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Degrees of Separation, Degrees of Belonging
November 30, 2022
At this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when every day is a matter of survival, I don't think you can help but be involved.
-Nina Simone, American musician, 1933-2003
Today, I want to step out of our usual ExchangeEveryDay mode and speak on a more personal note. The most recent episodes of public gun violence have hit close to home for members of our team. Their children or friends, while not physically harmed, were present and forever changed. We have sat together in silence, frustration and sadness wondering what is next and what we can do. These events—and working in an organization that values and supports heart-centered listening—sparked a deep conversation about the need for connection that emerges from chaos and loss, the need to connect because of our similarities and across our differences, and what active presence of mind (and heart) it takes to connect in such times.

Practicing heart-centered listening—being fully present to another’s content and tone, being receptive to the person speaking so they feel truly heard, and being open to deeper meanings—has allowed us as a team to venture into such difficult topics and build stronger relationships. It is often by focusing on listening, rather than talking, that we feel this deeper sense of belonging and connection that many of us long for.

Our hearts go out to everyone whose lives are touched by violence. May our daily efforts to really see and listen to the children and adults around us have a ripple effect in pursuit of a more just and peaceful world.


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Comments (6)

Displaying 5 of 6 Comments   [ View all ]
Nancy Rosenow · December 01, 2022
Lincoln , NE, United States

Oops. I tried adding a heart icon but it showed up as question marks. I have NO question about the importance of this message!

Nancy Rosenow · December 01, 2022
Lincoln , NE, United States

Thank you so much for this heartfelt message, Kirsten. ??

Kirsten Haugen · December 01, 2022
Eugene, OR, United States

Small and large actions indeed, Margie...I feel like each one of us in our ECE community worldwide, in being with children in thoughtful, supportive and powerful ways each day, is taking life-giving action in all we do.

margie carter · December 01, 2022
Seattle, WA, United States

Thanks, Kirsten, for bringing such a personal message that touches us all. These times call us to be deeper in our empathetic listening, wider with our courage and generosity, more active in our work to reject this ongoing gun violence. Together we can transform this culture of death with our collective life-giving small and large actions.

Kirsten Haugen · November 30, 2022
Eugene, OR, United States

John, thank you. We feel your support. Thank you for the work you and PEACE (https://peaceeducators.org) do to promote nonviolence, care and justice.

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