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Support and Wisdom for Fostering New Relationships With Our Living Earth and Humankind

Contact Michael Powell, powell14@cox.net, for information about Ecozoic Conversation Pods. We refer to these Pods generically as “Ecozoic Conversation Pods.” People may name their pods “Ecozoic Wisdom Circles” or another name of their choice. We have a vision of Pods around the world offering support and wisdom to ecozoans and facilitating bottom-up change. Many Pods, with various names, already exist.

You might start a Pod by inviting people to meet in person or by Zoom or another online meeting application and designing your meeting around the information provided below. Here are links to two documents that have been used to invite people into new Pods:

A “pod:” a dry dehiscent pericarp or fruit that is composed of one or more carpels. A “pod:” a usually small group of people (such as family members, friends, coworkers, or classmates) who regularly interact closely with one another.

How are we to live well with our Living Earth and all her beings? 

This is the question we are asking. We ask because we understand we are not well. Suffering is happening on a planetary scale from climate change and its effects, access to fresh water and disruptions of food supplies for all species, widespread species extinction, and materialistic, consumptive hyper-individualism, and geopolitical conflict. These planetary disruptions are expressed in a variety of ways seen locally, regionally, and globally that impact human and non-human life, individually and collectively. All life is being impacted; all life is threatened. 

The intransigence of the various systems we have been operating within no longer offer ways of living that will pull us through to a future that is thriving, equitable, and dynamic. Our political, societal, and economic systems and structures are fearfully twisted beyond fixes at the margins. Our entanglements make us unsure what we should do to bring about the transformational changes that are needed. We know new ways of living are needed. 

How are we to live well with our Living Earth and all her beings? 

The question is open-ended. The time is now to explore with curiosity and creativity possible modes of experiencing and responding that allow us to hear the cries of our Living Earth and act. Those cries of pain, injury, illness, and suffering are our own. The cries are for all life, heard through, expressed with, and embraced by our Living Earth 

In conversation pods, we gather to explore this open-ended question. We learn from one another and help one another discover the new awarenesses, the new wisdoms, the new knowledge, and the expanded love needed to create new relationships with the great diversity of life that is our Living Earth. We dialogue on how we can bring about mutually enhancing ways of living in what is certain to be a turbulent time of transition or decline. We recognize a New Story is needed as the old story that provided guidance for living is no longer viable for what we now know lies ahead. We have faith and trust that this New Story is emerging. 

The good news . . . 

The good news is that we are not alone in exploring what it means to live well with our Living Earth and all of her beings. If you are on this website, you have probably read some of the wisdom that has already been generated. We are called to build this conscious awareness within ourselves and live it within the larger society. We each have a sphere of influence by the nature of with and to whom we are connected. Do I reflect through my actions my efforts to live well with our Living Earth and all of her beings? How much do I reflect business as usual? How do I make my life count in a time of uncertainty and accelerating change? 

The Conversation Pods are designed to help each of us consciously live more from new insights of living well and less from business as usual. Business as usual is a state of human mind that objectifies our Living Earth and all her beings in its relationships; and living well invites communion and collaboration with humans and all living beings in relationships. 

Conversation Pods are lightly structured. They are spaces in which to share insights concerning what seems to have worked in living well within the new, existentially needed worldview/paradigm. They generate conscious conversations that allow people to explore deeper aspects of themselves and their relationships. They encourage exploring past, present, and future from perspectives of storytelling, learning, imagining, and acting. Vibrant conversation pods build community and enable participants to gain knowledge, wisdom, hope, and courage. 

The conversations 

Conversation Pods may take many different approaches to exploring the emerging Ecozoic era. Three primary arenas of interest are being activated through the Pods: 

  1. We are developing a New Story that integrates the various areas of physical and social sciences, geobiological and human history, religion, philosophy, wisdom, and cultural expressions in regard to the evolutionary development of our Living Earth and humanity’s place in it. 
  2. We are coming to know our bioregion, the interdependent animate and inanimate community with which we share life. Our bioregion is our new “local” for it is where we are rooted and it is our new “global” because our Living Earth is an interconnected system of systems . Our bioregion gives us greater understanding of how the health of our Living Earth is intertwined with our own. 
  3. We, individually and collectively, are cultivating ecological spirituality. Thomas Berry states, “Earth is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.” Living this reality, informed by our spiritual and humanistic traditions, gives us a way of being present to our Living Earth’s intrinsic nature and value and its ongoing dynamic creativity. In this encounter with sacredness, we experience renewed meaning and purpose. 

