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Fierce, Beautiful Wholeness: Why I Look Forward to Courage Camp

The wild winds roared the spring I first learned about “hidden wholeness,” blowing in from the Strait of Juan de Fuca and buffeting the shore. I watched the white-capped sea tossing and turning, a constant thrum of energy. At night, as I drifted to sleep, the old Victorian house where I was staying creaked like a ship. I was  Continue Reading »

Healing Community Heartbreak by Creating Safe Space

Domestic violence led to a woman’s murder in Hardwick, Vermont, in the autumn of 2013, but also led to community outcry—and courageous collective action. At a candlelight vigil after the murder, people huddled together in the cold autumn air, wondering what they could do differently. “There must be something more we can do.” The shock  Continue Reading »

Welcome: Opening Doors and Hearts

“Welcome!” It’s the word we use to receive guests into our home, opening ourselves to another’s presence or companionship. There’s a reason “welcome” comes first in our Touchstones. Give and receive welcome. Welcome sets the tone for trust to emerge, like playing middle C to tune a piano, a choir or an orchestra. Welcome is  Continue Reading »

Newfound Courage in Kalamazoo’s Latino Community

Slowly Trusting the Circle The Hispanic American Council in Kalamazoo provides advocacy and a range of services to help Latino community members who are in crisis. This support is vital for immigrants, many of whom cannot read or speak English and have difficulty navigating the system when they need services such as legal support or  Continue Reading »

Bursting the Bubble and Weaving Real Connections

Excerpt from Journal entry, June 20 Saturday ~ New York The screeching of the J train is jarring to my ears, reminding me that I am not quite ready to wake up and be in this world of New York’s hustle and bustle. My daughter and I are on the subway heading to meet up  Continue Reading »

Self and the City: Finding Meaning in Our Work Depends on the Communities Around Us

Ideas become reality only when we experience them — in our bodies, our selves, our daily lives. So when a great bunch of Philadelphians gathered recently in the Great Hall of Neighborhood House, at Christ Church, for the WHYY event “City and Self: Bringing Humanity to Work,” that’s where we started — and I hope  Continue Reading »

Creating Safe Space for Connecting Over Stories of Loss

Lennon Flowers had a lot on her plate. She is co-founder and Executive Director of The Dinner Party. It’s a new national organization forging community for people in their 20s and 30s to share their experiences of loss and vulnerability – by sharing their stories over a potluck dinner. Lennon felt the burden of heavy  Continue Reading »

Kindness and Connection at Gate A-4

As our news fills with stories of deep divisions and violence from communities close to home and across the world, I offer you a different story by one of my favorite courageous poets. It is a story of building community across difference. Have you ever depended on the kindness of a stranger? Or felt connected to  Continue Reading »

Let’s Talk about the Inner Life of the Rebel

When we heard that Parker Palmer was going to be on stage with Courtney Martin at PopTech 2014, in a conversation hosted by OnBeing’s Krista Tippett, we really wished we could be there. The theme of this year’s event is Rebellion and it sounds right up our alley: “The spirit of rebellion is at the  Continue Reading »

Parker Palmer’s Thirteen Ways of Looking at Community
(…with a fourteenth thrown in for free)

“The Inner Edge,” August/September 1998 [Note] The title, and only the title, was inspired by the poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” by Wallace Stevens (see The subtitle was inspired by late-night TV infomercials. I. Whether we know it or not, like it or not, honor it or not, we are embedded  Continue Reading »