Beyond Partisan Divides
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Thursday, September 8, 2016
Presented on August 17, 2016
Q&A with Mark Gerzon
Presented on August 31, 2016
Read below to find out about Healing Our Political Divides with Mark Gerzon.
Discover tools, practices and insights to transform political discord into constructive dialogue and positive relationships.
Are you deeply concerned about our divisive political environment but aren’t sure how to engage in a way that’s constructive, healing and unifying?
Do political discussions in your family or community tend to deteriorate into heated arguments and flared tempers?
Are you worried about the future of our country, given that presidential campaigns are anything but presidential, with more and more mudslinging, nastiness and negativity widening the political divide?
You’re not alone. In America (and elsewhere), we’re more divided than we’ve ever been — and the problems that are causing that division are becoming more entrenched.
Political polarization is hurting marriages, families, businesses and communities. It’s paralyzing progress on issues ranging from the environment to crime to reducing the federal deficit.
It’s also preventing us from having enlivening and constructive conversations about how to evolve our democracy. People are shying away from talking about hot-button issues for fear of triggering hostile confrontations and damaging relationships.
Political polarization has become a national crisis with profound repercussions for our collective wellbeing and the future of our nation.
Fortunately, there IS a higher path that heals ill will and expands our conflict transformation skills. Teacher and facilitator Mark Gerzon is lighting the way with principles and practical solutions that have already begun healing divides all across the country, from communities to the halls of Congress.
In a season of unprecedented political attacks, Mark illuminates how you can transform political engagement into a pathway of personal and collective transformation.
Mark can show you how to engage political differences in an evolutionary way that brings people together instead of driving them apart. It’s a skill that’s not only valuable for discussing politics but for addressing conflicts of any kind.
He can explain how you get stuck in position taking, defensiveness or polarizing language instead of using the power of listening and problem solving to create real understanding, healed relationships and innovative solutions.
Become a More Empowered Citizen
Now, for the first time, Mark is offering his core teachings and practices (as well as those of prominent colleagues) in the important new program, Healing Our Political Divides.
Over the course of 7 weeks, Mark and his colleagues will show you how you can engage political differences in a way that leaves you happier, wiser and more connected — and our democracy healthier for it.
Consider what life would look like — not just in an election cycle, but all the time — if acrimony gave way to harmony, if building walls gave way to building bridges, if time spent with family and friends transformed from a battleground to finding common ground?
Imagine our communities focusing on building real solutions together. Imagine our nation becoming a place where our political process is healthy, respectful and collaborative.
Mark will chart the course toward co-creating more positive political engagement that brings families, businesses and communities back together.
A Wise Guide
Mark is no armchair philosopher; he’s facilitated retreats for members of Congress and has a long and distinguished history of work on transpartisanship. His recent book, The Reunited States of America, is winning kudos from left and right. And his work on conflict resolution is recognized as world-class.
During this 7-week program, Mark will distill a lifetime of learnings into practices that can help you heal the partisan divides in your life. He’ll also be integrating other top political experts, luminaries, visionaries, trailblazers and change agents into the curriculum.
And the best part is that these principles apply far beyond partisan politics — they’ll help you navigate any conflict or difference. You’ll come away with valuable skills that can benefit every area of your life from here on out.
During Mark’s 7-week course, you’ll:
- Understand the roots of political divisiveness and how to address them in a systematic way
- Discover how to make an important shift that leads to more connected discussions
- Receive insights into how to let go of control and focus on deepening relationships
- See how to champion the “whole truth” and move beyond position-taking to problem-solving
- Develop more skill in opening to deeper listening and mutual understanding
- Discover pathways to bold solutions that transcend partisan politics
- Help reclaim the full power of our democracy
- Engage in innovative and inspired actions
- Learn about a larger community with resources and connections for you to tap into
- Expand your understanding of ways to make your voice heard and your vote count
- Receive processes that enable you to see opposing sides and possibilities for common ground
The need for us to come together has never been greater, not just for our own sake but for the good of the planet.
