A few weeks ago I gave a rundown of some hardwon lessons in the anxiety arena. Then a friend messaged me her experience, and I realized I left some things out of the picture. So: some more tips below.
Try a beta blocker. “If you find yourself too overwhelmed to practice those natural self-care techniques, you might benefit from a beta blocker such as propranolol, a drug that reduces the physical symptoms of panic attacks and anxiety. It lowers your blood pressure and slows your racing heart. Finding relief from those physical symptoms can give you the space you need to recover your energy and focus on more healthful habits.” —tip from a friend
Go the supplement route. 5-HTP, a naturally occurring amino acid, is a serotonin precursor. B vitamins also are my go-to (I favor a high-quality combo called Thera-B). I have just restarted these myself due to some situational stress in my life.
Calm your nervous system down using energy work. This is so foundational for me that apparently I completely forgot to note it down last time. Here is a good video showing several ways to calm the Triple Warmer meridian, which governs fight/flight/freeze. Most of us walk around in a state of overstimulation, with our nervous systems on overdrive. Even if we don’t think we’re in fight-or-flight, chances are our Triple Warmer wants calming.
Take a news fast. I mentioned limiting social media and online media, but sometimes we need a break from all of it to restore our resilience. Remember that the corporate media machine is geared toward hooking you. I favor media like Yes magazine to help me see broader trends. I might not be on top of the latest tweets and twaddles, but I maintain my balance, and stay informed in my own way.
Speak truth to power. I mentioned taking action last time, but leaned toward the feelgood stuff. Yet sometimes the most challenging thing, the action that seems to spike our anxiety, might be exactly what we need to do to reclaim ourselves.
Make space for discomfort. (Only if it isn’t overwhelming.) As transformation guide Lee Harris puts it in this video:
“We are stronger when we allow ourselves to sit with hopelessness and helplessness from time to time. As it is often our energetic undercurrents (grief, sadness, frustration) that are the very energies we need to sit and be with (or learn how to support), in order to rise into the next place we want to go…”
Finally, consider anxiety a call. I don’t think this perspective from novelist Walter Percy makes light of the pain of living with a mood disorder, but recognizes it as a possible gateway:
“Anxiety is, under one frame of reference, a symptom to be gotten rid of; under the other, it may be a summons to an authentic existence, to be heeded at any cost.”
More tips from the 14-year-old daughter of a friend who attended my Sheroes in Everywoman workshop this week.
As always, please add your thoughts and any tips of your own in the comments!
A recent medical procedure that emptied my colon brought back vestiges of a mood disorder I thought was long gone. I realized again the close link between mood and gut flora. I’m happy to say that with time and scrupulous self-care (below) anxiety has mostly left me. But it made me remember how painful it is to live with anxiety, and I thought a blog post might be useful to others dealing with similar.
I visit this tree every day. It keeps me grounded.
So, below are a few tips drawn from personal experience. This is not an exhaustive list, and not meant to replace professional medical/mental health advice.
Take deep breaths. It doesn’t get any more basic than that. Breathe in, breathe out. It’s physiologically calming. It’s something you can control. Just watch the air come in and go out.
Feel whatever you feel. Don’t judge it or push it away. You can touch the emotion as if it is a beloved child, be there for it, love on it, and watch it shift. (Note: If this gets overwhelming, stop and reach out for help from a trusted friend/spouse/professional. Consider, too, that you can access help from the unseen: Source/God/spirit guides/higher self.)
Nourish your gut bacteria. This will help to rebalance neurotransmitters like serotonin, 90 percent of which originates in the gut, not the brain. According to my holistic physician Kevin Logan, a diet rich in vegetable fiber provides an ideal environment for diverse gut flora. Reduce or eliminate processed food and sugar, and introduce lactofermented veggies like sauerkraut and kim chee.
Take nature as your tonic. If you can’t get to the woods or the beach, just take a walk and look at the sky and the trees. Time outside (or even in the company of loved animals indoors) will increase your resilience to stress.
