This Focus Area page will be expanded to talk about this particular area. In the meantime, the blog posts and resources below tie to connection in some way.
Related blog items
Related resource items
The Shift the Country white paper is the basic foundation for the 501(c)(4) organization, mission, and initial operations.
From the site: "The good news is, all over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community."
"A New Species of Trouble: Explorations in Disaster, Trauma, and Community," by Kai Erikson. From the book jacket: "In the stories and feelings of the victims of these disasters, the author finds striking similarities. Fear, self-doubt, the erosion of a sense of security - the author finds these too among people who have suffered prolonged homeless-ness. These human experiences, the author says, add up to a form of trauma extending not just to individuals but to whole communities... The author shows how risks to indiviuals and the social fabric have heightened in the modern age. The seven gripping accounts in this book are his impassioned pleas that we recognize this new species of troube and do more to protect people from it."
"Beyond the Storms," Strengthening Homeland Security and Disaster Management to Achieve Resilience," by Dane S. Egli. Also see this USA Today article.
"Citizen You: Doing Your Part to Change the World," by Jonathan M. Tisch. The author's introduction to the book is in this article, and a one-page PDF interview is available here.
"Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed," by Jared Diamond. A TED talk is available here, and posted to videos.
"Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Homefront - or, One Woman's Solutions to Finding Abundance for Your Family while Coming to Terms with Peak Oil, Climate Change, and Hard Times," by Sharon Astyk. A Sharon Astyk blog is here. Check out this book review from homestead.org.nnHere is an excerpt from another review at The Blogging Bookworm, "Astyk's book is a reminder of the power of individuals to make a difference in the world during times of crisis. In New Orleans in 2005, it was Hurricane Katrina. Now we face... climate chaos, war, and energy depletion... People are struggling to hold on to their homes, to pay for their groceries, to know what to do next... If you are like me, this book will make you rethink your assumptions about population, about the separation of public and private, about the global impact of creating local economies. As Green Bean said in her recent review, Depletion and Abundance is both troubling and reassuring. It will make you have moments of panic and it will also make you commit to creating a just and meaningful life." The Blogging Bookworm review author says "I finished the book with a feeling not only of hope, but also with a feeling of radical responsibility."
"Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice," by Mary Robinson. Also see the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice website.
"Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life," by Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL.
"Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution." by Brene Brown, PhD, LMSW. Brene Brown also has a number of classic videos and TED talks that will be available on The Counterfear Toolbox videos page (coming soon) or on the Google.
"Stress-Free Sustainability: Leverage Your Emotions, Avoid Burnout, and Influence Anyone," by Adam Hammes, an Iowa author based in Des Moines. Interview here.
"The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World," by Andrew S. Winston. See video also at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxYKO7oICiw.
"The Four Agreements: A Toltec Wisdom Book," by Don Miguel Ruiz. The Four Agreements are an excellent foundation for partnership and community. These are useful at the beginning of a gathering or teamwork experience, and to revisit throughout the work. These are useful for any partnership or agreement, used for anything from homeland security or mutual aid to a small spiritual gathering. A summary of the agreements is here.
"The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World," by Paul Gilding. This is a Counterfear Anchorpoint. From the author's website: "It’s time to stop just worrying about climate change, says Paul Gilding. We need instead to brace for impact because global crisis is no longer avoidable. This Great Disruption started in 2008, with spiking food and oil prices and dramatic ecological changes, such as the melting ice caps. It is not simply about fossil fuels and carbon footprints. We have come to the end of Economic Growth, Version 1.0, a world economy based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond the means of our planet’s ecosystems and resources. The Great Disruption offers a stark and unflinching look at the challenge humanity faces-yet also a deeply optimistic message. The coming decades will see loss, suffering, and conflict as our planetary overdraft is paid; however, they will also bring out the best humanity can offer: compassion, innovation, resilience, and adaptability."
From author Chris McGoff in Part 1 of the book: "How do some people, organizations, and coalitions thrive in uncertain times? What enables them to appear so certain and take decisive action amid ambiguity about the future?" The PRIMES website says "The PRIMES are universal patterns of group behavior that outfit you to work with any group to solve any problem - especially the big ones." The PRIMES book notes "... Here's the deal. Almost all the tame problems have been solved. We get to solve the wicked problems. Wicked problems affect a lot of peple and it takes a lot of people, all with their own agendas, to collaborate and solve them. ... The people who, amid uncertainty, successfully lead large problem-solving groups share these characteristics. First, they are clear about what they are up to and how they spend their precious time. Second, they are intentional and willing to go first. Finally, they have mastered the art of enrolling others to join them." The PRIMES website also has short videos and info about each of The PRIMES. Another core counterfear resource is Chris McGoff's TEDx Rock Creek talk on "Quad4: Realm of Your Highest Impact and Highest Risk." The author's company The Clearing has done significant work on wicked problems in many counterfear focus areas.
"The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference," by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell also asks the question "Are You a Connector" in this piece. More here and here on Connectors, Mavens, and Salespersons.
From the website: "Jeremy Taylor, an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, has worked with dreams for over forty years; he blends the values of spirituality with an active social conscience and a Jungian perspective." Jeremy Taylor's work is the basis that many groups around the world to do dream work and analysis together. Taylor notes that all dreams come in the service of health and wholeness, and that any dream that is shared is meant for all who hear it. His process of group dream work includes the idea that you take any dream for yourself, and analyze it from the perspective of "if it were my dream." Taylor has used dream work to foster community, build connection, and create unity - in urban and other areas where division has been deep.
Excellent resource to look at how we can "hold space" for people and the world.
From the article, "What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control."
Mission Statement: "The Institute for Healing of Memories-North America seeks to contribute to the healing journey of individuals, communities and nations. It provides emotional and spiritual healing to people recovering from painful or traumatic experiences and offers seminars and public presentations to inform other individuals and organizations about its work. It also trains other care providers to use its methods."
From Wikipedia: "Deemed an inspirational film, Atchison remarked that his theme for the film was about overcoming obstacles despite difficult challenges along the way... The film alludes to the importance of community... It also deals with esteem and stigma in school while criticizes the public school system. Cast members said that although the film was aimed at children, they considered it had important lessons for the parents as well."
Beautiful movie on resilience, persistence, finding a way forward, building creativity, and connection. Stuff that matters.
I was not expecting this to be probably the most profound movie I've ever seen - well beyond something like Star Wars (all eight) meets The Matrix (the first one). Also hilarious. Awesome #Team stuff. Here's a link to the official trailer for this movie.
This is an anchorpoint for the time that is now. This story follows the classic Hero's Journey. No spoilers, but this is the key to what we need.
Myth is a powerful tool, and this movies serves as an incredibly powerful myth, parable, inspiration, and model for our time. It is unexpectedly good, and powerful on many levels... the family elements, parenting, the spiritual, life itself, the power of teamwork, leveraging creativity, vision, dreaming, realizing, and the challenge and way forward for effective problem-solving, at scale. And of course, "Everything is Awesome."
If there was one movie that represents where we can go and who we can be in this amazing time of challenge - this is it. This is how we navigate disruption, find a way forward, and counterfear. Who would have thought?
Theme song from The Lego Movie. Intro lyrics from Google Play: "Everything is awesome / Everything is cool when you're part of a team / Everything is awesome when we're living our dream / Everything is better when we stick together / Side by side, you and I gonna win forever, let's party forever / We're the same, I'm like you, you're like me, we're all working in harmony..."
"Feel so close" - Calvin Harris. "I feel so close to you right now." If you are looking for a video of community and neighbors and fun and people taking care of each other, this is hard to beat. Fantastic. I learned of this video when I friend I was rooming with at an amazing convention woke up with the lyrics in her head from a dream. We Googled it, and this came up. We should have expected nothing less.
From The Walking Dead collection. With lyrics. A good anchor for going through a tough time... like a big move, or a leg break, or a career change, or a bunch of stuff like that all at once. Here is the original scene, although it makes more sense if you've been watching the show.
You can't beat this if you need an inspirational-leaping-or-fighter-type song... "Livin' on a Prayer," by Bon Jovi. A sparkly diamond from the world of 1986.
"Start livin', that's the next thing on my list..."
Fantastic music & community/neighbor/people video. Michael Franti & Spearhead - "Say Hey (I Love You)." Try dancing around to this one for a while. If you need an extra laugh on top of all this happiness, try "Craig Ferguson Says Hey! I Love you!" There may be puppets. Just saying.
From the website: "Small groups of 8-15 people can form Resilience Circles for learning, mutual aid and social action. Circles are a great way to form community, build resilience, and have fun."
Fantastic go-to spot for resilience resources, news, and organizations.
Having "Community Conversations" is one of the core of the 15 civic engagement tools that can help Shift the Country. These conversations can be online or in-person or both, & single events or a series. They can help us with solving problems & building resilience where we are - like for the pandemic - and also things like re-imagining public safety and racial justice. 9/3/2020. This video is tied to several Shift the Country tools because it relates to several of them - and it is a key tool for doing civic engagement, if not made more challenging by the pandemic. Still, there are ways to make it work, to solve community problems, to drive community agendas, and to help people help each other through.