The path toward common ground can seem daunting at times — listening respectfully to opposing views, searching for mutual understanding, and collaborating across party lines toward real solutions.
You’re invited to take your place among citizens who are helping actualize the full power of democracy and create a more positive politics built around respect, kindness, civility and dignity.
By taking this program, you put yourself on the path to being an everyday civic leader who can unite different perspectives by focusing on common ground and alignment, leading to win-win outcomes.
If you want your hope for democracy restored and your passion rekindled for constructive political discourse — and you want to develop valuable skills for transcending partisan divisiveness — this is the program for you!
What You’ll Discover in These 7 Weeks
Course sessions are on Thursdays at 5:00pm Pacific.
In this 7-week transformational intensive, Mark will guide you through the fundamental skills and competencies you’ll need to heal partisan divides and build respectful, mutually beneficial relationships.
Each weekly LIVE session will build harmoniously upon the next so that you’ll develop a complete understanding of the practices, tools and principles you’ll need to sustain your engagement as a change-making citizen.
Module 1: Transforming Partisanship Into Opportunity
Key Actions: Grounding, Embodying, Aligning
Guest: Melissa Michaels
The blessing and curse of politics is that it takes us beyond ourselves — it’s a blessing because it connects us to something greater than ourselves; and it’s a curse because we often abandon ourselves and lose our inner power in the process.
This first session focuses on grounding ourselves in our own experience: our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and yes, our souls. When we’re embodied and aligned, we’re are far less likely to be triggered into reflexive hyperpartisan responses. Instead, we can bring our whole selves into action and discover opportunities to create the world we want.
In this module, you’ll:
- Experience the “transpartisan transformation” by going to the balcony
- Rediscover what dignity and decency look and sound like in our leaders (and ourselves)
- Reclaim an inner sense of wholeness and connection with ourselves, others and our nation
- Reground ourselves in the wisdom of our bodies, and let it teach us about political divides and how to embody wholeness
- Understand the brain science behind why conflict hijacks the amygdala and undercuts the neocortex
- Preview the remarkable mindsets, skillsets and toolsets that can help us heal political divides
- Empower yourself to “open up” your heart and to recognize and recover when your heart “shuts down”
Melissa Michaels, EdD is a body-centered educator, founder of Golden Bridge and author of Youth On Fire, whose leadership program has empowered hundreds of social entrepreneurs and peacebuilders around the world.
Module 2: From Confirming to Learning &
From Control to Relationship (September 15)
Key Action: Embracing Paradox
Guest: Barbara Edwards
When we bring our whole, grounded selves to politics, we’re less likely to be seduced by partisanship. We’ll be better able to defend ourselves against politicians’ favorite weapons: polarizing language. The Left and Right fight about these kinds of word pairs: (1) Change or stability? (2) Liberty or authority? (3) Freedom or order? (4) Public service or free enterprise? (5) Secularism or spirituality?
However, as we discovered in the previous session, our healthy common humanity embraces both. We are each unique integrations of left and right. In this week’s session, we’ll develop a civic practice that does not lead to embracing one side and disowning the other, but instead enables us to hold paradox — and transform it into effective civic action.
In this module, you’ll:
- Rekindle the flame of discovery (Chapter 1: Reunited States of America)
- Liberate yourself from “partisan prison” by embracing paradox: beyond the bias bubble
- Practice the art of listening more effectively to one’s adversary or “enemy:” political cross-training
- Re-explore our “political identity” and uncover the roots of our attachment to opinions and positions
- Become aware of the dependent-independent-interdependent arc of our lives (with Barbara Edwards, drawing from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People )
- Become skilled at “getting to yes with yourself” (with William Ury)
Barbara Edwards, an experienced leadership coach and senior consultant with the Franklin Covey Company, has taught leadership and conflict resolution to thousands of people around the globe.
Module 3: From Position Taking to Problem Solving (September 22)
Key Actions: Debate, Dialogue
Guest: Ron Kertzner
When we act as whole beings capable of holding complexity, we can speak and lead with greater confidence and creativity. While the specific challenges and problems we face depend on the setting (family, community, workplace, electoral politics), the mindsets, skillsets and toolsets for healing divides are similar.
In this session, we’ll explore some of the specific skills and tools for “political cross-training.” We have many skills and tools at our fingertips, including advocacy/debate and inquiry/dialogue. Once we awaken to our own inner freedom, we can use these skills and tools to transcend polarization and begin solving the tough problems of today.
In this module, you’ll:
- Shift your mindset from taking prefabricated positions to solving problems
- Access the full range of leadership styles and eight “forms of discourse”
- Frame issues so they lean toward solutions rather than toward division
- Bring abstract, polarized conversations down to earth
Ron Kertzner is the co-founder of ChoicePoint Consulting and an experienced leadership development trainer, facilitator, and coach for major corporations, non-profit organizations and, most recently, for the Obama and Clinton Presidential campaigns.
Module 4: From Differences to Opportunities (September 29)
Key Action: Bridging Divides (Conflict Resolution)
Guest: William Ury
Building on the first three modules, this session directly addresses the fundamental principles and basic practices of conflict resolution. “Embracing paradox” and “debate/dialogue” are part of a broader set of skills that are part of the “Mediator’s Toolkit.”
This module showcases the tools we’ll need to address the specific conflicts in our lives and in our communities. Some of these tools are inner capacities (integral vision, systems thinking, presence and inquiry), while others are outer capacities (conscious conversation, dialogue, bridging and innovation). All are a vital part of healing political divides.
In this module, you’ll:
- Distinguish between Hot and Cold Conflict and discover how to find the right temperature for transforming “cooking” conflict
- Make the shift in mindset from “accomodate” or “dominate” to negotiate
- Release self-righteousness: the climate change case study
- Become an empowered “third side” who is strong enough to mediate adversarial situations
- Focus on where you can make a difference
Dr. William Ury, lecturer at the Harvard Negotiation Project, is the author of Getting To Yes and other books on working through conflict.
Module 5: From Theory to Practice, Part I (October 6)
Key Action: Applying Skills to Current Issues
Guest: Bill Shireman
This module will focus on several specific political issues that are currently being debated in the 2016 election. Issues may include: gun policy, immigration policy, foreign policy and campaign finance. We’ll apply the skills learned in sessions 1-4 to these issues and take the first practical steps toward learning how we can most effectively convene (or participate in) generative cross-partisan dialogues that lead to discovery, relationship building and actual problem solving.
In this module, you’ll:
- Apply the core principle of Collaboration Leadership
- Understand how to frame an issue in an inclusive, solutions-oriented way
- Ensure that the “whole system” participates in the conversation
- Develop reliable, balanced information for the dialogues
- Design the right process to achieve your goals
Bill Shireman, a San Francisco Republican, is the founding President of Future 500, an organization that unites corporations and activists, and Republicans and Democrats, to protect the environment and find sustainable solutions to other tough social problems.
Module 6: From Theory to Practice, Part II (October 13)
Key Action: Applying Skills to Participants’ Issues of Choice
Guest: John Steiner
Unlike the previous session, this module will focus on specific issues provided by participants. Based on feedback gathered from participants about the issues they’re wrestling with, we’ll apply the skills and tools learned in earlier sessions to participants’ actual leadership challenges. Since we cannot focus on every individual case study, the Shift staff will identify issues where participants’ interests “cluster.” We’ll focus this workshop session on meeting those specific personal/professional needs.
In this module, you’ll:
- Understand your own “stake” in the issue
- Sequence inquiry (dialogue) and advocacy (debate)
- Develop the authority to convene, and tackle the issue of “credibility”
- Determine when to facilitate ourselves, and address the complex issue of “neutrality”
John Steiner is co-founder of the Bridge Alliance, a network of more than 40 bridge-building organizations, and a key catalyst of the transpartisan movement in America.
