revolution in review | a year of change

transform., first as a monthly e-journal, and now as a full-blown blog, evolved from a simple newsletter that reported on just our little universe into the premier periodical for reflecting upon and lifting up the emerging field and movement that has become known as Transformative Social Change.

We are proud of not only our ability to draw forth the threads of connection that indicate our progressive movements are forming a fabric of something greater than the sum of its part, but also our moments of prescience, in which we named–or even called for–what was to come. Aptly, that occurred most often within this feature column, INcite. When you pronounce the name with the stress on those capital letters, you’ll see what we’d always intended to provide.

Like most pivotal elements of movement-building, the value of mirroring this “movement of movements” back to itself will be understood better, later. For our part, we hope transform. continues to be a resource and an inspiration for our grand work to continue in a way that is increasingly recognizing of both our shared intentions and our varied expressions. The Occupy movement, with all its challenges and yet-unknowns, has the tender beginnings of becoming a transformative social movement. It’s up to us to take what we know and make it so.

If you haven’t checked out the blog yet, you really should. The new content added every day is there to inspire and challenge you to see the thread of connectedness amidst the diverse expressions of deep change. In the meantime, these ten essays from the last year, including some timely reprints, tell the tale of the movement that was (and is) to come.

January | state of union: resolution for revolution
The year began with a call for a single New Year’s resolutions: that we commit to revolution. In order to do that, we called for forming a “state of union.” Union within our movement, union with each other, union with ourselves. The idea being to gear ourselves up towards “seeing beyond the crippling illusion of separation and acting from the abiding awareness of our fundamental, indisputable interconnectedness.”

February | red, white and black: standing with the people
Egypt provided our first massive glimpse into the possibilities that open when we no longer accept the weighty hand of domination and seek to return the lever of power where it rightfully belongs: to the People. We recognized early on that even though it seemed far away and under drastically different conditions, Egypt’s plight was really not so different than our own. “As movements of people calling forth transformative social change, we are further empowered when we recognize our relationship, deep connection and interdependence with the movements towards justice in the world.”

March | when the people rise: why self determination will always overcome fear
An explosion of uprisings by Arab peoples against their heavy-handed governments captured our imagination. We watched a single act of defiance become amplified across nations as people cast away false stability to regain that fundamental underpinning of justice that dominant forces most seek to control: the right to determine ones own way. “If nature abhors a vacuum, then indeed, it resists none more persistently than a vacuum of natural selfhood. When the breaking point of lack of fulfillment meets with the illuminating function of self-awareness, human beings, like nature, seek to restore balance.”

April/May | real and not real: on border and divisions
While countries scrambled to be on the right side of the revolutions, a reprint from May 2010 invites us to re-examine how we divide ourselves. With the only true race being the Human one, and all of us need to belong, this incessant separation sits at the root of our inability to co-exist, instead fostering fear. When that fear prevails, “i have found the thinking, choices, behavior and resulting consequences of our people…incomprehensible at a heart level.”

June | doing darkness: change vs. transformation
In another reprint, we revisited how to distinguish mere change from true transformation, with six tell-tale signs. The case was made for naming a movement, along with the recognition of what calls us to transform: “…it is birthright that calls. In this Way, we have to allow ourselves to hear and respond to the evolutionary and revolutionary call that pulls us inexorably forward into becoming our newly formed selves–personally, politically, organizationally, institutionally, across all society–making room for a vision yet to be seen.”

July | a more perfect union: using our wholebody
Back to thinking about union, the historic passage of the right for gays and lesbians to marry in the the good ol’ Empire State of New York reminded us to consider what an embodied movement would look like: “It will be self-determined and other-honoring. It will be systemic, endemic and talismanic. More than anything, it will, because it must, be transformative.”

August | apes will rise | rebellion for the heart
Speaking of prescient, Hollywood’s prequel of a now-classic tale mirrored the uprisings taking place in the UK. As in Planet of the Apes, our primadonna-ish, puritanical culture was less able to see beyond the destruction to recognize the very frustration that we, ourselves, share. Revolution won’t always be pretty. Those rising up were indeed the voice of the people, because “the People are the shape-shifting stewards of our humanity who rise up cyclically to counter the forces that would have us tread backwards in our evolution by vying to protect the status quo.” Even when the form they take offends.

September | the transformation code: how to make a movement
Just before the Occupy movement parked itself in Zucotti Park, we began to recognize that an uprising does not a movement make. This essay points to HOW it is that movements comes into being. The assertion is that “Movements Aren’t Stumbled Upon. They’re Generated. Here’s How.” Taking the study of excellence in individuals to a movement level, three keys to more effective movements are shared.

October | where’s your wall street?: riding the raging bull to freedom
At this early stage, no one knew how far the Occupy Wall Street actions could go. It hadn’t yet clicked for most of us that the beginnings of a movement unlike anything we could have dreamed into existence was taking root. But, we could smell it. Because “by defying definition, flattening leadership and both utilizing and transcending organization as we’ve known it, shifting from spider to starfish, OWS creates within it’s morphing boundaries the one thing so many of our uber-defined efforts at movement-building have inadvertently managed to quash: opportunity.”

November | three lessons from occupy: practicing our values in times of change
Finally, having called for a movement, been in solidarity with others, explored how to make one and encouraged making an emerging movement our own, we learn in real time from the one we find ourselves in the midst of. “…we can afford to strengthen our practice in being present. So that we are able to withstand the sometimes very uncomfortable process of hearing all the voices that need to be heard.”

As one essay muses, “Who knows? Perhaps one day, we will look back on September 17th, 2011 as the beginning of the New American Revolution in which we finally captured not just votes but the imagination of the entire US as a People. But for now, it’s sufficient to seize the opportunity of this moment…”

We, the editors, contributors, tech-geeks and mid-wives of transform. hope you will seize the opportunity to journey back through this fascinating year of change, and get ready to throw your hat in to ring of revolution for 2012. A transformative movement of the People, for all People, is the movement we’ve been waiting for.
—yours in truth, aKw

dedicated to every individual in every part of the world that risked their comfort and safety to call into being a just and sustainable world for all.

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angel Kyodo williams is a maverick teacher, author, social visionary
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About angel Kyodo williams

angel Kyodo williams, the "change angel," is Founder Emeritus of a Center for Transformative Change. She now serves as a Senior Fellow and Director of Vision. A social visionary and leading voice for transformative social change, she is the author of the critically-acclaimed Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace.
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