Once a month we share our noticings, amplify important voices, and keep asking big questions.

Same same, but different. 

Issue Nº 5, April 2021
Fairy garden with resistance signs
Fairy garden in my new neighborhood.
Hello fellow people!

This month I’m thinking a lot about place, connection and roots.

After nearly 6 years living in other parts of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area, we moved back to a neighborhood in South Minneapolis, in close proximity to the neighborhoods where I spent my wayward youth, lived during graduate school, and welcomed my daughter into this world. The nagging anxiety that has plagued me in recent years—even amidst the lush park-like land of the suburbs where we lived—is melting away, replaced by a sense of the familiar, of connection and belonging. The sounds of not-so-distant sirens, cars going by with their windows down and music on loud; a boulevard fairy garden complete with miniature ‘BLM’ and ‘Defund the Police’ signs; the creaking wood floors of an apartment in a 100 year old building. While this land is not my land (as we’ve written about before) this place is home to me.
“The Kanaka Maoli word for land—ʻāina, meaning “that which feeds”—teaches that what you care for cares for you back.” (from a short creative nonfiction piece by Anjoli Roy)

“Place is still the key connection linking Native Hawaiians to each other and to an indigenous heritage.” (from This Land Is My Land: The Role of Place in Native Hawaiian Identity)
The relationship to land is strong in many indigenous cultures. The notion that we (humans) are separate from (and can control) the land, from nature, from the ecosystem, is one of the many fallacies of white dominant culture. I’ve been reading quite a few indigenous authors lately, each opening up a new corner of thinking, a new wisdom or inquiry.

In the small but mighty book, Ideas to Postpone the End of the World, Ailton Krenak asks for whom is it the end of the world right now, as many indigenous cultures have faced (and survived) the end of their worlds.

Shawn Wilson’s book, Research as Ceremony, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s beautiful book, As We Have Always Done, and Louis Yako’s article “Decolonizing Knowledge Production” are a few of the many voices that advocate for cognitive justice, redefining knowledge production and consumption, and opening up a more just (and, for me, refreshing) approach to what we know, how we know, and how we share our wisdom. These three pieces open up new ways of thinking about my own knowledge production and consumption, ways of knowing and where our work is situated in a much richer and more vast landscape than I had been conscious about, and my relationship with the land, my ancestors (biological and cognitive) and the many sources of wisdom.

Which brings me back to this land and the blessings of being rooted in community, of living in a place with many stories yet to be heard and yet to unfold. There is magic in going deep, in staying with a community, a place, a challenge, an idea or a question long enough to let it really sink in.

It is critical that we have a place or a people with whom we can be nourished. This home base, this community, is where we return to replenish, rest, see and be seen for who we truly are. A strong base, deep roots, make us more resilient. We can venture out, go out on a limb, mobilize, advocate, fight and find our way back to be soothed, restored, rejuvenated and filled up. I recently wrote about our nervous system, home and connection here.

It is spring. Ramadan began this week. It is a time of renewal and transformation. I am enjoying the birds that have nested in the awning outside my kitchen window (we think there are 5 eggs!), the trees are budding out, the native perennials with their long and deep roots are starting to push forth new growth.

May we all experience the generosity and abundance of this time as we celebrate new growth.

Note: we sent this on a Saturday on purpose. Read more about that below. 

In joy, 



Here are some thought-provoking, engaging, and otherwise beautiful offerings that presented themselves this month. How might these deeply rooted ideas break up your status quo?

More and more we are seeing (and celebrating!) the words complexity, adaptation and complex-adaptive show up in our industry. And yet….the knowledge, attitudes and practices around adopting complexity-aware approaches don’t fully embrace what it offers. Anna wrote about the beliefs that keep us from embracing complexity, and how she has come to know herself as a complexity coach and what it means to dance with complexity.

There are many ways to invest in our communities—volunteering, tax dollars and how the city budget is allocated, making friends with your neighbors (and many more).
  • Mentor and friend Rita Sinorita Fiero wrote last year about how police investment in the community saves money (results from her evaluation of the Trauma to Trust project). It’s still a great read and applicable to the current dialogue about police (de)funding.
  • During the pandemic it has been hard to borrow from neighbors. It’s one practice that I look forward to picking up again, and it strengthens democracy! If you need a cup of sugar for your 9 pm baking emergency, by all means, knock on my door!
I recently came across the work of El Marto, a Burkinabe activist, illustrator and street artist. May his work, and life, give you joy.
Street art by El Marto
Street art in South Africa by El Marto.
Note: We are sending this email out on a Saturday. This breaks with our usual pattern, and might seem inappropriate for work communication. I want to share a bit of our thinking around this. We did not send this out on a Saturday because of urgency (having missed our usual posting deadline earlier this week). We discussed the false separation between work and personal life that is part of white/Western cultural norms. We discussed how you, our readers, are fully capable of managing your own inboxes and that this offering will be read, or not, at a time that works for you regardless of when we send it. In choosing to send this out on a Saturday we also recognize that not everyone is like us -- not everyone’s week begins on our Monday morning. We also discussed the nature of this email. This is about creating connection, shifting mindsets, opening up new ideas. What we offer here is something that is (we hope) deeper and more meaningful than your typical marketing email, something that might best be read over breakfast, or as a break from weekend warrior mode as a quiet reflective moment. We hope you find it an enjoyable pause.


If you haven’t yet registered for our upcoming webinar, Visualizing change: working with illustrators to bring ideas to life, there’s still time!

This remote workshop will walk through when and why to use illustration, and how to work with an illustrator to make ideas visual.

Wednesday, April 28th, 2020
09:00 - 10:30 CDT (UTC -5)

$25 per person

Learn more and register here
Picture Impact is a women-owned small business.

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