Module 7: Taking Your Transformation Into the World (October 20)
Building on modules 5 and 6, module 7 provides practical introductions to organizations, initiatives and self-organizing activities that participants can continue with after the course ends. Suggested activities will be based in part on what participants identified in module 6 to be their areas of keenest interest and deepest concern.
Participants will ideally leave the course with connection to specific organizations that align with their interests, and/or the tools to launch their own initiatives. After providing an overview of the Bridge Alliance (40 organizations), specific mention will be made of such organizations as:
- Women & Mothers (MomsRising; ItsTimeNetwork)
- Education (Civic Mission of the Schools; Convergence)
- College students (BridgeUSA; Roosevelt; Kettering)
- Universities (UNCG; Heterodox Academy)
- Media (SJN; JTM; Allsides; LinkTV)
- Civic Tech (TheChisel; Civic Hall)
- Young People (Action for America; change.org)
- Listening/Facilitating (PCP; Everyday Democracy; American Public Square; Village Square)
- Professional Network (NCDD)
- Business (Future500; Just Capital)
- Congress (No Labels; Millennial Action Project)
- Religion/Faith (Communities Creating Opportunity; Faith and Politics Institute)
- Health Nutrition (Citizens for Health)
- New Leadership (Rodel Fellows; Nevins Democracy Leaders Program)
- Beyond Left & Right (Liberty Coalition; Institute for Cultural Evolution; Centrist Project; Purple Tent)
The Healing Our Political Divides Bonus Collection
In addition to Mark’s transformative 7-week virtual course, you’ll receive these powerful training sessions with leading visionaries and teachers. These bonus sessions complement the course, and will take your understanding and practice to an even deeper level.
Transpartisan Action Guide 2016
Prepared by Rebecca Nunziato and Mark Gerzon
This Action Guide includes a resource list of over 50 issue-based transpartisan organizations in which you can get involved to increase your impact in the world. The guide serves as a map to lead you through increasing your awareness and capacity to lead, to work effectively across boundaries in communities, and to develop strategies for national impact.
Rebecca Nunziato is a recent magna cum laude graduate who started working with the Mediators Foundation in October of 2014. She serves as a contributing staff member to the Bridge Alliance and the growing citizens movement. At Mediators Foundation, Rebecca manages many of the current projects — specifically the Reunited States Project. Rebecca enthusiastically takes a leadership role on internal communications, social media development, millennial engagement and a variety of research projects.
The American Citizens’ Empowerment Package ($247.00 value)
Full Package of Downloadable MP3s and Transcripts from the American Citizens Summit
Get unlimited access to EVERY summit session — recordings and transcripts — empowering you with inspirational stories of Americans working together across the divide, and providing innovative tools you can use in your community to navigate differences and identify common ground. You’ll also gain access to a network of change agents who are leading the way to a better future with solutions that cross and heal divides.
Featured experts include Marianne Williamson, Grover Norquist, Grandmother Mona Polacca, David Bornstein and many more!
Practical Strategies to Evolve Our Democracy
Audio Dialogue With Stephen Dinan
In this exciting dialogue between two spiritually-based political authors, Mark and Stephen explore how to combine the principles of transpartisanship with consciousness work and specific reforms to lead America in the right direction. They talk about the inner shifts required to be a "sacred citizen," how to constructively bridge partisan divides, and how to apply the principles of "political cross-training" to forge better solutions that integrate the wisdom of left and right. Stephen’s book, Sacred America, Sacred World, has inspired rave reviews from across the political spectrum and charts the path to a lasting evolution of our democracy by focusing on unifying solutions and a higher vision for our country.
Stephen Dinan is the CEO of The Shift Network and a member of the prestigious Transformational Leadership Council and Evolutionary Leaders groups. As the former Director of Membership and Marketing at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, he was the driving force behind the Shift in Action program, which grew to 10,000 paying members. He is also the author of Radical Spirit and Sacred America, Sacred World. Stephen directed and helped create the Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory & Research, a think tank for leading scholars, researchers and teachers to explore human potential frontiers.
