PRACTICING MINDFULNESS

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BY TAMARA TABEL

“Mindful practices help us show up courageously, in awareness of our full humanity and the humanity of others.”

Our lives are stressful and busy, and our anxiety can impact our social interactions, especially those with whom we disagree. How can we practice mindfulness to bring our attention to the present moment, allow ourselves to think and breathe, and create space between ourselves and our reactions?

On October 9, 2019, a full room of over one hundred learners gathered at Barrington’s White House to learn how to live more mindfully, building on the scaffolding Dr. Arin Reeves of Nextions started constructing in September to move from fear to courage when engaging with difference.

Co-hosts Jessica Swoyer Green and Dr. Zina Jacque welcomed Dr. Krista Robinson-Lyles to lead us through mindful exercises and suggestions to bring more compassion and understanding to courageous conversations.

Robinson-Lyles brings over 26 years of experience providing consulting, research, facilitation, teaching and coaching services to academic and corporate clients. In her career, she has served as a classroom teacher, building administrator and university instructor, in addition to coaching and consulting in the areas of literacy, equity and mindfulness. 

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Aligning Actions & Intentions

“Mindfulness can help us move into conversations that we might otherwise avoid,” said Robinson-Lyles. She encouraged us to be intentional about our efforts and where our fears sit.

“It is not about being perfect,” she reminds us. “It is not about living a perfect life and pretending that challenges don’t exist. It’s about being in the moment.”

Though these conversations across difference are not easy, Robinson-Lyles shared the power of a pause between the stimulus and our response. This gives us the time and space to assess our fears and emotions before responding, instead of just reacting. 

To get started, she led the group through a mindfulness exercise: “Get comfortable in your seats. Put both feet flat on the floor. Put one hand on your heart, one hand on your abdomen. Notice your breathing. Notice your heartbeat…”

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Mind Your Miscues

As an educator, Robinson-Lyles shared how teachers listen for miscues as beginning readers read aloud. Some miscues include substitution (using another a word), omission (leaving out a word), or insertion (adding a word that’s not there). When students make miscues, one or two may not change the text, but multiple miscues mean they miss or misunderstand the author’s purpose.

Robinson-Lyles suggests we use this same approach to explore ourselves. “We have to learn what our miscues are. We have to pause enough to know when we are inserting our own story, omitting some else’s story, or substituting what we think we know.

“It’s not about broad agreement. We need to hear someone because it might really change something,” says Robinson-Lyles. “It might change humanity.” 

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Fear Causes Our Bodies to React 

When our bodies perceive a threat, our bodies try to protect us. It’s the typical “Fight, Flight or Freeze” response. Rapid heartbeat. Increased stress hormones. Shallower, faster breathing. Sweating.

But stress also shuts down the pre-frontal cortex—the very part of the brain that helps us with reason and emotion. Sometimes this means we can lash out.

Mindfulness is “the ability to know what’s happening in your head at any given moment without getting carried away by it.”

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Taking a Pause Between Stimulus & Response

If we give ourselves time to pause and engage in breathing, grounding and clearing, we can allow the pre-frontal cortex to engage, so we can mitigate and be aware of our fear.

It’s not that we shouldn’t have emotions, clarifies Robinson-Lyles. But we should recognize and figure out what to do with them. “We can identify conditioned fear. We can realize when we’re making miscues, and when, perhaps, we are inserting ourselves in someone else’s story.” 

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Emotional Intelligence Is Critical

“In this country in particular,” says Robinson-Lyles, “we are focused on rational thought. You’re ‘smart’ if you are analytical. What gets lost is how much emotional intelligence matters. We might forget that we have core emotional needs — and that others do, too.”

“Knowing ourselves is one of the critical parts of being mindful,” says Robinson-Lyles. “Why are we upset during a certain conversation? Are we feeling unappreciated? Is someone challenging our family status? Are we worried about being embarrassed?”

“When we look to see what the other person’s core needs might be, it can change the conversation.”


Our Universal Core Needs:

Visibility. Safety. Belonging. Appreciation. Status. Role. Relevance. Autonomy.


