Fruition Coalition: The Year in Review

Thanks for being a part of the Fruition Coalition in 2012!

At this time of year, I like to reflect on what has been accomplished. This year, the Fruition Coalition:

  • Was re-energized by the founding director (me) leaving the material and psychological security of my  full time job
  • Published 139 blog posts on The Activist’s Muse
  • Launched the Fruition Academy of Social Imagination and Action
  • Held two webinars: Teaching, Learning, and Transformation & Social Reciprocity…total attendance was 58 people in four countries on three continents
  • Temporarily suspended the Fruition Academy of Social Imagination and Action due to intellectual and financial sustainability concerns and therefore did not conduct the two webinars I was most excited about — Existential Leadership and Quantum Theory for Activists
  • Launched Le Salon Utopique, an online community for progressive activists
  • Worked with an intern from University of Maryland to organize the Changemaker Chat section of the blog (thank you Kerry!)
  • Launched the Social+ campaign to promote extending the idea of carbon neutrality to all of our micro and macro social actions
  • Completed two program development projects with local organizations

As for me personally (but in a professional sense), I:

  • Participated in three presentations at the International Leadership Association
  • Started blogging for Huffington Post
  • Experienced tremendous self-doubt and anxiety — which was at times freeing and at other times paralyzing
  • Learned to feel more comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty
  • Tutored two students in statistics, revealing the need for simple, easy to understand statistics instructions which I have yet to find online or in textbooks (perhaps I can find a way make stats fun!)
  • Taught an Introduction to Fundraising class for the second time
  • Worked as a research assistant for an awesome, brilliant professor
  • Read a ton of amazing books and papers and added much to my reading list which now includes almost 4,000 books and several hundred papers
  • Narrowed down the topic for my dissertation, which is now looking something like the myths of social justice leadership
  • Did not for one moment regret my decision to make the major life transition to become self-employed, despite the emotional and financial challenges (“That which does not kill us makes us stronger” — F. Nietzsche)

Tomorrow, I will reveal the Fruition Coalition’s plans for 2013!

Looking back on the past year, what have been your highlights?

Social+ Updates

The Social+ Boutique has two new designs inspired by my beautiful, precious cats:

My dharma is to hear the birds singing

All we need is to breathe and be

My overriding goal for 2013 is to live an uncluttered life full of light. I am hoping that these simple messages will inspire all of us to focus on what is truly important in our daily lives.

You can save $10 off your order of $50 or more through January 2nd at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific Time) by entering promo code CONFETTI at checkout.

all_we_need_shirt

Feedback or Critique

Feedback represents audience response. It consists of statements through which participants or spectators take responsibility for their thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Critique, on the other hand, consists of complaints about comparisons with unmet expectations. Through critique, participants or spectators assert their power over the artist or teacher by instructing her or him regarding what to do differently. Different actions require adjusted thoughts and feelings.

I love feedback. I despise critique.

I have tried and tried to accept the advice that constructive criticism is helpful. I do not find it so. In fact, one negative critique of my first Fruition Academy class broke me down for four days. Four precious days of my life were wasted because I allowed someone else to have power over me. While I am open to accepting constructive criticism when I am in the role of apprentice or student –or when it is specifically solicited, I otherwise find it distracting, demoralizing, and dehumanizing. If I were to attempt to accept such critique and to allow it to change me, I would diverge from my true self both in concept and in countenance.

The Tao of Political Leadership

“The female overcomes the male with
stillness,
Lying low in stillness.
Therefore if a great country gives way
to a smaller country,
It will conquer the smaller country.
And if a small country submits to a
great country,
It can conquer the great country.”
— Tao te Ching
How would a Taoist view influence politics and activism? Why are we so afraid to submit? Why do we allow fear to govern our private and public lives? Why do we grasp and cling to our ideas? What would happen if we let go?

The Othering of Me

As a Jewish student at an evangelical Christian university, I have learned a lot about myself. This experience has both strengthened my Jewish identity and increased my understanding of what it truly means to be part of the outgroup. During my first residency in September 2010, I sat in my car and cried during lunch. It took all of the strength I had not to drive home, abandoning my dream of pursuing a doctorate. Because of one bad experience that day, I continued to interpret every experience in the program through the lens of being a Jew rather than as a complete multidimensional person. Being the outsider heightened my sensitivity, and I had difficulty bonding with other students in the program.

Today, I consider many of the students in my cohort and the program overall as some of my most valued friends and colleagues. I hope that we have learned from each other over the years, and that we continue to see differences as opportunities to learn about each other and ourselves.

To them, and to you, I wish a Merry Christmas.

Censored!

The first time I published an article in an academic journal, I worked with an editor whose political views diverged from mine. He used his power as an editor to attempt to censor my thoughts by excluding sections of my work and suggesting rewrites that changed the meaning of what I wrote. I begrudgingly compromised in some areas and firmly stood my ground in others. It was an ongoing battle with several rounds of edits on each side.

The topic of my paper was something that to me seems very politically benign, almost common sense. My analysis was balanced, thorough, and fact-based. Yet, it provoked a power struggle that led to a diminished message. I think it would have been more constructive to include my fully flushed out thoughts as a beginning point for dialogue or even debate.

I welcome challenge. It helps me to affirm my core while expanding my range of knowledge and understanding. Editors should challenge, not censor.

I am currently working with the best team of editors – at least from the perspective of this writer as an artist. They have yet to suggest content changes, only stylistic (capitalization, abbreviations) adjustments.  It is wonderfully unique for my voice to feel trusted and valued.