One of the authors who has had the most impact on my life is Annie Dillard and she once said, “The dedicated life is worth living. You must give with your whole heart.” As a a military kid, theology student, and social worker I’ve always felt pretty comfortable living from my brain. The ability to think through problems and puzzles and other nerdy pursuits has served me well and is a source of joy. When I began community organizing & facilitating with community groups about ten years ago, I found that the work of my brain only served myself and others up to a certain point. Working from my heart was necessary in order to change my community and change myself.
The ways learning to give with my whole heart has impacted my career trajectory are many: I shifted out of teaching graduate social work students at the University of Denver to learning and teaching community herbology & permaculture skills; I shifted out of professional social work into work in restaurants and hospitality; and I shifted from a model of work that provided services to folks to a model that supported communities in organizing themselves.
I find the work we do at infused continues to challenge and support me in working with a stronger connection between the analytical and the human experience. We are constantly asking ourselves how we bring resources to a group, build good thinking, and also engage in supporting folks to be deeply connected to each other.