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Where We Are Now – Exploring Current Trends

Originally posted by Loretta Donavan for the 2006 NCDD Conference…

After a thoroughly engaging opening on Saturday morning, participants move into their right brains in discovering “Where we are now.” Leilani Henry is the moderator for the session. Clear your tables . . . is her first instruciton to the ballroom of participants. She tells the group that it is important to include the nonverbal. Start in silence . . . what are the trends you are hearing . . . visually capture them in 7 minutes. Nancy Marguiles gives a brief demo of how it is done. At my table, Charles Knickerbocker and Diane Miller plunge right in.

The next task is to share images with others.  A pleasant rise in conversation occurs as folks mill about and enthusiastically explain their drawings.  Invited back to the tables, the opportunities and challenges that come to mind from the trends images discussed in small groups.  Coming back together for reflection on what has surfaced in conversation and where NCDD might go in the future, participants rise to share reflections to the questions:

What makes it challenging? What are the opportunities?

  • We hate to think and need to be better in languaging (as are the conservatives)
  • The world is getting increasingly charged with fear which causes polarization which inhibits innovation
  • Children need to be given a voice in an environment that causes them strife
  • Culture is reinforcing individualism and separatism . . . need a shift to a “doing it together” mindset that encourages dialogue
  • We have a lot of things that are positive here . . . a better question would be what’s possible
  • We have a lot of things going on that are good and beneficial which need to be recognized and celebrated
  • Reframing the definition of “world” – creating boundarylessness
  • The discussion between having a common base of knowledge and the skills to have the conversation are going out of balance
  • Let your walls down enough and give the other person credit
  • The techology of the world is conspiring to make my world wonderful . . . for true believers, the possibility is there for my ideas to impact more than those in the room and be heard globally
  • Can we say we are truly operating from a place of love?  We need to be constantly reminding people of who they are, who I am.
  • The talk needs to include the indigenous nations, culture, governments.  We are borrowing from them in our methods.  Lessons can be learned from their experiences and history in a united world.
  • There is an area of our nature that is beyond our bodies, mind and is real. Acknowledging the soul dimension, the spirit, there is a louder we to connect to.
  • Find language that is inclusive of all perspectives.  We need to respect all human beings especially those with opposing viewpoints.  Comedy can be used with love from the other side of the room.
  • We need to reframe the way we think about ourselves.  We need to think of ourselves as patriots and as Americans.
  • Think of yourself as agents of change.  People change when they are first accepted.  Language can free and can define.
  • Safe space for the emotional content and to be free to express the real stuff is still needed.
  • We need to overcome the stereotype of what an American is.  We have the power and opportunities to dialogue in our lives with the broader population and let them know who we really are.
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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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