This Focus Area page will be expanded to talk about this particular area. In the meantime, the blog posts and resources below relate to embracing humanity in some way. You may also be interested in checking the "intersectionality" tag on the blog page or on the resources page.
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."
"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."
Get a FREE PDF of this book at the link above. More about the report and initiative at this site: Disaster Resilience in America: Launching A National Conversation.
"Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice," by Mary Robinson. Also see the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice website.
"Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story," by Lila Perl and Marion Blumenthal Lazan. Also see video of Ms. Blumenthal Lazan speaking here.
"Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide," by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The parent website at the link has a number of video and other resources as well. The site linked above says, "Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential." For this reason, items tagged "half the sky" on http://counterfear.com/ reference women, girls, and related topics. #HalfTheSky
"Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives," by Michael Newton. From the website: "Now a best-selling classic, Journey of Souls summarizes Dr. Michael Newton’s research and work with individuals whom he placed in a state of deep hypnosis during which they recalled their experiences between lives as eternal spirits." The Newton Institute is also listed as a Counterfear resource - check it out to find related additional books, resources, and contacts.
"Lucid Dreaming - Plain and Simple: Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity, and Personal Growth," by Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready. From the website: "Aimed at beginners, Lucid Dreaming, Plain and Simple shows the reader how to enter and fully experience the lucid dream." Iowa author Robert Waggoner has been the co-editor of the online magazine The Lucid Dreaming Experience for the past ten years. Waggoner has been a lucid dreamer since 1975, and has logged over 1,000 lucid dreams.
Check out this book by Eben Alexander, M.D., "Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife." Videos also available on the author's website.
"The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States."
"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 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 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.
About: "We empower philanthropists to leverage their resources and amplify their impact. Exponent Philanthropy is the country’s largest association of funders - nearly 2,200 members strong - and the only one dedicated to serving foundations with few or no staff, philanthropic families, and individual donors."
"We all have a hero inside of us. When a catastrophe strikes, our heroes are called upon. In the heroic improvisation practice, we practice how to be ready to put on our proverbial capes and fly. Disaster preparation training might not like sound fun... knowing how to act heroically with others is the key. What determines success when catastrophe strikes is our ability to listen, trust and act together... Potential danger requires us to know the plan of action, and chaos requires us to improvise responses to execute it. The heroic improvisation workshop puts us in a chaotic situation and gives us the felt-sense of moving into action together in a high stakes situation."
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."
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.
Official Lyrics Minions Version of Pharrell Williams' "Happy," from the Despicable Me 2 movie soundtrack. From the YouTube: "check out http://24hoursofhappy.com to experience the world's first 24 hour music video!"
"Start livin', that's the next thing on my list..."
"No Time to Kill," song by Clint Black. Lyrics here.
Excerpt: "No time to kill, even I've said it, and probably always will... But I can look ahead and see that time ain't standin' still... No time to kill but time to change the kind of hurry I've been in... And quit this work and worry lookin' back at where I've been... If you don't look ahead nobody will, there's no time to kill."
"Paradise City" by Guns N' Roses.
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."
Mission: "Resource Generation organizes young people with wealth and class privilege in the U.S. to become transformative leaders working towards the equitable distribution of wealth, land and power." This organization looks like an amplifier and a change agent.
"An Unlikely Hurricane Hero Takes Over Chaotic Texas Storm Shelter." News story about a man with no background or training who spontaneously led operations at a shelter during Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Excellent example of real-life Heroic Improv. As a fire chief friend says, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." Anyone can lead.
"Synergos is a global nonprofit organization that brings people together to solve complex problems of poverty. We work on issues such as health, nutrition, agriculture, and youth employment - creating opportunities for individuals and communities to thrive. Systemic change requires collaboration. Solutions to poverty are often built in silos - and therefore fail. Governments, civil society, nongovernmental organizations, corporations, marginalized communities, and other participants in systemic change must work together - not in silos - to achieve long-term solutions to poverty around the world. Synergos creates, promotes, and sustains collaborations among business, government, civil society, and marginalized communities around the world. We foster successful collaborations by building trust, designing and implementing change processes, and enhancing the effectiveness of bridging leaders and institutions. Our advantage is an approach that builds trust among partners so they can create solutions together, rather than imposing top-down solutions."
"The Dream Corps was founded by Van Jones in 2014 to help cutting-edge initiatives grow big enough to impact millions of lives. Our slogan is '21st-century jobs, not jails.' We support economic, environmental and criminal justice innovators - all under one roof. Our shared platform helps leaders create synergies, leapfrog obstacles and maximize impact. Every day, we are reshaping 'what’s possible' in the field of social justice. The Dream Corps finds aspiring leaders who have the courage and determination to tackle America’s toughest challenges. Then we connect them to world-class partners, smart digital tools and national media platforms to help them succeed. We back initiatives that close prison doors and open doors of opportunity." Current work is on three programs, described on the "About" page.
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.
We talk a lot about trying not to get dead. This is on some of the tough decisions that can help with the staying alive. Awkward though. Also more emotional than expected. People are good, though. It sucks that we have to consider this kind of stuff. 24 minutes. Originally published on Facebook on August 7, 2020.
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.
"Quad4: Realm of Your Highest Impact and Highest Risk:" Chris McGoff at TEDxRockCreekPark. This is a Counterfear Anchorpoint, because it is a rare, short look at what we need to do to solve wicked problems. Also check out Chris McGoff's website and book "The PRIMES," another posted Counterfear resource. The website has videos and a summary of each of the PRIMES.
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.
TED Talks are a great source for video inspiration, and many have gone viral. Check out TED.com or a smaller, local TEDx near you for more. From the site: "TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics - from science to business to global issues."
Video on "The Big Pivot - Whiteboard Animation," 3:12 min. Based on book by the same name, by Andrew Winston: http://www.andrewwinston.com/books/.
Excellent video summary of the book, posted 3/2011: "Author and leading security expert Stephen Flynn discusses The Edge of Disaster Rebuilding a Resilient Nation with Patricia Gras on a HoustonPBS the Connection Special. Are we vulnerable to disaster, terrorism or acts of God? Is America living on borrowed time? His book is a wake up call demanding that we shake off our denial and sense of helplessness and start preparing immediately for a safer future." See Counterfear Toolbox book resource link for book reviews.
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.
The mission here at Shift the Country is to help people help each other through several simultaneous crises, to hold civil society and its institutions together, to get voters engaged in doing all of that, and to make transformation along the way. This video is on why civic engagement is such an enormous piece of all of that. This was originally published on August 15, 2020 on the Shift the Country Facebook page.
From the TED blurb: "Why do societies fail? With lessons from the Norse of Iron Age Greenland, deforested Easter Island and present-day Montana, Jared Diamond talks about the signs that collapse is near, and how - if we see it in time - we can prevent it."