Emergent Strategy Quotes

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Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown
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Emergent Strategy Quotes Showing 1-25 of 25
“Do you already know that your existence--who and how you are--is in and of itself a contribution to the people and place around you? Not after or because you do some particular thing, but simply the miracle of your life. And that the people around you, and the place(s), have contributions as well? Do you understand that your quality of life and your survival are tied to how authentic and generous the connections are between you and the people and place you live with and in?

Are you actively practicing generosity and vulnerability in order to make the connections between you and others clear, open, available, durable? Generosity here means giving of what you have without strings or expectations attached. Vulnerability means showing your needs.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“Remember you are water. Of course you leave salt trails. Of course you are crying. Flow. P.S. If there happens to be a multitude of griefs upon you, individual and collective, or fast and slow, or small and large, add equal parts of these considerations: that the broken heart can cover more territory. that perhaps love can only be as large as grief demands. that grief is the growing up of the heart that bursts boundaries like an old skin or a finished life. that grief is gratitude. that water seeks scale, that even your tears seek the recognition of community. that the heart is a front line and the fight is to feel in a world of distraction. that death might be the only freedom. that your grief is a worthwhile use of your time. that your body will feel only as much as it is able to. that the ones you grieve may be grieving you. that the sacred comes from the limitations. that you are excellent at loving.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“I think it is healing behavior, to look at something so broken and see the possibility and wholeness in it.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“We are socialized to see what is wrong, missing, off, to tear down the ideas of others and uplift our own. To a certain degree, our entire future may depend on learning to listen, listen without assumptions or defenses.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“In a fractal conception, I am a cell-sized unit of the human organism, and I have to use my life to leverage a shift in the system by how I am, as much as with the things I do. This means actually being in my life, and it means bringing my values into my daily decision making. Each day should be lived on purpose.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“We are in an imagination battle.

Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown and Renisha McBride and so many others are dead because, in some white imagination, they were dangerous. And that imagination is so respected that those who kill, based on an imagined, radicalized fear of Black people, are rarely held accountable.

