Blessings for Standing Rock; Saying goodbye to Abigail; Welcoming Holly; Poet of Whidbey; Inclusive Langley meeting.
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January 2017 Newsletter

The air is cool, the nights are long, the gardens are asleep. Perhaps it is nature that inspires us to draw inward, treating January as a month for reflection and resolve. Many of us experience the new year as a time to become more fully ourselves—more committed to our heartfelt principles and healthy practices, and more fully engaged in sharing our passions, talents, and longings on behalf of what matters most to each of us. 
In a changing world, how will we build and sustain resilient, equitable communities? How engaged can we be in issues that affect us and our neighbors? Together, can we counter hate with love, fear with gratitude, and complacence with hope grounded in practical action?
Places like this one, where people come together across difference to learn and grow, have never been more necessary. In this season of renewed commitment, the Whidbey Institute is honored to be a home for your passions, your talents, and your longings on behalf our shared future. 
"I feel honored to have been entrusted with a garden that’s been so well cared for by so many people for so long." —Abigail Lazarowski
A Gardening Lineage:
Saying Farewell to Abigail Lazarowski

Westgarden Steward Abigail Lazarowski is leaving Whidbey Island later this winter to pursue personal and professional goals in the Portland, Oregon area. While we’re sad to see her go, we’re excited to welcome a new team member soon, and we’re proud of the care with which Abigail is stewarding our garden through this transition. Yesterday, Communications Manager Marnie Jackson sat down with Abigail to talk about the transition, the garden, and what to expect in the months ahead. Here’s that conversation.
Welcoming Development Manager Holly Harlan

We are delighted to welcome Holly Harlan as the Whidbey Institute's Development Manager. Holly is a mission oriented, passionate, and experienced business strategist who will bring new ideas and connections, practical experience from both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds, and tremendous heart to our development team.

Holly Harlan's academic and professional expertise ranges from industrial engineering, manufacturing, and marketing to economic development, business development, and grassroots network development. 

Holly worked with General Electric as well as three nationally recognized economic development organizations in the Northeast Ohio Region in the 1990s, and in the 2000’s she founded and led Entrepreneurs for Sustainability, an award winning economic development non-profit and action network of networks in Northeast Ohio whose mission is to grow sustainable regional economies that affirm and sustain life for all. More recently, she has collaborated with two organizations who serve early adopter markets: supporting the self-organizing global network of biomimicry practitioners at The Biomimicry Institute, and co-creating business development opportunities and practices with a leadership and human development company, Pacific Integral.

Holly is a South Whidbey resident with a deep and lasting commitment to the Chinook land and strong ties to our local community. With her balanced capacity for both visionary and practical work, we're confident that Holly's presence will sustain, uplift, and inspire the Whidbey Institute and those we serve.
Poet of Whidbey
by Andrea Tatley

Andrea Tatley journaled about her experience walking the Chinook trails during the 2016 Collegeville Ecumencial Institute's writing retreat at the Whidbey Institute. The full article appears on her blog, Here's an excerpt. 

Across stone and moss, over plank and ridge, I stepped onto the trailhead. . . .  I took the path that went up. As it turned out, it was a dead end, but oh, what a magnificent dead end . . . beyond my expectation.  My new friend had led me to a small clearing, which was on the edge of a softened bluff.  As I looked down to the base, the firs rose up, grew past me, and continued up into the heavens.

Then the silence spoke. I could hear my own breathing, punctuated by the beat of my heart. And silence. 

Tuesday – Day 2  At the end of my first day’s hike, I had come to the conclusion I was not finished exploring this new relationship. What if I walked, the same trail every day during my time at Whidbey? What changes would I see? Deciding this might be an interesting experiment, the next morning I started out at the trailhead again. Same pile of rocks, same peaceful labyrinth, same sign prophetically pointing me in the right direction.  However on this day the difference was not in the trail; the difference was in me. Click here to read on.

Inclusive Langley

Thursday, February 9, 6 to 8 pm

Join neighbors to discuss an effort to make Langley an Inclusive City (also known as a Welcoming or Sanctuary City). Childcare will be provided at this informational, educational meeting. All points of view are welcome. Meet at Langley United Methodist Church, 301 Anthes Ave.

A home for transformational learning since 1972.
Powers of Leadership II
February 2 - 4

A rich opportunity for reflection, engagement, and ongoing learning among POL graduates.

"Free Medicine" Retreat
February 9 - 12

Spiritual awakening without religion, drawing from Sufi, Dzogchen, Advaita, Buddhist, and contemporary nondual teachings.

Thriving Communities Conference
March 16 - 18

Turning community challenges into community opportunities. 

by Pir Elias Amidon

Excerpted from notes for a speech delivered at the Interfaith Gathering, Nevei Kodesh, 11/13/16. Reprinted with permission from the author. Read the full essay on our blog, and see more of his writing at Notes from the Open Path.
The rallying cry at Standing Rock — half prayer, half shout — is mni wiconi! — Water is Life! It’s a prayer of positive resistance, and goes beyond the immediate issue of that particular pipeline crossing the Missouri River in that particular place.

Mni wiconi is a prayer to protect life, and that’s the heart of the prayer that brings us together here, in response to the ominous promises of a Trump presidency.

In the coming months and years, we will need to take our stands—like at Standing Rock—against policies that will threaten the Healthy Flowing of Life—Mni Wiconi. . . . Perhaps what is most extraordinary about the encampment at Standing Rock is that it’s the first time there has been such a gathering of so many diverse Native American tribes — at last count there are 283 flags of Indian nations flying over Standing Rock. It is a great, messy, heartfelt community of people taking a stand together.

And that’s what’s happening here, for all of us as we come together in gatherings like this, in response to what the Trump administration promises to do. I imagine there are thousands and thousands of gatherings like this happening right now in churches and temples and living rooms across the country. The tribes are coming together!

This has been a condensed excerpt; read the full essay on our blog.
Deer; Thriving Communities Conference; Storyhouse: Marnie Jackson / Farmhouse: Kenneth Frederick / Free Medicine: The Sufi Way / Standing Rock: Dark Sevier / Inclusive Langley: Natasha Dworkin / Abigail: Cary Peterson / Holly: Courtesy herself / Poet of Whidbey: Andrea Tatley
Copyright © 2017 The Whidbey Institute, All rights reserved.

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