viernes, 19 de octubre de 2007
jueves, 18 de octubre de 2007
It has been, I believe, the time of my genuine experience as a graduate student. My life has been affluent in all the ways that my time back at Michigan was scarce -- I now have love by my side; I get to laugh often over silly things; while I still wonder about lots of stuff, I now have a basic ability to navigate the everyday nuances of being an adult (which I didn't have at 22) - whereas the areas where I am still disfunctional, I must admit that it has beem mostly by choice; I eat healty and delicious food I now have the skill and energy to make for Jenny and myself; I exercise; I still retain my dignity, conscience and peace of mind unsullied... And yes, it's close to the end of my rope and I'm officially "without liquidity", the last of my savings is put away to face paying the minimum on my credit cards and next month's rent, while Jenny is covering the everyday expenses with her savings... But overall, my Integral Worth, as a person, is more solid, and more clear in my mind than it has ever been.
I had thought that I'd left behind activism a dozen or so years ago, only to realize I had only become more discriminating about my causes. Recently, I had to decide whether to pick up the banner of dignity as a University for Peace graduating student, or to simply look away and float into the driftwood of acquiescence to authority simply because it is authority. At the time, I held strong to the banner, this particular banner said "Transparency and Accountability", until there was a new cohort of students who will need to make that same decision for themselves. I had Jenny's support AND PATIENCE throughout the process, and the response of nearly a third of the graduating students, and later of 40% of the alumni from 5 prevoius years. A fellow alumni's documents much of that struggle in his blog: http://upaz.blogspot.com/ .
An unexpected consequence of researching background material about UPEACE's new direction, its links with corporate and geopolitical interests distanced from accountability and the prevalence of human rights over economic criteria, and the call for accountability and transparency, has been the opportunity to become more stronlgy committed to the cause of Burmese people, the monks who are leading the most recent pro-democracy protests, and the country's rightful leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. It seems this will be a long battle given the indiference of the Costa Rican government and media towards the current events in Burma (Myanmar).
Jenny and I also had our moment of anti-CAFTA activism. It was only for a few weeks and doesn't match the commitment of the thousands of volunteer community activists who worked non-stop until the day of the vote, but it was significant and committed. It was also Jenny's first activism experience.
I had another surprise connect with a job opportunity, working with Franklin, which seemed to slip from my fingers at least twice, but was rescued each time, once by Franklin's stubborness and a second time through a last minute hattrick that involved getting information about my U of M degree from someone I hadn't seen in over 15 years. Now I'm waiting for this to work its magic and turn the tide finantially, as well as nurturing my career and my experience as a trainer.
So with a heightened awareness of imparmanence, I count my blessings, parry the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" and keep alive my connection with the flow.
viernes, 20 de julio de 2007
- Offering a promise for the future while ignoring the problems of today
- Operating to create and maintain an false image - decisions based on keeping a good image, not on real needs or honesty
- Determining what to do based on how it will look to others
- Invalidating any views that threaten status quo - no channel to get honest feedback
- Fabrication of personality conflicts to shift attention away from real issues
- Dualistic thinking - simple solutions for complex problems
- Us against the world, us against them attitude
- Using perks, praise, promises to get people to act in ways they are not in agreement with/overworked, under-paid, etc.
- Isolating people who don't go along with the crowd, plan, policy
domingo, 3 de junio de 2007
I've promised myself no more idle blogging unless I've put in at least as much time polishing up my thesis. This means I won't be here as much, and I'll be way more invested in my Thesis Progress Blog: Deliberative Environmental Governance.
Please come over, post comments, frown at my bizarre ideas, light votive candles to Saint Jude (or to Sherab Chamma), whatever works!!
The link to that other blog is:
(or just click on the title to this article)
Hope to have you over for coffee and to being enriched by your input.
Garuda / Sergio.
sábado, 2 de junio de 2007
I was lucky, in the implementation of this project, to have a chance to work with my colleague and longtime friend, Fran Paniagua, who took some time off from his Ph.D. studies at the University of Florida to co-design and co-facilitate the workshops wit me. The workshop participants in each country were extremely generous, supportive and patient with us, and provided extremely valuable insights that helped us refine our methodology.
