Catalyzing personal empowerment, societal transformation, and environmental sustainability
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Mission & Vision
Our Three Branches:
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Holistic Living Institute
Holistic Living Institute
There are three core components to the Holistic Systems Design (HSD) course. These components can be taken individually as five day intensives for $500.00 each, or as a 14 day intensive for a 20% discounted tuition if the tuition for all three is paid at the same time and the components are taken within a one year time frame (to allow you some scheduling flexibility). Each component is five days of interactive instruction and facilitation, with one day of the Urban Permaculture component consisting of a review and feedback of a permaculture site design of your own property, holding, or an aspect of your built environment. Pre-registration for the course components and the introductory workshop is required.
Organic psychology--overcome the myth of "otherness" and your separation from the very things that allow you to enjoy life and reach your full potential.
* Organic Psychology (OP) utilizes a methodology and process from Applied Ecopsychology known as the Natural Systems Thinking Process. The NSTP thoughtfully and sensuously lets your natural attractions reconnect you with nature. OP is an approach to living that increases health, improves relationships of all types, and promotes harmony in the connection between the personal and the planetary-because what we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves. The way we regard and respect the Earth, whether we see Nature as other or not, dovetails with how we treat ourselves, other people and manifests in the social systems we create and support. If we're aware of the unity and interconnected nature of reality, and our intimate and important role within that unity, we realize that our personal health and well-being is dependent on the health and well-being of all other creatures and the living ecosystem itself.
Urban Permaculture--create a sustainable living environment by designing with nature
* Permaculture is the integration of, and respect for, all the systems we are reliant upon for our sustenance. Permaculture is the art and science of ecologically designing human beings' place in the environment. The HSD course will present you with principles and strategies to create a productive, supportive, and effective personal living environment-a healthy and sustainable relationship with your place on the Earth based on the model natural systems provide.
Processes for Social Change--learn processes for change and why active participation is necessary to not lose a vital part of who you are
* Identify the underlying root causes of entrenched social problems such as exploitation and inequality and work to change the conditions instead of applying band-aids to the symptoms. We strive to build community consensus toward changing attitudes, behaviors, and institutions through education and mutual support that is responsible, respects diversity, and honors all life. As a basis for deep and lasting change on a systemic level, by focusing on the relationships between the environment, culture, and human potential, we can co-create a future that is better for all life.
Active participation in social change allows you to grow beyond the narrow concern for internal healing and self-actualization and become more fully alive by overcoming the feeling of separation from others.
Modules of the PSC component
The individual modules of the PSC component (listed below) address the underlying causes of our current problems, present concepts and social change movements that engender hope and build empowerment, and give us effective tools for actions we can participate in to create positive change. An overview of selected modules is also presented twice a month in the evenings in an abbreviated seminar and discussion format. Please check our event calendar for the dates and which modules we're presenting this month.
The Partnership Way - cooperation instead of competition, creation instead of destruction, and building cultures of peace which provide a loving alternative to the dominator paradigm
*Initially articulated by Riane Eisler in her book The Chalice and The Blade, the partnership way presents new tools for living and learning. Humans have the natural ability to create a way of life that is based on sexual and social equality, nonviolence, and harmony with nature. Neolithic cultures, as well as some modern cultures, base their societies on these principles, and they give us a model for a positive future.
Abolishing Corporate Personhood - reclaiming our power from the corporations that have usurped it
*The campaign to reign in corporate power and its stranglehold on the democratic process and regulatory environment, which was ostensibly created to protect people and the commons from corporate greed and abuse, builds on the premise that we the people are more powerful than we dare to believe. Corporate power rears its ugly head in many ways, and can be addressed on many levels such as campaign finance reform, ending corporate welfare, requiring corporations to prove the safety of their products, holding officers and shareholders responsible for the harms they cause, and reversing the power flow of regulatory agencies. These must all first start with building an infrastructure that people can use, is easily accessible, and has the enforcable power of law. This all begins with a cultural shift that empowers people with their sovereign right and ability to do so.
Cultural Creatives and the New Political Compass - how 50 million people are changing the world.
*You are not alone in thinking the world would be a better place if it valued ecological integrity, social justice, and economic equity; if you sense the importance of spirituality in your life and are concerned about the danger of the Religious Right in politics; if you see that it's not about right versus left, but about top versus bottom and would like to reign in the power of transnational corporations; and if you're aware that materialism is a very poor substitute for psychological and spiritual health and fulfillment. In fact, you could count yourself as part of one of the fastest growing segments of society today.
Earth Charter - discover a wonderfully articulated expression of our core, shared values
*The EC is an international people's declaration of interdependence. The EC provides a framework for communities who are ready to start moving toward sustainable development, environmental protection and a culture of peace. The EC inspires each of us to embrace our shared responsibility not only toward the human family, but to the larger world. Its values, principles, and aspirations are based upon contemporary science, international law, and the insights of philosophy and religion.
