Adventures beyond time

Adventures beyond time

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Cedar Key Thanksgiving

We went to Cedar Key this year to celebrate all we have to be thankful for.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dancing Leaf Farm


We just spent a gorgeous Sunday afternoon with friends on a farm in Gilchrist County. We herded cows, filled water troughs, listened to donkeys bray, watched the leaves dance on the trees, picnicked on tables with beautiful old patchwork covers, and dreamed of a world where everyone can enjoy days like today on a place like this farm.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Training for the new hiking season

What a gorgeous Florida day! The temperature was in the 70s and the sun was shining. We proclaimed it Day 1 of the new training season. We have yet to decide where to hike next spring or summer. But we want to hike and that means it is time to start getting prepared.

We went to San Felasco Hammock, our favorite place to take long hikes close to home.The last time we were there was about May 8. It felt good to be back. There were no mosquitoes, only a few yellow flies, and we only brushed off one tick...a good day! We finished the 5.6 mile trail without much trouble...of course getting out of the car when we got home was a bit of a struggle.

Jake can't hike those distances any more. We took him out for about a mile before we left. We missed having him along.

The first thing we saw when we stepped onto the trail was a deer.

The trail is still green and still lovely.

A loblolly pine had split leaving only a stick standing while the rest of the tree fell over.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Immersion Class in Tucson at the Community-Driven Institute

There are many good reasons to spend a week in Tucson…wonderful restaurants, beautiful mountain sunsets, mission churches, lovely weather. Last week I ate with new friends at La Indita where the food is in the tradition of the local Tohono O’odham tribe, at Michas where the same family has been cooking and serving Mexican food since 1976, and at Athens operated by a Greek family for 16 years. On Friday evening we drove out to the San Xavier del Bac Mission, the “White Dove of the Desert,” and beyond into the mountains for an incredible sunset. What a delight!

Tourism was not the main attraction, believe it or not, given the camaraderie, food, and scenery. I went for an immersion class at the Community-Driven Institute, where Hildy Gottlieb and Dimitri Petropolis lead workshops on an intriguing approach to working with nonprofit organizations. In the new reality of global financial crises, I was eager to learn more about what Hildy and Dimitri are doing and why it works better than old consulting methodologies.

The class was remarkably similar to the immersion French classes I have taken in recent years to recapture my college French. I picture my brain with grooved pathways where words and ideas move in and out. The English paths are deep and comfortable. The French ones are pretty darn shallow and the ideas and words fall out of the groove pretty often. The Spanish and Czech grooves are barely noticeable by the words trying to follow them, so they often stumble to oblivion. When I speak and hear only French all day I can keep words in the path and deepen the groove as time goes along. By the end of the week if someone asks me “Quelle heure est-il?” I jump right onto the French time path. I love immersion learning, despite the pain of all that grooving.

Tucson was a different kind of immersion. It was an opportunity to build some new brain paths to make the world a better place. I have worked with universities and nonprofits all my career and loved that the work was more about increasing the common good than increasing the private profit. However, as much as nonprofits have tried to make the world a better place, and as diligently and sincerely as we have all worked at it, things aren’t all that much better yet.

The immersion Community-Driven Institute class modeled a new methodology for facilitating change in the community. In fact, Hildy and Dimitri urge that nonprofits stop using that name and become "community benefit organizations" that are "community driven."

It was as challenging as thinking in a new language. The cognitive shift was easy -- of course we are more than “non-profit.” Of course we are “community-benefit” and if our mission is to benefit the community, we should be “driven” by what the community needs to become an extraordinary place to live. However, the brain grooves for board development, governance issues, program development and evaluation, resource development and fund raising have served me, my universities, my students, and my consulting clients well for decades. But it is a new world and I wanted a fresh approach that fits this reality.

It took a week of delightful practice, practice, and more practice to build new pathways, a new way of listening, responding, and facilitating. It was an excellent workshop – well modeled by the leaders, well structured logistically, attentive to the participants, and fueled with abundant chocolate.

I have returned to Gainesville with new friends, new colleagues, new hope and eagerness as a change facilitator. I will be working with community benefit organizations here and abroad. I cannot wait to start. I’ll keep you posted.