Limit social media and the online universe in general. Speaking for myself, social media can be a huge energy drain, and the overstimulation it creates is subtle but detrimental. I make it a rule that after 8pm I don’t check email or Facebook. My health coach buddy Bill Heitman recommends unfollowing anything (and anyone) giving you anything other than 100 percent warm feelings. (You can always seek out news when you want to get informed.) Or, you can install an app like Social Fixer to customize what you see on Facebook.
Get some movement every day. Even five minutes of freeform stretching is a start. Focus on the pleasurable aspect of feeling into your body as it moves.
Make positive habits the rule. If exercise is hard to work into your routine, consider what a recent TED Radio Hour guest suggested. Turn it into a rule, so there’s no question about whether to do it or not. He compared his gym habit to brushing his teeth at night: He doesn’t have to decide whether to do it or not (and if he had to make a decision, he probably wouldn’t go!). He just does it, regardless of how he feels about it in the moment. This is how I am with walking my dog every day: I just do it. And it’s self-reinforcing, because I’m also getting my nature fix.
Put deposits in your health bank. That’s what Christiane Northrup, MD, calls restful, restorative activities that engage the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for causing vital organs to rest). (Examples: meditation, napping, cuddling, sitting and staring into space.) By contrast, anything that activates the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for revving up your metabolism, protecting you through fight/flight, etc.) will withdraw from your health bank account. We forget how important it is to STOP, get quiet, and allow our nervous systems to rebalance, in this overstimulating age.
Lean on your tribe. If you have a trusted friend or two who will hear you in your most vulnerable hour, kudos. Even if you don’t, getting out and connecting with people in real-time will probably bolster you.
Let your creativity out. In coloring books, even! Creativity heals.
Consider taking action. Sometimes our minds spin and spin about whatever worrisome thing has hold of us. Taking even a small action might make a dent in the worry. If some of your anxiety centers around the state of the world, ask yourself if there’s something you can contribute to the good. It doesn’t have to be grandiose to have meaning. Maybe it’s a creative project, or a small generative act that you dedicate to the uplift of all, like a kind gesture to a stranger. (Note: Make sure that what you decide to do aligns with who you are! Vs. a “should”!)
For me, all of these are cross-reinforcing. I feed my body well (most days) so it supports my mood and movement. Several times a week I practice yoga, which slows my breathing and moves me into the parasympathetic nervous system, while also strengthening my body. I get outside every day with my dog, which helps tire my body out so it rests easier. I try to avoid media after about 9pm so I don’t go to bed with my brain on overdrive. When I’m rested, it’s easier to write about what troubles me, and sometimes the writing turns into a creative piece that boosts others. And so on.
Please add your own tips in the comments! We’re all in this together.
Sometimes, looking at the horrors of our present age, my thoughts run to “what is the ever-loving point of any of this?”
It’s a heaviness that gives despair the reins. In the wee hours, my brain chatter runs to the bleakest possible things. Teachers I admire and love, young people I care about are attempting to teach and learn… while fearing they might be the next victims of a school shooter? Devastating, terrifying. Unthinkable.
And what of the shooter, of shooters-in-the-making? How deep does our alienation go, that we continue to look away while people tumble into darkness? Would a life-affirming culture continue to produce people with little respect for life?
Yoga is where I get a visceral sense of alienation’s opposite. Yoga means union. In yoga practice, I alchemize my despair, and hold space for the collective to heal. The dysfunctional culture plants its stunted seeds into me, waiting for me to curl inward, grow cynical, turn my back. Yoga grows a new plant entirely.
I go to yoga class to be with my people. My yoga studio welcomes people of all body types, ethnicities, ages, and orientations. (My teacher is one of a new vanguard of instructors extending yoga to populations that might not gravitate to it: veterans, people with addictions, older folks, people with disabilities.)
We roll out our mats, sometimes josh and tease, sometimes get serious right away. Our teacher guides us into quietness through simple breath awareness.
We don’t have to stop the mind from its prattling. Just notice where it’s gone and take another conscious breath.
The movements may be slow and easy, slow and challenging, or flowy and strenuous, depending on the class. But always there’s the pairing of breath with motion, the sensation of really inhabiting the body that so often goes ignored. Union.
If tears threaten, we let them come. It’s all OK.
We are here to challenge our habitual patterns of mind. We are here for community and communion. We are here to find some silence in the fray. We are here to refill our wells. We are here to stretch bodies that sit too much, or ease bodies that work too hard. We are here to touch into timelessness.
By the end of class we’ve been rearranged a little bit. We might leave class kinder than we went in. We will go back to the fractious world, the intractable problems, contributing in whatever way we do, letting go of “what’s the point,” at least temporarily.
The closing invocation might fall into the much-maligned “thoughts and prayers” category, but for me it is a powerful statement of connection that does not preclude action. It invokes what can be, what must be if we want to survive and thrive as a collective.
“May all beings be safe. May all beings be happy. May all beings be healthy. May all beings know peace, be free from all delusion, and walk through their lives with ease.”
And the light within each of us grows brighter, so we can continue to hold others in Light.
One of the few places where people of different races and ages gather to converse about difficult topics is Kheprw Institute. In the atrium where public meetings take place under smudged skylights, we circle folding chairs and introduce ourselves.
“The ignorance of the lives of others is what allows gentrification to happen. … If you ignore the destruction of the lives of the people who’s always mattered the least, things are going great. If you acknowledge that their lives exist and that they matter, then it becomes immediately obvious something is terribly wrong. So what does it mean that we are not only ignoring these people but increasingly erasing their narratives in the name of progress?”
To open the discussion, we listen to an interview with Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law, as he lays out the most egregious historic housing policies that sidelined African-Americans. Three things stand out in this brief clip:
1) When public housing was initiated in the mid-20th century, integrated neighborhoods were destroyed to make room for segregated spaces. 2) Meanwhile the federal government subsidized suburb development on the condition of these neighborhoods being open to whites-only. 3) Then black neighborhoods were rezoned to allow toxic and industrial uses, so that African-Americans were living next to waste disposal and industrial facilities.
Stories like these, and books like How to Kill a City, make it harder for white Americans like me to ignore something that we never consider: Our comfort, our security, our privilege, our inherited wealth—is built on a rigged game, on money stolen, housing denied, opportunities refused.
In junior high Language Arts class I wrote a paper for a unit on Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance. I remember including a sentence like: “It’s amazing to think about how well we’ve put racism behind us.” My teacher, who was African-American, put a ^ next to the sentence and wrote in something like “and it’s sad to think about how much racism remains.”
I remember feeling shocked, even a little offended, at my teacher’s insertion, in her authoritative red-penned handwriting. What racism? I tried to think what she might be talking about. But when I looked around, I didn’t see any “Whites only” signs or German shepherds barking meanly at protestors like in the films we were shown. Could she be exaggerating?
That should have been my first inkling that my reality as a white person differed from the African-American reality in fundamental ways. That I might be swimming in water and never even feel it—but they did.
Several years later, a Goshen College classmate from Africa spoke of her hurt when a library clerk rudely flung coins onto the counter rather than hand them to her. Though she fingered racism, I couldn’t believe someone at my liberal arts school would still—in 1987!—harbor prejudicial attitudes. I thought, There must be some other explanation than racism. Maybe she misinterpreted what happened…
Again, I shrugged off another woman’s experience.
I’d learned about systemic racism in my Liberation Theologies class. I understood some things, or thought I did. Still there was so much I didn’t want to see.
Recently I heard an NPR story about affordable housing. In Dallas, a black mother sought to use a Section 8 housing voucher but was repeatedly denied housing by potential landlords. She said, “Even though we’re financially less capable, we still love our children the same.” Tears in her voice.
