We build on the strengths of all in the community and amplify their voices, stepping back so that nothing is in the way of communities making the best decisions they can within their own networks.”
“We have intentionally sunsetted structures that do not meet the needs of the next generation, and have invested resources to build what will meet their future needs.”
“The concept of ‘eligibility’ disappears from our lexicon.
That’s what I wrote on my radical re-imagination post-its – I want that world for my grandson and whatever his future brings. Maybe it isn’t radical enough, but our dreams morph and stretch depending on the mind’s work that day.
As we internally debrief about the convening, the notion of exhaling has been stuck in my mind. I learned it while preparing for the birth of my oldest, but didn’t understand it until I was in the process of delivery. And for 41 years (yes, the age of my oldest), I come back to that time and time again. It is during an exhale that we can navigate when we’re in pain, when we’ve pulled a muscle, or experiencing a spasm. Inhaling provides oxygen and blood flow, and exhaling provides a period of ease.
Our team decided to re-enter the universe of in-person meetings, believing that creative brainstorming is better when we’re in rooms together. We have optimized the heck out of Zoom, and we haven’t seen the last zoom call, but there’s a different feeling of having a call with someone you’ve just met versus a handshake or a hug in person. We’re just so glad to not be as reliant on technology. There is something magical, for lack of a better word, that occurs when I can turn to a person next to me, or while walking the hall, or grabbing food, with curiosity, asking questions to learn more.
We talked about trust over those two days but in reality, it is harder to trust when we don’t have relationships with each other. The intention of both two days was to connect us, introduce us, and ignite/re-ignite relationships with each other.
We had some times that felt tense. Issues were raised about radical imagining, challenging us to go deeper and further. Tension that caused some in the room to hold their breath, anxious about what would happen next. What we didn’t do well was to collectively exhale, allow the tension to sit, learn from it, and figure out how to navigate the next steps. We can get better at that.
Organizations are used to having deliverables, outcomes; an agenda, a syllabus, and tools that they can take home at the end of a conference, ready to file away or share with others. Our hope – is that the tools you took home were a name, contact information, and an idea for a future collaborative project or partnership(s).
Because the richness of North Sound ACH is you, our team, board, partner organizations, and further extensions into communities. We have built a strong team, ready to help you amplify and grow your work and impact. Our board sets the organization’s direction by stating a purpose for our existence – to create a just and inclusive culture and the necessary conditions for all community members to thrive.
We’re looking for ways to directly connect where you see needs and how the ACH leverages available resources, and how we look for additional resources to bring to the table.
I was reflecting on Van Kuno’s comment about how people see her as always being very “calm and zen.” Many people see me in a similar way – this gentle, calm elder. You don’t often get to see the idealist, impatient, and tenacious Liz. I have spent my career at the intersections of policy and practice, between traditional decision-makers and people who are most impacted, between formal and academic language, and plain language. I’ve spent many a day as an activist and advocate, and these days as a bridge builder.
We won’t think ‘outside the box’ unless we recognize how easy it is to accept current structures and paradigms as givens and immovable, without realizing that we’re assuming they must stay in place (perpetuating their existence). It is always good to get those reminders and not seize up but to also exhale.
I was very grateful to be in space with you all, I picked up a lot of ideas in small discussions with those I haven’t seen in a long while, and from others who I met for the first time.
I hope you all took the time to complete our post-convening survey. Being the first time in-person in three years, we want to hear from you before we plan subsequent sessions. We look forward to sharing future space with you to dream, heal, and brainstorm solutions that build new constructs and legacies.
Glad to be on this journey with you –
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