What People Are Saying About Mark Gerzon...
Loving our country demands independent thinkers willing to move forward together. Mark Gerzon shows us that this does not make us vulnerable. It makes us stronger.
— Michele Holt-Shannon, Associate Director, New Hampshire Listens, Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire
Because of his passion for democracy, Mark Gerzon identifies the uncomfortable challenges that we have to confront in order to change the culture of politics.
— Jacqueline S. Salit, President, IndependentVoting.org
Mark Gerzon... plugs a gaping hole in the boat of our democracy. He explains how and why we have crashed into the shoals of partisan rocks and provides a compelling case for how to right the sails and navigate our way back to greatness.
— Mark McKinnon, Co-founder of No Labels and Former Chief Media Advisor to President George W. Bush and Senator John McCain
Mark Gerzon provides some well-thought-out, reality-based reasons to feel better [about national politics] — if we’re willing to take the necessary steps.
— James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic
Mark Gerzon... offers us visions, practices, maps and models to help us light our path forward.
— Michael D. Ostrolenk, Co-founder of the Liberty Coalition
Join the Global Community
Healing Our Political Divides not only offers some of the most advanced online teachings currently available, it also offers a thriving global community of support.
Join your fellow students and practitioners from across the world in the live interactive conference calls or in our online community to support and learn from each other while you learn to open your mind and expand your paradigm of reality.
This international community is at the leading edge of a global movement of people who are committed to manifesting a better world for all beings. This emerging planetary movement is rooted in an open heart and stands for the principles of mutual support, cooperation, harmony and reverence for all of life.
Here’s What You’ll Receive
Seven 90-Minute Class Sessions With Mark Gerzon
Experience a rare opportunity to be mentored and learn with transpartisan teacher and facilitator Mark Gerzon — from the comfort of your own home. Each class session guides you to learn the specific skills and abilities to empower your potential to make a difference. Course sessions are on Thursdays at 5:00pm Pacific.
Seven Audio Recordings of Class Sessions
After each class, the audio will be available for you to download in high-quality MP3 format. You’ll never have to worry about missing a session, and you can listen anytime and anywhere — on any connected device and at your convenience.
Seven PDF Transcripts of Class Sessions
In addition to the high-quality MP3 audios, you’ll also receive the entire class transcription in PDF format after each session is completed. You can then review, print and highlight the most important insights and practices you were given.
Seven 30-Minute Interactive Group Practice Sessions
With live class attendance, there will be a 30-minute optional interactive practice session directly following each class. You’ll be placed in an intimate group with several other participants on the conference call to interact, share and do additional practices to help further integrate the weekly lessons. If you’re unable to attend the calls live, the Online Community group allows you to connect with each other to find alternative times to interact.
Interactive Exercises and Questions for Each Lesson
After each lesson, you’ll have the option to do related exercises, practice new tools and answer questions in order to accelerate your learning and integrate each week’s lesson.
Our exclusive Facebook online community is the perfect place to continue your discovery process after each class. Here, you can ask additional questions, interact with your fellow students and get access to additional resources to take your exploration to an even deeper level.
The Healing Our Political Divides Bonus Collection
- Transpartisan Action Guide 2016
Prepared by Rebecca Nunziato and Mark Gerzon
- The American Citizens’ Empowerment Package ($247.00 value)
Full Package of Downloadable MP3s and Transcripts From the American Citizens Summit
- Practical Strategies to Evolve Our Democracy
Audio Dialogue With Stephen Dinan
An Unprecedented Opportunity to Join The Healing Our Political Divides Virtual Training
We feel honored that Mark Gerzon has chosen to partner with The Shift Network to offer this exclusive, LIVE online training. This is a rare opportunity to interact directly with a transpartisan political thought leader whose powerful insights and pioneering work are helping us heal and awaken ourselves and our world.
Through this powerful online format, you’ll not only save time and money on workshop costs (plus travel, accommodations and meals — which would cost thousands of dollars), you’ll be able to benefit from Mark’s incredible teachings and exercises from the comfort of your home — at your own pace!