The workshop methodology was documented in a 24-minute DVD. Once the project was completed, Fran and I felt it would be a worthwhile effort to compose a handbook laying out the design and basic concepts of the workshops.
In my opinion, the handbook made two significant contributions: integrating diverse skills (communication, facilitation, negotiation) under a common thread in a way that can be relevant on-the-ground conservation stakeholder concerns, and its proactive framing of the learning process as collaboration, rather than resolving conflict. The handbook's pdf file (Spanish edition only) can be accessed at this address
(or by clicking on the title to this article).
Uno de mis logros más satisfactorios en el 2006 fue el diseño y ejecución de cinco talleres de capacitación con multiples actores del manejo paticipativo de Areas Silvestres Protegidas en diversos países centroamericanos. Estre trabajo se ejecutó bajo un contrato entre CEDARENA (una O.N.G. de Derecho Ambiental de Costa Rica) y la Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, con el apoyo de la Unión Europea.
Tuve la fortuna, en la realización de este proyecto, de trabajar con my colega y amigo de muchos años, Fran Paniagua, quien se dio un descanso de sus estudios de doctorado en la Universidad de Florida para co-diseñar y co-facilitar estos talleres conmigo. Los participantes en cada país fueron extremadamente generosos, apoyaron mucho el proceso y nos tuvieron gran paciencia, además, nos aportaron sus puntos de vista extremadamente valiosos para depurar la metodología.
La metodología del taller fue documentada en un DVD de 24 minutos. Una vez que el proyecto había sido desarrollado en su totalidad, Fran y yo consideramos que valdría la pena preparar un manual que detallara el diseño y los conceptos básicos de los talleres.
En mi opinión, el manual hace dos contribuciones relevantes: la integración de diversas destrezas (comunicación, facilitación negociación) bajo un hilo común que pueda ser relevante a los intereses locales de los actores de la conservación, y su planteamiento proactivo del proceso de aprendizaje como colaboración, en lugar de formularlo como la resolución de conflictos. El archivo en formato pdf del manual (unicamente disponble en español) puede accesarse en la dirección
(o siguiendo el vinculo en el titulo de este articulo)
I got these seven questions from a workshop on holistic hypnotherapy with Makarand, a transpersonal psychologist and body-worker, about 10 to 12 years ago.
Used in sequence, they may help arrive at greater clarity about what you want, and about the steps you can follow to achieve that.
1. What do you want?
2. How would you know that you have received what you want?
3. How would your life be different when you get it?
4. Is there any situation where you don’t want this thing/person/behaviour?
5. What resources do you need in order to get this specific outcome?
6. Is there anything you might lose when you finally get what you want?
7. What is stopping you from getting it right now?
martes, 29 de mayo de 2007
All this led me to start a life-transitions coaching practice, that I called: Garuda Sofia Transiciones. Inspired by Thomas Leonard's work, I set out to distill an "operating system" that would be the backbone of my coaching practice. My system became "the Aragorn Project", thus named because it was inspired by the second line in Bilbo's poem about Strider/Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings:
Thus came the Aragorn Project, a chart for wandering without being lost...
It is based on six general premises and twelve more detailed principles. Each premise is accompanied by a core value, and each principle by an aptitude.
I am especially fond of my first premise "Life is Jazz", because it is one of the few ocassions where I feel I've managed to be brief and still sustain the fundamental meaning.
You're welcome to share this, but please don't do it without crediting me and letting me know first.
- Life is Jazz.
Respect life’s cycles, and know when it’s your time to set the beat.
- Work is the antidote to helplessness
...and impotence, and despair. Work is not something you do for others, it’s how you set yourself free.
- Start building at Aha!
Insight is the power to grow, what lies beyond it is your responsibility.
- Create environments that amaze and support you!
Build the castle and the myth.