Natural Consensus - create democratic group decisions that reflect the balanced harmony and supportive integration modeled by our living universe
*Changing the way decisions are made in groups and communities could be the most important tool available for social change. Decisions are a dynamic process, and decision making is a part of group dynamics. As well, it must be realized that the manner in which we make decisions tends to reflect how we treat people in general. Since progressive social change groups see the need to increase diversity and to become more inclusive as a necessary part of creating lasting and equitable social systems, it should make sense to embrace a decision making process that is more inclusive--that more closely models the natural systems processes humans have evolved within and are an intimate part of.
Rational Spirituality - self evidence of the web of life and other ways of knowing
*The human soul has its home in the soul of the Earth. Nature exists as a source of wisdom and health, and if we participate in its destruction, we are participating in the destruction of a part of the self. We understand the threat that polluted air, water, and food creates for human health, for other species, and the natural habitat, but we don't attend to the emotional and spiritual toll that environmental harm causes. The process of healing the Earth begins through healing ourselves, for only as we heal can we begin healing Nature, healing our communities, and healing our spirit.
Bioregionalism - honoring our sense of place
*A central element of bioregionalism is the importance given to natural systems, both as the source of physical nutrition and as the body of metaphors from which our spirits draw sustenance. It also involves aspects of cultural behavior such as subsistence techniques and ceremonies. But most important, it demonstrates the interpenetration of cultural and natural systems: for instance, local ecology should determine the political economy--and environmental quality, ecological restoration, and social justice are most likely to be implemented in a community of face-to-face interactions, in a community that lives close to the Earth. Bioregionalists advocate regional self-reliance, using local resources whenever possible; making local decisions; and living within sustainable, ecological limits. Such an arrangement is only possible when people are connected, both materially and spiritually, to the place they live.
Participatory Democracy - in order for it to work, everyone must be involved, and it must be open. Participatory democracy could also be called sustainable democracy.
Local Living Economies - natural economies, eco-city design, self-reliance
*a LLE is one that sustains itself by helping to maintain sustainability within the community and bioregional ecosystem that it is based within. A LLE contributes to the local quality of life because its members-farmers, business owners, and consumers-all have a stake in both its success and its impacts. By keeping business profits within the region, creating living wage jobs for local residents, and minimizing impacts on local resources, a LLE honors by its existence the sanctity of all life.
Community Based Social Marketing - fostering sustainable behavior
*Community based social marketing concerns the development of community norms that foster sustainable behavior; this includes shifting individual and business attitudes and actions toward those that are resource efficient. Community based social marketing recognizes that providing information is not sufficient by itself. While education can raise awareness and change attitudes, facilitating a cultural shift must also entail initiatives that focus on removing barriers to an activity while also enhancing the benefits that activity imparts to individual actors.
In support of the Holistic Living Institute's core curriculum, we have a number of other offerings. These educational and informational alternatives require less time, are less expensive, and allow you to focus on those aspects that are most relevant to your own work, activism, or lifestyle. The introductory workshop covers the basic concepts of HSD for people whose curiousity has been piqued about the ways in which some of these leading edge concepts can contribute to personal and planetary health and wellbeing, as well as for those self-learners who would like an introduction and reference materials to continue on at their own pace in those particular areas that most closely dovetail with their own interests and passions. For this reason, we will also be presenting an abbreviated version of some of the Processes for Social Change modules (e.g. Local Living Economies, Social Marketing, Partnership Culture, Earth Charter). These will be presented in 1½ hour evening seminars for a suggested $5-$15 donation twice a month, and we'll rotate through them so each will be presented about once every 10 weeks or so.
Holistic Living Introductory Workshop:
How to feel good, relate well, live simply, and make a difference!
We occasionally present a 4 hour version of this workshop for $50 which includes a light snack. Please check our event calendar to see if we're offering one this month.
This workshop presents an overview of the core components of our Holistic Systems Design course in a user-friendly, enjoyable format that is useful if you are exploring ways to live a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle. Topics covered include personal health and well-being, personal living and support space (which can be a house or apartment as well as a yard or shared community garden), community involvement, and your relationship to the ecosystem that all of the above exist within and are dependent upon. This workshop can be a springboard into the HSD course, or you can use the resources and references you'll receive so that you may follow up in more depth on your own.
Social Change Modules
First Tuesday and last Thursday of each month
These 1½ hour seminars present, on a rotating basis, a more thorough presentation of about half of the modules of the Processes for Social Change HSD component than the introductory workshop does, but not to the complete extent and depth of the HSD course itself. They include the Earth Charter: The Peoples Declaration of Interdependence; Community Based Social Marketing; Abolishing Corporate Personhood: Reclaiming Our Power from the Corporations That Have Usurped It; Beyond the 'Dominator Model': Exploring the Partnership Way; Bioregionalism: The Importance and Power of "Sense of Place"; and Local Living Economies.
Natural Systems Meditations
First Sundays, 10 am - 12 noon
Stop seeking. Discover your source of power...your source of hope... your source of joy. Let your heart, mind, body, and soul relate harmoniously through a conscious experience of the universal energies that create and support your life. Take time to remember your soul's home is in the soul of the Earth. Come home.
For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
"I am only one,