Open Spaces

by Terry Sterrenberg

Several years ago I participated in a mingling exercise at a workshop that changed my life. The directions were simple. They were to “keep moving” ; “keep walking”: “don’t stop”; “ just keep walking into the open space”. There were probably two hundred people in the room so this would seem to be a difficult task. Much to my surprise I found it quite easy. I just kept walking and there was always an open space to walk into, even when there seemed to be none. This experience branded into my brain that there was always an open space if I kept moving and looking and stepping into the unknown. The experience instilled in me a sense of freedom that I have never lost. Life never stands still when I keep stepping into the open space and each open space has been a portal to new life experiences and worlds to explore.

The theologian Paul Tillich at the end of his life was rumored as saying that “they” had done it all wrong and needed to start all over again.” I believe this about American politics and the capitalistic system in general. If capitalism is not to be just the means for creating inequality in a nation there needs to be some changes. That is why we created the “Dream We Choose” movie and the Community Wealth board game. There may be other games like it but I do not know of any, hence Laurie and I walked into the open space through a portal to a new possible economy, not an immediate fix but a possible first step toward a vision of a more fulfilling society for everyone. Some things that have been said about the game follow:

“I thought the game was particularly good for increasing people’s awareness of:

systems thinking
the complex interconnections between many ingredients for developing a business and community
the importance of long-term as well as short-term thinking
the need to balance LT vs ST payoffs (delayed gratification)
group dynamics (how decisions were made, conflicts resolved, values made explicit or not, air-time shared, people feeling included/supported/empowered)
the value of “plugging leaks”
many ways to plug leaks
the need to prepare (physically and psychologically) for unforeseen events
the feasibility and value of collaborative (community) projects, such as businesses
many ways to foster community well-being”

Recently I have begun to think that I ‘m getting too old to walk into new spaces. Today I’m thinking maybe that is not the case. So here is the deal, a hand extended and an online community for personal support. Take our hand and play the game with us and tell us what you think.