A broken heart, reverberating out from the radio waves straight into mine.
It’s hard to look squarely at things we don’t want to think about. Like our country’s genocidal, avaricious origins, and its continued betrayal of large swaths of its people, and the way the legacy of slavery still plays out in devastating ways.
But it’s even harder, these days, to remain blind. The water we swim in is more and more obvious.
I can no longer deny, dismiss, invalidate my brothers’ and sisters’ realities. I can no longer say that my family enjoys a tidy nest egg simply because “we work hard and we save our pennies” when that’s only part of the picture. Our people (going back generations) also were given opportunities to take jobs, buy homes, enjoy tax breaks, receive enriched education. The wealth-generation capacity that we take for granted has been repeatedly denied to people of color, through shameful policies and practices at every level.
It’s angering, horrifying, embarrassing, painful business. The system has consistently rigged itself in white people’s favor.
When facing painful things, it helps to be in community, to hear different voices and experiences, to listen, to accept and feel acceptance in a circle. That’s what happens in Kheprw’s book club and other public forums. Actions grow out of hearing each other and building relationships.
And I know that the black participants in this circle are the authorities on racism, and how that gets expressed through gentrification and so many other ways. All along they’ve been tasting the water we swim in, that I am so late to see as any kind of fluid at all.
Kheprw is a place that both models and works for change—in the hearts of people and in the halls of power. The organization holds its doors open to all willing to create community and serve justice, knowing that who we are on the inside—and how we show up for each other—is as crucial as any external advocacy.
In a few weeks, youngsters ages 10 to 15 will take part in Kheprw’s three-week boot camp. It’s called eSTEAM, an acronym for Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math. Participants will learn everything from 3D printing and game animation to aquaponics and soil science.
This innovative program has far-reaching effects, like everything this nimble grassroots organization does. Judy and I decided to allocate some of our resources in support of the scholarship fund. Will you join us in sponsoring a summer camper?
I’ve been cocooning. I’m on a news fast. I don’t check Facebook very often.
It’s just: I’m healthier this way. And I can best hold space for others if I let go of both outrage and fear.
“Feather” by Nathan, via Flickr Creative Commons
Sometimes this might look like disinterest, or disconnection from the political realm that holds sway over so many people’s lives. I recognize that real people will be affected by the decisions coming out of Washington, and most of it won’t be pretty for a lot of us.
But if I rest in equanimity despite all that, I take back power and authority from those who would steal it away. I don’t have to give away my solid, grounded sense of basic OK-ness, no matter what dire outcomes are predicted.
And maybe by staying centered, I can be part of a cadre who will see a way to make real societal change. (I realize that my privilege insulates me from the worst of the proposals, which could have devastating impact. All the more reason to stay focused on transformation, as best I can.)
Instead of following the latest issues around health-care reform, I focus on ways to re-form myself and my approach to my own health and care.
This is something each of us can do. And we can help each other. And we don’t have to wait for anyone else to make that possible. It can happen now and now and now.
Not to oversimplify the real risks to people with major illness, disability, mental illness, and others in danger of falling through the cracks. I appreciate every single person who agitates for the little guy.
Still, surely everyone, regardless of politics, can support empowerment towards personal/community wellbeing. Especially if it costs nothing.
What costs nothing, yet enhances personal/community wellbeing? Some ideas:
Following Youtube videos from Lee Holden, who offers chi gong instruction to calm body and mind
Offering a smile to a stranger, chat with a neighbor, hug for a friend
Paying attention to one’s inner emotional state, and being kind to it
Being kind in general
Giving undivided (device-free) attention to a child, an animal, a friend
Connecting with my Facebook group, A Transformative Space, where we play with personal/planetary transformation
Enjoying deep breaths
Walking in the woods
Forgiving someone else or yourself
Taking a break from media, or at least social media
Your idea here
“Cocoon” by Louise LeClerc, via Flickr Creative Commons
My sense is that more of us could benefit from a measure of quiet introspection, even if it’s just for a few quiet moments each day. And certainly all of us could benefit from more real and caring communication.
