Sustainability Inside Out

Posted by: Sara on Thursday, June 30, 2011.

Like many leaders in this field, we believe purposeful, lasting changes on this planet require a clear and compelling vision of sustainability combined with sound principles, guiding frameworks, savvy strategy, and thoughtful, targeted action.  This is the outer work of sustainability.

And this is only half the story. 


Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” How we “show up” directly impacts the systems we seek to influence. Perhaps the most powerful visionary and systems thinker of our century, Martin Luther King understood, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”  We are all part of the web of life on this planet: nothing stands alone.  As agents of sustainable change, we cannot effectively succeed in the “outer work” without taking care of our inner landscape. When we try to do one without the other we become fragmented, not “whole” and actually do more harm than good to the systems we seek to change. Conversely, when we pay attention to the inner landscape, we cultivate practices to ensure our own renewal, balance and health and this in turn directly impacts our outer work, catalyzing sustainable, global transformation. Further, in these times of global turbulence, and political polarization, it is essential that leaders for a better world hold a stance of presence, compassion, resilience and openness to a wide variety of divergent views. We call this the “inner mastery of the masterful change agent.” These qualities of character, essential to the changes we seek, are cultivated through consistent, disciplined practice. This work is at the core of our time together at River Story.

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