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A feet-on-the-ground exploration in High Park hosted by Mark Hathaway.
This month, Unify Toronto Dialogues took it outside into nature.
Our August session took advantage of the glories of the season by taking the dialogue out-of-doors, and expanding it to the more-than-human world.
Together we connected and engaged with the wider Earth community to find energy, insight, and guidance for our work to bring about a life-sustaining society.
Through experiential practices, we opened our hearts and senses to the wisdom present all around us in the more-than-human world. We also explored where to find the voices of nature in the midst of the city and dialogued about how nature inspires, sustains, and informs us as we endeavour to transform ourselves and society and restore ecological health.
About guest host Mark Hathaway:
Mark is an adult educator who researches and writes about the interconnections between ecology, economics, social justice, spirituality, and cosmology. Mark worked for many years as an ecological and social justice activist. After completing his degree in math and physics, he lived in Peru for eight years where he helped co-found a small non-profit working in alternative literacy and leadership training using popular education. More recently, Mark has worked with ecumenical social justice coalitions, interfaith ecology initiatives, and in the eco-justice and partnership work of The United Church of Canada. He is currently completing a PhD in adult education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (University of Toronto) where his research focuses on transformative learning, worldviews, and the cultivation of ecological wisdom. He also teaches an undergraduate course on ecological worldviews. With Leonardo Boff, he co-authored The Tao of Liberation: Exploring the Ecology of Transformation (Orbis Books, 2009), a broad synthesis covering such diverse fields as economics, ecopsychology, cosmology, and spirituality in the search for wisdom to address the challenges of the times we live in.
Ryan Genereaux, actor, singer, dancer and all-round inspirational performer moved us in ways we never expected, challenging us to become the change.
We explored ideas that energized a relationship with the contrast we experience in our personal lives and as part of a movement toward greater support of life on this planet. We explored ways to uncover and express our values and relate to them in a way that supports their manifestation. Through exercises, we anchored the association of personal values, global vision, and embodied manifestation. Multiple senses were engaged to clarify a reality in which respect for the earth and unique, creative expression manifest in individuals, systems and projects that benefit everyone involved.
Every step is the destination…every point is the path. Make a point to step into the path as creator and adventurer. You and I are perfect as the center and beginning of this story we are living. You and I are expressions of unconditional love in this journey we are being. – Ryan Genereaux
About Ryan Genereaux:
Ryan is a physical actor, singer and sound improviser, dancer, multi-media artist and inventor. He embodies inclusiveness in his speech, his actions and his vision. Empathy, compassion and creative freedom are at the core of his life force. He encourages all to realize that anything we desire is possible and the journey starts with the adventurer, accepting where they are. He has been a regular at the Unify Toronto Dialogues.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Doors open at 6:00.
100 McCaul Street (Dundas & University)
A special dialogue with leadership educator, facilitator and Juno-nominated pianist Michael Jones, inspired by his forthcoming book:
Michael’s approach to placemaking is radically different than the current trend in urban planning and city-building. His book and view is a platform for community leadership grounded in the essential humanity of understanding place, nature, and creativity.
We are shifting from the industrial age and the age of information and technology to the age of biology. We are now asking, “how do we create spaces for life?” “How do we align our thinking with how nature thinks?” He asks us to create places as living systems inspired by biology and interconnection.
We explored the four patterns in Michael’s book that underlie the soul of place
- Homecoming – Where is home and how do we find our way there?
- Belonging – How can the connective tissue of life-giving relationships align us with the essence of nature and how nature works, connects, and thinks?
- Regenerativity – What does it mean to make the invisible visible, to contribute to the conscious evolution of life?
- Carnival – How can we gather together on the square or in the commons, bringing together diverse energies, democratic spirit and upturning the old for the new?
The event was uniquely facilitated to engage multiple modes of experiencing and presencing the patterns. Michael Jones told several stories about his experiences in embodied leadership and his musical learning journey. He played several pieces while participants listened, contemplated, moved or held small group dialogues. Our gathering hosted dialogue around the four themes and patterns. An integrated sketch by Patricia Kambitsch formed a visual story of the experiences and dialogue in the room:
“By looking at place not only as something to return to but also something to grow out from –orienting us to the future and not only the past; and by realizing that a place is not an object or a thing, but a power and a presence, we can partner with place in a way that is itself deeply transformative, opening our hearts to the experience of beauty, aliveness and possibility.”
– Michael Jones, “Recovering the Soul of Place”
About special guest Michael Jones:
June 30, 2014
OCAD University Avenue. 100 McCaul Street (Dundas & University), Lambert Lounge
Watch Michael’s TEDx Talk on “Who will play your music? The art of leading imaginatively”:
“Who am I really? When do I feel most present and alive? What am I uniquely called to do? Where is home? What is my relationship to beauty? How do I let go? What is my inspiration? How can I best serve the common good?
“In a time of uncertainty and sudden change, leaders will need new questions, ones that help to develop qualities of being that are more organic, creative and whole. It signals a time when leaders will need to develop a capacity for experiencing and understanding a new and more subtle intelligence, a way of knowing that is not a separate mental function, but rather the source of an imaginative response to our world. As a kind of sense organ, this intelligence reaches out and makes tentative contact with wholeness, that is, things of an order larger than we can see directly, making visible that which is hidden, so as to begin to draw into awareness that which cannot yet be heard or seen.”
– From the book description of Michael Jones’ earlier book, “Artful Leadership.”
Mondays Feb 24, March 17, April 28, May 26 2014
Quaker Friends House
60 Lowther Ave. (St. George & Bloor), Toronto
What is embodied leadership?
