I had the pleasure and the challenge of being in the presence of Terry Patten on a couple of occasions recently. In everything he does, I learned, Terry embodies that delicate balance between being fully awake to all the real and potential horrors in our world, while embracing vision, integrity, passion and soul – truly a most courageous, compassionate, empowering, radical response in these times. I encourage you to read his book and explore his web; plug into his work however you can.

One of the things he talks so eloquently about is the need to create containers for different kinds of conversations about our present predicament and our future possibilities – ones that break free of the old patterns and stories and that allow the new and visionary to emerge. As Charles Eisenstein says “we need to ‘clear the field’ on a personal level and a social-political level. We need to ‘unlearn’ the things we assume we know. Where will this journey of unlearning take you? I hope, to a place of knowing a little less than when you started… a fertile place where something new can grow.”

This is exactly my vision for Being Change circles, both virtually here on this site and on-the-ground in the Ithaca (NY) area and beyond. And we not only have to “unlearn,” we also have to “un-do.” We have to allow for massive amounts of time and spaciousness to be still, quiet, present, and co-creative; we have to surrender to something so much bigger than busyness.

How do we create this spaciousness in an accelerating world? Where if we don’t do something quickly it’s game over? Where we’re still trying to survive and even thrive in a hostile, dying paradigm? This is yet another of the incredible paradoxes, or as Terry would say – koans – that we are being asked to hold and let tease us into a new way of “thinking” and being.

Can we find the time? Can we make the space to unlearn and undo? Surely, in my mind, it’s essential. As we sit in our circle, we commit to this as a Practice on behalf of all life and the future generations.This video meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh is profoundly grounding as we venture forth.

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