The Tree of Engagement


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Adam Fletcher shares his model for "The Tree of Engagement" here, relating how it is a metaphor for teaching about the relationship between universal engagement, community engagement, and self or personal engagement

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The Tree of Engagement

  1. 1. Page1findmoreatadamfletcher.netThe Tree ofEngagement© 2013 Adam Fletcher.From adamfletcher.netAs a young man, I was taught the art ofstorytelling by one of Omahas greatest, IduMaduli. His graceful, courageous workbrought me into neighborhoods throughoutmy area of the city where most peoplewould never go, fearful of poverty or peopleof different races. Idu went though, over andover, to teach kindergarten through twelfthgraders about acting by combining hisstorytelling abilities with techniques hedlearned from Augusto Boal.He brought me along for three summers tohelp him teach, and along the way sparkedthe imagination of his journeyman. Sincethen I have strove to become half theteacher and storyteller I remember Idubeing.In his distinct way, I remember the grittynaturalness of the stories Idu shared. Manyof them were focused on Anansi, thetrickster spider of many West Africancultures. Others were draw from Europeanfolklore, and others from other places.Wherever they were from, all these storiesconveyed a sense of connection, dependence,and interaction with the Earth and all ourrelatives.It is from this place that I originallyconceived the "Tree of Engagement". This
  2. 2. Page2findmoreatadamfletcher.netmodel is a metaphor meant to illustrate thesustained connections that drive all of ourlives. Engagement is a very natural reality ofour daily existence, since it simply happenswhether or not we see it. This model ismeant to help us see how we’re engaged,and is shared in three sections, each ofwhich represents an area of engagement inour lives.The Tree of EngagementEngaging in the Universe. The sustainedconnections between all things, everywhere,all the time is best summarized by theterm Universal Engagement. It is what theseemingly unrelated things around usdepend on in order for the world to goaround. Universal engagement allows peopleto see how the most minute thing affectsthe grandest, and vice versa. The relevanceof the butterfly effect echoes this idea. Each
  3. 3. Page3findmoreatadamfletcher.netof us demonstrate Universal Engagementthrough the things we create and shareoutside ourselves, including our work, ourchildren, our cooking, and our conversations.We acknowledge Universal Engagement inall we consume, including food and clothing,others feelings and ideas.Engaging in the Community. As humans, weare constantly surrounded by other people,places, and identities. The communityaround us includes our families, friends,work, neighborhoods, cultures, and otherthings we identify with. CommunityEngagement is any sustained connection wehave with those people, places, andidentities. We express these connectionsevery time we see the people, places,emotions, ideas, wisdom, and things aroundus. We foster these connections through allthat we sustain outside ourselves, includingfamilies and friendships, forests and gardens.Shared values, built structures, and othercreation we share with our immediate circlesare all forms of Community Engagement.Engaging in the Self. Within each of us is aunique configuration of blood, guts, and soulreflecting a singular engagement ofeverything in the Universe within onecreation. Within our selves are infiniteconnections that are lastingly established inorder to personify Universal engagement.Each one of us, individually, creates, builds,demolishes, nurtures, sustains, expands, andexplores the universe in our own ways,thereby justifying our existence. Thesustained connections of each self are what Icall Personal Engagement: the sustainedconnection we have to the worlds withinourselves. Anything we do to connect withourselves shows this, including knowing,
  4. 4. Page4findmoreatadamfletcher.netnurturing, examining, and deconstructingourselves. Personal Engagement is our root,the tap root of which digs deep into theEarth for inspiration, dedication, and health;the smallest of which roots contribute to thehealth and well-being of our whole selves.The Tree of Engagement is a metaphor forall these experiences. How does it grow inyour life? Do you think it has ever fallenover? Since its impossible to be trulydisengaged from everything, all the time,what would you say is your weak spot ofengagement?Reflect on the tree and let me know whatyou think, please!Now, get to climbing- if you want to…—Adam FletcherOlympia, WashingtonApril 22,