I would love to hear what you are doing to re-form yourself, whether or not you find yourself cocooning in this fraught political season. Please comment below if you feel so led!
“Reality is not limited to that one way of knowing,” Im said, speaking of scientific inquiry and measurable phenomena. (Besides: Who determines what’s worth being measured? Who sets up the arbiters, institutions, and gatekeepers of scientific findings?)
It’s definitely possible to communicate instantaneously without benefit of a text. Many of us have had that experience from time to time. And for those of us in the energy work arena, merging with someone else’s energy field is a skill we cultivate.
But the more we rely on texting to do the work of instantaneous communication, Im suggested, the more we atrophy our native abilities.
Speaking for myself, I know that distracting myself through technology can seriously gunk up my intuition. To be quiet and still enough to sense information differently, I have to spend time away from the addictive barrage of information and communication.
Later it struck me that Im’s words had their parallel in an earlier encounter, with a friend who’s devoted to preserving another dying art: traditional willow weaving. Viki Graber, a fourth-generation willow basket weaver, spent the weekend constructing a living sculpture at Salamonie Reservoir.
The tunnel will grow thicker and more elaborate with time.
We drove up to see her, and she told us about the project. She received a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission to build living willow structures at three parks this year.
To make her baskets and sculptures, she grows her own willow bushes—14 different species!—on her property in northern Indiana. For this project though, she harvested wild willow shoots from along the lakeshore. She planted these in the ground about eight inches deep along the muddy bank of a pond, where they should take root. She bent the willow into a tunnel, complete with round windows.
Me and my old friend Viki
For the next few years she will come back to weave new growth into the structure. A true collaboration.
Viki is passionate about sustaining traditional folk art in general (and willow-work in particular). She wants to keep these skills alive and pass them on to the next generation, and she loves to teach others.
As a functional artist, Viki makes beautiful objects that people want to use. Surely we all have the aptitude to create beauty for each other, whether that’s through physical creations or acutely attuned knowing.
Penney Peirce, in her book Frequency, suggests that we are all equally sensitive, with the very human ability to feel and sense and know things instantly. It’s just that some of us are consciously sensitive, and others unconsciously so.
I would add that some of us, like Viki and Im, are consciously invested in preserving useful, beautiful, timeless arts that the dominant culture tends to devalue.
What traditional, lost, or dying arts/skills call to you? Where do you make your mark in preserving ways that aren’t supported by our acquisitive go-go-go culture?
Joanna Macy talks about three dimensions of “The Great Turning”—the cultural shift happening all around us, taking us into a future built on justice, equity, and respect for our earth home. She divides this most important work of our time into three overarching action areas:
We can hold the line, protecting what’s at risk.
We can reinvent, building new structures that supplant the crumbling outdated ones.
We can reimagine, nurturing a consciousness shift to transform the world from the inside out.
In recent years I’ve been drawn to the third of these. A little bit to the second. Not so much the first, though I care deeply about what happens to women, marginalized groups, the poor, and our planet.
I care, but I’m not much of an activist in the traditional sense of the word. Constitutionally I am more primed for shining light on beauty than beating back ugly.
So I admit I was at first hesitant to go to my local rally in support of Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington. Protests are important and needed, as are phone calls and watchdog alerts and bodily interruptions of heinous activities like mass deportations.
I’m more of re-envisioner by nature. And I don’t like crowds. I guard my energy carefully.
But my intuition told me that going to the sister march in Indianapolis would not drain me. And I knew it was important to show up and be counted as an Indiana resident in favor of ethical leadership and fairness and, well, humanity’s future on the planet.
