Wednesday, January 28, 2015

An Introduction to Caregiverism

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates

In working on an essay to introduce the vision of Caregiverism, a model I have been implementing most of my adult life through various social enterprises and endeavors, I've gradually developed a summary statement which is shared below. I realize many people dislike neologisms, but no existing word properly encompasses this vision and most come with heavy baggage attached.

As the first blog post here, I offer a glimpse into the transformative concept of Caregiverism:

Caregiverism is a grassroots model for cultural-spiritual transformation and system change, expanding the definition of 'care' and 'caregivers' beyond current role and gender limitations. It is the foundation for a Culture of Care – wholistic care of and for ourselves, other people, communities, non-human animals and our environment. Caregiverism cultivates a nurturing, open and honest, compassionate, optimistic, collaborative way of being and doing -- inviting communities to prioritize their collective values, which allows for thriving rather than merely surviving – in sharp contrast to the current destructively competitive, exploitative, cynical, domination-based worldviews and systems.

Caregiverism is about our collective empowerment, acknowledging our brokenness (personal and societal) and our courage to heal. 

Fundamental to Caregiverism is an awareness of our Interbeing (interconnectedness). With this awareness, decisions and choices are made with integrity, respect and courage in consideration of our inherent equal individual worth and the Common Good.

A Caring Society does not value money and material wealth, winning and competition, domination and control over all else.

A Caring Society does value empathy, reverence and wisdom, including the wisdom of balance and “having enough.” A Caring Society strives to live these values via true partnership, embodying them in all aspects daily life and in all institutions and systems.

Caregiverism offers a path of conscious evolution -- a path which intersects with many others -- toward living in compassion, courage, and connectivity. It is a path which puts compassion into action: personally, collectively and systemically.

In the context of Caregiverism, we care about, for and ultimately with one another. How we care may differ according to personality type, individual capacity and resources. Even those of us who are natural caregivers go through times when the responsibility of caring for others becomes overwhelming; we can, however, always care about even if our ability to care for may be limited.

Yet when we care with...cultural transformation can begin in earnest.

It takes courage to contemplate the hard questions and explore possible solutions and potentialities, to ask "What if?" It takes courage to not only envision a new way but to take the first step toward it, with integrity and commitment.

This introductory post is the first step onto a new pathway called Caregiverism, a path which supports and guides Humanity's conscious evolution. Yes, that is a bold, perhaps lofty assertion, but just imagine...what if?

It is important to note that Caregiverism isn't really new; it is an amalgam of my own theories based on personal experience, as well as a lifetime of exploration into many other practices and theories -- some ancient, some rooted in other "isms" familiar in modern history. However, the idea of acting with integrity and compassion and putting core values into action throughout all sectors of society has, sadly, become a peculiar, bizarre concept. In that respect it is indeed a very new proposal.

The model of Caregiverism is significantly influenced by the work of Riane Eisler (Caring Economy Campaign and Partnership Way) and the Charter for Compassion, two organizations with whom I have worked closely over the years, personally and via Wishadoo! and now Our Good. I consider them cornerstones of the Coalition for Good.

"From caring comes courage."  Lao Tzu

This short video clip of actor, Rainn Wilson, speaking of a Spiritual Revolution briefly touches upon and echoes the sentiments and intentions behind Caregiverism. I do wholeheartedly believe we need to truly open and expand our hearts and minds; to embrace the interconnectedness of all life; and to deeply care. To me, that is a spiritual revolution in and of itself.

Thank you for reading. More information is coming soon!

~ Dena