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.