Restorative Activism Workshop
What is it?
A one or two-day workshop focused on practical skills that lay a foundation for personal and societal restoration and resilience. We live in a historical moment that contains crisis and opportunity in equal measure. Restorative activism helps us take full advantage of the opportunity to create a more peaceful, just, and environmentally sane world.
Too often activism comes from a place of anger, self-righteousness, and feeling like a victim -- we find someone to blame and punish while the root cause of the crises we face goes unaddressed. And what is the root cause? Well, try this one on for size: the belief in separateness -- the belief that we are separate from each other, from other species and the earth, and from spirit (God, the divine, whatever you choose to call it). It makes sense doesn't it, that a belief in separateness lies at the root of war, racism, the degradation of the earth, human caused species extinction, and other forms of violence?
Understanding the belief in separateness as root cause helps us see what we are really up against and the importance of psychological and spiritual growth becomes clear. Restorative activism works at this level in a very practical way with a focus on four cornerstones: mindfulness, nature-based practices, relationship skills, and activism itself. The first three areas build the foundation for restorative activism.
Restoration means "to make firm again." A restorative approach to activism has psychological sophistication. It is conscious and not reactionary. It acknowledges our own woundedness and beliefs in separation, it's not about pointing fingers at someone else. A restorative approach to activism is consistently nonviolent, both in how we treat ourselves and how we treat others. Engaged in this way, activism becomes healing for us personally and more effective out in the world.
Who's it for?
The workshop is for anyone who is or wants to be a part of creating a better society, no matter what your level of engagement or the issues you work on. It is not issue specific. Being on the emotional front lines, activists are susceptible to burn out and desperation. There's grief, anger, stress, and a relentless parade of haunting images and discouraging news to be dealt with. Since the problems are so big many have a sense of powerlessness. There's also tremendous insecurity that comes with the realization that there's no quick fix, that the dilemmas we face are profound. The workshop supports activists in sustaining themselves and their work.
What You Will Gain
More and more people involved in social change are recognizing the fundamental need for a shift in consciousness toward interrelatedness. The Restorative Activism workshop is a curriculum for cultivating that shift. The workshop offers participants teachings and practical skills that support awareness, balance, clarity, and confidence. It creates the space where fears and all the emotions that come with working for change in this time of unraveling and uncertainty can be expressed. Participants practice radical honesty with themselves and others, and challenge their own beliefs and habitual patterns. You will learn concrete relationship skills and other practices that will serve you in your day-to-day life – in all your relationships and in all situations. Nothing puts us on the spot like relationships and activism is a profound relationship testing ground.
The workshop includes a mix of stories, poetry, inspiration from leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.; teachings from the spiritual traditions, particularly Buddhism; psychological work; and contemplative time in nature – all in a context of community support. It is highly experiential and serves to undermines the belief in separateness that is the root cause of the crises we face. Participants will leave with an understanding that restorative activism is a powerful path of personal and social transformation. And most importantly, you will leave with practical skills for practicing this form of activism.
Bringing the Workshop to your Group/Community
The Restorative Activism workshop is available to any progressive group or community willing to assist with bringing a group together and logistical support such as finding a venue. Fees are negotiated based on specifics such as facilitator travel costs and the number of participants. Nonprofits are encouraged to find grant money to help cover costs.
Please feel free to contact Scott Brown at Scott@ColoradoRP.com or (720) 565-9388 with any questions and to arrange for a workshop.
Scott Brown, MA is a cofounder of the Colorado Center for Restorative Practices. He is trained in peacemaking, mediation, restorative justice, and body-centered psychotherapy. He holds a master’s degree in Transpersonal Psychology and Ecopsychology. Scott worked as an environmental campaigner for 15 years with Greenpeace, the Idaho Conservation League, and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.