Co-Creation on Our Face

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When my stepson was little and we were in the middle of a board game or just outside in the backyard, he would stop, look at us and say: “Isn’t this great?!” with a huge smile on his face. Then he would turn back to his activity. He announced that this moment, right in the middle of whatever we were doing, was splendid. Even though he asked it as a question, he already had answered it with the look on his face. As I approach a really full week, I am going to stop every once in a while and take a breath and declare “isn’t this great” and see if my face follows.

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Co-Creation no Same Old Same Old

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We had an emergency meeting because nonprofits were not signing up for a conference on how nonprofits and universities can collaborate. There is an unfortunate divide between the university and nonprofits—another “us versus them.” The nonprofits think that academics have their head in the clouds and the academics wonder why nonprofits are not using best practices based on solid research. These two attitudes do not allow for true engagement with one another. So in our emergency meeting, we used our imaginations and kept asking questions: What would meet the needs of both? How might we structure a conference that allows for space to really dialogue and develop more trust for one another? How might we encourage positive conversation rather than …

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Co-Creation in Plain Sight

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By Ruth D. Anderson Last week we had a visitor—from four states over—who came to our school for three days. He was looking for “best practices” and heard about some of the work we are doing through our school. Each time I took him to a class or to a nonprofit affiliated with our work, he looked at me and said: “This is extraordinary.” For example, when I took him to a nonprofit that works with homeless people in our community, the chaplain told him that we had collaborated together for over two decades on numerous projects. When we left that meeting our visitor said: “Never underestimate the spirit of collaboration. In our community we have two separate nonprofit agencies …

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Co-Creation Curiosity

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We are at a turning point in our micro-financing group. We have been meeting for one year to learn and to figure out how to offer local micro-financing in our community. The issue has some complications: Who qualifies? What amount? Grant or loan? How to track? What if we are flooded with requests? These questions could stop us. Instead, we created a brochure with our best judgments as to what might work and we will meet with our group and capture some final feedback. Then we will begin. We decided to call this a pilot project—which allows us to think of this work as emerging. In other words, we are going to simply begin, with a structure that makes sense …

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Co-Creation Choices

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I was walking through a park when I heard a bullhorn in the distance. When I turned a corner, a man was talking about the race that was about to begin and the cause it supported. As people stretched their legs, he talked about the research they were doing to find a cure for a particular kind of children’s cancer. As I walked along, I saw groups of people wearing different colored tee shirts. The blue team’s shirts said “Jason’s Bluebirds” and the green team’s “We love you, Casey.” The teams began the race together but then all the colors got mixed up as the race progressed. Along the road where they ran, markers were set up every hundred yards …

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Co-Creation Asks us to Use Our Bodies to Bring Us Back

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After a presentation on a college campus, a student asked me to talk further about “listening to the intelligence of our bodies.” I explained how our bodies “speak” to us in physical sensations and provide powerful opportunities to notice when and how we move away from peace or Divine Presence. When we notice a sensation in our bodies, we can gently inquire within about the circumstance and thought that triggered the physical movement. And we find, most often, we are stressed about the future or we are bemoaning the past. At this point, we can let go of this thought that contracts the body and return to “the peace that passes understanding”—always available to us in the present moment. Being …

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Co-Creation Asks Us to Stay Open

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We were traveling on the hairpin turn back roads in Maine and at 2:30 in the afternoon decided to find a place for lunch. We turned off into a tiny town and saw a café with the door open but with a sign out front that read open from 11AM until 2PM. We peeked inside to hear a warm voice ask: “what is your name?” We told our names and that we were looking for something to eat but saw the sign that said they were closed. Betty, the owner of the café, said that they had been planting flowers all morning. Like a Mom, she asked: “what would you like to eat?” She made us a chicken salad sandwich …

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Co-Creation as Being Fully Expressed

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After a long meeting, I gathered up the pieces of newsprint which held an abundance of logistical details on upcoming programs. I noticed that a member of the team slowly packed up her belongings. I became aware of her lingering moves and sensed she wanted to say something. We walked down the long hall and as were about to split up, she turned to me and blurted out: “How did you decide to write a book?” Immediately I perceived that she had something she wanted to express to the world. I asked her if she ever thought about writing a book and she hesitantly communicated her idea. She talked with tenderness about the possibility and also talked about what stopped …

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Co-Creation and Presence

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I walked into a sandwich shop. I had been there twice before and each time I stood in a long line to place my order. But, on this third time, a young girl about eleven years old stood in line in front of me with her Dad. She slowly turned her head to each wall and then up to the ceiling and then to the floor. She elbowed her Father and, without words, he opened his backpack and handed her a camera. She walked up to the wall and took a picture of one of the signs. I had not noticed it before, but it was most interesting. She took a picture of the napkin holder and again I could …

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Co-Creation and Letting Go

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We had some out of town visitors to The Servant Leadership School and I invited them over to our house for a simple supper. I made a “fragrantly spiced” lentil soup and put it in the crock pot in the morning. By noon, the lentils were still crunchy. At 5PM they were still too chewy. I went to the internet and learned that this sometimes happens to lentils. I was tempted to rush out and get some take-out, but the soup smelled good. I let go of my anxiety about being a “great cook” and shifted to some creative action. I pureed the soup and threw in some carrots and lemon. Of course, as usual, the conversation at dinner counted …

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