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This past week, I gazed into the eyes of several wise old souls. It is a singularly gratifying and enchanting experience to connect with people that are kindred in both purpose and spirit. It seems Social Change Institute is just the sort of fertile ground to grow such connections. It’s no surprise that many of the people I met at SCI are on the front lines of transforming our world. They offered diamond sharp insights into my own journey, about which I will have much time to contemplate in the coming weeks. I look forward to sharing the revelations that emerge.

It was noted repeatedly that I am about to embark on a journey, perhaps even a sacred journey. On the outside, its an intensely public experience focused on engaging people across the province in fruitful dialogue that trades in the currency of ideas.  On the inside, a deeply personal quest to investigate alternative forms of energy including that which can spur one into action and shift deeply held beliefs about what is possible. An exploration of the inner landscape will fill many solitary hours spent pounding foot to pavement.

Personally, I hope it will help exorcise some of the despair I feel in the wake of Bill C-38 and the aggressive measures being taken to destroy environmental oversight and a vast number of Canada’s democratic instruments. I can only hope that this is a temporary moment of greed overwhelming goodness and good sense, a moment that activates and galvanizes the people and communities that recognize it as such.  I pray that this is the darkness before the dawn of a new age of consciousness; that Harper’s short-sighted and regressive policies are but the death rattle of the fossil fuel driven economy.  We shall see, I suppose.

Running away from a nightmare or towards a brighter future? This is a question that was asked of me at SCI and to which I keep returning…I think it’s both. The reality of pipelines, tankers and other tar sands expansion projects are without question the dark prospect that ignited and to some extent fuels this campaign, but the lure of engaging in a creative and collaborative process to re-imagine a sustainable future is what really propels me forward.  Considering all the damage we are causing to the planet and to our own kind, I think many of us feel completely guilt ridden, and perhaps even paralyzed by that emotion. A great deal of the language and messaging in the sustainability realm is geared at reducing footprints, doing less harm, consuming less which are of course necessary, but in some ways suggests that we need to be less of our selves. Rather than doing less bad, I think we need to consider ways of doing more good by applying our unique human capacity for imagination and creativity to the task of healing our world and society.

Dialogue is an excellent tool for tapping that creative potential and developing a collaborative process that is generative rather than degenerative. I really like Annette Simmons “Guide to Facilitate Dialogue” and she has kindly given permission for me to add it to Band Together BC’s Dialogue Tool Kit.  This kit, available on the Band Together BC website shortly, will also contain Tides Canada New Energy Vision for Canada and a Statement of Support for a National Energy Strategy along with suggested questions and methods of recording the ideas in the dialogue sessions that I hope many people will organize in their respective communities.

I look forward to sharing the innovative ideas that will no doubt arise from these sessions, articulated and expressed through a jambalaya of multimedia- so excited to see how they shape our future.

This is awesome!

http://www.coolinfographics.com/blog/2012/1/20/a-visual-guide-to-marathon-running.html

Taking it to the Streets: a Guide to Marathon Running is a cool infographic from CheapSally.com.


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I’m sitting on the ferry and my tired mind is trying to calculate precisely what leg of the journey I’m on…I stop because at the best of times, calculating isn’t all that fun.

It began just 6 days ago, when I packed up the Delica and slowly headed to Cortes Island for Social Change Institute at Hollyhock. 

It was her maiden voyage as a new convert to waste veg and I was 2 parts excited and 1 part nervous as I drove to pick up a crew of fellow SCI’ers. I was also several parts guilty as I had not fully disclosed the Delica’s top hill climbing speed of 40 km/ph or the fact that I was completely in the dark with the waste veg fuel thing and if we broke down on the highway my best solution would be consuming the contents of the tank so we wouldn’t starve.

Fortunately, we managed to make it to Hollyhock without incident and without having to learn what cold fryer oil tastes like.

I am still processing Social Change Institute…a concentration of the radicalist of the radicals, environmentalists with hearts so green they made the superb garden jealous, journalists, poets, activists, spiritual warriors, healers, artists, poets, young people and young at heart people in a place where ancient cedars cast shadows on the sea.

The whole experience was a bit like being spun in a cotton candy machine of bright ideas, positive energy, and beautiful connections. I felt like I was spinning and being layered by this sweet ethereal experience. Exhaustion and euphoria made the colours brighter, the voices more melodic.

It seems I had been craving this energy and so I consumed it heartily. I think it was this deep intake of goodness from so many brave and intelligent change makers that propelled me on my run on Sunday. I felt buoyant and moved by something both inside and outside of myself.

I hope I am able to store and harness this energy on my upcoming journey. It is the ultimate form of renewable energy! 

I feel like a bundle of nerves- raw and exposed. My first marathon is one week away and it’s just the beginning of a long road ahead. It’s been an incredible journey so far, filled with the extremes of emotion that come with tackling a huge project and most definitely an accelerated personal growth phase. Organizing a campaign of this magnitude has involved stepping outside of my comfort zone and exploring new territory in the realm of my physical and mental limitations, which has only just begun. There has been a lot of embracing of the unknown..well embracing might be a bit of an overstatement. Perhaps it’s more like giving the unknown a quick peck on the check and keeping it warily in view!

Along the way, I’ve met passionate inquisitive people with insights on my run and campaign. Here are some of my learning moments in no particular order. 

Running with people is actually pretty fun. I wrote a scathing treatise against running partners a while back that I’m going to have to revoke. I just hadn’t had a pleasurable group running experience until I joined Christine Suter’s Saturday morning running group. As much as I like to run in the afternoons, running first thing when it’s super fresh and the day is new is really nice. I experienced new routes and people that could help establish a good pace and afterwards enjoyed coffee with a couple friends- new and old. So delightful that I’m looking forward to some company on my run. Ya Jackie and Martha!!  

If an event happens and there isn’t enough press coverage did it happen? Well, no. This sage bit of wisdom came from a fellow at ECO, a Toronto based communications firm that specializes in marketing for non-profits and social enterprises. It means I need to redouble my efforts to let the media know what I’m up to. Point taken!

There is seemingly no end to people’s generosity. I am blown away by the donations and support offered.

Andy, Jackie, Martha, Julia Jimmy and Shannon (and of course my love Nate) will possibly be driving or running part of the journey with me. Fruv has generously provided Fruv wear and Salomon has hooked me up with a pair of awesome sneakers. Craig at Squamish FM donated his social media savvy and some pins… Laura, Jennie and Susan donated enough Milla for many miles.  James, Jimmy and Amber at Base Roots have donated a healthy energy fruit / veggie puree to support my dietary needs.  Sarinda will also be sending some raw food snacks with me. Kevin Pegg is decking the Delica out in solar panels…the list is very long and it fills my heart to the brim with gratitude! Must give back is the lesson here!

“Everything will fall into place.” This has become a sort of mantra to me, and even though I find my self in the grip of anxiety every now and then, I keep reminding my self to loosen my grip and let myself be caught or grow wings in falling into the unknown. 

There are amazing tools for sharing every sound and pixel one could ever hope to record. So now it’s just up to me to get comfortable with using them and find a system that will work in remote areas. This is still on my “to Do” list. 

Harnessing people’s innate talents, it’s the art of delegation and then some as people reach out to lend a hand I am learning how to ask which had they prefer to use. 

Breathing. So important. 

That’s it for now. I am off to get a run in and hopefully find a bit of calm. 

 

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