Photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash

Connecting Across Divides, Opening Minds and Hearts

Some time ago, a friend told me about “White Right: Meeting the Enemy”. This brilliant documentary by Deeyah Khan, a Muslim woman of color, is her creative response to the deluge of hate mail she received after an interview on the BBC. Khan wanted to meet some of the people who were sending her hate mail, so she came to the US to meet and film some of the Charlottesville organizers. The following quotes are from a review published in the Atlantic:

“I made the film to try to understand why people do…

Theocracy, Religious Freedom, and the Soul of America

My aunt died a few days ago. She left this world, and began her journey into the great Beyond.

Only a year and four months older than me, she felt more like an older sibling than an aunt. We also grew up together, living in the same house for three years when we were kids.

This essay is about her, and it’s also not just about her.

Following in the footsteps of several other family members, my aunt and her husband became “born-again Christians” a few decades ago. Many of these family members voted for the current POTUS in the…

Image from PixabayMyriam’s photos

I am wanting to share some of what’s been lifting my spirits, in these highly uncertain times… this essay is on the hopeful signs I’ve been seeing, and I’m writing it for my fellow politically-progressive/green, spiritual-but-not-religious peeps… unlike my last two essays, which were written primarily for the conservative evangelical members of my extended family.

Brief summary thus far: my grave concern about the movement toward theocracy in this country, has led me to learning more about what’s happening in the Christian world today. My last article focused on the relationship between Christianity and fascism in the past. …

My dear family members,

I am writing to all of you, and in particular, to those of you who are born-again Christians. My aunt and uncle, my first cousins, some other family members a bit more far removed… this is for you, with love and appreciation and also with deep concerns.

And yes, I am also writing this for others. While you are the ones I know and love best, this is also for everyone who is not my immediate kin, yet who is also part of my larger human family.

So, my dear Christian family members… as I’ve often…

Part Two: Bridging political divides

(Part One of this article explores three different ways we can respond to the question of “mixing business and politics”. Option One, the most challenging one, is to actively encourage political conversations across divides; Option Two involves refining our niche, so that we can have productive political conversations among generally like-minded folks; while Option Three consists of choosing to do our political work elsewhere. For more on each of those options, see the prequel to this article; what follows is primarily focused on Option One.)

photo by Benjamin Disinger

What follows is drawn from the professional work I do as a group facilitator. Given…

Social Media in Challenging Times

Image by William Iven from Pixabay

This article was inspired by a recent experience on a friend’s Facebook page. My friend is a professional coach, and does a lot of her marketing on FB, where she has nearly 5,000 friends.

Recently, my friend was horrified by a recent statement made by our current president. For her, a line had been crossed, and she wanted to stand up for her values and principles. And so she wrote a post, asking her friends to join her in condemning this statement.

I support my friend’s intentions. At the same time, it’s not so easy…

written by Rodrigo Arce Rojas

Everything we are living through in these difficult times is showing us the need for an ecologically-informed world view, as we can now clearly perceive the great weave of the Universe in which everything is interconnected.

As Western civilization, we have attempted to deny that great weave and we have lifted up individuality; we have invented social, political and economic systems that create distances and put up barriers between us; we have created asymmetrical taxonomies of inequality. …

Image for “Systems Thinking” card from Wise Democracy Pattern Language deck, Co-Intelligence Institute. Credit: John Haslam — Flickr

(this is the closing of a four-part article titled On Relational Facilitation: Supporting the Creative Potential of Divergent Perspectives”.

The second part is “I. Psychological safety, feeling “gotten”, and the social engagement system”, followed by “II. Welcoming differences while supporting creativity” )

If, as we explored earlier, our work is as facilitators consists of helping each person “feel gotten”, one implication of this is that we need to allow ourselves to be more fully human. We need to welcome people’s emotions, and allow ourselves to empathize and resonate with people.

IIIa. Positive intentions behind the desire to be “impartial”. We…

Image for “Microcosms and Populations” card from the Wise Democracy Pattern Language deck, Co-Intelligence Institute. Credit: Mario Savoiaiadams — Shutterstock / — Adobe Stock

(this is part three of a four-part article titled On Relational Facilitation: Supporting the Creative Potential of Divergent Perspectives”; the second part immediately preceding this one, is “I. Psychological safety, feeling “gotten”, and the social engagement system”.)

While the first principle explored earlier has to do with creating a basic level of psychological safety, this second principle has to do with maximizing creative tension — while still minimizing interpersonal anxiety. As facilitators, we seek to welcome different perspectives, as different perspectives are essential for creativity. …

Image for “Appreciative Thinking” card from the Wise Democracy Pattern Language deck, Co-Intelligence InstitutePa. Credit: vvvita — Shutterstock

(this is part two of a four-part article called On Relational Facilitation: Supporting the Creative Potential of Divergent Perspectives”)

As a practitioner interested in theory-building, one of the more exciting encounters I’ve had recently has been with the work of Dr. Amy Edmonson¹⁴ on the importance of psychological safety for effective work in groups. Her work helps explain one of the key principles in Dynamic Facilitation (DF), which is to create a space where each person can feel safe enough to risk being creative.

Ia. Psychological safety in DF. One of the key ways in which we create psychological safety…

Rosa Zubizarreta

Deepening democracy through participatory leadership, empathic group facilitation, and co-intelligent design. Learn more about my work at

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