- It’s not about True or False, it’s about Framing
Learn what the current frame is made up of, allow new frames to manifest
- There is invulnerability in Love
There you may seek and find it
THE DETAILED PRINCIPLES
I. LIFE IS JAZZ ( Value - HARMONY)
1. You are your life’s secret ingredient (not just the garnishings). [Aptitude - Lead]
2. Accept that anything can change at any moment. [Aptitude - Flow]
II. WORK IS THE ANTIDOTE OF HELPLESSNESS (Value - PURPOSE)
3. Think of what makes you feel most helpless, what are you standing around it for? [Aptitude - Direction]
4. Think of what you enjoy most about your work, what if everyone in he world could feel that way? [Aptitude - Skillful Means]
III. START BUILDING @ AHA! (Value - RESPONSIBILITY)
5. Bring yourself to the place of discovery. [Aptitude - Mindfulness]
6. Account for every seed. [Aptitude - Responsible Vision]
IV. CREATE ENVIRONMENTS THAT AMAZE AND SUPPORT YOU (Value - INTEGRITY)
7. Show people that you’re okay with being helped, and surprised. [Aptitude - Availability]
8. Continuously nurture and rediscover your support systems. [Aptitude - Stewardship]
V. IT’S NOT ABOUT TRUE OR FALSE, IT’S ABOUT FRAMING. (Value - CLARITY)
9. "Wrong" kills possibilities! [Aptitude - Openness]
10. Allow every view’s wisdom to fit together through caring. [Aptitude - Bridge_Building]
VI. THERE IS INVULNERABILITY IN LOVE. (Value - FAITH)
11. Always cross reference every manifestation of love with the Source. [Aptitude - Awe]
12. Trust that fearlessness and bliss are there, even when you clearly can’t see them. [Aptitude - Transcendence].
This one is from the days studying Shaolin as a white belt in Mexico (2001).
EL SILENCIO SAGRADO Y EL CRECIMIENTO ESPIRITUAL
Pa Si Tai Sergio (Garuda) Guillén
"El silencio de los manifestantes no era ya una simple carencia de voces, sino algo mucho mas profundo. Era la plena realización de una proeza que si es difícil lograr individualmente, lo es aún mucho más colectivamente: la conquista del silencio interior, el único que permite al ser humano establecer comunicación consigo mismo y con su Creador."
Antonio Velasco Piña, Regina.
Recuerdo como si fuera hoy mi primer regalo de silencio consciente. Fue hace siete años, con la visita de Mikistly, hombre de medicina y de conocimiento, guía para ese momento, y hombre igualmente con sus cien mil cosas que resolver y trabajar todavía.
Habíamos reunido un grupo de hombres, con edades entre los 11 y los 50. Un grupo bastante heterogéneo, pero aún así un grupo de seres afines en ese momento, con búsquedas y preocupaciones comunes. Comenzamos a caminar por entre potreros y cercas, y frente a uno que otro toro de mirada desafiante, hasta lo alto de una colina.
El camino estaba rodeado de piedras enormes, de esas que con una sola mirada se sabe que ocultan la historia sagrada, y aún oculta, de aquellos cerros de Iskatzu. Seguramente como anclas que fijan en su lugar el destino de un pueblo que con demasiada frecuencia se olvida de ser digno de sí mismo.
Mikistly propuso que la marcha fuera en silencio. Todos aceptamos la sugerencia, al principio mas como una curiosidad (una "corronguera") que otra cosa. Con el paso del sol, el viento y el ascenso en espiral por los senderos de jinetes, el silencio fue cobrando vida propia. Hasta Javier, que estuvo paralizado por la mirada desafiante de un toro por cerca de veinte minutos, se las agenció para pedir ayuda sin pronunciar palabra.
Al llegar a la cima, el sabor particular de por un lado, no querer soltar ya nunca más este silencio, y por otra parte sentir a flor de piel verdades mucho más elevadas que el cuchicheo habitual de la mente, y querer compartirlas, le dio una doble textura a nuestra experiencia.
