD Elder

How to Create and Nourish an Island of Sanity is a practicum that provides the motivation, skills, and practices to create an Island of Sanity.  Over three months, you will form your island community, use practices for dealing with crises and the unexpected, and develop future possibilities. Together we are experimenting with what it takes to create and nourish an Island of Sanity.

Mother Earth knows to create places of refuge:
Refugia (reh-FU-jee-ah) is a biological term describing places of shelter where life endures in times of crisis, such as a volcanic eruption, fire, or stressed climate. Ideally, these refugia endure, expand, and connect so that new life emerges.

To benefit from this practicum, you need to participate wholeheartedly. Teachings and practices are scheduled with sufficient time intervals to implement and learn from each practice.  As a community of curious and committed practitioners, we will learn together how to bring these islands into form.  And we will discover that no matter what is happening in the external environment, meaning, delight, and joy are easily present as we work well together on behalf of what matters most to us.

“I’m increasingly attracted by the idea that there can be at least small pockets

where life and character and beauty and meaning continue.

If I could help protect one of those from destruction, maybe that would be enough.

Maybe it would be more than most people do.”

– Paul Kingsnorth, Writer, Poet, Environmentalist,
Co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project

Practicum Description

Meg’s new book will be used as text: Restoring Sanity: Practices to Awaken Generosity, Creativity, and Kindness in Ourselves and Our Organizations. It is available (print or ebook) with a 30% discount using the promo code WHEATLEY30.

Module One: Creating an Island of Sanity

Developing Shared Clarity and Commitment

Community forms as people share personal experiences and their search for meaning.  As we share, we discover common ground as well as respect for our individual experiences and questions.

Practices for 1st gathering of potential islanders:

  • How Have You Been Changed by These Times? 
  • When Have You Been Surprised by the Human Spirit?

Creating Coherence at the Core

As is true for all living systems, an Island of Sanity has a clear boundary to protect it from harmful external forces and dynamics. This boundary is semi-permeable but must be clearly known and supported by all members. No need for rules and regulations when we know who we are, what we value, and how we act. This coherence at the core enables self-organization, people trusted to make their own decisions because they know the shared identity.

Practices for 2nd session of community formation:

  • Do We Need To Be an Island? 
  • Do We Share a Faith in People?

Module Two: What Do We Do When Things Go Wrong?

How Do We Habitually Respond to Crises, Interruptions, and Failures

Crises, interruptions, and failures are commonplace occurrences these days. As individuals, communities, and organizations, what’s our usual response when something goes wrong?  Do we come together to learn from the experience? Or do we retreat in blame and scapegoating?  Do we personally feel we’ve failed and beat ourselves up, or do we actively seek to understand how this happened so we can learn from it?

Practices to use with your island:

  • Assess: What’s my/our habitual response to failure? 
  • Keeping Community at the Center: Community Councils

How Did We Handle a Recent Crisis, Interruption, or Failure?

You will learn a brilliant process—After Action Review (AAR)—that includes everyone involved in what just happened. This process requires careful facilitation and always yields a richness of understanding and learnings while simultaneously building a stronger and more cohesive team.

Practice to use with your island:

  • After Action Review for a recent crisis or failure.

Module Three: Creating Future Possibilities

A Pattern Language to Awaken Generosity, Creativity, and Kindness

A pattern language notices how life creates order and harmony and applies these patterns to human interactions. How can we create processes that evoke and support people’s innate yearnings for connection, community, and contribution? We will explore the Pattern Language to Engage Our Human Spirits that Meg has created and test it from our own direct experience.

Practices to use with your island:

  • From our own experiences with organizational/community processes, what can we validate, expand on or challenge in this pattern language?
  • What do we want to create as our future work together?
  • What process will we use for getting started?  Does our process reflect our learnings from this pattern language?

Our Plans to Create Future Possibilities

We will have a rich exchange,  sharing the plans our islands have created focused on future possibilities.  We will also share what we’ve learned from applying the pattern language.

What Have We Learned from Our Experiments? Will We Stay Together as a Community of Practice?

We’ve been conducting an experiment in how to develop and nourish Islands of Sanity.  The last stage of an experiment is to collect the data and carefully review it. What have we learned? What does it take to create an Island of Sanity?  What does it take to keep people engaged and to deepen their commitment to stay together? What processes work to deal with crises, interruptions, and failures? What processes work to create plans and possibilities? 

What have we learned about ourselves—our leadership, our commitment, our perseverance?  And finally, what have we learned about the human spirit?

At the conclusion of our time together, Berkana will offer the means to continue to stay together as a Community of Practice, a very potent means to share learnings, develop new practices, and continue to support one another.

Check Back on March 21st!

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We will post our updated course information here on March 21st, the Equinox when the feminine and masculine energies are in perfect balance.

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