Reflection Exercise

Reflection Exercise
Take some time to think about what has come up for you in this workshop; giving your
response a little space can sometimes bring some insights and clarity.
Inner and outer dimensions of our work
Sustainability – becoming a prosperous global society that lives in harmony with the earth’s
natural systems through a just, equitable, and participatory social process – will require profound
changes. Robert Quinn, in Deep Change, points to the connections between institutional change
and personal change, especially for leaders. Not all the growth and change that we seek will come
“out there”, but will also involve our own, inner work. Marina Schauffler, in Turning to Earth,
echoes this attention to the personal when she contrasts our outer efforts in recycling or energy
reduction with emerging inner clarity of values, beliefs, and connections – interpersonal as well as
religious and spiritual – that are bound up with the cultural change we seek.
Mary Rose O’Reilly says in Barn at the End of the World, “Anyone who comes to some level of
ecological understanding has done so after a long internal process.” Such change comes rarely
from “a neighbor’s scolding”. More often, it comes from “a relentless gnawing of one’s own soul”.
How does one’s gnawing reveal itself? What gives us patience and hope in this process? Is it
seeing a great blue heron? Or “by the offhand remark of a happy person at peace with
How can we pay attention? Plants have periods of growth in the light, says author Len Sweet, but
also growth in their roots, which happens in the dark. How do we make time for our own growth
both in the light and in the dark? How do we set aside the “tyranny of the to-do list” to allow both
healthy shoots and roots?
Can we find the difference between “effort” (which makes us tired and angry) and “resolve”
which gives us buoyancy?
Ted Harrison, Trust for Public Land in Santa Fe, New Mexico, offers this comment:
First, the challenge for me. Listening. Watching. Observing. Emptying. Loving.
Creating space. Laughing. Giving permission. Devoting time. Practicing.
Forgiving lapses. Allowing for deficiency. Taking pleasure from the exercise of
hoping. Creating space for dichotomy and paradox. Trusting. Caring. Quieting.
Quieting. Quieting.
Next, the challenge of voice. Words. Rhythm. Intonation. Heart. Clarity.
Simplicity. Deliberateness. Honesty. Risking ignorance and ridicule. Holding
the tension embodied in passion. Holding the space that invites inclusion.
Subtlety. Humor. Understatement that resides in the mind like a hardscrabble
seed ready to evoke itself as a thing transformed.
“We don’t discover new land without losing sight of the shore for a long time. “
Peggy F. Bartlett, Emory University (2010)