Walking a Path | July 2021 Newsletter
Late in 2019 had an opportunity to connect with program leaders Plácida Gallegos, Akasha Saunders, Steve Schapiro and Carol Wishcamper (pictured above, left to right). Their program, Dare to Connect WE-LAB, provides a space to explore and support participants’ capacity to embrace differences and to connect with one another across those differences with curiosity and love. The program was rescheduled from March 2020 due to COVID. Dare to Connect WE-LAB is coming to the Whidbey Institute in August 2021 and registration is open to all!
During our conversation, I not only got a feeling for the facilitators (a fantastic team) and the program (a wonderful offering) but I also became convinced that there is little the world needs more than work like this. Supporting people across diverse social identities and circumstances in creating brave, vulnerable, and authentic connections can help us begin to heal the rifts of racism, sexism and other oppressive systems in our bodies, hearts, communities, and societies. Read More →
But then, this isn’t your typical year.
We usually publish a comprehensive Gratitude Report in late April, sharing stories of what you nurtured, supported, and inspired with your donations during the previous calendar year. This late winter and early spring, however, the world was just beginning to grapple with the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, our calendar—usually filled with transformational learning programs—was suddenly wiped clean. In late March through May, much of our team was furloughed and it didn’t feel like the right time to invest in producing a retrospective of 2019. Staffing is currently at about 35% of pre-COVID levels—including our furloughed kitchen team—and we couldn’t be here without you. We are so grateful to our community of donors, without whom our ongoing care of this vital place and our operational core would not be possible. Read More →
Photo by Tim Philips
An invitation to the land, beginning September 16. To view all published retreat dates, learn more about this offering, and register, visit our Events page.
A Note from Thomas: Hello friends of the Whidbey Institute! We miss you!
In early March, we hosted our last program before the Big Pause of Extreme Uncertainty. We are navigating this disruption with care, consideration, and a willingness to make some difficult choices in these transformative times. And we have been listening to your requests. It’s clear that many of you need space and time away from the stress of your day to day life to rest, recover, reflect, and enjoy the calm beauty that our campus and woodland trails can provide. Read More →
“In a fractal conception, I am a cell-sized unit of the human organism, and I have to use my life to leverage a shift in the system by how I am, as much as with the things I do. This means actually being in my life, and it means bringing my values into my daily decision making. Each day should be lived on purpose.” —adrienne maree brown
Our team has been working to incorporate guidelines from public health officials and Governor Jay Inslee in order to reopen safely. Now that Island County is in Phase 3 of reopening, we are approved to host so long as strict health and safety measures are in place. To keep volunteers, participants, and team members safe, we’re taking these and other measures:
- Requiring cloth face-coverings in shared indoor spaces
- Requiring 6′ physical distancing between guests
- Limiting program lodging to single occupancy, except for members of a household
- Providing hand sanitization stations throughout campus and posting signage to encourage good hygiene
- Limiting group numbers to ensure adequate space for physical distancing
- Adopting stringent housekeeping protocols and frequencies
- Limiting group sizes to ensure capacity for physically-distanced gathering and dining
Moving Beyond Hashtags: When #Blacklivesmatter Stops Trending on Social Media
by Christina Malecka
As someone passionate about tech-life balance and off-screen wellbeing, I have a love/hate relationship with social media.
Yet, over the past month I have learned so much from thinkers like Nicole Pearson, Sonya Renee Taylor, and Ijeoma Oluo who have challenged me to more deeply interrogate systemic racism and my responsibility to dismantle it. Read More →
About the Presenters
Jeremy Lent, joining us live, is an author whose writings investigate the patterns of thought that have led our civilization to its current existential crisis. His recent book, The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning, explores the way humans have made meaning from the cosmos from hunter-gatherer times to the present day. Read More →
On Wednesday, June 3 we launched an Open Zoom series. These lightly facilitated, social calls are open to all and run from 10 am to 11 am weekly through the month of July.
Three folks attended our first Zoom call, and conversation focused primarily on racism. As white people we discussed how to overcome our own internalized white privilege, how to help other white folks be less harmful, and how to be authentic, repair, and heal. We talked about the role of trauma as a root cause of so much violence, and we talked about the death of the illusion of individuality and the myth of American exceptionalism.
A quote from the call:
“We need to make the journey from head to heart.”
A resource mentioned during the call: The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture
As representatives of a predominantly white-led organization, we at the Whidbey Institute are wrestling with our responsibility after watching a man murdered—George Floyd, a father and beloved son and the victim of yet another cruel, racialized crime. Our hearts are broken and our sleeves are rolled up. There is hard, vital work underway—the work of coming home to a deeper and better part of ourselves.
We wake again this morning to a nation roiling with the pain of 400 years of structural, institutionalized violence against people with black and brown bodies. A nation founded on the genocide of indigenous people and built by the labor of enslaved Africans. If we are to heal and manifest collective liberation, our systems and institutions must be undone and remade. Our minds and hearts must be undone and remade.