Tools for Mindfulness

Options are always available:

  • Grounding your feet is something small you can do. By being connected to the ground and breathing, it will lessen the intensity of the moment. You can become more aware of what’s happening in your whole body.

  • We can notice our core needs and recognize the needs others to whom we are responding. (Remember the Churchill quote: “Fear is a reaction, courage is a decision.”)

  • We need to ask ourselves essential questions like: “How do I know? What if I don’t know? Yes, and…?” We need to determine our responses and answers. This doesn’t change that you’re disagreeing, but it can change your response to it.

By responding with gratitude and compassion, we can bring truth and love in the midst of intensity.

Two acronyms that can help you stay mindful: 

RAAD:

  • Realize your emotions

  • Acknowledge your feelings

  • Accept that they are not right or wrong

  • Do what you choose from a range of actions — which may be nothing more than acknowledging your feelings

LOVE:

  • Let your breath soften to help regulate your body

  • Open to the feelings without trying to ignore them

  • Verify your core needs

  • Extend compassion, to yourself and to other(s) in the conversation

Mindfulness Takes Time & Practice

Robinson-Lyles admits it is hard work and that she is still working on extending compassion.

“When I’m talking to someone with whom I am diametrically opposed, I say to myself: ‘I realize they love their family as much as I love mine.’ I’m not agreeing with what they are saying, but I can get a little farther in my ability to listen.”

She reminds us it is not one and done. “Be patient, but dedicated — it takes time and practice to remember that a mindful state is an option. Eventually, you move from seeking mindful states to habitually embodying mindful traits.”

Watch the video of the session here:

SUGGESTED RESOURCES


Practicing Mindfulness is the second of ten monthly sessions for A Year of Courageous Conversations. Presented by Urban Consulate at Barrington’s White House in partnership with community advisors, the series is made possible thanks to support from Jessica & Dominic Green, Kim Duchossois, Sue & Rich Padula, Barrington Area Community Foundation and BMO Wealth Management. To learn more, visit CourageousConversations.us.

REPORTING BY TAMARA TABEL

PHOTOGRAPHY BY LINDA M. BARRETT


VIDEO: PRACTICING MINDFULNESS

Our lives are stressful and busy, and our anxiety can impact our social interactions, especially those with whom we disagree. In our second session of A Year of Courageous Conversations, we learn from guest expert Dr. Krista Robinson-Lyles of Nextions how can we practice mindfulness to bring our attention to the present moment, allow ourselves to think and breathe, and create space between ourselves and our reactions. Introduction by Jessica Swoyer Green & Dr. Zina Jacque. Presented by Urban Consulate at Barrington’s White House.

Filmed by Delack Media Group (October 9, 2019)

MEET OUR GUEST

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We were delighted to welcome to Barrington Krista Robinson-Lyles, Ph.D to lead Practicing Mindfulness, the second session of A Year of Courageous Conversations.

Dr. Robinson-Lyles carries over 26 years of experience providing consulting, research, facilitation, teaching and coaching services to academic and corporate clients. Her expertise is diverse in range, including developing strong curricular programs for elementary, secondary and university students and faculty, as well as establishing effective strategies for the manifestation of equity and wellness in academic and corporate environments.

In the expanse of her career she has served as a classroom teacher, building administrator and university instructor, in addition to coaching and consulting in the areas of literacy, equity and mindfulness. She has coached more than 100 professionals, delivered various presentations, facilitated numerous workshops and conducted and published action research. She is committed to creating positive, healthy and sustainable learning and working cultures.

Krista works with Arin N. Reeves, Ph.D of Nextions, a Chicago-based research and advisory firm that offers a new way of seeing and doing leadership and inclusion.


DEFINING COURAGE

(Photo: Linda M. Barrett)

(Photo: Linda M. Barrett)

BY TAMARA TABEL

The evening started with a bang — tornado warning sirens, emergency text alerts, and a brief evacuation to the basement! A memorable start for a conversation on fear & courage.

