BlawgThink2005… Please join us!

Matt Homann and Dennis Kennedy have put together a great group of speakers AND had the — what should we call it, courage? vision? wisdom? — to let them say their piece and then sit down in self-organizing work groups, for some active conversation with conference attendees.

BlawgThink2005 is a two-day event offering three tracks of speakers and workshops for most of the first day, and then a wide-open second day in Open Space. The value of the first day is that we’ll cover a lot of core issues. The value of the second day is that we’ll get to do something with those issues.

In Open Space, we’ll name our own working sessions — repeats, sequels and spin-offs from the first day — and tap into the talent and experience of everyone, including the speakers, on the issues and opportunities that are most important to us. It’s not enough to just hear new stuff. We need some space and time to take it in, process, plan, and work together with others to apply it in our own situations.

The official focus is legal blogging, but anyone interested in more general business blogging will surely fit right in and find plenty of learning and application. I’m grateful to be along for the ride, as the facilitator of the Open Space portion of the program. There is much to be done — and gained — in connecting the practices of Open Space and Blogging!

Join us for BlawgThink on November 11th and 12th, at Catalyst Ranch in Chicago! to register.

Highest Goal

Lisa Kimball sent an invitation yesterday for a new Virtual Chautauqua event, September 15 (now) though the 30th, with author and teacher Michael Ray. I”m finding his book, Highest Goal, to be both brilliant and helpful. Some of my favorite bits from Jim Collins’ foreword:

…the story of a businessman who visited a Zen master seeking enlightenment. They sat down for tea, the businessman blabbering on about all the issues and challenges in his life, and his quest for achievement and direction and meaning and purpose and . . . the master said nothing, pouring tea. With the cup full, the master kept pouring, the tea flowing into the saucer, onto the table, and finally into the man’s lap.

“Hey! What are you doing?” yelped the businessman, leaping up as the scalding hot water seeped into his pants.

“Your cup is too full,” said the master. “You add and add and add and add and add and add to your life. There is no room for enlightenment until you empty your cup.”

…I’ve come to believe that there are two approaches to life. The first, followed by most, is the “paint by numbers kit” approach to life. You do what other people say. You follow a well-traveled path. You stay within the lines. And you end up with a nice, pretty—and unimaginative—picture. The second, followed by few, is to start with a blank canvas and try to paint a masterpiece. It is a riskier path, a harder path, a path filled with ambiguity and creative choice. But it is the only way to make your life itself a creative work of art. To paint a masterpiece requires a concept, a place to begin, a guiding context in the absence of the comforting numbers and lines in the premade kit. That guiding frame of reference is the highest goal, and bringing it into your life with the help of Michael’s discoveries is what this book is all about.

…A core process—both in the course and in this book—is the idea of “live-with” heuristics. These are mantras of living that you implement for a period of time (usually a week or more), and reflect on the experience. At Stanford, we were challenged with such livewith assignments as: If at First You Don’t Succeed, Surrender. Pay Attention! Ask Dumb Questions. Destroy Judgment, Create Curiosity. Don’t Think About It. Be Ordinary. And the hardest livewith of all: Do Only What Is Easy, Effortless and Enjoyable.

You can join, or just read through, the two-week conversation with Michael at the VirtualChautauqua.

Omidyar Network: More and More Conference

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

Please help spread the word about this first capacity-building conference for the Omidyar Network community in July. It’s sort of a next generation of the Giving Conference where sCNN was born last year.

Please join us for a three-day event of, by and for the community and friends — to build our capacity to make good things happen.

What: Discovering Our Power to Make Good Things Happen
When: July 29-31, 2005
Where: Carleton Hotel, Oak Park, IL

Who We Are: is a new, growing online community. We believe every individual has the power to make a difference. We exist for one single purpose: So that more and more people discover their own power to make good things happen. If you have not joined this community yet, you can go here and check it out.

You’re Invited: This conference is for members, friends and other curious do-gooders to come together, make connections, have fun, do as much good work as each and every one of us can… and then go home, more connected, energized and capable of doing more and more of whatever we call good in the world. Come join a good party getting better! …and bring your good friends, too!

See the full invitation for more information and registration.

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Creating Politics

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

More from the mailbag…

I’d like to introduce the Creative America Project, a grassroots civic effort aimed at inspiring and training artists and creative professionals to run for local office. We’re a nonprofit and nonpartisan, but the IRS will very likely turn down our application for 501(c)3 status.

We just did this full-day Saturday training session. We had 30 people and it was a blast!

We don’t have another date set so if you want to get the latest updates on our work, please join our Yahoo email list and visit our website.

Tom Tresser, Chicago

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Open Homes

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

This came in the email today:

Around the world during the month of June, people will be joining to counter violence and injustice. This is not a global protest against something; it is a united action for something: building community. The event, called ‘Open Homes, Listening Hearts,’ was launched in 2002 by Initiatives of Change, an 80-year old network of people working for reconciliation and justice in over 50 countries. ‘Open Homes’ gives individuals around the world the opportunity to reach out to people of different faith and ethnic backgrounds by sharing a meal and personal stories in their homes.

Here’s the website and handbook.

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Community Networking Conference

Originally posted to sCNN – the smallChangeNewsNetwork

Michael Maranda, CHICAGO: Greetings to all on the planning committee for the 7th Community Networking Conference, scheduled for the end of April, 2005.

Although not quite 2 months remain before we convene “Open Space Austin” we feel that this is the right time for this event. We have much to do as leaders, visionaries, activists and advocates in the field of Community ICT, and now is the time to get to it.

A draft of the vision that has emerged is available here on the wiki. Questions and comments are welcome!

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