Greetings from the full swing of the school year! Our organization is continually growing and expanding, and I wanted to let you know about our latest evolution.
I used to speak about being the midwife of Peace in Schools and Presence Collective. The way that image felt accurate was in the recognition that I was but a loving servant. Not the creator, but the supporter of a vision that was larger than me.
That image no longer feels complete because it doesn’t account for the way in which I am but one of many midwives in the room. A loving servant amongst other loving servants in the room. I am far from alone.
As far as I can tell, that’s true of every vision that is about collective change for good. No one person can take credit. Deep vision is about the whole and it manifests through the whole. One person can lead, but the collective attunement, skill, effort, and love of the whole is required. It’s what distinguishes a vision from an idea.
Our nonprofit has no shortage of attunement, skill, effort, and love. We’ve thrived off shared passion for the vision. We’ve accomplished what we’ve accomplished because we’ve moved though the world as we, not I. It’s at the heart of all we do.
As we’ve flowered – with our semester-long class in ten high schools in Portland, our adult educator trainings flourishing, the teachings of Presence Collective reaching more folks – it’s clear that this is due to several critical factors:
The alignment of vision within our team
Our capacity to work from we rather than I
The recognition that this vision of bringing practice into the world, and making it accessible to all, is larger than one person, and larger than one organization
As we’ve grown, it’s been important to pause and refine our approach, again and again. It’s a continual process actually. Nothing is ever static around here — just as nothing is ever static in life.
Recently, it became clear to us that while all in the organization were willing to do whatever needed to be done in any given moment, not all of us were consistently putting their gifts to use efficiently. So, we’ve done a little restructuring and wanted you to know about it.
I’ve moved into the role of Founder and Guiding Teacher. I’ve also joined the Board as a way to stay intimately involved in the ever-evolving mission and vision of this organization.
Sam Hendricks, after years of being a dedicated and effective Managing Director, has moved into the role of Executive Director. This frees me to focus more fully on teaching. It frees him to lead more directly and effectively.
Sam’s vision is to support a deepening of our work with teens and educators in public schools, development of new and transformative offerings for adults who work with youth, and a strengthening of our role as a leader in the mindful education movement nationally. He's helping to further build and support a diverse team of skilled, committed educators in a productive, sustainable, authentic and compassionate working environment.
The evolution of these roles feels like a way of giving our organizational boat an update. We’ve changed the design so it can glide even more smoothly and efficiently through the water. We’re learning how to navigate bigger waves and more turbulent seas.
That’s how all big visions are, aren’t they? Gandhi had a tremendous amount to navigate because the issues he faced matched the magnitude of his vision. We’re not claiming to be Gandhi, of course. However, we do recognize that as we help create what hasn’t existed in education, with that comes challenge.
We get to ask the big questions:
How might it affect our society to have mindfulness deeply incorporated into public education?
How does it affect our world to have contemplative practice made more accessible for all?
And what are the skillful means by which we can live into the questions and manifest collective response?
As we transition, a process which will be continual for us, we greatly appreciate your on-going support. If you are reading this letter, you too are an integral part of this beautiful vision – the vision of a more conscious and compassionate world in which no one is left out. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your care.
We’re committed to keeping you posted as we evolve. We couldn’t be doing this without you. Thanks for being part of the we.
All being is shared being. To know that is peace. To live that is love.