On September 11, 2019, over one hundred guests gathered at Barrington’s White House for the first of ten monthly sessions of A Year of Courageous Conversations presented by Urban Consulate to learn about the neuroscience of fear and courage, what is really going on inside our brains, and what tools and techniques we can use to respond when fear blocks our progress.

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Once the storm passed, co-hosts Jessica Green and Dr. Zina Jacque welcomed guests and thanked them for their courage just to be in the room.

“I come of age in a faith that has a song,” said Jacque. “And the words are ‘Encourage my soul, and let’s journey on. The night is dark and we are far from home. But thanks be, the morning light appears. The storm is passing over.’

“The storm is passing over,” said Jacque, “when men and women stand up and are willing to be courageous—to engage with difference, to not be afraid of the grist of learning and of gathering data that is different than theirs.”

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Jacque & Green welcomed guest expert Dr. Arin N. Reeves of Nextions to lead a discussion on how we already have the “courage muscle” to overcome our fears and biases.

Harnessing her background as a researcher, lawyer and academic, Reeves offers thought-provoking messages to inspire and activate change. She speaks on many forms of differences: racial, ethnic, gender, generational, religious, sexual orientations, identity and expression, physical abilities, cognitive style and cultural difference.

Reeves began by saying she is not an expert in your experience, but rather, in helping see diversity in your own thoughts.

She went on to explain the origin of fear itself.

Status Quo Bias is the Strongest 

Doing things as we’ve always done them is easy and comforting. If you eat the same thing every morning, it would hit your pleasure centers to talk about that food. But if we told you we were going to take away your bran flakes and make you eat bacon every morning, a part of your brain would say, “Oh no, you’re not!”

Your brain is responding to difference. We don’t like change. But, Reeves says, “We need to dismantle these identities because it is causing us to treat people in ways we don’t intend.” 

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Why Do Our Good Intentions Fail?

Think how many New Year’s resolutions you’ve made—and then broken. We want to do those things, but somehow our great intentions fall away. What is stopping us? 

“When our actions don’t align with our intentions,” says Reeves, “the reason is fear.”

We fear the unknown. We fear things that scare us.

The brain sees both of these as the same, as equal. So, your body reacts to a tiger the same way it reacts to your fear of public speaking or meeting a person who is different from you. Your heart races, your muscles tense, your palms sweat—sometimes just by thinking of a thing we fear. 

Many of us share common fears: heights, flying, water, the dark, or fear of rejection. But Reeves cautions us to dig deeper. 

“Although we have socially named these fears, it is not what we’re actually afraid of,” says Reeves. “You need to have a conversation with your brain.”

A fear of heights is actually the fear of falling. A fear of water is actually a fear of drowning. Being afraid of the dark is apprehension that we might not be able to see things that might hurt us. And fear of rejection is the fear of being unloved, of disappearing, of not mattering. 

Our Fears Come From our Ancestors

“We’re descended from ‘scaredy cats,’” says Reeves.

In ancient times, a person who looked different from you likely meant you harm. Seeking similarity meant safety. If you didn’t run, you might be killed. The curious who took a closer look at that rope coiled in the grass might find out too late that the rope was really a snake. 

Taking the “low road” and avoiding the different or unknown is how we’re hard-wired. “I’m not sure if that’s a rope or a snake, so I’m going to treat it like a snake and run away.”

We have the opportunity to take the “high road” and be curious. Maybe someone unfamiliar could have been the Bill Gates of a thousand years ago! But we are hard-wired to not be open.

If we see something and we’re not sure if it’s a rope or a snake, our instinct is to treat it like a snake and avoid the conversation or the experience. 

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Instinctive vs. Conditioned Fear

With instinctive fear, you don’t have to experience it, to be afraid of it. It’s non-conditioned—we can’t help it. We have an instinctive fear of spiders and snakes because people used to die from bites.

A conditioned fear is responsive, something we associate or attach to something else. We have a fear of rejection, so we become afraid of public speaking. 

Reeves offered the example of an experiment done with Baby Albert. At nine months old, he happily played with a white mouse. Then the experimenters clanged a pan every time Albert saw the mouse. Over time, Albert was conditioned to be afraid of anything white. 