Suggested Conversation Pod areas of focus 

Here are some suggestions of topics with which your conversations might sprout, then grow! We offer these only to stimulate your interest in forming or joining a Conversation Pod. Regardless of where you begin, conversations will likely be free-flowing and go in many directions. Ecozoans are attempting to birth new ways of knowing, being, and doing. Meeting regularly as a Conversation Pod is an ecologically, spiritually energetic practice in itself. 

  • Explore practices needed to stimulate new openings into the Ecozoic. 
  • Adopt a contemplative approach by offering specific readings related to ecological spirituality. 
  • Form a book club that explores ways to live in mutually enhancing relationships among humans and the larger community of life. 
  • Have each participant present a program that stimulates other members with ways of understanding what is happening and what needs to be done. 
  • Share your experiences with nature in your bioregion as you become grounded in our Living Earth. 
  • Learn and share the New Story of the evolutionary development of the universe and our Living Earth through various means and modalities. 
  • Create a deliberative ecozoically-informed community with open discussions generated by members of the Pod at each gathering. 

Suggested activities in Conversation Pods meetings 

Here are examples of some activities that are being used in ongoing Conversation Pod meetings. 

  • Conversation Pod meetings may be 60 to 120 minutes long. The most common period in ongoing Pods is 90 minutes, but we have no recommended length. 
  • Start at the appointed time with each person’s check-in. A question you might ask to begin the check-in is “What are you bringing to the meeting today (something that is on your mind or heart as you enter the meeting). Check-ins should generally be short, such as “I am grieving ______, I am celebrating _____, I am feeling ______, or I am concerned or worried about __________.” 
  • Center the group through silence or a brief meditation. See what emerges from the silence or meditation that participants wish to share. 
  • If the meeting is open-ended, explore what has emerged through the silence. If you have a specific program format to explore begin through the structure you have established, i.e. an agenda, etc. 
  • When the conversation is initiated, rotate who speaks. Informally means people speak spontaneously in a “popcorn” approach to building conversational thought and expression. A facilitator may call on people who have not spoken to ensure all are included. Formally means beginning the conversation with a “round” where each person speaks “in turn” throughout the session. Participants, by stating “pass,” may choose to skip their turn and perhaps speak later in the round. A hybrid of the two is to begin with a round and then have open discussion after the round ends. Both the informal and formal ways generate their own energy, quality of participation, and mutual respect. All participants should be engaged whether they are conversing or not. Being respectful means not dominating the time speaking and also means expressing yourself fully in the moment. The speaking is designed to build energy among one another in the Pod as the emerging ecozoic is explored. 

Allow silence to happen if no one speaks right away after someone has spoken. The silent, extended pause is part of the conversation due to its energetic qualities. 

  • Near the end of the meeting, make announcements and address other concerns of the Pod. 
  • Before closing do another round where people respond to the question “What was the touchstone (alternatively, the takeaway) for you from today’s meeting?” The touchstone is a word or phrase, not a long share. People may also be invited to share on how well the gathering went and what could be improved. 

How learning is shared with people outside of each Conversation Pod is up to the members of a Pod to determine. Some Pods may request confidentiality. Other Pods may have as their purpose preparing writings or art with others. Some pods may record the gathering as a way to personally review insights or enable some members who were unable to attend gain from the experience. 

Here are links to two examples of conversation guidelines for Pods: 

  1. Dialogue Conversation Techniques
  2. ACQUITS Conversation Techniques 

Support Available from the Center for Ecozoic Studies 

Some Conversation Pods may choose to associate with the Center for Ecozoic Studies (CES). CES will keep a list of Pods that wish to associate with CES and will facilitate interaction among Pods. 

We invite and encourage members of Pods to share their experiences with us by sending reports for potential publication by CES. The content on this website is available to Pods except where specific copyright restrictions apply. (Some of our authors have restricted circulation of their works as noted on the works.) Further, members of Pods may share resources for potential use by other Pods. Through shared insights and materials we, collectively, will gain greater clarity on various ecozoic-informed pathways for moving human-Earth, human-divine, and human-human relations forward. 

Conversation Pods enable participants to think, imagine, dialogue, and enact living in mutually enhancing relationships among humans and the larger community of life. Through Conversation Pods, we may all feel supported and respected as we explore with curiosity, communicate with one another creatively, and act with patient urgency as a new era, named Ecozoic, emerges through all who participate. 

If you would like to know more about forming or joining an Ecozoic Conversation Pod, please email our CES Conversation Pods Coordinator, Michael Powell, powell14@cox.net.