Exploring New Project Possibilities through a Beginner’s Mind: Omit the Checklist

By |2022-03-01T15:28:49+00:00February 25th, 2022|Categories: Process, Project, Story, Thinking|

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” - Shunryu Suzuki Every day, every week, month and year we’re given a clean slate. Every day is a day to start anew. It’s normal to fall into habitual ways of doing things, we all do it. When we catch ourselves defaulting to our old modes of thinking, it provides us with an opportunity to create something new. Of course, some tasks, such as brushing our teeth, require less of us and don’t necessarily need our full attention, while others require us to show up wholeheartedly. But, what if we tried using our other hand to complete this everyday task? How would this change our thinking, our perspective? Now, [...]

The Thanksgiving Address: Remembering and Giving Thanks to the Natural World

By |2021-12-08T21:30:02+00:00December 1st, 2021|Categories: Learning, Story, Thinking|

"Beginning with where our feet first touch the earth, we send greetings and thanks to all members of the natural world." - Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass When we open our eyes to the world around us, we can see there is much to be thankful for no matter what time of the year it may be. While we may get lost in the shuffle on any given day, a quick step outside along with a deep breath reminds us that we're not alone. The damp soil beneath our feet, a singing bird and the shining sun reminds us that Earth, our home, supports all of life. Even the cold, dark winter reminds us to take it slow and enjoy this time of rest, [...]

Manifesting Potential

By |2021-03-10T14:20:24+00:00March 10th, 2021|Categories: Story, Thinking|

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates “Nature uses human imagination to lift her work of creation to even higher levels.” – Luigi Pirandello  “Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.” – Robert A. Heinlein. Most of us have been educated and trained to solve problems. We’re all pretty good at it . . . but imaging and manifesting potential? Not so much . . . yet effecting change requires building our capacity to do so. How many project meetings have you attended that were designed and aimed at solving a problem? Think of the last such meeting you attended with a group of folks with whom you were working [...]

RE Farm Café – The Power of Storytelling to Introduce Regenerative Thinking and Design

By |2021-03-02T21:34:23+00:00March 1st, 2021|Categories: Project, Story, Thinking|

7group and the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund have just released Remarkable Reinvention, a 10-minute video that compresses years of regenerative thinking and design effort. Following the journey of owners Duke and Monica Gastiger, we see the initial idea for a green restaurant on a farm evolve to RE Farm Café at Windswept Farm - a café nested in a farm, a farm nested in a community and regional food production and consumption system. And while direct experience certainly offers the strongest learning potential, the role of storytelling to educate and inspire cannot be overlooked. "The most powerful person in the world is the story teller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come." – Steve [...]

Working with Wholes

By |2021-11-15T18:29:30+00:00December 14th, 2020|Categories: Story, Thinking|

"Mythologist Joseph Campbell once said, "People who don’t have a concept of the whole can do very unfortunate things." But the corollary is rarely considered: People who understand the whole can do very fortunate things." - Linda Booth Sweeney Humans possess the capacity to think in wholes – to see whole systems at work. Our ancient ancestors did so without the aid of our current dependence on machines. Everything in creation was viewed as inter-related and connected. Then a new story emerged, slowly and then almost all at once. This new story focused on the idea of separation instead of connection. It tells us that humans are simply rational actors behaving in our own self-interest, ultimately seeking to transcend this world for a better [...]

Creating Regenerative Processes

By |2018-03-16T11:08:53+00:00March 13th, 2018|Categories: Process, Project, Story|

This post is an excerpt from the book Regenerative Development and Design: A Framework for Evolving Sustainability by our friends and colleagues at Regenesis Group. The book presents a coherent process for applying regenerative thinking to any project through a series of principles and premises you can use to evolve your work. It is a wonderful compliment to Carol Sanford's books as it presents some of the same frameworks but applies them more from an ecological rather than a business perspective. The specific examples in the book really ground the work in the realities of development and design projects. One of our projects, Lion's Gate Secondary Wastewater Treatment Plant in Vancouver, BC, is featured in this excerpt. Changing outcomes requires a new process; changing the process [...]

Telling Your Story

By |2018-04-11T13:43:47+00:00February 15th, 2018|Categories: Story, Thinking|

The most powerful person in the world is the story teller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come. – Steve Jobs For thousands of years, since the first cave paintings were discovered, telling stories has been one of our most fundamental communication methods. Stories are not a recitation of facts, but integrate human perspective and emotion to create affectiveness. Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever. – Native American Proverb Regenerative thinking identifies “three lines” of impact for the work in which we engage. The first line is individual personal development, and story creation provides a way [...]

Dreaming into the Earth

By |2017-11-29T11:38:30+00:00September 3rd, 2017|Categories: Story|

I woke to the sound of people milling around outside my tent. Their moonlit silhouettes were moving across the tent fabric with a random purpose as if a gathering was taking place. A very large woman came to view just beside my tent and in a loud, booming voice declared, “YOU NEED TO MOVE CLOSER!” The ground literally shook. It was clearly directed at me. My first thought was that I needed to move my tent closer to the cabin which was the central gathering place for the retreat I was participating in that weekend. But why would I need to move closer? Was I in danger staying where I was? Was that really what she meant? Maybe she meant closer to something or [...]

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