If you’re serious about transforming your relationship to the news, politics and the election, then you owe it to yourself, your loved ones and our world to take this one-of-a-kind training.
If you’re ready to take the next step in evolving yourself, click the register button below to reserve your space now.
About Mark Gerzon
After more than a decade of domestic and international conflict resolution trainings, Mark Gerzon wanted to share what he had learned about best practices for dealing with divisive issues and partisan politics. In 2006, in collaboration with Harvard Business Review Press, he published Leading Through Conflict: How Successful Leaders Transform Differences Into Opportunities. His comprehensive overview defines the skills that can spark breakthrough innovation among even the most contentious, polarized stakeholders both in the United States and (through several translated editions) in countries around the world.
Despite progress in many segments of society, however, hyper-polarization in American politics worsened. Determined to highlight the heroic work of scores of organizations that were already tackling almost every aspect of this dangerous problem, Mark joined with a wide range of colleagues — Democrats, Republicans, Independents and Libertarians — to launch The Bridge Alliance. This network of diverse, powerful organizations is working together to create a “third narrative” in American political culture: Americans Working Together.
For the last 30 years, Mark has served as president of Mediators Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to incubating projects that promote mutual understanding and the common good. The Foundation served as an institutional incubator for a wide variety of projects that are now pioneers in the transpartisan field, including The Bridge Alliance, and also helped convene many of the issue dialogues described in his book.
Mark lives with his wife, the educator and author Melissa Michaels, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. He is the father of three sons, and the grandfather of seven.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a virtual course?
A: It’s a great way to engage live teachings and each other from the comfort of your home! All you need is a phone line (or an equivalent voice service). If there is more than one person in your household taking the course, you will each need your own line. We use MaestroConference to make it just like an in-person event, where you can ask questions, participate in groups, and deepen your exploration of the course themes.
Please note that dialing MaestroConference from your phone is a regular toll call to California; your telephone service provider will charge you according to your existing long-distance calling plan. Other options include calling cards and discount long-distance carriers. You can also use Skype to connect to MaestroConference at no charge, and we offer a webcast which is free to use from anywhere in the world.
I have never participated before in an online course. The packaging, presentation, inclusion and Facebook postings created a wonderful, safe cocoon to participate. I haven’t seen a course so well put together ever — not in all the years of taking college classes — and I had my doubts about doing an online course. The wealth of organization and ease of learning materials and support made this fun as well.
– Claudia F., Medford, MA
Q: Can I get benefit from the course if I miss the live classes?
A: Absolutely! You can download the recordings and transcripts of all course sessions from our online media archive, so you never need to worry about missing live calls. You can also engage the full community and leaders on our private community website.
Q: Can you tell me about the Private Course Group?
A: We will have a private community group for all course participants on Facebook that will support you in making connections with others, sharing insights, engaging in discussions, completing homework assignments and exchanging information about events and other activities that can supplement your transformational journey. You’ll have the ability to share your experiences, projects and growth throughout the Course.
Q: Are there scholarships available for this Training?
A: Yes, we always make a certain percentage of spaces available for partial scholarships, giving preference to those in developing countries or doing important but underpaid work to which they can apply the training material immediately. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please review our guidelines, which include a link to our online application form.
Q: What is your refund policy?
A: Your satisfaction with The Shift Network and this course is our highest priority! We offer a satisfaction guarantee so that you can sample the course risk-free. The deadline to receive a full refund is September 22, 2016. To request a refund, please click on this refund request form and submit your request. Your refund will be processed within five business days and we'll send you an email confirming your refund. However, we'd love to have a chance to address and resolve your concerns first. If there is something we can assist you with, please email us at email@example.com and we'll be happy to help! (No refund requests accepted after the above date or with scholarship awards.)
Q: How can I reach Customer Support?
A: Please visit our Customer Support Center, where you should be able to find the answer to your question or the solution to a problem. And if you can’t, you can submit an online request form and we’ll get right back to you.