Creating a World That Works for All

Commonway Institute  


Creating a World That Works for All



[Note:  This is a truncated, 300 word version of a 750 word article.  For the full version, click here: ]




I was recently talking to a Commonway supporter whose city had just taken the step of becoming a “sanctuary city” …

When I commended him on helping his city take these actions, he sounded depressed.  “It’s not enough.  In the face of all that needs to be done, I sometimes question whether our actions are comprehensive enough to really make a change in how things are going.  Sometimes I feel helpless and hopeless.”

“Hopeless and depressed” or “grateful and optimistic” are two emotional states that depend on your perspective.  I am pretty much the opposite of “hopeless and depressed”.  In these crazy times, I am feeling a new sense of solidity and optimism.  My reason has several parts to it:

Take Action?  Take WHAT Action?

The Women’s March that occurred the day after the Inauguration was impressive.  In city after city, the march organizers reported numbers more than double their expectations.  …

Like the Occupy Phenomenon before them, the marchers proved that people want profound change.  … However, it’s a bit harder to transform anger into a positive force for social change.

From Caterpillars to Butterflies

The problem is that Donald Trump represents the caterpillar.  (And Hillary Clinton represented just a different caterpillar.)  The solution is that we need the BUTTERFLY.

We can spend all of our time protesting the dying caterpillar.  (Protest won’t make it die faster.)  Or, we can become the seeds, the “imaginal cells”, of the new, emerging butterfly.

And please remember: in the transformation from the caterpillar to the butterfly, THE BUTTERFLY ALWAYS WINS.  A caterpillar never walks out of a chrysalis.  NEVER.  It’s inevitable.

It’s one of the really great things about being an imaginal cell… our victory is assured.***




Over the next month, I will be laying out the groundwork for how we can all start moving from hopelessness, anger and despair to positive action for societal transformation.  This is our time!  It’s time to get our butterfly in gear!


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Shariff Abdullah | | Commonway Institute | P. O. Box 12541 | Portland, OR 97212

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