The words shape change were written by the visionary author Octavia Butler and have come into my vocabulary by the activist, artist, and thought leader adrienne maree brown. These powerful Black women have articulated language to describe our human capacity to participate in the creation of our lives and our environments. The words shape change point to both our agency in choosing how we will live our own lives, and how we participate in unfolding of the history of our species on this planet.
Change is happening. In our lives. In our bodies. In the arc of history. Biologically and in society, there is much beyond our control. However, just as we can engage in physical exercise to influence the form and function of our bodies, so too can we work to shape phsychological and social change.
When we are stuck in the paralysis of hopelessness and helplessness, or the frantic activation of fight or flight, we are not able to fully bring our gifts and capacities to change making work in the world. By restoring resilience and healing trauma, we can become empowered agents of change.
adrienne maree brown describes a vision to connect complex systems theory, human experience, and social justice work in her beautiful book Emergent Strategy. Emergent Strategy applies complexity sciences to social movements similar to the way in which Organic Intelligence applies this theoretical model to nervous system resilience and regulation. Recommended reading for folks engaged in social change work.
Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler