Connecting for Change brings together innovators from the business, social and philanthropic sectors to build connections and understanding about how to work together to create sustained social change, thus a more compassionate and peaceful world.

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Reflections on Connecting for Change 2009

Participant Reflections

On September 26th, 2009, 150 guests gathered at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, BC to begin the 2009 Connecting for Change dialogue.  The guests were participants, facilitators, Nobel Laureates, musicians, Dalai Lama Center Trustees, and volunteers. The guests ventured from across Canada and the United States and from around the world to experience 2 ½ days of connecting for change.

Read about the Participants' comments (4.42 MB PDF) about the Connecting for Change learning journey.

Visual ReflectionsThe Journey

View the Visual Facilitation Images created by Mariah Howard and Avril Orloff.

View the Interactive Visualization Story created by Sky (Jim Schuyler) of the Dalai Lama Foundation.

Participant Stories

"I truly believe that individuals can make a difference in society. Since periods of change such as the present one come so rarely in human history, it is up to each of us to make the best use of our time to help create a happier world."

- His Holiness the Dalai Lama

We learn, grow and connect through the collective power of storytelling.

Share your stories of what has emerged for you as a result of the Connecting for Change 2009 Dialogue and the connections that have been made.

For articles already posted, visit the Resources Page .

(Click on 'Add New Comment' to post your thoughts. If you want to send photos, email them to the Dalai Lama Center.)

C4C Participants were asked what gift did they receive from this experience? Here are just a few responses:

  • Seeing how people of such diversity could come together to create community.
  • The increased recognition that we are all part of this global community.  There simply are no accidents.
  • The gift was knowing how extensive goodness actually is.
  • The incredible array of passionate people that gathered together with the hope to change the world.
  • I think one of the greatest gifts was the concept of the possible. Surrounded by many people who have dreamed big and accomplished great change and improvements in their communities was not only inspiring but motivating and reminder to me that no dream is to big.
  • The reminder that together people come up with more ideas and solutions that are seen through a different lens and offer new possibilities and opportunities.
  • The generosity of those who were present, and the sincerity was unparalleled.
  • Experiencing heart-to-heart communications with varied individuals whom I did not even know before Saturday the 26th September has shown me that not only is it possible to feel the solidarity but also to actually collaborate in solving difficult problems.  It gave me an expansive and clear sense of how connected hearts, which is distinguished from individuals' rational understandings of given issues and conceptual outcomes, can produce miracles and brought me an astonishment with a shivering excitement that I am part of a large collective of human beings which, in resonance, has unlimited potentiality.
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Participant_Reflections_Summary_FINAL.pdf4.25 MB
Last month, I was honored to be one of 120 "agents of change" - along with the likes of Eckhart Tolle and His Holiness the Dalai Lama - at the Vancouver Peace Summit 2009 in Vancouver, Canada. Imagine being in an arena with thousands of people (including a whopping 16,000 youth) looking for positive, peaceful change for an evolving planet. As I write this, I am just completing with the conference, and I'm on cloud 9, wanting to share some important words from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. His major message was about combining compassion, intellect and action in order to bring peace to our world. I have always maintained that good decisions come when we combine the mind with the heart and the soul. The mind is an analytical faculty and helps us determine logic. The heart is where emotions reside and it is important to feel that our decisions and actions feel good. The soul is where inspiration lives, so it is important that our decisions and actions are inspiring. Such a combination is similar to the Dalai Lama's notions. COMPASSIONATE HEART As the Dalai Lama said, we all have the seed of compassion in our hearts. Many of us are blessed to have mothers who gave such a love - with deep compassion. Though that seed can be thought of as a gift from our mothers, we all have to essentially build and nurture such a seed for a compassionate world. The feminine power, often attributed to the nurturing women of the world, needs to take a more leading role in this century, whereas our previous century was more focused on technology and warring. Through the practice of meditation and forgiveness, our present and future focus must be on peace, demilitarization and nonviolence. We need to look at a world without boundaries, within living systems that promote a stance of "we" and not "I." I've often seen how this philosophy helps my life. By practicing forgiveness daily and embracing a compassionate heart, I have become calmer, more peaceful and, at the same time, I have experienced more physical vitality! A KEEN INTELLECT Though compassion is key, the Dalai Lama also noted the importance of a keen intellect. Let us not take for granted our ability to investigate, ponder, and ask the important questions. We've been given a mind for a reason. Use it to do inquiry into the outer realities as well as the inner world. We can use our intellect to problem solve, yet do so with a compassionate heart that includes the good of all. And once we have an answer in mind, we can apply it to all... with direct action. DIRECT ACTION The Dalai Lama noted the importance of taking action in our society. It's not enough to simply be with the heart. There must be expression. It's not how you feel about another person; it's how you treat them. There are practical ways to make a difference in the world. It's important to engage in doing some service to make it a better world. For example, though I forgave Tony for murdering my son Tariq, I still took the action in starting a foundation that would teach other children of non-violent principles. And each of us has our ways of turning a healed heart and mind into actions of change for a better world. To be an agent of change, it will take change on a few levels. So that you may be in a place... ... with a compassionate heart ... with a keen intellect ... taking actions that make a difference... ­­­

Janice R. Levine, PhD

MedWish International, Ambassador

To my fellow participants at C4C: I am truly enlarged for having shared this memorable time with all of you. The feeling is vast and whole, and while I hesitate to reduce its magnitude to words, allow me to try. This year I've been on a personal journey, of the sort that the arc of C4C's "The Call, the Journey, and the Return" implies. I followed the Calls for no reason other than that I felt their significance somewhere deep inside, not knowing what they would bring. I hiked the Israeli desert, I entered a week of meditation, I went on a medical mission to El Salvador, I started an east coast chapter of medWish International, and ended with attending C4C. Now is a period of integration and gestation. I haven't known exactly what path my life would take in this final "stage 3", but I now know that I'm at least on the right one, and that I can trust myself to recognize which tributaries lead me where I need to go. It's about opening to a world community; it's about being a part of a larger whole that pulsates with the rhythm of humanity rather than with individual achievement; it's about being in service rather than being in charge; surrendering to the unknown, and --as we all heard again and again-- embracing uncertainty and saying 'Yes.' I'm grateful to all of you for your open hearts and bold concerns, and for co-creating an environment in which my soul felt aligned with itself and with our beautiful collective energy. We are indeed holders of promise and possibility, and it was a privilege to share this sunrise with all of you. With gratitude, Jan Levine