September 1, 2013 ~ Going Off Script with a Dream

Crowd gathers for Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial National Memorial, August 28, 1963

Crowd gathers for Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech at the Lincoln Memoral, August 28, 1963

What struck me, when I first encountered the photograph above, was the sense I had — looking over Abraham Lincoln’s proverbial shoulder, at the 1963 March on Washington, but  from my own 21st century vantage point now a half century later (and with a black president who will soon be addressing the nation from this very same spot) — was how gazing at this image seemed to viscerally exemplify MLK’s notion that “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”



I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

September 1, 2013 ~ Going Off Script with a Dream

MLK was delivering prepared remarks as the closing act of the March on Washington, whose 50th anniversary is being celebrated Wednesday the 28th, when one of Dr. King’s closest friends, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, called out, “Tell them about the dream, Martin. Tell them about the dream.” (Prompting MLK to go off script, perhaps as a Baptist preacher may be led by the holy spirit in the midst of a sermon, to deliver extemporaneously what historians consider the best speech of the 20th century).

As with Lincoln, MLK is a pivotal historic figure who galvanized forces with his oratory, ensuring the future of America would not be eroded by the fissures of a racial divide, but rather would endure as one nation.  He rightly said that he was appropriating American rhetoric, reconnecting America with its roots, towards forming a more perfect union.  It’s worth noting the stakes in play, as at the time there was tremendous fear that violence would break out during this provocative occasion and that the March on Washington risked being ruinous to the cause of civil rights.  Instead MLK galvanized the nation, delivering his ‘scary honesty’ and, as one speaker noted during recent festivities, MLK’s ‘dream is still alive because it is not static.’  Finally, I’d like to point to something that MLK’s son said of his father’s clarion call, “But Martin Luther King Jr.’s utterings of 1963 were neither forlorn laments of past injustices nor a despairing diatribe of cruel conditions of the day.”

A phrase reminiscent, for our/NVC-learning purposes, of Robert Gonzales, and his mourning-&-beauty-of-needs:

Robert Gonzales on the Beauty Of Needs – YouTube

[PDF] Transforming the Pain of Unmet Needs to the Beauty

Miki Kashtan, writing on her blog post about My Leadership Challenges, “As much as it’s been a sense of free expression, it’s also been a path of stretching. Not every way that human beings show up is immediately easy for me to love. What makes it possible, more than anything, is the trust that people place in me and my intentions, which allows them, more often than not, to receive what I am offering. Because I can almost invariably find some human beauty and dignity underneath what people do, even if it’s actions I am not immediately drawn to, the flow is deeply nourishing to me.”

In a sense Miki discerns the dream envisioned by someone, despite the particularity of their chosen words.  A cultivated practice (even art)…

Beneath is a process developed by Linnaea Marvell, in the spirit of the beauty or living-energy of the needs.  It can be employed during what Linnaea framed as a ‘connected dialogue’ by going-off-script-to-reference-the-dream — whether for our own self-connection (an alternative OFNR process) or to discern the underlying depth of dignity or heighth of a dream/vision, in others — no matter the surface ripples.  We’ll demo this during our Sunday’s Dialogue-Lab (w/ “iGiraffe”)!

Linnaea Marvell’s “Magic Wand” process (first part)

Pick a recurring situation in which the same kinds of events stimulate a similar reaction for you.

  1. Enjoy the jackal show fully so that you can really hear what your jackal is saying.  Get as clear as you can about your thinking.  Notice it is different from what really happened.  Be clear that it is what you made up about what happened.  Appreciate the jackal voices as the messenger for something that really matters to you.
  2. Ask yourself, ‘If I had a magic wand and could have whatever I want in this situation, what would it be?’  Do not concern yourself with believability or how realistic it is.  You are not concerned that this might never happen, you want to hear clearly what your jackal wants.
  3. Ask yourself, “If I got the thing my magic wand would give me, what is the positive thing this would do for me?’  This should be internal (at the needs level).
  4. Ask yourself, “If I got that, what would it let me do?” you should feel a quickening or perhaps a mourning or tearing up at this stage – a kind of sweet self-compassion and recognition that you have touched something real for you.


January 20, 2013 ~ I Have a Dream

Another enlivening process that is reminiscent of the ‘Magic Wand’ and has the timely title of ‘Dream Cycle’ — pictured beneath  — similarly supports by tapping into one’s vision/dream, resiliently stretching in the process (as Chris Johnstone further expounds upon approximately midway through his book Find Your Power):

  1. Review ~ What’s going on?  How am I doing?  What are my concerns?
  2. Dream ~ What would I like to happen (here)?
  3. Plan ~ What’s my decision?  Deepen determination.  Research phase.  Identify choice points.  How can I take steps to move that way?
  4. Do ~ Take the steps.
  5. Review ~ What’s the pattern?  How do I feel about it?  What’s my response?  What happens when I do this?  Any changes?  Back to top.
This entry was posted in Activism, Practice Resources - Linnaea Marvell, Self-Connection/Meditation, What's Up Next? and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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