However, we have repeated exposure to a false cause-and-effect. We often avoid the facts. For example, the leading fear for parents is that “Stranger Danger” will kidnap their child. But the reality is that the biggest cause of death in children under three years old is drowning in their own bathtub at home. 

We feel we don’t need to know the truth. Why would we talk about what’s scaring us? It feels safer if no new information comes in. Because we’re closed to questions, we lack critical dialogue. To avoid discomfort, we avoid new experiences. 

In the U.S., children have biases by the age of three—they are more positive to whiter skin and will notice if someone looks different. Upon seeing a person with a prosthetic, they might ask, “What’s wrong with you?” Children already have a sense of what “normal” is.

We turn away from what’s different. What we took in as a 2- or 3-year-olds solidified in our brain and created a circuity of “no thank you.” And if we are overwhelmed by “too much stuff” (stress, time constraints, uncertainty, fatigue) our brains default back to its circuitry. 

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The Power of Courage


Courage is the presence of fear, but moving forward in spite of it. Reeves says, “Being totally fearless doesn’t exist. You can’t have courage unless you have fear underneath.” 

Reeves encourages us to “Think of a time when you were brave. When you felt all that stuff—a fluttering stomach, your brain saying ‘I can’t’—but you did it anyway. Whatever courage muscle you used to be brave is the same muscle that you use any time you want to be courageous. You don’t have different courage muscles—there’s just one; just one pathway in the brain. You’ve used it many times. You used it to show up today.”

She reminds us that fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision. You don’t have control over a reaction, but you always have control over a decision. 

“You already know how to have courageous conversations. You just need to do it. When a person is very different from you and you don’t want to offend them, use your courage muscle.”

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Courage over Comfort

“You can choose courage or you can choose comfort,” says Dr. Brené Brown, “but you cannot choose both.” 

So how can we overcome that instant reaction of fear?

Reeves encourages us to hold onto our fear just a little longer. Don’t react in the moment. Give your brain muscle a chance to understand the actual fear and recognize what you attached it to. When you recognize a fear, you can calmly examine it and create an answer to address the fear. “The minute you name a fear,” said Reeves, “it has an answer.”

Dr. Reeves left the audience with a challenge:

“Talk to one person who was not here, and share with them one thing you learned tonight. You will use your courage muscle and are teaching someone else to use theirs."

“We can use our courage muscle to overcome. The more we use it, the stronger it becomes.” 

Defining Courage is the first of ten monthly sessions for A Year of Courageous Conversations. Presented by Urban Consulate at Barrington’s White House in partnership with community advisors, the series is made possible thanks to support from Jessica & Dominic Green, Kim Duchossois, Sue & Rich Padula, Barrington Area Community Foundation and BMO Wealth Management. To learn more, visit CourageousConversations.us

REPORTING BY TAMARA TABEL

PHOTOGRAPHY BY LINDA M. BARRETT


QUOTE LIBRARY


VIDEO: DEFINING COURAGE

What does it mean to have courage? What are we afraid of? In our first session of A Year of Courageous Conversations, we learn from guest expert Dr. Arin N. Reeves of Nextions about the neuroscience of fear & courage, what is really going on inside our brains, and what tools & techniques we can use to respond when fear blocks our progress. Introduction by Jessica Swoyer Green & Dr. Zina Jacque. Presented by Urban Consulate at Barrington’s White House.

Filmed by Delack Media Group (September 11, 2019)


FELLOW NOTES

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Thank you to our Fellow cohort for gathering for the first time on Wednesday, September 25 at Barrington’s White House! Stay tuned for a formal announcement of this beautiful group. In the meantime, series co-curator Jessica Green offers 3 follow-ups inspired by group conversation:

Adventurous Civility

“What does civility actually mean, and is it enough?”

Podcast Episode: Krista Tippett, On Being (17:02)

Vulnerability Hangover

“A vulnerability hangover is a gut-wrenching feeling that happens the moment we decide to get real about who we are, what we want, and how we express it.” -Brené Brown

TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability (20:04)

Journaling Question

How does fear manifest itself physically, emotionally & intellectually for you?

And how have you demonstrated courage when this happens?

See you Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 7pm at Barrington’s White House!

Session No. 2: Practicing Mindfulness

— Jess


MEET OUR GUEST

Arin N. Reeves, Ph.D. will be guiding our first three Fall 2019 sessions of A Year of Courageous Conversations ⁠— Defining Courage, Practicing Mindfulness, and Cultivating Curiosity.

Dr. Reeves is a leading researcher, author and advisor in the fields of leadership and inclusion. For over twenty years, she has delivered dynamic and thought-provoking messages to inspire and activate change for audiences across the world. Blending her diverse backgrounds as a lawyer, a researcher, an academic, an author, and a consultant to organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to hospitals and governments, she speaks on many forms of difference, including Racial & Ethnic, Gender, Generational, Religious, Sexual Orientation, Identity & Expression, Physical Abilities, Cognitive Style, and Cultural Differences.

Dr. Reeves is President of the research & advisory firm, Nextions, and bestselling author of three books ⁠—The Next IQ, One Size Never Fits All⁠, and Smarter Than a Lie.

Subscribe to our email list to receive takeaways in your inbox after each session.


THE ADVENTURE OF CIVILITY

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by RENEE BLUE

May 23rd marked the launch of A Year of Courageous Conversations in Barrington, Illinois — and what a luminous beginning it was.

Jessica Green and the Reverend Dr. Zina Jacque, co-curators of the new year-long series with Claire Nelson and Lauren Hood of Urban Consulate, welcomed Krista Tippett to Barrington High School to share her talk, “The Adventure of Civility.”

Krista Tippett is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster, a New York Times bestselling author and a National Humanities Medalist. She is also the esteemed host of the program On Being, which explores “the animating questions at the center of life: What does it mean to be human? How do we want to live? And who will we be to each other?”

Tippett is at home in deep conversation, reflecting on these questions.

To a crowd drawn from Barrington and beyond, Tippett proffered the message that we all hold within us the ability to do the work—both civic and spiritual—to diminish the distance that disagreement places between us.

In this era of political polarity, it can be all too easy to retreat to opposite corners, to seek comfort in camps of the like-minded. We have developed entire vocabularies of derision and defamation, language that distances and otherizes.

To counter this animosity, Tippett guides us toward Frances Kissling’s “crack in the middle where there’s some people on both sides who absolutely refuse to see each other as evil.” It’s there, she says, that we will find we are able to engage in the sort of civil exchange that helps us understand one another a bit better. When we create these spaces for taking up the hard questions, Tippett says we become “nourishers of discernment, fermenters of healing.”

So how does one begin? Besides the traditional olive branch, Tippett offers a few “encouragements” — some reminders and values to inform our journey toward mutual understanding and reconciliation.

1. Words Matter

This may seem a bit obvious, especially coming from a journalist, author and professional conversationalist. Still, Tippett says it’s worth remembering that the words we use shape how we understand ourselves, and how we interpret the world.

“And the world right now needs the most vivid, transformative universe of words that you and I can draw on and give voice to,” she said.

In reflecting on the ways in which language liberates and hinders us, Tippett notes that one word, in particular, has proven itself unhelpful and limiting in its scope: tolerance.

“It connotes allowing, enduring, indulging,” she says. “Tolerance hasn’t taught us or asked us to engage, much less to care about, the stranger; tolerance doesn’t even invite us to understand, to be curious, to be open to be moved or surprised by the other.”

In place of restrictive language, Tippett says we need, in the words of poet Elizabeth Alexander, “words that shimmer.” She says that we have “hit the limits of our collective belief in facts to tell us the whole story—or even to tell us the truth.”

Tippett encourages us to look to poetry to “give voice to what is deepest and truest.”

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2. Rediscover Questions as Civic Tools and Listening as a Social Act

Tippett acknowledges that a simple, honest question can sometimes get to the heart of the matter. She cautions, though, that simplistic questions are often met with simplistic answers.

Instead, Tippett exhorts us to ask generous questions, which she defines as those that invite honesty, dignity and revelation.

