metaphors, mushrooms and movement

Hello!mushroom-58487_640 I feel really grateful and challenged to be writing this update in what our cohort has described as a space where we are shifting in energy towards more movement and creativity in our thinking.  We all acknowledged and were grateful that we waded through some months of heavy contemplation, unpacking, critiquing, and acknowledging a greater harsh reality that involves and affects us all in different ways.  I personally want to thank everyone who has been on this journey - even guest speakers - because every week I feel I am entering a most magical and loving place and also one in which I attempt to critically question being a settler on stolen land. What we have been now challenged to do as I understand it is more collaborative dreaming - needing to creatively imagine and act on ideas though projects that address deep and intersectional issues in our communities.  We expressed uplifting feelings, moving into this new cycle, yet are not discarding our heavy roots that keep us grounded. It seems we are entering a lucid state where we need to be awake and dreaming at the same time. Speaking of roots, we like metaphors!.. and I realized they really help me learn.  Related to that (bare with me) is a subtheme of our groups, our projects and ourselves mimicking nature - permaculture - and using nature as metaphor for understanding.  So here goes.. We have so many interconnecting skills in our group and one of those is a knowledge and respect for fungi; I've heard a lot about mushrooms specifically.  I only knew a little bit about fungus and mushrooms before I came to groundswell but wow - are they ever more amazing and such helpful teachers.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This week when starting Reilly's class on networks and technology, we were discussing communities of practice and what defines them and what makes them healthy or unhealthy. One healthy community of practice tenant is if someone leaves, the work still continues.  This really resonated with me in my own journey into groundswell and now in the creation of a project.  I feel this idea means that we would set up projects in teams and groups in a way that everyone understands the overall meaning, messages, goals and how each voice matters.  Information, love and resources could be shared and organized in a way that if one person needs to do something else, the connection and movement outward (and inward) to others still remains strong.  The metaphor linking this idea in class was mycelium. After a little research (somehow I never took biology in school) I really began to understand it as a metaphor for the creative work we are attempting to do.  I learned that mycelium is a part of fungus that spreads out in different ecosystems and processes and distributes nutrients.  So it's not quite a mushroom but if combined it can fruit mushrooms.  It is even capable of existing in large mat-like structures under the roots of trees and is actually capable of killing whole forests and supporting new ones to grow.  I also learned that mycelium can be very tiny groups or enormous organisms that link across thousands of acres.  I also learned of a specific process called mycofiltration which is essentially the network filtering out certain elements/chemicals or parts, separating things and moving them along. In conclusion I am offering that using poetic elements and nature as metaphor is a creative way that we can dream up healthy groups and ideas as we move forward.  Like the mycelium, I see our role in groundswell is to digest information and then share it where we best think it could be used.  We could do this is tiny ways or in huge ways - both are necessary and needed.  We could take down entire ways of thinking or we could support one person in our community.  Fundamentally however, we are learning how we could all consider our work interconnected in groundswell.  Perhaps storytelling about how our projects interweave at the end will be a helpful process I will also go dream about :) -Kim mushroom snail