Follow Up - "I Am"
On Monday January 9th, we gathered (on a cold winter night in Chelsea, NYC) the curious from the Broadway, mindfulness and social innovation communities to explore how we might create the change that we wish to see in the world. This event was also the official launch of Sohumanity! The event was opened by performer and spoken word poet Daniel Watts (of Hamilton fame and Vinyl on HBO) who shared a new poem entitled ‘Bear the Torches’. “If you're reading this then you're alive. A piece of you may have died over the last year, but you are still among the living” he said. He spoke to a backdrop of Wilson Torres on percussion. This punchy introduction served as a wake up to guests who were jolted out of the state of mind they arrived in and placed them very much in the room, ready to talk about big issues.
Rachel Sinha (co-convenor, The System Studio) shared her experience of building a movement for positive change in the UK after the 2008 financial crisis. She talked about Theory U, a useful framework for understanding the steps of leadership involved in creating change. Starting by developing a mindset of curiosity at the advent of the tensions that we individually and colectively may feel. From there moving down to compassion (where we tune into our intuition and what life is calling on us to do) and finally moving to courage to act (prototyping new solutions).
To Tanya (co-convenor, SoHumanity), Theory U was very aligned with the musical theatre adage “when emotion is so great that acting doesn't convey, you break into song. When singing isn’t enough, you dance” and described how this was about a journey of trying to express yourself more clearly through embodiment. She also compared the Theory to three stages in the path of yoga and enlightenment (Seva, Sadhana, Satsang) which speaks to a gradual allowing of the true self to emerge.
Presence was an important part of the gathering. We wanted people to enter into authentic conversation and so we began the discussion part of the evening with a short meditation. After that we dove into our discussions by separating into small groups and sharing our thoughts on these tensions with contrasting quotes to inspire the conversation. Here is one of them...
Being’ Vs Action
"Don't explain your philosophy. Embody it" - Epictetus
“You don’t think your way into a different way of acting, you act your way into a different way of thinking” Judy Vaughn
Everyone was so involved in their discussions that it was hard to wrap up the conversations. We closed the event with cellist Amanda Gookin, who performed a piece by the only woman to win a Pulitzer prize for composition. The lights were dim and candles set the scene for personal reflection. She played a deeply moving piece that allowed guests time to sink about what they had learnt during the evening, before we created our ‘collective consciousness’ wall at the end of the event. Here are some of the reflections from the group:
The things I do and say matter / The beauty of being here is that everyone is present / Vulnerable / We don’t feel safe to disagree at times even with our own ‘side’ / Nervous to be wrong. But what is wrong? / I acknowledge my white privilege / Questions are powerful / It’s good to talk / Seeing disparities can nourish each other / Just be (for a little while) / Breathe, it is inspiration / This time presents an opportunity / Compassion is not a submissive state / Conversation creates inspiration / I feel hopeful / Feeling open-hearted, seen, connected / I found my tribe / I see clearly now / I feel compelled to take action/ I want to be a butterfly
We are already in the works to build on what we’ve created and to take this project to a wider audience. We are open to forming new partnerships. Please do add your comments below and 'Join The Circle' to find out about more events in the future!