What I didn’t realize that riding the bus downtown, joining the jubilant women and men assembled there, would fuel me. That being part of this fantastically big (worldwide!) event would renew my hope and feed my desire to remake the world.
I saw a very young boy with a rainbow scarf and a small sign that said “Make America Kind Again.” A man with a Steelers jacket and an incongruous (or not!) pink ribbon around his arm.
Photo by Gaynell Collier-Magar
I saw fathers being tender with their daughters and sons, a woman in a wheelchair with oxygen tubing in her nose and a Planned Parenthood sign across her lap, and many beautiful people of all ages, body sizes, genders, and races.
“Though she be but little, she is FIERCE.”
The day left me with a sense of unity that feels part and parcel of both reinvention and reimagining. I could see it in the creativity and passion expressed through signs, clothing, song, speech, movement.
When I got home and started to see reports of other cities’ marches all over the world, I felt an incredible lift. I thought, The world has my back.
This healed my broken heart, or began to heal it.
I know that the impact of a one-day march, no matter how colossal in size, is limited if we all go back to our regularly scheduled lives. But something tells me that this is just the beginning. If we hold to our hearts, staying awake AND kind, we can’t be far from the new world we seek.
I got to meet local farmer Patty Langeland when I interviewed her for a Farm Indiana piece. She is the fifth generation on Langeland Farms in southeast Indiana, growing certified organic popcorn, beans, and grains. Her business extends to regional popcorn and grains production, and she also maintains a small cow-calf herd, selling grassfed beef.
Here she is five years ago (on right) at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, after delivering Langeland Farms beef to be used in “Homegrown Chili.”
Patty has such deep roots in the community. You could say that she herself is a homegrown farmer. So many of us move far from home to find work, and change our housing repeatedly. Here’s a woman who lives in the house where she grew up (built by her grandpa over 100 years ago) and works the land where she used to play.
What I found most fascinating about Patty was the trajectory of her life from farm girl to farmer, and the detours in between.
She never expected to be a farmer, though she knew she loved the land. Like many of us, she can look back and trace the threads of learning that connect to what she does now.
She actually majored in fashion retail at Purdue for a time, and her business sense and creative flair flourished there. But when it sank in that such a career would require her to live in a city, she knew it wasn’t going to work out.
All along, she had been taking classes in the agriculture department, building on the knowledge she’d absorbed without even meaning to as a child on the farm. (A Daddy’s girl, she used to follow her father around and ask every question under the sun.) Eventually, just because she was fascinated by the agricultural arena—with no intent of ever turning it into a career—she ended up specializing in animal science when she graduated from the communications department.
Her life took a traumatic turn when her husband left her, their four boys, and the farm business abruptly. That’s when she ended up being the sole proprietor of the farm (though her beloved dad still owns the land).
It was quite moving to hear her speak of the support her local farming community gave her during this cataclysmic shift, and how her success hinged on a drought year. You can read more about all this in the story if you like.
This was my favorite moment of the Peace Day gathering last week at Rivoli Park Labyrinth: when young Elijah piped up with an innocent question. He’s 9, and his mother Alicia Oskay was leading us in some gentle postures and breathing. When she mentioned how yoga brings more peacefulness, in keeping with International Day of Peace, Elijah stage whispered, “Is that a thing?”
Alicia and her son Elijah modeling hip stretches.
Why yes, young sir. Your mother did not make it up. This Peace Day business is for real. According to the website, “Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.”
International Day of Peace is observed around the world each year on September 21st, ever since it was established in 1981 by a unanimous United Nations resolution. In recent years, people observing the day have begun using the hashtag #peaceday to share stories of random acts of kindness and inspirational quotes on social media.
After yoga, Lisa invited all of us to make #PeaceDay signs for our walk through the Rivoli Park neighborhood with local law enforcement. (For everyone making a sign, she banked a half hour on TimeBank Indy, our local hours-bartering exchange network.)
Elijah shows the poster he and his mother created.
