How do we bridge the divide? How do we have conversations that might be both difficult and meaningful? To explore these questions, humankind San Diego collaborated with the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego to facilitate Living Room Conversations. The experimental conversations focused on politics and the faith community, and the conversations were both robust and thought-provoking.
By Reverend Rebecca Dinovo
Our chosen topic was on the (potentially charged) subject of the intersection of faith and politics. However, as we followed the helpful Living Room Conversation guide and format, I noticed the people at my table were able and willing to be vulnerable with one another and share not only varying viewpoints, but even some significant fears they had about what is happening in our nation and here in California.
How do we get to what we don’t know we don’t know? One way to peek into that vast realm is the Stuck Exercise. As Arawana Hayashi, creator of Social Presencing Theater, says, “Everybody has a stuck.”
Everybody can pick a “stuck” in their life, a place where things are not moving forward, and use it to explore the body-based awareness practice we are bringing to this month’s Listening Lab. The Stuck Exercise takes us away from our thinking process about an experience and into our “body-knowing” – the wisdom of the felt experience.
humankind’s proposal, “Connect for (a) Change,” has been selected to be part of a global initiative supported by MIT called the Societal Transformation Lab. We are looking for an organization, coalition, or community in the San Diego region that is working toward a better future with a specific focus for change, willing to experiment with new tools and methodologies for engagement, and interested in being part of a global learning community.
Concerning the future of our communities, our country, and our planet, the issues on our radar today are myriad. It’s not easy to decide where to invest our time and energy, do the research needed to have an intelligent and informed perspective, and take action. Enter humankind, speaking about connection, deep listening, and meaningful conversations. humankind doesn’t focus on any one “compelling issue.” Of course it’s nice to think about connection and more authentic conversations. But isn’t it more urgent to tackle more tangible instances of inequality, violence, or some particular issue that has concrete consequences in many lives?
Why go to Senegal to explore what humankind might do here? Because Tostan, a nonprofit based in Dakar and expanding across West Africa, understands the critical role of community in sparking and creating change. And because we believe that, especially now, we can learn from others about ways to explore the aspirations, values, human rights and responsibilities that form the foundation of a functioning democracy. Tostan believes in unleashing individual agency as well as the transformative power of the community’s collective action…