Imagination has people thinking they can go from being poor to a millionaire as part of a shared American dream. Imagination turns Brown bombers into terrorists and white bombers into mentally ill victims. Imagination gives us borders, gives us superiority, gives us race as an indicator of ability. I often feel I am trapped inside someone else's capability. I often feel I am trapped inside someone' else's imagination, and I must engage my own imagination in order to break free.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“Matter doesn't disappear, it transforms. Energy is the same way. The Earth is layer upon layer of all that has existed, remembered by the dirt.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“It has meant getting in touch with my body and feelings in real time, and learning to express them. I am learning to engage in generative conflict, to say no, to feel my limits, taking time to feel my heartache when it comes—from living in America, from interpersonal trauma or grief, from movement losses.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G—is connected. The soil needs rain, organic matter, air, worms and life in order to do what it needs to do to give and receive life. Each element is an essential component. “Organizing takes humility and selflessness and patience and rhythm while our ultimate goal of liberation will take many expert components. Some of us build and fight for land, healthy bodies, healthy relationships, clean air, water, homes, safety, dignity, and humanizing education. Others of us fight for food and political prisoners and abolition and environmental justice. Our work is intersectional and multifaceted. Nature teaches us that our work has to be nuanced and steadfast. And more than anything, that we need each other—at our highest natural glory—in order to get free.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“Science fiction is simply a way to practice the future together. i suspect that is what many of you are up to, practicing futures together, practicing justice together, living into new stories. It is our right and responsibility to create a new world.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“If the goal was to increase the love, rather than winning or dominating a constant opponent, I think we could actually imagine liberation from constant oppression. We would suddenly be seeing everything we do, everyone we meet, not through the tactical eyes of war, but through eyes of love. We would see that there's no such thing as a blank canvas, an empty land or a new idea - but everywhere there is complex, ancient, fertile ground full of potential.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“The plant people have taught me to be generous and not be shy about blossoming, that it is our nature. I think when others see us, it can inspire them to open up and blossom too and we can be a field ablaze with dignity and beauty together.”
—Brenda Salgado”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“What is easy is sustainable. Birds coast when they can.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“b) ‘A Muslim is like a date palm tree whose leaves do not fall, always beneficial and never harmful.’ “This influences my organizing by reminding me that my core responsibility is to be a benefit to whatever I’m engaged in. I may not always know HOW that will happen but it has to be my aim. I want peoples’ lives to have been better (even in very tiny ways) from having participated with me in this work. This means to me that I bring beautiful words, actions, ideas, and behaviors into spaces. At the end of it all even if we don’t see the fruits of our labor, shouldn’t we be able to say we loved and enjoyed each other? That’s why I want to act and be like a palm tree, providing shade, covering my comrades (instead of throwing shade lol). I want to provide food (dates). I want to be what they can lean on. I want to be a resource, sustaining our work.” —Aisha Shillingford “I”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“Science fiction, particularly visionary fiction, is where I go when I need the medicine of possibility applied to the trauma of human behavior.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“Fiction that centers those who are currently marginalized—not to be nice, but because those who survive on the margins tend to be the most experientially innovative—practicing survival-based efficiency, doing the most with the least, an important skill area on a planet whose resources are under assault by less marginalized people.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“No one is special, and everyone is needed.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“We have experienced what it's like to release any assumption that one person has all the skills needed to lead and support the work.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“It is useful to classify the economic and ecological disruptions that make up this “new normal” of instability into two groups: shocks and slides. Shocks present themselves as acute moments of disruption. These are, for example, market crashes, huge disasters and uprisings. Slides, on the other hand, are incremental by nature. They can be catastrophic, but they are not experienced as acute. Sea level rise is a slide. Rising unemployment is a slide. The rising costs of food & energy are a slide.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“Are you actively practicing generosity and vulnerability in order to make the connections between you and others clear, open, available, durable? Generosity here means giving of what you have without strings or expectations attached. Vulnerability means showing your needs.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“Without positive obsession, there is nothing at all.”
—Octavia Butler”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“look at the anatomy of trees as one of nature’s examples of successful organizing that realizes that our power is in our ability to both be fiercely centered and grounded but also infinitely reaching towards our unique sources of energy, light, and growth. Each tree’s elements are reliant on one another but totally unique in form and function. There is no competition or pressure to be the root or the trunk or the buds that bloom. Each tree is a universe, a master delegator, a puzzle and a puzzle piece. They have encouraged me to not worry so much about making everyone ‘feel important’ and to focus on how to create systems and support efforts where everyone is important and clear on how their work is unique, crucial and totally interconnected.”
—Morgan Mann Willis”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“Nature vs. nurture is part of this—and then there is what I think of as anti-nurturing—the ways we in a western/US context are socialized to work against respecting the emergent processes of the world and each other: We learn to disrespect Indigenous and direct ties to land. We learn to be quiet, polite, indirect, and submissive, not to disturb the status quo. We learn facts out of context of application in school. How will this history, science, math show up in our lives, in the work of growing community and home? We learn that tests and deadlines are the reasons to take action. This puts those with good short-term memories and a positive response to pressure in leadership positions, leading to urgency-based thinking, regardless of the circumstance. We learn to compete with each other in a scarcity-based economy that denies and destroys the abundant world we actually live in. We learn to deny our longings and our skills, and to do work that occupies our hours without inspiring our greatness. We learn to manipulate each other and sell things to each other, rather than learning to collaborate and evolve together. We learn that the natural world is to be manicured, controlled, or pillaged to support our consumerist lives. Even the natural lives of our bodies get medicated, pathologized, shaved or improved upon with cosmetic adjustments. We learn that factors beyond our control determine the quality of our lives—something as random as which skin, gender, sexuality, ability, nation, or belief system we are born into sets a path for survival and quality of life. In the United States specifically, though I see this most places I travel, we learn that we only have value if we can produce—only then do we earn food, home, health care, education. Similarly, we learn our organizations are only as successful as our fundraising results, whether the community impact is powerful or not. We learn as children to swallow our tears and any other inconvenient emotions, and as adults that translates into working through red flags, value differences, pain, and exhaustion. We learn to bond through gossip, venting, and destroying, rather than cultivating solutions together. Perhaps the most egregious thing we are taught is that we should just be really good at what’s already possible, to leave the impossible alone.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“love isn’t always a doorway to forever…sometimes it is a door to another love. Always it is an emergent process.”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
“Assessment for Creating More Possibility What are all of your gifts? Are you living a life that honors all of your gifts? If yes, how did you create all this possibility for yourself? If no, how can you create more possibility today? Tomorrow? This month? This year? What are your organization’s unique gifts? Is your organization able to hold complexity?”
Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds