And for flagging spirits, tired bodies, troubled minds and suffering souls.

Social change can be harsh, hard, unyielding work.  It can take a toll on you, your families, your friends, your acquaintances, your adversaries…  It has on occasion turned me into the very dragon I thought I was doing battle with.

But that's the old way of thinking and behaving.

Social change doesn't have to extract such a heavy toll.  You can keep your marriage, relationships, spirit, sanity and integrity. In fact, one of the highlights of the social activists, Vickie and I met during our two year sabbatical to explore how Canadians are spreading their big ideas, was their integration of personal maturity and spirituality. 

And that's the point of The Inner Actvist a new website, approach and resource launched just a few days ago.  Its chief designers are Brad Jarvis and Ian Curtin.  After lengthy, thoughtful, reflective cocooning, they have emerged with a butterfly! A beautiful but challenging and provocative website for the inner activist. 

Here is a selecting of phrases and topics from their website:

This inner work is not for the faint of heart.  I grew up in an era when the political was kept separate from the spiritual.  I saw far too many colleagues lose their life force.  Such a reconciliation does not come easy.  Here is part of the rationale for launching the The Inner Activist:

We asked the important question: could personal growth contribute to the effectiveness of those already engaged in bringing about change in the world?  The Social Change and innovation movement has typically been a field where action is given priority. Much of this action is focused on the social system, its structure, processes, policies, practices, funding and outcomes. In our research we found compelling reasons to look closely at what’s been overlooked: the relationship between ones inner experience and actions for change in the world.

They offer two programs:

One, the Inner Activist Program – a 15 month program involving coaching and peer mentoring. 'designed to help change makers, social entrepreneurs, leaders and activists be radically more effective in their life-serving work.'

Two, the Inner Essential E- Course – 52 bite size lessons, each provided via e-mail once a week for a year.   'Easy to understand, and easy-to-practice, concrete things you can do to develop your inner strength, be productive, and have your voice, your actions – heard, felt, and seen by those that matter the most.'  ( I've already subscribed to this one.)

Ric Careless an award winning environmentalist has this to say about The Inner Activist:  I was running around trying to do all kinds of this stuff and there were patterns in me that were causing me difficulty. I would have crashed and burned. I would have been out of this work a long time ago. As a result there would be millions of fewer acres protected because I didn’t know how to deal with some of my stuff.

Knowing Ian and Brad, I am confident they can assist you, like Ric, deal with any of your dragons, external and internal.

3 Comments

  1. Paul Born

    Al
    thanks so much for blogging about this new web site and program. It is so refreshing the way they have coined this idea – more then avoiding burn out – it really is about taking seriously self knowing and inner joy.
    much thanks for your many blogs.

  2. Al Etmanski

    thanks Paul and for bringing the site to my attention in the first place.

  3. Ian Curtin

    I want to add my thanks to you for the kind words about our program. I would also like to acknowledge Frank Quinby and Karen Stephens who have been tireless in their work for this program. And the list of contributors has grown over the years to include our faculty and key consultants. I also want to acknowledge all the social change agents, such as your self and Vickie who provided important guidance and feedback throughout our research phase. You made time for us during our formative period and helped us in so many ways. Thank you so much.
    We are thrilled by the initial responses we are getting to our innovative offerings and are looking forward to an exciting year.

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