Appreciative Visioning

Appreciative visioning: powerful and empowering could change the world. We have a responsibility to appreciate what is good, what works, what is valuable and vital.  We have the power to envision and create a better world.  Let's make appreciative visioning to go viral.

Last night, while lying awake thinking, I had found myself spiraling into a state of worry and fear concerning events in the world; the economy, the civil unrest, the unsettling weather patterns, the lack of work for so many people, and so on. I was pondering the fear that goes viral from the news on the networks and internet and the immediacy of that fear. I found myself feeling the fear and despair in my own body and wondering, "What can I do?"

That question triggered the words, "appreciative visioning."  So, I began with myself. What do I appreciate about myself? My body? My mind? Health? Talents? Attitudes? Accomplishments? Abilities? It felt good to appreciate myself, as I can be my own worst critic. Any thought that was not "appreciative," I let go.

I then moved on and began to think about what I appreciate about my father, my mother, my husband, my son, everyone else in my family, friends, and co-workers who came into my thoughts. I appreciated my "things"; my car that gets me where I need and want to go, my home, my pets, my work that brings in the money that allows me to get the things that I need and want, my food, the air I breathe, the water I drink and wash with, the beautiful flowers in the yard, the amazing country that I live in, my government that I believe does fundamentally strive for democracy and freedom, the beautiful earth that nurtures us. I went on and on in the process of appreciative visioning. I found myself relaxing and feeling hopeful and at peace with myself and my world.

The powerful process of transformation through appreciation is not new to me. I had the opportunity a few years ago of participating in the program "Appreciative Inquiry" taught by David Cooperrider at the Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Managmement in Ohio. Appreciative Inquiry focuses on what works, rather than focusing on what doesn't work or "the problem." Appreciative inquiry dialogue elicits an envisioning of positive outcomes and positive changes.

And several years prior to that, I participated in the Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach: The Power of Dialogue in Educating Adults by Jane Vella.  LLLT is a program designed to help educators discover what mature students want and need to learn in order to co-create teaching opportunities that have relevancy and immediacy. It is about dialogue between teachers-learners as teachers are learners and learners are teachers. Dialogue engages participation and co-creativity, whereas, monologue is a form of presenting information to a passive audience, with little if any expectation or desire of engaging participation with that audience.

Sitting in front of a TV listening to the news can be considered a form of monologue directed at a passive audience. It would be easy to complain and blame the news reporters and networks about their incessant focus on tragedy, strife, misery, mayhem, and the downfall of the rich and famous. But, who is the audience? Maybe it is simplistic thinking on my part, but I do believe that news agencies pander to the public interest, or to what is perceived to be the public interest.

Most news programs invite public opinions; opportunities to dialogue, to become involved, to be heard. Being informed about what is going on in the local community and in the global community allows us to make decisions, to become involved, to increase our knowledge and understanding. I appreciate having the news available at the touch of a finger. But, I would like to see and hear more news about what works, about what is good, helpful, and positive that is happening everywhere around the world. I would like to see more of what appreciative visioning about, of, for, with our government, our lawmakers, our corporations, our educators, our medical professions, our cities, our countries, and ourselves couldand would do to make this world a better, more sustainable place . I would like appreciative visioning to go viral.