This is on how to deliberately create tipping points - or how to deliberately make something "go viral" either online or in the real world. Creating tipping points & leveraging social networks to do it is one of the 15 Civic Engagement Tools that help us make shift happen. It's also one of the 5 parts of our strategy to Shift the Country. Our "tipping points" tool online is here. This video is on the founder's wall on Facebook here. August 6, 2020.
We've got some heavy crisis going on in the US. Kids are facing it too. How can we help them be more resilient? And why would we want to? We can all navigate the unfolding disasters and crises the more resilient we *all* are. Helping kids get there can help them "bounce back" better. It's more flexible; less brittle. Adaptability helps us succeed in crisis, and we're going to keep having crisis for the next year or several. If we can learn to roll with adversity and move through it, we'll navigate it better. Plus, nationwide kids everywhere are having to deal with massive life changes and uncertainty as schools are reopening in unprecedented and sometimes dangerous ways. Or, kids are learning virtually. Or in a combination. And it may not stay in whatever formation it's starting in. Also, some families start out with less resilience to handle all of this uncertainty, risk, and challenge than others. Are there ways to help kids be more resilient, even in more intensely challenging situations? For more on resilience, go to https://counterfear.com/build-resilience/. Kit Ward-Crixell has created and run out-of-school-time programs for kids and teens since 2007 as a youth services librarian. Vanessa Burnett is a disaster management professional since 2000, working actively on increasing disaster, community, and economic resilience in the US since 2006. She is the founder of this nonprofit, called Shift the Country. 9/4/2020.
So the US President isn't willing to commit to a peaceful transition of power. Now what? We have options for everyday actions. It's more than voting, and it's more than protesting. Check this out to find out more (also we do know how to spell - major typo in the video chyron though). 9/24/20. This video was livestreamed to our Shift the Country FB Page as well.
We can counter the individualism damaging the health and well-being of this country by looking after each other. Caring about people. Celebrating community. Having compassion. Embracing humanity. Anchoring in connection and community. Doing that can help make shift happen, too. This was originally broadcast on the Shift the Country Facebook page on August 15, 2020.
Episode 001 of FB Live and other broadcasts to come. 8/1/2020. Executive Director Vanessa Burnett and Gary Monti from the Board of Directors kick off the series with a 60-minute overview of the work planned by the new Shift the Country nonprofit. In the spirit of adaptability, the first 3 minutes is dead air as we were working out the broadcast bumps. It's a work in progress. Broadcast covers the mission, 5 principles, 5-part strategy, 15 civic engagement tools, 10 structural change areas, and context and structure behind the work - such as countering tyranny, nationalist oligarchy, and addressing a massive pandemic catastrophe.
Reaction to reporting that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has stopped in-person election interference intelligence briefings to Congress (see MSNBC story on this subject also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQjMkrolv8o). August 30, 2020. Also discusses certain areas for civic engagement related to this news and what it means for the US.
The world between now & the inauguration in the US is going to be like nothing we've ever seen. It's going to take everything we've got to get through it. This is a bit of how to do that. 9/25/20.
Is the chaos & disaster in the US getting to you? What's on your mind? What info are you looking for for getting through all of this? The founder here answers questions sent from Facebook. September 3, 2020. Discussion is mostly about how to get through February 2021.
Shift the Country is a new nonprofit founded in this moment of great disruption to help people help each other through several simultaneous crises, to hold civil society and institutions together, to get voters engaged in doing all of that, and to make transformation along the way. This video is about that mission & why we're doing it. Original broadcast on our Shift the Country Facebook Page on August 6, 2020.
This TED talk by Seth Godin is one of the classics. From the video summary: In The Tribes We Lead, "Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change. He urges us to do so." Check out Seth's Godin's blog here; it's the only blog I read daily (also posted as a resource).
We're in some stuff. This one is on the 5 main parts of the risk landscape in front of us between now and February - through the election and transition of administrations. Plus - how do we survive? August 30, 2020. The 5 main parts of the risk landscape include 1) the out of control coronavirus pandemic (and complex system interruptions and related cascading effects); 2) emerging authoritarianism in the US; 3) the influence of a growing nationalist oligarchy on destabilization in the US; 4) an information war with many fronts; 5) the election and transition of power. This also gets into the 5-part Shift the Country strategy to help us get through these next months.
We're pushing massive civic engagement in the US to help us through all the crisis and chaos in front of us. What the heck is that, anyway? This video gets into that. Here's our list of 15 civic engagement tools. It's a list for now as we're writing the tools - but if something jumps out, you can start doing it now. These are for us to make shift happen where we live. This video is also on the Shift the Country FB page. September 3, 2020.