While questions often beg quick answers, Tippett encourages patience. She quotes the poet Ranier Maria Rilke, who, in a 1903 letter to his protégé, poet Franz Xaver Kappus, wrote of loving questions themselves, and living patiently into them until one distant day arriving at the answer.

Sitting with that uncertainty can be instructive, in and of itself.

Too often, we ask questions but are not ready or willing to listen to the answer. Listening, Tippett notes, is not about being quiet while the other person speaks until you can say what you want to say. “Listening is not primarily about being quiet; it is about being present.”

Listening is, unto itself, an act of generosity.

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3. Think of Virtues as Social Technologies

Tippett extols virtues as tools for the art of living. This is an evolution from her childhood concept of “virtue,” when, steeped in the language of her Baptist upbringing in small-town Oklahoma, she saw it as a sort of “moral insurance policy.”

Now, she says virtues are “spiritual and social technologies… a way to attend to conduct as much as to content.”

Tippett’s closely held virtues—humility, curiosity, hospitality and love—provide a way of grounding ourselves and, if we have not yet mastered them, of practicing what we hope to become.

She speaks of the virtue of humility as “a leavening agent.” In its simplest sense, she says, it’s not about making yourself small, but about making others big.

Humility’s companion, according to Tippett, is curiosity. Are we truly ready and willing to be surprised by the other? If not, she says, it’s best to go away and work on ourselves first.

Conversation is, at its best, an invitation of sorts. To offer that invitation sincerely is to do so with hospitality. Tippett notes that offering hospitality is not the same as celebrating what feels oppositional or uncomfortable.

What it does do is “create a trustworthy space, in which the ground for something new can be laid.” Conversation, in and of itself, does not make the participants any more alike, but it does “fundamentally alter what is possible ahead between us.”

When we have the opportunity to converse, Tippett pleads for us to do so with the virtue most often spoken of, but so rarely practiced: love.

Love, she says, is “the only thing big enough to create the common life that our world needs and that our century demands.” Not a romantic notion of love, but the expansive love that embodies our most generous selves, and abides despite challenge or lack of reciprocation.

In closing, Tippett encouraged us to do our part in “making this generative story of our time.” Entering these conversations is important—maybe the most important work we can do.

“Across my life of conversation I have seen a strange, deep truth of life that wisdom emerges precisely through those moments when we have to hold seemingly opposing realities in a creative tension and interplay.” Her hope is that we will take a deep breath, open our hearts and engage.

As part of The Civil Conversations Project she founded in 2011, the On Being producers created a Better Conversations Guide and outlined their Grounding Virtues. Together, they form a roadmap of sorts for locating the “crack in the middle” and forging ahead in hopes of establishing better understanding. It’s a wonderful place to begin.

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ABOUT THE SERIES

Krista Tippett’s talk was the launch of a new series, A Year of Courageous Conversations, starting September 2019 through June 2020 at Barrington’s White House. This series is made possible thanks to generous support from Jessica & Dominic Green, Kim Duchossois, Sue & Rich Padula, Barrington Area Community Foundation and BMO Wealth Management.

This series is presented by Urban Consulate in partnership with Barrington’s White House, BStrong Together and Barrington Area Library. With special thanks to co-curators Dr. Zina Jacque, Jessica Swoyer Green, Claire Nelson, Lauren Hood and advisors Village President Karen Darch, Kim Duchossois, David Nelson, Sue Padula, Beth Raseman, Rollin Potter, Conor Libit, Jeanne Hanson, Kyle Thomas Kick, Sam Adams-Lanham, Casey Handal and Amy Wickstrom.

To read more, visit CourageousConversations.us

Photography by Linda Barrett


YOUR QUESTIONS

When Krista Tippett came to Barrington in May 2019 to share her wisdom and launch A Year of Courageous Conversations, we asked the audience for questions. Dr. Zina Jacque had time for just a few — but we wanted to share more of your thoughtful inquiries here:


On Speaking with our Families & Neighbors:

  • “In a time of so much strife in our world—conflicts around our President, gun violence in schools, abortion and on and on—how do we discuss the most controversial issues with our extremely divided neighbors and family? What is your biggest tip for speaking to people you love who are polar opposite to your view?”

