My Seat at the Summit, Part II

This article first appeared on Go Girl, a magazine with a fresh new take on the global perspective.

It came at the end of my first day at the Social Good Summit:

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” 

A quote from my all-time favorite quotable person, Albert Einstein, and a wake-up moment at the Summit.  I’d contemplated this quote often and had countless conversations around it, yet there I was at the Social Good Summit acting out of my same old thinking- bypassing my inner knowing for the busy intersections of my mind (which I wrote about in Part I).

Kumi Naidoo, South African human rights activist and Executive Director of Greenpeace International. Photo credit: Mashable.com

Kumi Naidoo (@kuminaidoo), Executive Director of Greenpeace International, delivered the words of Einstein in such a way that even as he called for “no more business as usual,” I knew he meant business, passionate and emboldened.  He meant business because he understands the consequences of acting out of our same old thinking at this  “boiling point” in our evolution as a species.  We have a clear choice between extinction or evolution.  Einstein’s words were not only a wake-up call for me in my seat at the Summit, they are a call to all of us right now, to think differently.  To choose to evolve.

In the words of Naidoo, this means we must move from “responding with bandaids” toward “creative activism.”  We must respond, as Einstein suggests, from a new level of consciousness.  When TMS “Teddy” Ruge (@tmsruge), co-founder of Project Diaspora, took the stage, saying, “it’s not about you creating solutions for us, it’s time we rose up and do things for ourselves,” I could hear the new consciousness emerging and our future calling.  The future wants activists who trust in the co-creative process.

The emergent change agent trusts that within every crisis is an opportunity to rise, and that no one has to come up with a solution alone.  Collaboration has never been more necessary.  As I’ve written before, it’s not about fixing what needs fixing, it’s about conceiving and birthing what is yours to give.  This is the greatest way to serve.

Actor and activist Maria Bello (@maria_bello) shared with the audience her mentor’s words that guided her as she held the tension between her love of acting and a life of service: “You serve best by doing the thing you love most.”  Today, she uses her acting to leverage her activism, co-founding We Advance, a movement to advance the health, safety, and well being of women throughout Haiti, whose goal is to leave their programs in the hands of Haitian women.

Fellow actors America Ferrera (@americaferrera) and Alexis Bledel (@alexisbledel) shared similar insights from their trip to Honduras with ONE (@ONECampaign), saying that women want collaboration, not charity; they are “not looking for handouts, they are looking for tools.”

Actresses America Ferrera and Alexis Bledel. Photo credit: UN Foundation

Tools.  This is my magical wand of a word that I picked up at the Summit.

As I mentioned in Part I, a theme among Summit speakers was that technology is not a solution, it is a tool.  Ambassador Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) put it this way: “The technology is neutral, it can’t bring change by itself, it’s what we do with it.”

It’s how we use our tools.  We’ve been out there hammering and hammering and hammering with our minds.  Trying to strong-arm solutions.  What if instead we choose first to perceive with our hearts?

Then, like technology, our minds become the tool we use in service to the greater whole.  Our thinking actually becomes more relaxed even as crises elevate because we move from, “I’ve got to figure this out and make something happen,” to “What can I offer from my heart?”

Creative activism means we don’t dive in with our limited logic and try to change someones experience.  We go in knowing we don’t have all the answers, but trust that the answers will arise spontaneously at the merging of everyone’s unique gifts.

Forest Whitaker talks about his hopes for world peace and his newly launched PeaceEarth.org. Photo: Mashable.com

A whole-hearted Forest Whitaker (@Forestwhitaker) said, “Choose to connect and feel. Love grows.”

There, in my seat at the Summit, I could feel our vulnerability collide with our power to change this world into one that will blow our minds with it’s goodness, beauty and truth.

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