Al final del día, Mikistly compartió con nosotros sensación muy personal: "Hoy recibí de nuevo un regalo que había perdido hace mucho tiempo." Al preguntarle a qué se refería, agregó: "Hoy me fue regresado mi silencio."
Con la arrongancia acostumbrada del "domingo siete" me acuerdo como hoy que le respondí "No, pues eso te lo hubiera podido regalar yo hace tiempos, con solo que me hubieras dicho que lo estabas buscando." Recuerdo con cariño que se lo dije pensando en los cuatro años que viví en Canadá, mientras sacaba mi carrera, frecuentemente solo, generalmente abstraído en mis pensamientos aún cuando no estaba solo.
En esos tiempos, no había conocido todavía la diferencia entre la soledad circunstancial "porque no hay de otra" y la soledad que se procura conscientemente para cultivar el alma. Las dos son regalos, pero el grado de consciencia es diferente. También me era desconocida la diferencia entre el silencio interno y consciente, y el silencio somnoliento, de cuando se tiene cerrada la boca, pero por dentro se le sigue echando fardos al lomo de la mente.
Un salto cuántico, siete años después. Un entrenamiento en el Desierto de los Leones, con quesadillas incluidas. La palabra clave, el recipiente vacío. Un momento para vivir en el presente.
Por supuesto, la mente juegra trampas. El recipiente vacío me alcanzó hasta el tiempo de pelear con los palos. Para entonces, ya mi ego estaba demasiado inquieto por asumir de nuevo las riendas del "changarro".
Si lo miro ahora, tiene como un efecto hasta de viaje astral, el yo Zen se sale del cuerpo, y su lugar pasa a ser ocupado por el burrito de los fardos. Tan ocupado pensando en las tecnicas de Jo de Aikido que no puedo vivir el presente ni mantener la conección con el bastón del Shaolín, y por supuesto, sin hacer ninguna de las cosas bien.
A la subida de la cuesta, pongo un segundo la mano en el hombro de mi tutora, para agradecerle la lección aprendida. Lección más sobre el ego que sobre el palo. Lo cual por supuesto, cierra el ciclo perfectamente, porque al ego hay que darle bastante palo!
En fin, como estamos tan llenos de egos y de proyecciones, la mente no se queda satisfecha con el gesto, tiene que meter una palabra de más, un "gracias". Porque los gestos, para la mente, son demasiado ambiguos y hay que fijarles su interpretación adecuada.
Y de ahí sale la verdadera ofensa contra el alma, la querer editarla, y no confiar en que el alma puede hacerse cargo de sí misma, y que tiene su propio espacio sagrado; el cual podemos tocar mas facilmente si logramos ir más allá de las palabras.
La Condesa, 4 de Abril del 2001.
In a tacit way, through contradictions between his beliefs, his actions, scars from past humiliations, and his often rampant bigotry, this is pretty much what I learned from my father early in life.
It took much work to reclaim my masculinity as a source of goodness and nurture for myself and others. The change was much harder in form than in substance...
One day, in August of 1999, after a particularly strong session of rebirthing, Francesca, my rebirther confronted me with a strong clarity about the beliefs that were imprinting my relationship to masculinity...
What came out is probably the strongest transformation of my views that I've been able to capture in writing...
Each of these affirmations came out of (and serves as the tantric antidote to) one or more beliefs acquired from my father:
- Truly powerful men enrich the lives of those they come into contact with.
- Truly powerful men give of themselves freely and set powerful boundaries. I forgive my father for teaching me otherwise. He was wrong. He meant well.
- Truly powerful men allow Truth to shine out.
- True Power is Divine Wisdom
Divine wisdom guides Choice
Choice brings Responsibility
Responsibility is Freedom
Freedom is Power.
- Truly powerful men express themselves including their feelings.
- Truly powerful men see the power in Others.
- Truly powerful men understand that every Person is responsible for their own Wellbeing.
- True power is Love, Love is Invulnerable.
