November is the time when we have the ability to join together, share, reflect and learn from each other about the work, ideas, and inspirations that motivate us. The North American Biodynamic Conference brings us physically together to sense into the larger energetic impulse of biodynamics that runs through us all. Whether it is a newly emerging impulse, or one that has been nurtured and built over the years, we all share the same inquisitive drive to know, feel, and a-tune ourselves to MORE.
This gathering is a place where the young, new and future leaders are recognized, as they add their unique voices to the mix of those that have served the movement, and those who are serving the present and emerging future. Michelle Obama, at the Simmons Leadership Conference this past spring, speaks strongly of what is needed in the new leaders of today,(and I paraphrase): the ability to listen to many voices, to discern, to be passionate, educated, and to operate intelligently and thoughtfully from the heart knowing that the choices made and actions taken are leading forward for the betterment of the whole. As we look for our future leaders, we must respectfully look within ourselves to be honest about our own inherent motivations, our birthed and cultural racism, gender inequalities and our inherited hierarchies.
As we identify our future leaders, we must ask them to operate from Rightness, from an understanding of equality and a social and ethical understanding of the role we humans play as we continue to populate our mother earth.
The conference is a place where new ideas form and unifying imaginations come into being.
Peoples from diverse backgrounds come together to lean into the impulse of biodynamics. This impulse is explored, questioned, reflected, handed back and forth as it takes shape, becoming one with all that participate. The shape emerges as a stronger, enervating movement. It gathers energy from within and radiates outward. Inclusivity deepens, shared knowledge and understanding from all cultures and realms grow as the living organism of the movement builds. At the 2012 North American Biodynamic Conference in Madison, WI, Charles Eisenstein was a featured speaker. He had just published his book ‘Sacred Economics’ and was finishing his new book, to be titled ‘ The More Beautiful World our Hearts know is Possible’. He spoke of shaping what one knows to be possible, of working from within in order to model the change that can happen.
Sacred World. A beautiful and powerful imagination it is, one that requires diligence and work on all of our parts. Adam Kahane wrote a short and exquisite book in 2010 called, “Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change”. At the time he published this, I was questioning how to re-engage with social change. In my earlier, younger impulses of social change work, I was working throughout Europe with political theatre artists. We ‘spoke’ a lot about Power and Love in the dichotomal pieces we would create, developing tensions on stage that left audience members un-nerved, unsettled but hopefully questioning their own selves. In 2010 I wasn’t looking to un-settle others anymore in order to create change, but to find ways to work with and find common understandings that could be built upon for that change, ideally through the lens of biodynamics. In 2017 Adam published another gem of a book called , ‘Collaborating with the Enemy: How to Work with People you Don’t Agree with or Like or Trust’. A timely release given the larger political and moral state we currently find ourselves in. His stories and words I return to as I articulate social change through an ever widening lens, looking to bring biodynamics, in all her forms and philosophies, outward to inform and shape the change I know is possible.
These themes of Kahane, Eisenstein, and Obama along with other creative and sensitive change-makers, continue to inform my own personal imaginations. The Biodynamic Association, as conference organizer and holder, stretches and listens into what is wanting to emerge and be spoken of. We collaborate with those that we want to imagine the world with, being informed through love and power of those changes that are happening. As Otto Scharmer has beautifully illustrated in his work ‘Theory U’, those of us engaged in change are together in the bottom of the U, in the ‘unknowing’ of the new. When we gather in Portland, OR for the 2018 conference, I believe that we will be crystallizing these emergences, identifying our new leaders, and co-shaping this powerful impulse that we call Biodynamics.