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  • benjaminnewman01

Mod. 1.1 - Reflections on Regenerative Thinking

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Spend an hour reflecting on the content you’ve engaged with this week using the journal prompts listed below:

  • What was most inspiring, most resonating? What do you feel most compelled to share with others? Why?

  • How does this align with and/or build on your own current thinking, values, and approach to leadership?

  • What content are you struggling with? Why?

  • What new questions are coming up for you, particularly around “leading”, “regenerative”, and “sustainability”?

 

As a kid, my experiences with nature left me less than thrilled with the concept of being “outdoorsy.” Perhaps relatedly, I’ve never been very good in the sciences. I joke that the worst grade I received during undergrad was in Bio 1-0-Stupid. I grew up homeschooled in a very conservative, Evangelical Christian family raised by parents who presented an annual conference on Creationism. This allowed me to tune out most of what little scientific instruction I received because I could justify it as “the lies of evolution.” When this program introduced the concept of “unlearning” as an important way to move beyond the one-sided histories and stories many of us grew up with, I chuckled internally because as an adult I’ve had to unlearn most of the things I’d been taught as a child. Because of this, my entry point into regenerative thinking, like many other areas of my life, requires me to open up and become comfortable with the natural world in a way that has been a consistent challenge for me. I’m the quintessential urbanite. I love cities, skyscrapers and cultural hubs. I love and am fascinated by history, people, places, and things, which led me to study music, French, German, and viniculture, and make a career in hospitality and arts administration.


The assigned readings and videos provided new layers of knowledge around a topic that I have been woefully behind in learning about. What inspired me most were the moments that addressed what it means to be human right now. In the Regenesis Group’s videos one of the speakers said “There is an emerging sense that people are longing to belong.” I’ve felt this quite deeply both individually and in conversations with countless others. That comment was complemented in The Story of Place where someone said “Many people live in a place that they feel some kind of connection to” which also resonated very strongly with me. Weaving through the passages they culminated in Janine Benyus’s singularly powerful sentence: “Life creates conditions conducive to life.”


In some respects, I’m glad I have a more human-centric lens, because it allows me to learn this language and filter it through my passion and work with people. Working as an executive director of a small chamber orchestra, I’m challenged to think about how to relate these concepts to the performing arts. While generations of artists have drawn their inspiration from nature, arts administrators, audiences, and boards alike have an ingrained ability to separate the influence of nature from the business and practice of making art. I’m excited to go deeper into these concepts over the next six weeks because there is so much to be explored. In the same way that biomimicry asks how humans can apply the systems developed by the natural world, I’m excited to see what lessons nature might offer to me as an arts leader.

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