Tarbaca, Costa Rica. August 1999
lunes, 28 de mayo de 2007
Not since my Model Mugging days, half a decade ago, can I recall being in a place so filled with women power. I was able to join them briefly for the icing on the cake, the lecture (but then, you absolutely can't call it a lecture) by Ina May Gaskin about, among other things: the Sphincter Law.
Her wry humor, provocative scholarship and sensitivity are all summed up in one of her opening comments which I particularly enjoyed:
"I wonder how the Dr. who screams 'push, push, push' at a woman in labor (right at her face and probably even spitting a little) would fare if someone walked up to him while he was trying to poop and screamed at his face: 'push, push, push'."
I was only going to be there for lunch and to keep Jenny company for a few minutes, but I absolutely couldn't leave, so drawn was I to the energy and the implications of what was happening.
Prejudice, legal pitfalls, egos and the Costa Rican insular distrust have really hit the midewifery community here and made it difficult for people to work together and trust one another. I hope this event helps open the hearts and strengthen the bonds between all women (and a few of us men) who believe that changing the start of life can help change the quality of every day after that...
jueves, 24 de mayo de 2007
Classes ended yesterday, with the atrocious "dog show" assignment of presenting to one another our thesis "findings"...
(even though we haven't had time or focus to research, do fieldwork, reflect, or otherwise come up with any findings)...
I had a big outburst last Friday about this. All the frustration about assignments that don't make sense, lack of thinking about the real educational implications of an assignment, and frustration with institutional learning disabilities, just swelled up and out of my mouth before I could do anything to contain it.
Small mercy! I don't think I could have kept all that bottled up inside, after hearing all that came out of my frustration.
Now, it's the first day of rest. I've spent the first productive hours on my computer fueling the bonnfire of APEP, the national peace studies association that all UPEACE ticos think it's a great idea to create, but most haven't really devoted any time to getting it off the ground.
I interviewed a couple of cleaining ladies, hoping one will turn out okay... and went looking for places that Jenny and I can move to in September.
Along the way, I ran into my grades 4 & 6 math teacher, Mrs. Mata. She looks to be in great shape, retired only last year, and is active in philantropic work. It seems her daughter left her successful engineering career (also) to study environmental management at UNED.
I walk around like I'm missing a part of me. I don't know if it's the effect of the first day outside the overwhelm & mad pace of grad-school-in-1-year, or if I'm just in advance mourning about everyone that will be going away in the coming days...
The cat that Jenny and I are refusing to adopt is outside crying again. And I'm here writing and trying to keep it real.
sábado, 21 de abril de 2007
On democracy "a la tica", and its part in getting us to this dark place (and maybe getting us back out of it)
I've been hearing words of doom about the imminent (though hopefully temporary) collapse of Costa Rica's power grid for at least the past 3 years. However, I hadn't imagined that, when it came, it would happen as unceremoniously.
According to today's La Nacion, 5 different pieces of equipment in 4 different powerplants failed within a two week period, coinciding with low reservoir levels due to the dry season. The low rainfall affected not only Costa Rica, but also Panama, leading it to cut power exports to Costa Rica a month ago. However, this serves little as an explanation, and more as a mere mechanic's checklist of pieces that gave in under the stress of a tragically flawed institutional reality.
As for me, I trace the origins of the crisis to a number of bridges (metaphorical ones) that people chose to burn along the way as they pulled in different directions while trying to carve the future shape of Costa Rican development.
Some of these bridges were burned before 2000, by the "elephant in the china shop" approach of some hydro developers who felt that, by simply pulling strings in San Jose, they could trample over people's sense of connection to their land, to their communities, and their pragmatic notions about fairness, which plainly required that exploiting local resource should be tied to promoting local prosperity. Many more bridges were burned through the fire of the ICE Combo protests, that gave civil society a sense of purpose, but also offered instant political capital to self-styled crisis entrepreneurs. The greatest irony was that ICE, the very symbol that people went to the streets to defend, found the hard way that it was no longer immune to the Pandora's box of social mobilization, as one after another, its projects also became the object of public outcry.
