It goes without saying that we are in a time of shifts, lifting the veil, a great awakening. Along with a deeper awareness of our blind spots, we are called to come to terms with our own relationships with white supremacy and attachment to power.
We were deep amidst uprising, movement building and protests in the summer of 2020. It was also a time where I noticed a bombardment of social media posts, rants, and some calls to action. When I looked closer, I saw something that is always demanding my attention: our lack of spaces to engage with the community in meaningful ways, especially online.
Social media has always felt so surface level, especially when we find ourselves spinning from article to article and getting caught up in arguments that end up feeling petty, and often end up as a drain on energy instead of a productive conversation.
Our response? Let’s talk about it.
But first, why?
There was a time about five years ago, I was working a bartending job after leaving a not so great nonprofit environment, and I found myself spinning. Countless job applications, but I felt so weighed down by a range of expectations I couldn’t understand where I would be helpful. One night I was out with a friend lamenting in my state of distress, “How can I help? What should I do?” and without hesitation, he put me in check: “Focus on yourself.”
I sat with that for a while. How could I be helpful to others, when I wasn’t aligned with my true self? For so long I wanted to help, or fix, a true embodiment of internalized white savior syndrome. That wasn’t THE turning point, but it was one of many reality checks that forced me to truly sit with self instead of looking elsewhere for answers.
I spent time in reflection, with my art, learning and actively engaging with the community in many ways. This processing and growth lead to a deeper art practice, to unique opportunities to work with others, and to Prospera Partners, cultivating spaces for others to tap into that inner power that bubbles up when we are living more aligned with self rather than external expectations.
So that gets back to this moment, let’s talk about it.
In embodying the transformational leadership model I’ve grown to understand how crucial it is to create intentional space, or communities of practice that allow us to not only connect with others in a meaningful way, but to also shift consciousness, challenge our bias, and deepen engagement with the world.
Prospera Partner’s BIG (Bold Impact for Good) Circles create communities of practice for you and your peers and colleagues to be supported in having difficult conversations and real impact. In co-creating these spaces with others, we are deepening our threshold for discomfort and fostering a sense of resilience. Once we’re able to break through that anxiety or tension, we find ourselves on the other side, motivated by the work instead of letting it consume us. These are ways of thinking that we carry into our daily life, but it is not a burden.
As Vicki has reminded us before, we get into circles to get out of the box. “What if we held… spaces that allowed for creativity, let everyone have equal say and acknowledge all ideas brought forward with gratitude?” Here’s how our BIG participants describe their experience sitting with one another examining their relationship to social impact:
“This has been really wonderful and powerful and timely….This ‘went there’ and I’m really glad I was able to take part. I appreciate the thoughtfulness, organization, and depth that you brought to your facilitation and ushering along this process…”
“BIG creates a supportive community of passionate individuals from many different disciplines. The workshops work because the skills and knowledge is already present in the group, and Rae and Vicki facilitate its growth and strength.”
As a systems thinker, I’ve always found myself oscillating between the big picture and our individual relationships. By approaching this work with compassionate dedication I’ve found myself growing relationships and connecting to community in profound ways.
In the meantime, be on the lookout for more BIG circles to come as the work unfolds.