Rejuvenation of DDI

Our DDI exec team, Ellen, Max and Stanford have been using these last months to dream, re-juvenate and re-vision  our work DDI,  as we earlier in July announced on our facebook page

While Ellen and Max worked on their various projects on the Oregon Coast and Stanford up in the harbor of Port Townsend, we also dreamt, emailed and talked and even met a couple of times face-to-face to work on our team process and develop the next steps for our think tank. As our retreat time comes to an end, we would love to share some of the highlights of that journey with you.


Well, all three of us agree that we had an amazingly deep and transforming time this year and now these last months, and that we find ourselves at the beginning of a new exciting phase as individuals, as a team and as an organization.


1. We looked for something, and found ourselves


First, we were so surprised. We looked for our main areas of difficulties, but instead found first our love for each other. We actually re-discovered the rich diversity of our small team Stanford, Ellen and Max. In the midst of all the work and tasks, we rarely have the time to appreciate each other, the multiple talents that each of us brings, the dedication and devotion that all three of us share, and the fun, adventurous team spirit that has pulled us together. Yes, Now, Wow! We love working together. It’s a majorly fun team! We feel we owe it to the vision that recruited us and forged us. From travelling into the interior of Sierra Leone together, to visiting the heavily guarded government compound of the Palestinian authorities, having meetings with publishers, and working with our IT teams and graphic artists in Europe, India and China, we are having a blast. We felt that our joint vision helped us through all our outer and inner difficulties:


The Vision: A DDI ecosystem


DDI wants to co-facilitate with other people and groups the emergence of a global Deep Democracy ecosystem whose members hope to co-create/facilitate living together in this diverse village we call Earth. We want to be part of an ecosystem of organizations and individuals that are interested in discovering “The Process” - the often invisible organizing principle that creates and resolves tensions and brings forth innate solutions, bringing everyday reality, dreams and deeper meaning. In this ecosystem we see businesses, including big business, social activists, different religions, different scientific approaches, different cultures and races, each contributing their direction and culture, insights and learning.


Ode to Deep Democracy


Our key principle of Deep Democracy, that nature makes no mistake and that  awareness, meaning “understanding” and “unfolding” is the key to change, has helped us so much in developing our team and in developing the part of DDI that we can influence. We all feel grateful to the founders of Process Work Arny and Amy Mindell, their concepts and our training and coaching with them over the years. It has turned out to be the key develop our team. During these last 5 years, “the process” has made a team out of us. We are all three excited about our paradigm and love working on ourselves, we love the group processes among us, we love using Deep Democracy when conflicting, visioning, developing partnerships, and are thrilled: IT IS WORKING FOR US. It has brought us friendship, more self-knowledge, learning, a special collegial spirit, mutual respect, the openness and ability to enter conflict and resolve it, mutual encouragement, support of our individual visions, and team resilience that we are grateful for and also very proud of. Well, most of the time, unless we are having a bad day or week J. But yes, we have room for united vision and strategy, we appreciate competition among us, we welcome conflict and its resolution, we allow and hate jealousy, and then fail at it all to re-discover ourselves and renew. In short, we are having a really great time together and love who we have become, more often than not!


Gratitude To Our Larger Team


Second, we realized that we have grown enormously as an organization. Out of our first training program in Palestine have come training programs in Africa, Central Asia, Europe, the USA, and Ukraine and Russia. We consult companies and governments and for example recently have been asked by an African government to train their entire parliament. We look forward to soon publish a newsletter with all that has happened, and more details on what we are cooking on.

With this realization comes an immense gratitude for our larger team, which has allowed for all of this to happen. We are overwhelmed by the idealism, heart, personal connection, professional integrity and team spirit of our larger DDI team over all the world. We cannot believe the luck that lead us together, or better the spirit that smiled on us. Thank you DDI spirit, and thank you thank you thank you team for all that you made possible.  We feel supported in our basic paradigm: Wrok on yourself, follow sentient experiences and Consensus Reality will fall into place. We feel we have the single best and most amazing team of the planet. We made a list of our members at the end of this note, and look forward to presenting  them soon in a new way on our new website.

And, we are grateful to our board of directors for their support and to our board of advisors who have helped us and advised us in many ways. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Our Team Essence: Satyagraha




Third, when working on our team issue and organizational growth, we were very excited to rediscover our love and conviction, that team and organizational strength is also based on Satyagraha, a Sanskrit term developed by Ghandi meaning “soul force” or “truth force”, meaning for us, the realization that our sentient experiences and our dreams are the most reliable part of us, and that our night dreams and sentient experiences create our most valuable benchmark in terms of where we are going and what we are achieving. We end up teaching what we are, and how we feel about the world, our colleagues and students and process that we are all involved in. The point is not only to teach students to facilitate conflict but to assist their development to become the ground that everyone stands on when conflicting with each other. Yes, we also educate on process work skills, yet, most important, our own personal development is the key to the development of our team and of DDI as a whole. Facilitation skills with individuals and groups are enhanced and set free by what Arnold and Amy Mindell call our “Second Training”, the ability to access holistic viewpoints and approaches which include transpersonal experiences like “the earth’s viewpoint”. The second training can be added to any skill set, business, facilitation, medicine, social work, politics etc. We strife to use it as our guiding principle for DDI, which is a think tank, a training organization and an experimental lab for Deep Democracy Organization Development all in one.