Both the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department were represented in our little march. We drew honks and waves and fist pumps from passing drivers, and one woman on foot offered several God-bless-yous.
Getting ready to walk the neighborhood.
We returned to the pocket park to share food and conversation, and walk the labyrinth at our leisure. For more details on the day, find an IndyStar photo essay here.
Lisa has coordinated the labyrinth’s fans into various neighborhood projects over the years. Coming up this week is Indy Do Day—an annual three-day citywide service blitz, set for Sept. 29, 30, and Oct. 1. The Rivoli Park Labyrinth was installed on Indy Do Day on October 10, 2013.
“I would like the tradition of doing service and giving back to continue,” she says, emphasizing that everyone is encouraged to find an Indy Do Day opportunity to spread some good in the community. She herself plans to offer her time packing snack bags for children in a low-income neighborhood alongside a group called #gRoE , Inc.
Projects like these can be found by searching the website of Indy Do Day.
Today’s guest post is by john gieryn, founder of Indy Art | Media Co-op (iAMCo-op) and a longtime community organizer.
Guest post by john gieryn
Until recently, I had thought little about what “property” actually means, let alone what it means socially. My name’s john; I’ve been working in the collaborative arts of community organizing for about 7 years. I advocate for decision-making that emboldens the disenfranchised (people from underserved communities) to have equal opportunities to participate and engage.
I believe we need to flatten the table, and make it possible for anyone to reciprocally engage and thereby build trust with others in their local community. No matter what the participant’s trust level is at the outset, we can build trust through practicing collaboration together.
After working towards social change through labor and food, I began to see the arts as a critical tool, especially when combining digital communication technologies with the arts. The above infographic shows the initial inspiration for creating the nonprofit, Indy Art | Media Co-op (iAMCo-op). A big motivator was Indianapolis’s lack of connectivity; this continues to challenge our collaborative efforts. If you live here, I’m sure you’ve come across someone and thought,
“I wish I knew you 2 years ago,” or
“why aren’t you connected with Kelly who’s doing the same work?”
Transportation and limited time are part of the problem, but we see an opportune solution with rapidly evolving communication tools and the internet.
The project has progressed a lot since its initiation as a monthly movie screening: now, iAMCo-op is a collective of makers, tinkerers, & creatives who are launching Indianapolis’s first Tool Lending Library. The library shares media-production & event-equipment. We practice real co-ownership with collaborative budgeting and collective decision-making processes. Our hard launch will be in early October (in partnership with Kheprw Institute).
We are excited to invite others to join us! You can join iAMCo-op by participating as a member, spreading the word, or just observing the process, as we aim to have an open source model for others to replicate.
Our theory of change is based first in reciprocity and abundance (the opposite of poverty-mindset, in belief that we have what we need to move forward). From years of co-operative experience, we are developing a shared language around:
dedication to restorative practices of conflict resolution
That means we adopt approaches that consider and include all of the stakeholders/ affected parties of an issue. We understand that “property” is actually a social relationship, and so we advocate for what’s known as the commons—a way of holding a resource collectively that builds trust and creates & strengthens relationships.
iAMCo-op originated as a monthly film social; pictured: Indianapolis-made “Uncharted.”
Want to see what we’re up to? I’ve been contracted by Scarabys Consulting to present on the power of deciding things online, on your time, in a presentation I call “Access // Digital // Power”
Where: 3549 Boulevard Pl. (Kheprw Institute)
When: (9/18) third Sunday of September, 3:00-5:00pm
Interested in tool sharing or co-creating? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or come by an iTooLL work-party, also on third Sundays at 3549 Boulevard Pl. (September’s will follow the aforementioned presentation, future work-parties will start at 4pm). Feel free to just hang out and observe, or join us in building the library through carpentry, online data entry, and—next week—letter writing. Snacks often provided, and very welcome.
You can also spread the word and follow us on twitter or instagram @iamcoop317.