  • “You've spoken about hospitality as a tool of transformation—but how do you overcome barriers to two-way hospitality when you offer hospitality to others but are met with hostility, lack of interest, or unwillingness to engage?”

  • “How much of our collective work to do is actually inner work done one person at a time? What is a growing edge for your spirituality?”

  • “Why do you think we should use the word "mercy" more often?”

  • “How can dialogue go very far when participants don't share the same facts?”

  • “How do we communicate intergenerationally and listen in a way that leans on understanding of experiences?”

  • “Would you speak about how to formulate and shape generous questions? Seems like something that has to be learned and not an innate ability.”

  • “What's your favorite courageous question that could be used universally?”


On Our Divisive Politics:

  • “What does it say about us as a society that we continue to elect polarizing leaders and representatives who are incapable of civil discourse?”

  • “We stand at a turning point, similar to 1865 or 1968, where things can turn quickly either towards good or bad. What can we do as individuals to turn the tide and save our democracy?”

  • “What needs to happen for the U.S. to become less polarized with a Congress that works together instead of so divided? A tragedy? A war? Can a statesman (Lincoln-esque) make it happen?”

  • “Pretty obvious there are two females to every male here tonight. Does this speak to the problem of civility and interest in community?”


On Inequality, Bias & Discrimination:

  • “It has been said that to create a tolerant society, we must be intolerant of intolerance. How can one stand against and not tolerate the intolerance of various "ism's" (racism, sexism, etc.) and still have productive conversations?”

  • “Does the practice of "taking winning off the table" for better conversations apply for conversations about "winning" equality in an unequal world?”

  • “As a school teacher, I hear my colleagues talking about "good" kids and "bad" kids, blaming students for their own ADHD and complaining about making accommodations for students with health needs. How do we create empathy and understanding within our most important institutions when the people that run them are blind to their own thinking and the realities of their students? When we think about the intersectionality of this, how do we also educate our educators on how this issue is heaped on top of issues of racism for our students of color?”


All fantastic questions — thank you! Our team will be returning to them throughout the series to make sure we are addressing in our monthly sessions at Barrington’s White House. To learn more about our topics & schedule, click here.

Photography: Linda Barrett



WELCOME, KRISTA TIPPETT

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Can’t wait to welcome Krista Tippett of On Being and The Civil Conversations Project to Barrington on May 23! Good news/bad news: The event is sold out with a waiting list. But we look forward to sharing a few key takeaways here on our blog after the event!

T H E   A D V E N T U R E   O F   C I V I L I T Y

Who will we be to each other?

Thursday, May 23, 2019, 6:30pm

Barrington, Illinois


Our young century is awash with urgent questions of survival, of meaning, of how we structure our common life and who we are to each other. And yet it seems we are more divided than ever before — unable to listen and speak across the differences we must engage to create the world we want for ourselves and our children. 

Krista Tippett's public radio show & podcast, On Being, brings a vast range of voices to the animating questions at the center of life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? Her Civil Conversations Project has focused these questions on public life, in practical terms, for communities from the deep south to Harvard Law School. 

She will speak with us about how we can all shape our presence to this moment we inhabit and begin to create the conversations we want to be hearing, where we live.


LET'S BE COURAGEOUS

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Welcome to the official blog for A Year of Courageous Conversations.

We have been busy planning a new year-long series of monthly talks & dialogues for the Barrington community. We can’t wait to share with you.

* * * * *

Please save the date for our launch event—

An Evening With Krista Tippett

On Being & The Civil Conversations Project

Thursday, May 23, 2019, 6:30pm

Barrington High School, Richard Johnson Auditorium

616 West Main Street, Barrington, IL 60010

Free & open to the public

* * *

What happens next?

Monthly conversations begin in September 2019 at Barrington’s White House.

Registration for the series will open in May.

Please join our email list for updates!

* * *

We’ll be adding lots more information & resources here on our website in 2019.

Please bookmark this website & stay tuned…

With Love,

Jessica Swoyer Green, Zina Jacque, Claire Nelson & Lauren Hood