The problem, however, was not in the questioning, but in the fact that through all that bridge burning, we lost the capacity to listen to one another. And as the listening was lost, so were the spaces where we could come together and agree on what were the important questions that needed asking.
Many calls were raised to participation, but no one stepped up to participate in finding solutions. Others argued that private electricity was a swindle, because the rates were much higher than ICE's internal costs of generating that same energy, however, these were not there to analyze, in the absense of actions to either reduce consumption or find alternative sources, what the cost to consumers would be of either importing electricity or paying for the cost of diesel PLUS the fees to private companies for the emergency use of their diesel generators. To top it all off, the current administration annonced to the world last year its commmitment to turn Costa Rica, by the end of the next decade, into the first country ever to generate 100% of its electricity without fossil fuels, in an impressive display of obliviousness about its own inability to gain support from rural communities to build any more hydro projects, its main source of non-fossil power.
In summary, much of what we're facing in this blackout season is a result of what the 2004 State of the Nation Report referred to as Costa Rica's greatest challenge: its generalized incapacity to reach agreements across society about anything, and particularly about the path it needs to follow to construct its future. The landscape is now complicated by a new threat, the one of resorting to quick fixes when a situation becomes highly politically volatile. As the local saying goes, "stirred-up river, fisherman's gain". In Honduras, after the 1994 blackouts, those fishermen who took home the winfall were the thermal generators, as the country sealed its fate by signing large concessions that brought it, over less than a decade, from a primarily renewable (hydro) fuel mix to a "carb-saturated diet".
Now, more than ever, and sadly under great pressures, Costa Rica needs to make the right decision about the governance of its energy development. The quality of this decision, however, cannot stem from a bottomline/GDP analysis alone (and I'm sure we're going to hear a lot about energy and GDP in the coming days), rather it will depend on how well we take stock of all of the values, as well as the variables, that are at stake.
Through my thesis, Rediscovering democracy: Deliberating environmental insecurities in the Costa Rican power sector, I've set out to explore the potential offered by deliberative democracy, its ability to guide the inclusion of multiple values, and to help us strive to hear each others' concerns openly. Its goal is to help shape a model of environmental governance, taking the example of the power sector, which can help us construct legitimacy, understanding, and the social will to tackle the roots of the problems and to recognize the constraints on our resources, rather than resorting to quick fixes.
jueves, 22 de marzo de 2007
Esta palabra acuñada a como pude para darle una cara, un "lobby", una fórmula (al)química a esta mezcla de muro de lamentaciones, galería de espejos y refugio de viajeros - medio a lo "Tencha" y a lo cueva de Ta Mo (combinados el sudor y el aroma de flores hechas de párpados).
Conjurada sin tener más remedio que agarrar dos cosas que no van juntas ni tampoco le pertenecen a uno, pero con las que uno lleva tanto rato agarrándose que al final uno hace como que habla de ellas, y termina hablando de su propia naturaleza.
El "Ing" del Ingenio, no como "Coné", sino como Tales y Juanelo y los "hijos de Marta" como los llamaba Kipling. El Ing es de Ingeniárselas, y bueno, al final de cuentas viene a ser también de la ingeniería (en este caso con minúscula) aunque ésta se haya quedado casi huérfana de alma ("perfección de medios y confusión de fines", como decía el Tío Beto).
Es el Ing como lente para ver y relacionarse con el mundo amando la idea de que algo que es pequeño y cotidiano. también es complejo, y que esa complejidad no es solo de aquello, sino del mundo.
La Gestalt, por Perls (Laura, claro está) y por los viejos barbudos que la precedieron... La Gestalt como recordatorio de honrar el Todo, siendo el Todo. Sabiendo además que la forma no la tienen las cosas, se las doy yo.
Así abrimos este zafarrancho, IngGestalteando... Ingeniándonosla para honrar el Todo, viendo lo que tenemos en la punta de la nariz, y conviviendo con todas las demás caras del prisma, del holograma.