INTRO to this series of essays
Essay #1:  My mini-bio (my why)
Essay #2:  My social entrepreneurial journey
Essay #3:  Caregiverism

CAREGIVERISM (a work in progress)

•  Feminism, militantism and my "aha" moment

•  The beauty of Caregiverism

•  What, Why, Who and How

Collaboration in support of other organizations, projects and endeavors is central to my intentions (hence the introduction to these essays being an invitation to join a Coalition for Good). I also consider my involvement in organizations like the Charter for Compassion and Riane Eisler's Caring Economy essential pieces of my puzzle.

When I asked myself in late 2014 how I can connect all of my puzzle pieces – my projects and creations, passions and interests, existing connections and partnerships, and a Coalition for Good -- in a way that facilitates cultural transformation toward a more trusting, Caring Society, I had one of the biggest aha moments ever. Much bigger than an individual project or venture. It dawned on me that a neologism I had been using over the last year had a much bigger role to play. Much to my surprise (and delight) it was a perfect, all-encompassing word which fits my vision of cultural transformation:   Caregiverism.

The vision expanded to be a model of cultural-spiritual transformation, perhaps evolution. I have written this essay to share the background leading up to my monumental aha moment and the expanding vision of the what, who, why and how of Caregiverism. The other two essays (links above) provide the deeper background and personal journey toward Caregiverism.  


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

Here is a glimpse into the transformative concept of Caregiverism which I expand upon in this essay:

Caregiverism is a grassroots model for cultural-spiritual transformation and systems change, expanding the definition of 'care' and 'caregivers' beyond current role and gender limitations. It is the foundation and framework for a Culture of Care – wholistic care of and for ourselves, other people, communities, non-human animals and our environment. 

Caregiverism cultivates a nurturing, compassionate, optimistic, creative, courageous, harmonious, 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 corrosive, competitive, exploitative, cynical, domination-based worldviews and institutions.

Caregiverism explores, prioritizes and gives voice to our highest values and priorities. It is a model for transformation which complements and works in harmony with other models, projects and initiatives which mirror these values.

I've come to appreciate that 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 purpose. 

Caregiverism is 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 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. 

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 -- we need to care. To me, that is a spiritual revolution in and of itself.

(psssst, Rainn, the only qualm I have with this little clip is that you only spoke about men being president and neglected to include women. Other than that, I'm with you on this!)


What led me to the "aha" moment of Caregiverism

From my earliest memories, I've had an awareness of the interconnectedness of all life, what I now refer to as Interbeing. It is this foundation of Interbeing, rooted in integrity and respect – reverence, really --  that has always led me on my path. When I refer to my path, I mean both my personal and work life, as they are integrated, not compartmentalized.

All along I've been working to model a more Caring Society in different ways, especially when I began the journey of a social entrepreneur decades ago: advocating for more compassionate, collaborative, egalitarian systems, including worker cooperatives, time banking, sharing and gift economies, and other aspects of what is now referred to as the "new economy." Engaging in activism around social justice, environmental issues, and animal rights has been part of my visions of a more Caring Society as well.

Seeing the types of initiatives I have dreamed of and worked toward for decades finally visibly manifesting in the last few years (since I know where to look and actively seek it out), largely under the "new economy" umbrella term, has been exciting and encouraging. 

Over the last year as I have curated articles and stories about these initiatives for inclusion in the Community Good magazine, I noticed something very disturbing, an observation which cut me to the quick:  As a whole, there is a glaring lack of diversity within the individual projects. 

To a noticeable, significant degree, this new economy movement (at least in the United States) is segregated by race and socioeconomics. Having been engaged in social justice and race relations most of my adult life, this was a huge red flag. 

This is a problem, a gargantuan problem. How are we going to create new, lasting ways of being and doing when there is this much separation and division within communities?

After exploring the reasons for this disparity, it comes down to this simple truth:  People don't trust one another. 

TRUST. Quite simply, it comes down to a lack of trust. 

That’s the bottom line and it makes perfect sense, but I missed it. It is my nature to default to trust -- while maintaining what I feel is a healthy level of skepticism -- until I’m given a reason not to. In my quest to cultivate authentic, compassionate, collaborative diverse communities toward a more Caring Society, I missed the very basic underlying truth: Our society is one which does not trust. 

