Restoring Sanity

Practices to Awaken Generosity, Creativity, and Kindness

I invite you to explore how we can restore sanity, creating the conditions for us to work well together again, human beings being fully human.

Leadership has never been more difficult. No matter our past successes at creating change, now we face dynamics beyond our control intensifying at exponential speed. The perfect storm is here, the coalescence of greed, fear, and climate and human-created catastrophes. People have retreated in self-protection and communities have fractured. As leaders and concerned citizens dedicated to serving the causes and people we treasure, what are we to do?

We need to restore sanity by awakening the human spirit. To achieve this, we must undertake the most radical and meaningful work of our lives:

creating Islands of Sanity, places of possibility and sanctuary.

An Island of Sanity is a place of both potential and refuge. We realize we cannot keep swimming alone in these toxic seas, that we must separate from the destructive dynamics, policies, and behaviors of this time. 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 psychically and spiritually to create conditions that can awaken our human spirits. We willingly commit to build healthy community and to learn practices for working together harmoniously to accomplish meaningful work.

Course Description

Leadership That Restores Sanity

October 5th

Sane leadership is the unshakable confidence, the faith, that people can be generous, creative, and kind. The leader’s role is to create the conditions so these qualities can manifest in meaningful work.

“Unshakable faith” What gives you faith in people’s capacity to be generous, creative, and kind? There is a critical difference between beliefs and faith. Beliefs are what we hope to be true. Faith is what we know to be true because we have experienced it. We will recall personal experiences when we’ve been surprised by the human spirit. And learn a transformative practice: “Faith as an antidote to fear.”

“Creating the conditions” With our work on inclusion and systems thinking, the concept of Islands of Sanity can be shocking. Yet if we remain as well-intentioned, isolated people, we cannot withstand the overpowering and destructive dynamics of this time. We must withdraw psychically and spiritually to form as a devoted community, creating the conditions of possibility and sanctuary so we can do the good work of serving the human spirit.

Practices will guide you to notice how you’re being changed by current dynamics, and to discern your personal motivation to create a sane community.

We Were Together. I Forget the Rest.

October 19th | with Peter Block 

“Whatever the problem, community is the answer.” “Humans can get through anything as long as we’re together.” “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” These statements have been the basis of my work for decades, but now … ? In this Age of Threat, people in fight or flight desperately seek self-protection, retreat from difference, and collapse from fear and confusion.

How can we bring ourselves back into community? How can these statements become true again? Meg will explore these questions with her long-time friend and colleague, Peter Block. Peter transformed his groundbreaking work on consulting to focus wholeheartedly on learning what’s needed to create Beloved Community. His newest book on community launches November, 2023: Activating the Common Good: Reclaiming Control of Our Collective Well-Being. https://www.peterblock.com/the-six-conversations/

What Do We Do When Something Goes Wrong?

November 2nd | with Four Arrows

We are besieged, overwhelmed, and exhausted by unending crises. The common response is to assign blame as quickly as possible rather than learn from experience. This refusal to learn and adapt is suicidal–blame and denial are destroying community and the future.

“Whatever the problem, community is the answer.” When problems arise in Indigenous communities, individuals are not blamed–in fact, there is no word for shame. The community assumes responsibility and seeks to learn from the incident. When things go wrong, if the well-being of the community is the center point, every crisis is an opportunity for healing and strengthening relationships. To explore this profoundly different worldview, Meg will dialogue with her dear friend and colleague, Four Arrows, an Indigenous educator and scholar of the Indigenous worldview. Author of 24 books, his 2023 book, co-authored with Darcia Narvaez, is: Restoring the Kinship Worldview. https://www.fourarrowsbooks.com/about

The practice for this week is to reflect on how your team, organization, community, and family react when something goes wrong.

Practices To Awaken the Human Spirit

November 9th | with Frances Baldwin

In this session, Meg offers a “Pattern Language”—design principles for practices that awaken people’s inherent generosity, creativity, and kindness. Pattern languages are not human inventions. They are discerned from close observation of how life creates order, balance, and harmony. Working with life’s natural dynamics, more becomes possible than with human-invented group processes. Meg developed this pattern language for her new book. She will explore it with another dear friend and colleague, Frances Baldwin, an elder in the field of Organization Development, who emphasizes spiritual vitality in her Gestalt Coaching practice. www.designedwisdom.net

Practice for the week is to use this pattern language as a lens to evaluate your past and/or current practices, what worked well and what failed.

Choosing to Be A Warrior for the Human Spirit

November 16th

As a sane leader, I invite you to an even more noble role: Warrior for the Human Spirit. This is not a casual upgrade. At dark times in history, a small group of people arise to protect and defend what is most valued. In this era, the human spirit and the spirit of Life are in great need of protection. Warriors for the Human Spirit join the tradition of peaceful, non-violent warriors, armed with only two “weapons,” compassion and insight. Berkana Institute has been training activists, leaders, and citizens as Warriors since 2015. For this session, Meg will invite a few Warriors to share stories of how this role has created more capacity, meaning, and joy for them as they serve this time. https://margaretwheatley.com/why-warrior-training/

Now That We Know This What Do We Do?

December 7th

This is a three hour session to assess what you’ve learned and what you aspire to contribute going forward. We’ll work with these questions: Have you been changed by what you’ve learned and contemplated? If so, how will these changes be visible in your behaviors? Will you explore the possibility of creating an Island of Sanity? If so, with whom? Will you choose the role of Warrior for the Human Spirit? If so, will you seek to develop the skillful means of warriorship?

We’ll share our learnings, revelations, challenges, and stories to support each of us to claim our role to restore sanity where we are, with what we have, for the people and causes we most care about.

My Wise Friends: Peter Block, Four Arrows, Frances Baldwin

It is with the greatest delight and anticipation that I will be joined by three wise friends. As colleagues who became dear friends over many years, we have explored different aspects of life, leadership, and worldviews. Each brings a depth of experience and hard-won wisdom to what we’ll be seeking to understand.

There’s much more to learn about them on their websites (click on their photo). You’ll be richly rewarded if you take the time to learn about them.

Course Format

Learning process: This program provides two essential sources of knowing.
1. Wisdom Keepers from diverse backgrounds sharing their knowledge and experience.
2. Reflection practices to illuminate learnings from your own direct experience.

Sessions are two hours to allow for learning from teachers and reflection periods alone and in small groups. There are practices and contemplations to work with during the intervals between sessions.

The first three sessions occur every two weeks, giving a longer interval to settle in and work with the contemplations and practices. Then in November, we pick up the pace, meeting weekly. The last session is longer, occurring three weeks later on December 7th.

Sessions are two hours, 10:00-12:00 Eastern; 16:00-18:00 CEST

Each session is on Zoom. Videos and materials are housed on Sutra. Sutra.co is designed to promote rich learning and strong community. We use it for all our courses. If you cannot attend a session(s), videos of every session are available two days after the live session.

Dates:
Oct 5:     10-12 Eastern
Oct 19:   10-12 Eastern
Nov 2:    10-12 Eastern
Nov 9:    10-12 Eastern
Nov 16:  10-12 Eastern
Dec 7:    10-1:00 Eastern

Tuition: $700 single, $1000 for two, or $1200 for three. We want to encourage you to join with friends and colleagues.

Payment Plan: Pay in full at time of registration or two payments: first at registration, second due by November 1st.

Scholarships: The scholarships have been filled. We are no longer accepting applications. If you have a special request email Ellen at warrioradmin@berkana.org.

Registration & Payment Options

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