Preamble for people editing the web site: So, in summary, we want the citizen participant to go away with: more hopeful and inviting/inclusive, feel that they have found the elusive on-ramp, get a glimmer of faith/trust in fellow citizen, that there are real options, that I can get good at disagreement and drive out fear, that this struggle/sacrifice is a true service to my country, that what we are doing can actually be accumulated trust / building blocks of trust, that “WE” are, can be, in control rather than to rely on an elite genius or benevolent dictator…, that we can search this store of wisdom as a result of working together, rather than reliance on an elite (which is the slippery slope of absolute power corrupts absolutely) or reliance on forming a mob to push back (which is worse? Yikes!) – its not a moral thing, it’s a systemic thing, that we can design the temptations of power (and of laziness) out of the system. Finally, that such activity produces happiness: specifically the happiness connected to nurturing relationships, and to working on something bigger than ourselves.
Action Step: Take an EZ Starter Step
EZ 0 : If you want to understand why America feels broken and if you also want to understand why we dare to be hopeful, then consider watching a few of the videos we created for just that reason.
EZ 1 : Good vibrations! Without positive emotional reinforcement, brain-dead Civics 1.0 and Media 1.0 can just suck-the-life right out of anyone. We suggest:
- Donating blood
- Join a local choir
- Join an adult community group that interests you (knitting, pickleball, scrapbooking, etc)
- Volunteer for Meals on Wheels
EZ 2: Icebreaking, fun, inspiring videos. Most are under 10 minutes long. Organizations around the world are working on improvements for civil discourse, conflict transformation, and freedom for all. Check these out.
- Heineken Worlds Apart
- Trump supporters and immigrants meet. Over 5,770,000 views! Over 2 million people subscribe to their youtube channel! JubileeMedia.com
- Privilege Walk
- From Denmark, don’t put me in a box
- Things I find beautiful
- Can science and religion see eye to eye?
- What Happened When We Paired Up Thousands Of Strangers
- Tackle current social and cultural issues with an inter-generational perspective
EZ 3: Conversation starters that lead to exploring.
- Are you working on a bucket list?
- What did you want to be when you were 10?
- Closest thing to a miracle you have known?
- Biggest trouble you got in as a kid?
- Favorite family or friends’ tradition?
- What excites you right now?
EZ 4: Practice being thankful.
EZ 5: Balanced news.
EZ 6: When reaching for the TV remote, choose to watch a movie that promotes understanding, rather than movies that promote us-versus-them or winning-and-losing.
EZ 7: A whole world, right in your own neighborhood
- Get a dog. People who have dogs go for walks in the neighborhood. People with dogs stop and talk to each other! You will feel more connected, out of the back porch isolation and thrust onto the figurative front porch.
- Ask your neighbor to borrow an egg.
- Make brownies for your neighbor.
- Have a “block party.” Or organize once a month summer Saturday morning donuts and coffee. Or a fall neighborhood clambake. You get the idea.
EZ 8: You think a conversation may get explosive.
Example 1: it is quite common to be asked, “what is your position regarding such-and-such topic?” And the expectation in our culture is to indeed have a position, even when we may not have any more than a 30-second news clip informing us. Stating an opinion based on little information will often then TRAP us to then defend that position. Now, if we are honest, this is a recipe for disaster! But it happens frequently.
Diffusing technique: “You know, I haven’t really studied that topic. I mean I’ve heard some news about it, but it is probably more complicated than the news really has time to dig into. Are there multiple views of the issue? What can you teach me?”
Example 2: it is quite common that someone makes a statement that you just can’t let sit out there. That your silence could be assumed to be agreement. So something must be said but you want to avoid getting into an explosive situation.
Diffusing technique: “I’m not sure I see it that way. So, if we were part of a jury trying to figure out the truth of the matter, I’d wonder about a few things …”
Diffusing technique: “Do you mind if we put that topic in the parking lot and come back to it later? I can tell it is quite important to you, I’m not sure I agree, but I’m also not prepared to dig into it.”
EZ 9: Return to your tribe.
At the end of the day, we can all use a place that feels like home, is safe, we feel fully accepted unconditionally, where we all know our station in life.
It is okay to have our tribes … just not okay to think them superior or to get trapped within them.
EZ 10: Learn, explore, travel, read, watch documentaries, seek out an interesting TED Talk.
In the “A-B-C theory” of psychology, we build three “muscles” of:
- Attitude (feelings & spirit) and
- Behavior (doing & body) and
- Cognition (thinking & mind).
By starting on any one of the three (mind, body, spirit)… the other 2 will usually come along for the ride. Some days you may choose to feed the thinker in you with some meaty reading, other days you may start with “doing” by joining a group or visiting a new location, still other days you may want to stir your emotions with a movie.
The EZ Steps are not meant to be sequential. Start anywhere and see where it leads.
EZ 11: Attend a governing body meeting such as a school board meeting, or city counsel, or local court of common pleas.
EZ 12: Attend a multicultural event such as a Jazz Festival or an Inter-Faith group.
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