Creating Sustainability, Disarming Trauma and Loving One Another


I recently joined BHbusiness Mastering Essential Business Operations as a convener.  The plan is to recruit 15-20 peer organizations to participate in a peer provider learning community.  I decided to create an all peer – or at least a 95 percent peer – learner community after attending the ACHMA Behavioral Health College Summit last month in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  What I came back with was a sense of empowerment, information and a renewed commitment to create a sustainable organization with meaningful programs, innovation, and plenty of ideas that may not necessarily be easy to implement.

My community, the District of Columbia, like many communities on this planet, suffer from systemic racism, rampant abuse of those most vulnerable, and a city that is divided between the haves and have-nots.  These issues have resulted in trans-generational trauma.  How can we heal ourselves, our communities, and those that we are charged with serving to build and re-build?

I decided to start with the learner community.  A community created with others that not only have similar business experiences, but also come with enough differences that we can learn from each other’s successes and failures is an important component to ensure future success.  The learning community will allow us to work with a business coach, who will walk us through designing successful business models, and learning to analyze the healthcare market and improve our current business processes. We will primarily work through a virtual learning community, utilizing webinars and conference calling.  We will also work independently; utilizing research, reading assignments and on-line discussions. Most importantly, we will learn how to sustain the communities we have fought hard to create over the last two decades.

How can we disarm trauma in the midst of creating sustainable communities?  We must love ourselves a little harder, love our peers just a little bit stronger and bring our adversaries closer to our hearts.  How can we love harder and stronger?

We begin with ourselves: Stop denying our innate ability to love ourselves unconditionally.  Allowing peace to enter our hearts, homes, places of businesses, and community spaces. Knowing that we are purposefully and intentionally creating safe space for people to explore conditions and thoughts that society finds hard to tolerate and bear. Going into communities asking permission to do work.  Asking for insight and feedback from those communities.  Not setting up shop without permission, and setting the stage for disarming trauma.

Loving me, us and them in small steps can lead to big change.  This is a challenge that can be met if we are to sustain ourselves as a people. We can do this one community at a time, locally – not globally.  We want to save the world but we can’t do it globally because as we all know – one size does not fit all.  Let us create sustainability that is as unique as the communities we live in.

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  1. This is good stuff. Thanks for sharing!

    Creating sustainable communities requires creating economic stability and sources of revenue. We should be buying mad products to the greatest extent possible. To fight sanism, we need to recognize our mad gifts and bring them to the marketplace. Mad, successful artists, poets, and activists, come out of the closet and openly support our movement!

    Creating political change requires strategic planning and organization. In my experience, its hard to achieve these objectives if the people who initiate them are experiencing painful traumas or in recovery from severe traumas.

    Often, when CSX’ers organize, individuals use the precious meeting times to tell their personal stories and process their emotions. Participants are desperate to have their voices heard and receive consolation from their peers. The meetings then become more akin to self help or support group instead of desperately needed meetings to organize, raise funds, and make strategic plans.

    Coaching one another and learning from one another is a good start. But what to do when one finds out that the playing field is not level? When one encounters stigma, discrimination, threats to our civil liberties or those of our loved ones?

    Then the peer coaching and sharing is not enough. We have to organize but in a way that we are focused and are having our emotional and economic needs met first.

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    • Yes, supporting one another is a must. If you have financial capability buy Mad products and other artist and small business owners products in our community. Learning communities are one way to go to keep us focused and turn these moments into support groups. It is hard to stay focused when you have people coming to strategic planning meetings to share their stories but if we are to survive and be sustainable we have to work with these individuals and let them know that this meeting is for planning and the support groups are on another day. Of course do it in a mindful way that respects the person and the space you are in. We fight the stigma, discrimination and all the other abuses as we have been and by becoming more focused and by being civilly disobedient. It’s coming!

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