Arising out of the traditions of martial arts and the “human potential movement” that inspired the founding of Esalen in California during the 1960’s, “somatic practice” (embodied action) has proven amazingly successful as a way for people to awaken their awareness of their “authentic selves.” It has been adapted for personal, institutional and business transformation.
When you speak authentically, from your core, then what you say and how you say it matters. You will need to be able to use language effectively. Human beings are creatures of language, and yet we know very little about how language actually works. The field of “ontology of language” opens up enormous realizations about how we have been creating our own obstacles, when we could be moving through them. Leaders use language to create possible futures and then have them realized.
Introduction to the practices of embodied leadership: finding center, accessing energy in the body, training our attention, moving from center, facing and blending with opposing energies.
Session 2 – March 17
Incorporating language: distinguishing interpretations, declaring ourselves, creating possibility and managing breakdowns.
Session 3 – April 28
Deep Listening: Listening deeply invites us to practise mindfulness and the skill of focusing one’s attention. In this session, Gary Diggins will facilitate experiential interactions that help us to remain present to what we hear through the media of sound, word, music, and even silence.
Session 4 – May 26
Leading for Real: an Inquiry into, “What are you facing in the world that is calling for your leadership? What are we as a human family facing in the world that is calling for our leadership? And how can/will we respond?”
Participants in the series will get most value by doing all four sessions, but attending even one session on its own will be valuable. Each session will be highly participative, with activities involving movement, group interactions, dialogue and contemplative reflection.
He is the Founder and Senior Partner of Leadership for Social Change Jonathan has been a practitioner of Organizational Transformation for over 25 years. He has assisted dozens of companies to develop leadership at all levels of the organization, ensuring that breakthrough results are accomplished by the people of the enterprise. Using a model of leadership that incorporates effective practices derived from diverse and eclectic sources, grounded in somatic, linguistic and emotional competence. Jonathan guides participants to discover and then realize commitments that have been suppressed and gone unfulfilled until now.
As an executive with The Pachamama Alliance, a non-governmental organization in San Francisco, CA. he was a key member of the development team that created a multi-media educational Symposium delivered by volunteers. In the first five years over 3000 facilitators were trained to lead the Symposium and over 200,000 people attended.
Satya Narayani Robinson is founder of WEB3, co-founder of JLS Global and employed by Caledon Centre for Recreation and Wellness, with 15 years of practitioner and teaching experience in numerous fields of Health and Wellness including Yoga, Pilates, Meditation and Visualization, Reiki, Reflexology, Massage, Therapeutic Touch, Thought Field Therapy and Card Readings. She offers individual counseling as a Soul Contact Specialist and is an Awakening the Dreamer facilitator.
Satya is a 22 year resident of Caledon and a blessed mother of 4 children who she declares are her greatest teachers. She has volunteered for the past 20 years in a variety of initiatives from schools to community gardens. She is currently a member of ecoCaledon and co-founder of Unify Caledon. She is committed to empowering embodied leaders to become a powerful presence in the world and to building communities to take a stand for creating a just, sustainable and thriving life for all, honoring individual process and taking action for personal development and somatic experiencing.
She is devoted to serving the greatest good by taking on transformation at four levels; Unify Home, Unify Caledon (our local community), Unify Toronto (our metro area) and Unify World, actively seeking to bring harmonious evolution into maximum development in each of these arenas.
Gary Diggins has worked Internationally for the last three decades as an expressive arts therapist, performing musician, and group facilitator. Before moving to Guelph in 2013, Gary maintained a private practice in Toronto combining counselling with musical forms of therapy. He continues to serve on the faculty of Fleming College’s Expressive Arts Therapy department. Gary is passionate and curious about human communication and the universal practice of listening to sound, word, music, and silence. His recent book, Listening as a Mindful Practice, will be available in 2014.
Gary has worked in post-conflict communities in Africa including Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria, and Angola. Some of the multi-national organizations Gary has worked with include: Nestlé Global, General Mills, William Wrigley Jr. Company, Schlumberger, Bell, BP, TD Canada Trust Bank, Procter & Gamble, and IBM.
As a recording artist, Gary appears on dozens of musical projects including six solo albums. Some of 2013 appearances included the Guelph JazzFest and the Hillside Festival. In 2011, Gary collaborated with Cirque du Soleil and world music artists from around the world to present a special performance staged in Las Vegas.
Monday, January 27 2014, 6:30-9:00 p.m.
CSI Regent Park, rm. 2
585 Dundas Street E., Toronto M5A 2B7
Join us for the 2014 series as we kick off the year with a dialogue on creating harmonious alliancing and true friendship among indigenous communities and immigrants and settlers.
- What does it mean to be a true ally with the Aboriginal Community?
- What are some short, medium, and long term actions “settler” Canadians can take to be allies?
- How do Canadians demonstrate solidarity with the Aboriginal community on specific issues?
Hayden King is an Associate Professor of politics at Ryerson University. He is of the Bear Clan from Beausoleil First Nation on Gchimnissing in Huronia, Ontario and co-author of Canada’s North: What’s the Plan?. Hayden King will be presenting on Aboriginal Allies and his writings can be found at http://biidwewidam.com/
Mike Ormsby is a well-known aboriginal artist, expert canoe builder, outdoors enthusiast and teacher. Mike Ormsby will be presenting Aboriginal Art from the perspective of an artist, and his work can be found at http://reflectionsoutdoors.wordpress.com/
Doors open at 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 1 2013 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Permaculture GTA Headquarters
160 Bartley Avenue, Toronto
Join activists, advocates and organizers to weave connections between community groups, city-wide organizations, social justice networks and progressive movements. Let’s find common ground on issues, goals and values and develop the groundwork for a solidarity strategy.