Those shaping the grassroots movements of our time aren't sitting at the edges where someone else has the power. They are converging and conversing at multiple centers that have no center. From there, along with so many others, they are leading the way toward more complex, inclusive, equitable and democratic ways of ordering our lives together, raising our chances of a shared future of well-being. These are conversations I have been listening to and learning from for a long time. Along with so many others, I find ways to support, share the importance of and engage in them from my own particular location.
These conversations are vital. While building on the knowledge of those who have come before them, grassroots movements are also organizing across boundaries, borders and different investments and risks. They are busy deciphering what change efforts of today can look like in each specific context. They are joined by broader social movements and trends in contemporary change efforts from every corner - political, academic, scientific, faith-based, entrepreneurial and so on. As theories and methods emerge from communities of all kinds, we can be trying to make sense of these collective practices together. On the smallest scale, I explore these questions, feelings, edges and new tasks with friends and peers in my own communities. These conversations are the foundation I build on as I join others.
This post introduces the blog of We Tip the Balance - the third project I've recognized a need for that I am "showing up" to help build. For the first two, I joined in projects others initiated. This time, I am the instigator hoping others will (continue to) join in various ways. I bring to this venture what I have, including fear. Fear of exposing my limitations and faults. Of having to learn how to be here well in public, with you as my witness. Of seeing for myself the ways in which my actions don't align with my intentions. Of not being trustworthy enough to be told when I hurt someone or when they think that what I'm doing or saying silences, excludes, undermines or otherwise does harm. Because this is the work. We're not going to get somewhere communities can thrive together without doing it.
Why I'm starting this blog and what I'll blog about
That is precisely why I am starting this blog. As a way to show up. As a place from which to join the conversations others are already in. To bring what I've got, rather than sit at home talking to myself via my keyboard. To learn together. To invite conversations and provide venues for conversations you bring. To be a gathering place for ideas about how those of us who are not on the front lines of contemporary struggles can move forward in ways that align with and support them.
In one way or another, the posts on this blog will be about how we perceive change, how we perceive ourselves as change makers, and the implications of those beliefs, thoughts and feelings on our actions. This is my way of attempting to understand the How, Why and What of the moment of change we are in together. I'll be writing about three aspects of social change we'd be hard pressed to do without: new information, new meanings, and new actions.
New information: This may come in the form sharing understandings of the world that provide visions, theories, analyses and strategies to discuss, and maybe to implement or support. This may also be information or ideas about we humans as a pretty significant variable of social change. It may also be about the process of change itself: what do we mean when we say that? How are our personal transformations connected to the cultural shifts underway and our in/abilities to participate or contribute as a effectively as possible?
New meanings: With so many people finding new ways to influence their representatives in office, engage in their own neighborhood and communities, and finding others ways to engage socially, even "politics" means something more participatory and engaging than it did a year ago. One of the crucial activities in any time or process of change is to make new meaning that informs action in new and different ways. Some of the new meanings I will likely be exploring are of: power, knowledge, social change and progress.
New actions: New actions might be for short- or long-term goals. They might be actions to protect
or defend others or that which we see at stake. They might be protestations that help articulate shared visions and goals among so many who may share overlapping and contested investments. They might involve the creation of new possibilities or institutions, with all the trepidation, risks and learning they may involve.
This blog could be for you if...
You have time to be reading this because you want to do something, but you're not sure what to do. Perhaps you would like to do more, or find ways to be more strategic with your efforts.
You are doing so much that you have to be very choosy about what you take the time to read. This may be a way to reflect on if you are using your resources as effectively and efficiently as you would like, and, more than "information", a way to keep your thinking fresh.
You are a
seasoned activist and/or organizer whose work I am attempting to support as effectively as I can. I invite you to let me know how you think I could use this space to greater effect.
You are involved in other forms of cultural production, or you're a studier of change.
I myself fall into all of these categories in different ways. And yet I have too often done this work alone.
How to get involved
Comment on a blog. Write me directly, perhaps to accept my invitation to submit a guest blog. Or let's talk about how we might use this space to join this venue to others, with which it can also be in conversation.
Also, check out the website: the blog is only one forum for participating. There are also projects, workshops, and study groups. Or maybe you would like to suggest something.
Criteria I request if you are going to reach out: 1) a shared interest in our collective well-being, and 2) the respect that requires.
If a "blog" is a web log, then a "blope" can be a blog hope. :)
I hope that this blog can serve as a vehicle for amplifying ideas and ways of doing and being that support movements on the frontlines. These movements are made up of people who are most impacted and carrying the most weight.
I will also share here some of the reference points, beliefs, thoughts, and feelings that shape the We Tip the Balance projects, workshops and study groups. I hope this blog can encourage conversations that strengthen and help define what this blog and We Tip the Balance will become, and that support and encourage other projects.
Lastly, with all humility required of a task of such grandeur: I hope that this blog can serve as a useful portal into learning how to make change together as we strive toward a future of collective well-being by participating in our conscious becoming.
Someone reminded me the other day that life is like a bowl of fruit; we check out the options, take some, and leave the rest. I choose to nurture theories and practices that hold hope and possibility. I'd be honored to share that bittersweet and exquisite fruit with you.