The Four- Fold Way: Show Up or Choose to be Present
Happy November! October felt like a whirlwind and here we are. Personally, I have been on a well-being overhaul while staying connected to the larger events taking place with upcoming elections and COP27. November is shaping up to be a very important month for climate, especially this upcoming week.
In order to support climate leadership and transformative action, at the very top of our minds should be the internal and interpersonal work necessary to meaningfully confront climate change. What is the inner work needed for individuals to support their well-being, not just of mind and body but of heart and soul to sustain climate engagement and leadership long-term?
The Four- Fold Way: Compositional Improvisation and Climate Leadership
In compositional improvisation, we actively practice creating dances from scratch in real time. I firmly believe the mentality required for improvisation can be applied to our approach to climate change leadership. How, you ask? While there is no structure to improvisational dance, there are ways in which we practice listening, make choices, develop material and motifs, and find a conclusion or ending that can be relevant to reimagining our methods of leadership in the climate change movement.
Agreements that we often refer to when we make dances are the tenets of the
1. Show up or Choose to be Present
2. Pay attention to what has heart and meaning
3. Tell the truth without blame or judgment
4. Be open to the outcome, not attached to the outcome
It is important to recognize that the author of the Four-Fold Way, Arrien Angeles, was a cultural anthropologist, drawing from multiple indigenous cultures for direction, and these tenets remain a central core of leadership to create learning cultures in schools and organizations. The tenets are also followed by archetypes: the warrior, the healer, the visionary, the teacher.
These tenets offer a grounding, a place to check in with your being, and where you are acting from. This week, I invite you to think about how the first tenet–Show Up or Choose to be Present–and how this relates to climate change engagement.
Show Up or Choose to be Present.
The opposite of uncertainty is not certainty, it is presence and connection.
When improvising in the studio, we practice connecting with ourselves and each other, making choices, and composing in the moment. How we show up or choose to be present determines how intentional our choices are, how the piece builds and develops, and ultimately where it concludes. Presence is generative and expansive. It makes room for connection, and for collaboration to take place. If presence is missing, often the piece is disconnected and doesn’t build.
In climate engagement, showing up and choosing to be present gives us access to the human resources of power and communication, meeting and responding to the moment in real time.
If the climate crisis is fundamentally a crisis of disconnection, then nurturing inner capacities and choosing to be present for what arises is an act of healing.
Showing up can feel like a tall order when so much is happening on a daily basis. It is a courageous act. Showing up is stepping into the unknown. It’s also allowing yourself to step out when you need to or get support. Showing up is risky. Showing up is a willingness to be with what comes, grief included. But showing up and choosing to be present also gives us access to power that can propel us into transformative action. Showing up and choosing to be present over and over are acts of resilience and reconnection.
What are the different ways you want to show up and practice presence this week, for yourself and for the planet?
Showing up for yourself:
Check-in with your being. What is your capacity? What are ways you can support your well-being?
Connect with community
Create boundaries. Limit the news coverage
Be in nature
Connect with what you value
Showing up for the Planet:
Taking actions that are in alignment with what you value
Actions that support a liveable future are endless~ the following broad suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg that you can take this week and beyond. The real question is: what holds the most meaning for you?
Practice democracy and show up to vote on November 8th and vote for climate candidates. Reach out to 5 people and ask them to join you.
Just starting your climate journey? This Venn diagram is a very helpful place to start. What skills do you already have? What brings you joy? What particular climate and justice solutions interest you?
Terra.do offers accessible courses and an ecosystem of job opportunities and ways to get involved.
Find support. This work is not supposed to be done alone. If you are just beginning your climate journey or if you are a seasoned professional looking to level up your impact, let's connect. I have a few spots available for complimentary coaching sessions.
While global and national events are happening this week that might feel largely out of our control, there is a lot we can do to stay connected and grounded, with a sense of purpose. Engaging with uncertainty with a light touch is where the gold lies.