In this spirit, we realized that our own personal work is the beginning and the end of everything. If we can develop and recognize the obstacles that we encounter as a challenge to our own personal growth, we are the Deep Democracy Institute; and if we stop, then we are no longer the Deep Democracy Institute, we are a traditional mainstream skill training organization. Inner work and finding one’s dream path, the path of least effort, is our strongest organizational leverage. We think of us as a meditation in action group, who is at home in the world of raw nature, in the offices of  international business and governments, in the families that try to get along with each other, in the camps of social activists and among those who have chosen as a religion to guide their path on this planet. Everything that we did with this attitude brought us “success”, meaning a sense of satisfaction and “being on it”, as well as traditional organizational growth. We all three rejuvenated in this insight and celebrated the sheer joy in this. Yes, we are small, and want to stay small, because small is beautiful, yes, we want to encourage us to focus on going deeper and not on going bigger. We loved our discovery, it didn’t have a goodie goodie feel to it, but a rock and roll sense of fun and joy and yes, now, wow. It’s who we are, well, also J


Our biggest resource and source of joy: Our Students


Out of this process came a renewed appreciation and commitment to our group of students. They are precious to us and we are thrilled to learn with them and from them. Growing as an organization means growing as people, and as learners and teachers. If we grow as students and teachers, the organization grows, independent of the number of students. If the number of students or programs grow, but we don’t grow as people (if that is possible), the organization shrinks. Thank you, dearest students in East Africa, Asia, Europe, Russia, the Ukraine and the United States. You are DDI’s most venerated treasure. We are because you are, and without you there is no us and no DDI. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to learn together and for all the learning you have helped us with, the love and dedication you have shown and also the tolerance and generosity in dealing with the small team efforts of a young and immature training group.


The Next Steps


Fifth, in this spirit, we are ready for the next exciting steps. Over these next years, we plan several new directions:


1)   Training and Programs: We want to adapt and develop our training programs, so they serve better the needs of our students. We want to create better teaching and deeper learning opportunities and give priority to assist and develop our programs, including our new Process Work Diploma, according to the needs of our students.

2)   Professional Network: We want to continue to expand our professional network so that our graduates can be connected to groups and organizations that are in need of their services.

3)   Consulting: Think tank development - we want to publicize and support, and expand our especially interesting new consulting contracts and networks.

4)   Deep Democracy in the Public Space: We have a series of Open Forums planned with a special track for community facilitators. An important milestone is the event with the City of Gothenburg this fall, the second largest city of Sweden, where we have a think tank day with the city government and several conflict resolution experts from the USA and Europe on how to develop new diversity policies for our urban future. We also look forward to more open forums in connection with our Portland activities, our home town

5)   Publishing: We are in the middle of creating a publishing adventure including a journal. We feel we can communicate with more people who are interested in using Deep Democracy but will not join trainings.

6)   Training Development worldwide: We want to continue to develop the training programs especially 2012 Central Asia, Turkey and Eastern Europe, Somalia; and expansion in Norther Kenya and Sout Sudan, Ecuador and Brazil. 2013 Siberia, China, Korea, India and South East Asia. 2014 Jordan, Egypt, Emirates and Syria. We want to put more focus on open forums and new trainings that come with them.

7)   Organizational Changes: We would like to create a firmer infrastructure, so we can concentrate more on the development of DDI as a creative force. For this we need bigger and better budgets, an administration staff that can help, and a developed and stable budget for each reason. We are excited about this development.

Thank You !


Thank you regional directors Dr. Ruth Weyerman Europe, Prof. Dr. Rola Jadallah in Palestine, Maryanne Wachira in Nairobi, Yuliya Filippovska, Anton Ermolenko and Masha in Kyiv, Ukraine, Dr. Xenia Kuleshova in Moscow, and Elena Kornoukov of DDI Ural, Elvira Tanzarella in Kazakhstan and wider Central Asia; and our larger circle of team members, Florence Champin in East Africa, Ahmad Adabi in Jenin, Niels and Daphne in Amsterdam, Bill Say in San Francisco, Ainura in Almaty and Oleg in Kyiv.


We also want to thank Arnold and Amy Mindell for their support of DDI, members of the process work faculties, IAPOP, and those of you who have helped DDI with financial donations over these years. We can’t express our gratitude enough.





Friday, 23. September 2011

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