I’ve been working on and toward a vision for a long time now. I share a good deal of it here at Coalition for Good, as well as at the business portal: OurGood.org. As I approach launch (and relaunch, in the case of Wishadoo!), I continue to seek out those who resonate with and may share my passion about this collective vision, or recognize how the various aligned visions can complement and support the growing movements for transformation.
As a social activist-entrepreneur with big dreams, I admit that in being so hands on and “boots on the ground,” I do at times miss the forest for the trees. For many of us it seems so easy to lose sight of the big vision as we build our work and our lives.
I compare it to the process of building a house, which begins with the decision to build it oneself because nothing exists that offers what we long for or feel is needed.
The very first question we should ask is: What is our intention in wanting to build this home?
What do we want the space and structure to provide? Do we only want the bare basics of shelter for ourselves, or do we envision a gathering space, a space which fosters creativity and productivity, a space that nurtures and provides sanctuary, for ourselves and others?
What features are needed to create this perfect space? Where would we like to build and where can we build this home?
We then focus on what is possible based on our resources (material, including funds; energy; assistance from others) and our time frame. This part requires compromise; the parameters shift from what we originally envisioned so clearly as the ideal, to what is realistic and doable.
Once the plan is set, that’s when things seem to take on a life of their own. There are many, many elements involved in building a house, let alone a home: Creating the design that reflects your vision, clearing the space to lay the foundation, building the framework and then adding the basic elements of functionality today (plumbing, electricity, heat/air); adding the exterior, interior walls and roof; adding what you feel are necessary appliances and features for functionality; and then you can focus on decor.
Each of these steps is complex, with many decisions to be made along the way. We must deal with the changing of plans, the schedule delays, the discovery that there are better ways of doing this or that as time goes along, the internal struggle of “be patient” vs “we need this home NOW!”, limitations based on the various types of resources and so on.
We can lose sight of WHY we embarked on this journey to begin with, especially when we end up being the person who, for the most part and for multiple reasons, must handle each and every task in this building process. (Fellow entrepreneurs and single moms can really identify with this!)
I’ve been caught in the weeds of details and decisions lately regarding my work — having that proverbial struggle of “patience” vs “NOW!” When I received the following message in my daily email from Sasha Dichter, it really hit home.
The Hardest Thing – by Sasha Dichter
It isn’t figuring out how to solve the problem, or deciding what approach will work best.
It isn’t sussing out what tactics to use, or who will be your partners and your competitors.
It’s not figuring out product-market fit, and it isn’t even hammering out how you’re going to convince skeptics of your story.
The hardest thing is figuring out what’s really important to you.
The things you want to work for.
The things that are worth sustained energy and sacrifice.
It’s the act of clearing away the dross, of quieting the voices that are the noise, not signal, streaming through your head.
The moment you state your goal is the moment you can’t hide from it.
It’s the moment you have to stop pretending that you don’t know exactly what it is that you are here to do.
This simple, eloquent question made me stop, reflect and remember: What exactly is it that I’m here to do? What underlies all of this work — what is/was my core intention?
My answer: Disrupt apathy, reduce suffering and increase joy. That’s the gist of what I feel I’m here to do and what prompted this building process many years ago.
Reduce suffering and increase joy is what I’m trying to provide the space and opportunity to do in what I’ve been building. (I frequently feel like Kevin Costner’s character in “Field of Dreams,” hearing these words reverberating in my head: If you build it, they will come.) 🙂
More specifically and perhaps more fundamentally, I try in various ways to reduce suffering and, in turn, increase joy by raising awareness of what I believe is truth: We’re all connected. All life on this planet is interconnected and interdependent (Interbeing).
I believe lack of awareness or avoidance of our inherent interconnectedness and interdependence is Humanity’s core wound, leading to Othering and unfathomable suffering and destruction. I also believe we can do better. That we ARE better. I continue to have endless faith in Humanity.
While it may seem counterintuitive to some that what I long for is Unity in Diversity yet try to raise awareness of the existing ways we create The Other, thus bringing attention to the pain and ugliness, it is my belief that in order do better and be better we must be more aware, more mindful and more self-reflective.
The following is a blueprint of sorts for how I envision reducing suffering and increasing joy.
I genuinely believe our work to shift away from Othering toward healing and transformation begins with awareness — including self-awareness.
With awareness we can expand and deepen our capacity to care;
With care comes connection and relationship;
With relationship comes the opportunity to see truth and build trust;
With trust comes heartfelt compassion and empathy;
With compassion and empathy come justice and healing;
With justice and healing comes peace;
With peace we can create meaningful, sustainable lives, communities and societies.
BUT, FIRST, WE MUST CARE…care about, so that we may care for and, ultimately, care with in the quest to reduce suffering and increase joy.
That is why I’m here. To disrupt apathy by inviting people to allow themselves to care, which will in turn reduce suffering and increase joy.
I am here to support and build upon this blueprint. I am here to facilitate connections and create new opportunities and support the existing work leading us toward a world which embraces and celebrates Unity in Diversity…a more caring, just, joy-filled world that works for all.
What about you — what are you here to do? What was your original intention when you started whatever path you’re now on? Why were you inspired to take the road you’ve taken?
It’s worth taking the time to contemplate this question every so often. Thank you very much for the reminder, Sasha Dichter.
P. S. — Please read about the Coalition for Good & Othering-Free Zone