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Coping with the sense of urgency

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Ingredients

Group of peers Needs to be an even number (excluding the facilitator)
Cymbal Or alternative bells such as gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, etc.

Nutritional information

Deep time
Acceptance
Commitment
Inner inquiry
Self-awareness

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Coping with the sense of urgency

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now.

— David Whyte

  • 45 minutes
  • Serves 12
  • Medium

Ingredients

Directions

Embracing “enough” in a paradigm of scarcity.

There is a growing sense of urgency among changemakers, social entrepreneurs, and social change activists. It feels like we are running out of time and that many of the social and environmental challenges are spiralling out of our control. Along with this sense of urgency, our levels of stress increase as we feel there is always more work to do. It is never enough.

This scarcity-based thinking is party a result of the dominant view of time, which interprets time as linear and compressed whilst moving towards the direction of progress. But there are other interpretations of times, such as the view that time is cyclical, deep, and organic. Such a view helps us make peace with our agitated self whilst offering us the motivation to continue our work.

The following activity is an inner reflection into your own relationship with this sense of urgency and with the scarcity-based paradigm. By asking simple but thought-provoking questions, this exercise helps you dig deep into your own motivation to carry on with your changemaking work.

*Image © Greta Rossi

Steps

1
Done
5'

Pairing up

Divide people into pairs and ask them to sit facing their partner. Tell the pairs to decide who will speak first and who will listen. Tell the person who will start speaking that they will need to answer your questions. The listener will prompt them with the question from time to time. The speaker will have four minutes per question and you will signal that time has passed using a cymbal, gong, singing bowl or other instrument.

2
Done
4'

Question 1

Answer the following question: "If nothing you can do is ever enough, what can you do?"

3
Done
4'

Question 2

Invite the partner to close their eyes as they answer the second question: "If nothing you can do it ever enough, what can you do?"

4
Done
4'

Question 3

Invite the partner to keep their eyes closed and to answer the third question in silence. The listener will prompt them with the question from time to time: "If nothing you can do is ever enough, what can you do?"

5
Done
12'

Swapping and repeating

The partners swap role and go through steps 2-4 again.

6
Done
5'

Debriefing in pairs

Give five minutes to the pair to debrief together. What was it like? What did they discover about their answers, and themselves?

7
Done
10'

Large group debrief

Take a few minutes to debrief with the entire group on the experience. What does enough mean?

Greta Rossi

Chief Empathy Officer at Akasha Innovation. Co-founder of ImpactAimers and Recipes for Wellbeing. Regional Coordinator for Ashoka's ChangemakerXchange. Youth coach and FRSA.

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The wheel of burnout
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