Without trust and solidarity, nothing beneficial to the Common Good can be sustained. 

I admit this is speaking with a broad brush, but we in the United States live in a society in which we do not trust anyone who is different; in many cases we don’t trust people precisely because they ARE like us (scary, huh?). We don't trust businesses or government or non-profit organizations. The recent vaccination debate highlights this pervasive mistrust.

We have even lost the ability to trust ourselves -- our own intuition or gut instinct. I believe this is by design; we are surrounded by images and information which distort our view of others and ourselves, distract us from our own thoughts and feelings and powers of discernment, and squelch our innate sense of empathy and compassion. Gaslighting doesn't help; it runs rampant.  

I firmly believe that in order to create and sustain a Caring Society in which everyone has the opportunity to thrive rather than merely survive, all members – especially marginalized persons and groups -- must be represented and engaged and know they have value and a voice. A voice which can be maintained beyond one news cycle. We must care enough to listen and to want to be heard. If not, the ingrained competitive, exploitative nature of our current structures and systems will take hold, and we will find ourselves competing to the extreme, trying to dominate and even eliminate one another all over again.

In order to do this, we need to empower people and cultivate trust on all levels.

Interestingly, it has been my experience that, as much as cooperation and collaboration have become buzzwords in certain circles in recent years, very little actually takes place in a meaningful manner. Our society is deeply, deeply steeped in competition; it is part of our collective psyche. Combine lack of trust with an environment of ruthless competition which has become the norm, though sometimes glossed over with warm-fuzzy PR and marketing words, and it is no wonder authentic collaboration rarely manifests. 

After absorbing the reality of the lack of diversity and lack of authentic cooperation in many of the local and new economy systems and models, I immersed myself in study and discussion of  the various socioeconomic and political "isms" and movements of the world – including socialism, communism, Marxism, etc. -- something I hadn't done in earnest since my early 20's, having rebelled against all existing ideologies altogether.  

During this immersion, which included countless hours of discussion with diverse groups of people, three very specific takeaways -- which I readily admit are strictly my impression, based on my own personal perspective -- alarmed me:  

1) The lack of influence by women.  I spent a substantial amount of time interacting in various women's groups, learning about modern feminism in the United States. It was an invaluable education. Simply invaluable. I have tremendous gratitude for everyone I met along the way. 

While I absolutely support the core message of radical feminism, I find it ironic that many groups continue to follow a blueprint designed by intellectual white men of privilege.

Most, if not all, of these "isms" started with theories of intellectual white men. Very few social, economic or institutional theories have been attributed to women. I really hadn't thought about that before, but it was just as striking as the lack of diversity in the new economy movement.

The gender imbalance is extraordinary, even in 2015.  The lack of influence by women in all things "new" -- new technology, new economy initiatives, and nearly all online real estate -- is appalling. The continued sexism in our institutions, and the rampant sexism in online culture, can't be denied.  

2) The talk of revolution. Violent, militant revolution. I get it. More and more are becoming aware of the obscene inequalities and inequities and they are getting angrier and angrier. I happen to feel that if you're paying attention and you're not angry, something is wrong. While I understand the anger, and don't judge how it manifests in disruptive protests (lives are, quite literally, on the line), we all have different personality types and can be more effective with some transformative tactics more than others. Yet what alarmed me most was that the violent, militaristic talk was also aimed at "competing" organizations and movements also engaged in transformative justice!! Supporting one another, rather than competing, while we're on various parallel paths toward racial, social and economic justice is crucial. (Note that I am more focused on harmony than unity; appreciating and respecting our differences is also key to Caregiverism.) 

3.) Analysis Paralysis. So much talk, talk, talk; so much misunderstanding about language and terminology; so much positioning of "if you're not with us 100%, you're against us and you're the problem...the enemy"; so much discord that reaching a consensus or achieving solidarity seemed unlikely in my lifetime. 

When I came up for air, I looked at my visions and projects and passions through an even wider lens, with a renewed sense of urgency. 

While I resonant with many aspects of revolutionary, radical messages, I disagree with one specific though intrinsic key component:

I do not believe destroying existing institutions and systems and replacing them with others will create sustainable, large-scale, positive change unless we also have a cultural transformation. 

While I widened my lens, I simultaneously zoomed in on the lack of trust in our society as being at the crux of many of our challenges. I feel strongly that nothing short of a cultural transformation is what is desperately needed at this time. I believe an evolution in our cultural values can lead to sustainable system change much more quickly than the reverse. Cultural transformation -- including the often caustic, bullying though influential online culture -- is my objective in moving forward, on a much larger, more comprehensive scale than previously.

Even if something truly radical happened economically (and there are indeed encouraging alternatives in this regard) there are a significant number of people who feel they are superior -- for any number of reasons, including skin color, ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, and nationality. A change in economics wouldn't immediately remove these cultural divisions which have been in place since the founding of this country; it would take at least one generation for the culture to shift secondary to a material, systems shift.

The Occupy Movement was helpful in bringing the systemic economic inequality into the national conversation. The Obama Presidency and other recent tragedies and controversies like Ferguson have brought the other types of inequalities and othering to the surface in a way that seems to shock many people. Quite honestly, it's primarily those who do have privileges (of which they do not seem to be aware) who are shocked; the people being "othered" aren't shocked at all -- they live it every day.

There is an even larger segment of our society which remains silent and apathetic, allowing this culture of othering in its myriad forms to continue.  

Too many have convinced themselves that they do not care. Perhaps they feel it's too painful and exhausting to care. 

While some of the othering occurs and has been intentionally cultivated due to the fears stemming from socioeconomic stress and oppression, with which I can empathize, I don't believe radical institutional change will wipe out our generations-long racist, bigoted mindsets. It would take many generations for the culture to shift secondary to a material, systems shift. 

On the other hand, if we could reach critical mass regarding a transformation in cultural values, I do believe systemic transformation could be more swift, similar to the shift we are seeing regarding marriage equality. 

Yet how can we cultivate trust and transform our culture and systems without first truly caring about the general well-being of others and ourselves? 

We can't. Not without caring. Without caring, we all too easily distance ourselves, distrust, disrespect and dehumanize The Other.  

I continue to believe all of my projects -- Wishadoo! and other tools and platforms -- are necessary to this process of transformation, but my wider lens revealed that their impact is limited. As with the myriad other altruistic projects, initiatives and organizations, lasting impact cannot occur without deepening interpersonal and collective trust, and realizing the need for a culture of care.

It's like applying a Band-Aid to a gaping, hemorrhaging wound.

While I applaud and appreciate and support all efforts centered on injecting compassion into our communities and institutions, I feel we must go deeper. 

In our culture, the idea of compassion can be quite shallow. People smile and say something nice or do something nice for someone suffering, thinking they're being compassionate, but all too often there isn't depth or meaning or authentic intention or empathy behind it. Writing a check to a non-profit may be perceived as a compassionate act, even if it was done with a tax write-off as the primary motivator.  And that's okay – any kindness and generosity can still lift spirits and alleviate suffering. 

But it's time for us to go deeper: Imagine if we were to genuinely care.

When we care about, we are more open to caring for. We must allow ourselves to genuinely, deeply care about our collective well-being. 

Certainly we are going to care more deeply about some people than others, due to relationship and familiarity and such, but to invite people to consider truly caring about one another and the world around us, because we have opened to the truth that everything and everyone is interconnected, seems to be a radical concept in 2015. 

Additionally, whereas compassion is focused on concern for the suffering of others (or ourselves), Caregiverism encompasses compassion but also allows us to genuinely care about good, joyful things happening.

Care is not limited to suffering. When we truly care, we can connect more deeply via celebration, something else I feel is missing from our society and communities. Meaningful, harmonious, integrated celebration, rather than the more shallow, segregated celebrations that tend to come to mind for most of us.

I submit that Humanity, and the US as a society very specifically, needs not only a cultural but a spiritual transformation. A transformation which focuses on our interconnectednes. A transformation which encourages us to explore and prioritize and cultivate what we find meaningful and what we value, as individuals and societies; what we feel nurtures the human spirit and, conversely, what destroys the human spirit.

One part of this equation is to know we all have worth and value, and this knowing should be – must be -- supported and reflected in the world around us. A society that operates in a manner which does not value us leads to feelings of despair and hopelessness, infecting every part of our being and systems like a cancer.  

This must change, and it's completely within our power to do so, starting from where we are. 

* * *

At first it felt presumptuous and arrogant to even contemplate offering a vision for a new cultural model for transformation. I'm not an academic. I'm a very grassroots, practical, do'er. I'm the woman behind the curtain, a conduit for creative ideas and visions which hopefully inspire and support the brilliant innovators and leaders among us, sometimes in the form of believing in them when they no longer believe in themselves. I don't wait for others to do what needs to be done; I gladly do it, even if that means creating what is needed if within my capacity to do so. Hence my journey as an activist and social entrepreneur. (Click here to read about my success in getting part-time FEMA workers health benefits.)

On the other hand, why not me? Why shouldn't I be the one to introduce a new (though, again, in many ways ancient) way of being and doing? Why not a multitude of "average" citizens raising our voices to show the way of Caregiverism and a more Caring Society?  

You see, I have essentially been creating opportunities to raise awareness of and implement Caregiverism in our daily lives all along:

*  Offering the space to put such values into action as a community is why Wishadoo! was created eight years ago. Note that similar projects have been created in the last couple of years; Wishadoo! was revolutionary, leading the way. I have recently come to recognize how, unlike many other efforts just now starting, I have earned the trust of many along the way as I have done the work, maintaining relentless optimism, day by day.  

*  Offering hope, inspiration and solutions by sharing examples of Caregiverism is why the online Community Good magazine was created. 

*  Providing a comprehensive directory where one can find existing avenues of care and assistance, as well as find wonderful projects and ventures which are examples of Caregiverism, is why the Find Help|Find Good Directory was created. 

*  The other projects waiting in the wings under the Our Good umbrella have all been created and designed to cultivate and support our evolution toward a Caring Society and a Culture of Caregiverism.  

Since I have never been able to limit or confine my activism or my work, as my interests are diverse and many, the beauty of Caregiverism is that it connects all of my puzzle pieces and provides a way for me to speak more clearly of this bigger vision.

Caregiverism also distills the work of so many I admire and continue to study:   Riane Eisler, Genevieve Vaughan, bell hooks, Pema Chodron, Duane Elgin, David Korten and Charles Eisenstein to name a few. I've  wanted to extract and integrate key resonant aspects of their wisdom into my own work in a more coherent, cohesive manner for years.

Caregiverism is the cohesion and the anchor. It is my touchstone in moving forward. 

WHAT is Caregiverism?  PART III

Diving in...

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, 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 empowerment, acknowledging our brokenness (personal and societal) but also having the courage to do the work toward healing and wholeness.  

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.

In a Caring Society, its citizenry, institutions and systems do not value money and material wealth, winning and competition, domination and control over all else.

A Caring Society values empathy, respect, reverence and wisdom, including the wisdom of balance and “having enough”; more importantly, a Caring Society strives to live these values, embodying them in all aspects daily life and in all institutions and systems.

Caregiverism offers one 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 and caring into action personally, collectively and systemically.

If we do not identify and address the underlying sickness of our culture, any institutional or systems change (media, government, education, economics, business, etc.) will be treating chronic, escalating symptoms rather than the disease itself. 

The pathology of our sickness is complex; we must perform triage to determine our priorities for action. Caregiverism provides a model and frame of reference to triage and work toward building healthier communities and a healthier society. 

Caregiverism is a cultural model for putting compassion, integrity and genuine care into action, personally and collectively, in all systems and sectors in a deep-rooted, sustainable manner. 

As I have shared this vision of Caregiverism with others, I find I end up describing what it isn't, rather than what it is. 

For example, in recent interactions within various women’s groups, using words like caring and nurturing triggered a negative knee-jerk reaction. Many women said they were afraid it means they will be asked to give away even more of their time, energy, wisdom, and gifts. This is a natural reaction, given how caregivers are expected to give their time and energy, with little to no compensation or recognition of their value in our society.   

I also feel the initial skeptical reaction by some is due to our existing competitive, exploitative culture, which has for generations viewed values such as compassion and empathy as weak. 

Let's face it: We are still creating and operating within a male-dominated (patriarchal), authoritarian (versus authoritative) world. 

What I find interesting is that men are very receptive to my ideas and work, including Caregiverism, and they are increasingly uncomfortable with the uber competitive, gender-defining limitations and expectations. 

Caregiverism invites men and women to embrace a more caring, compassionate role, transforming our systems, rather than adopt the values and traits to fit within the existing systems.

So, what ISN'T Caregiverism?

Caregiverism IS NOT about giving our time and energy away. It IS about moving away from profit and exploitation as the driving factor for all transactions. 

Caregiverism is NOT about servitude or being subservient. It is simply a way of being and doing – personally and systemically – which truly and deeply cares for and about ourselves, about others, and about our environments and HOW we live on this Earth. It is a way that recognizes and values our common humanity. 

Caregiverism is NOT about fixing or saving anyone. It is about empowering ourselves and others. 

To truly care is a strong and courageous way of being in this world. To truly care is to put compassion, kindness and respect into action. On a personal level, this may manifest as simply being present…bearing witness. When we do not have any answers or solutions for anyone in distress, which can be a helpless feeling causing some to turn away, we can choose to remain present. When we recognize that it is not our place to fix anyone, we can still remain present.

"I'm here, I support you. I won't turn away from you. I'm not going anywhere. I CARE."

As a full-fledged member of the Sandwich Generation, I do empathize with the reflexive reaction based on fear we'll be asked to take on yet another responsibility while already feeling overwhelmed. 

But here is the thing:  Wouldn't it be nice to not feel overwhelmed and not feel badly because we can't find – or can't afford – the proverbial bootstraps we're told will pull us up, out of the quicksand? Wouldn't it be nice to NOT feel so alone and as if the weight of the world is on our shoulders and that we have no value and are failing, miserably?

Wouldn't it be nice to know that, for the most part, people care about your well-being?

No one should view Caregiverism -- a way of caring, nurturing, compassion and empathy -- as weak or conciliatory. On the contrary, Caregiverism can be fierce in the care of self and others, including care of this planet we all call home.

Caregiverism explores, identifies and prioritizes our values and how to implement them throughout society. 

Caregiverism values people over profit, planet over profit, and principles over profit.

Caregiverism recognizes the need for boundaries and to employ discernment and intuition.

Caregiverism recognizes responsibility, but approaches it differently. In the US the personal responsibility mantra means that every person is on their own to make it or break it in this life, and how our life plays out is strictly our own personal responsibility. This is in spite of the reality of our systems, structures and environments not valuing the vast majority of us, creating "the other" and a profound sense of being alone in life.  

When we genuinely care about others and ourselves, responsibility takes on a much more loving, respectful, compassionate meaning. If I can support and empower you in any way, I sincerely want to because I care, and I likewise am more receptive of your support because I believe you care about my well-being. Accepting responsibility is not done in a begrudging or guilty manner.  And, we are able to trust because we care. (Until we're a telepathic species, I do feel it is our individual responsibility, as adults, to tell one another how we can be most supportive and caring in each situation.)

To know that someone truly cares – that we matter -- is a life changer. To be mindful of truly caring for and about ourselves is a life changer. To be able to trust that the framework within which our society exists is one which cares for and about our well-being seems nothing short of miraculous. 

Wishadoo! was created eight years ago because I did not want anyone to feel alone and isolated in this world. It's demoralizing; we start to doubt our own value and worth.

As mentioned earlier, there is nothing really new about Caregiverism. It's an amalgam, though it may be considered new by some people, especially in the West, who have never been exposed to anything other than a competitive, eat-or-be-eaten way of being in the world.

Some within radical circles have said they feel Caregiverism is itself a radical concept.
Caregiverism is common sense and common human decency in action, but it seems we have devolved to now require a blueprint for such a society. 

When applied on a personal level, I view Caregiverism as more of a revelation – revealing our true nature which has been obscured to the point of being denied as our truth – than a transformation. Yet the beauty of it is that it seeks to address both individual and systemic healing. 

As I see it, the newness is merely the boldness of naming it and applying it in a more comprehensive manner, approaching it as a transformative cultural, socioeconomic and even political theory to ground it.

I also recognize the boldness involved in asking people to stay open to the possibility of a new way. 

It takes courage to consider viewing the world and how it works in a different way and reconsider our own roles. 

It takes courage to have hope and maintain any level of optimism in such a jaded society. 

It takes courage to work toward and support what could be rather than fight against what is.

It takes courage to walk a path of true integrity, recognizing our interconnectedness, and strive to live in a more whole (wholistic) way, pulling the fragments of our lives together.  

It takes courage to not only envision a new way but to take the first step toward it, with integrity.

Caregiverism is compassion, creativity and deep connection in action. It is courage over cynicism. 

It is a gigantic step toward universal integrity. 

WHY Caregiverism?   PART IV 

"Critical thinking without hope is cynicism. Hope without critical thinking is naïveté." – Maria Popova

Why do we need a transformation in the form of Caregiverism? Because we need informed, enlightened hope. 

We desperately need a model which incorporates respect, empathy and compassion; a model which engenders care and cultivates trust. 

We need a cultural-spiritual revolution and transformation which values life – not only human lives but all life on this planet. 

We need to re-evaluate our priorities and values; Caregiverism encourages this deeper exploration into our values and empowers each citizen to implement these values. 

We need this shift in all aspects of our daily lives, as well as the larger society within which we all live and work. We need this on a personal and collective level.

We need to work together cooperatively to find solutions to the myriad issues we face. We cannot effectively or efficiently collaborate without mutual care being involved.

We need a transformation which can be sustainable; a transformation which is an anchor for all of our systems and institutions; a transformation which acts as a foundation for and in partnership with the economic and political ideologies deemed by a society as representing their values.

We need wellness. We need more joy, less suffering. We need wellness. We need peace.

Caregiverism offers this framework. 

Here is the good news: Humanity is Wired for Caregiverism.  

There have been many studies over the last decade, proving that, as a species, we are quite literally "wired" for empathy, compassion and caring.  (blog post coming soon: Humanity is Wired for Caregiverism)

Our entire culture needs a drastic overhaul if we are to survive. So many are stuck in a mode of sheer survival and cannot begin to envision another way. We know the current systems and ways of being and doing are destructive, but the daily struggle to survive is all many can handle. Considering a different type of society can be frightening; we grow accustomed to and comfortable with what is familiar, even if what is familiar is harmful, sometimes deadly. At best, apathy and complacency take over; at worst, a vicious survival-of-the-fittest mentality takes hold. 

Whereas I have been focused on encouraging fellow citizens to evaluate what type of society we want to live in by examining our values and priorities, it dawned on me recently that many citizens in the US may not want a society at all.   

This is not limited to the US; these skewed values and priorities are growing worldwide as the American Way has gone global. Our way is killing us and everything around us.

As someone who has always paid attention to the world beyond my individual sphere, I experience moral outrage on a regular basis. And while I see what is, I am solution oriented…I imagine and ask, "What If?

What if we – men and women – were to approach life with a more empathetic, compassionate lens, truly caring and nurturing, not only in our personal relationships but all sectors of society?

What if all sectors of society supported such a culture, rather than demeaned such values as weak, inviting exploitation and domination?

What if the Caregiverism lens were applied to the struggles in the economy, education, the criminal justice system, healthcare (physical , emotional, mental and even spiritual wellness) and more? 

What if in our daily lives as neighbors, workers and business owners, parents and family members, students and teachers, consumers and stewards of this planet we made choices based on caring for and about the well-being of others?

What if Caregiverism were embraced by the media, policymakers, politicians, citizens, artists, businesspersons, innovators and entrepreneurs?

What if those who currently identify as caregivers by traditional standards were to realize their extraordinary value in our society – and what if they were to see the rest of society mirror their value?

What if we expand the meaning of caregiver beyond the current definitions to those caring for pets and wildlife, the environment; to first responders caring for citizens in times of crisis; to teachers, librarians…so many others who are valued (and rewarded) far less than the Wall Street-type occupations which strictly care for money.

What if we were to care enough as a society to choose to directly, deliberately and diligently address gun violence, domestic abuse, rape culture, bullying, and the reasons behind widespread cultural ills?

What if people whose fear manifests as disdain for or hatred of The Other would stop to consider the potential implications of our interconnectedness and that we all matter? What if they believed that another way not steeped in fear is possible? 

What if the people so focused on the next life cared about this life, right now?

What if we could change everything by having the courage to ask, WHAT IF?


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