A Declaration of Interdependence

Posted on Saturday, August 1st, 2015

At the July First Wednesday Conversation, we talked about “Leading is Convening,” drawing on the work of Peter Block, Margaret Wheatley, the Art of Hosting community, and others of similar ilk. At the end of our time that day my friend Peter Guttchen shared copies of a document he had been working on. He smiled as he mentioned a presentation by Linda Graham at the ALIA Summer Leadership Institute in June, in which she urged us to do one “scary thing” every day. Sharing this document, boldly titled “A Declaration of Interdependence,” was Peter’s scary thing.

I read the “Declaration” later that evening and was struck by the power of his words. I asked Peter if I could offer it to the readers of my blog. He agreed, and here we are. It’s printed below, and also available here. As I get ready to publish this post, I’ve decided to ask Peter if his “Declaration” could be the focus of a First Wednesday Conversation before the end of 2015. If you live outside the Olympia area and aren’t able to come to First Wednesday, please consider convening your own conversation around this “Declaration.”


A Declaration of Interdependence

 “The wise see knowledge and action as one” – Bhagvad-Vita

“Humans can handle anything, as long as we’re together” – Margaret Wheatley

“Working together is a necessity, not a luxury” – Suzanne Morse

“There is in all things…a hidden wholeness…an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy” ­- Thomas Merton

“Citizenship is a way of being in the world rooted in the knowledge that I am a member of a vast community of human and nonhuman beings that I depend on for essentials I could never provide for myself.” – Parker Palmer


“Citizenship is the capacity to create for ourselves what we had sought from our leaders.” Unfortunately, “we have lost faith in people’s capacity to come together on their own and be productive.” – Peter Block  

 It’s time to renew that faith and declare our interdependence!

  •  We will listen and reflect before we act.
  • We will take responsibility for our actions and refrain from blaming and shaming others.
  • We will live our lives as if we are not entitled to anything.
  • We will not let our fears keep us from taking a stand and always remain open and yielding to the wisdom, the power, and the passion of new ideas and experiences.
  • We will continually look inward and challenge our own assumptions and beliefs.
  • We will hold ourselves and each other mutually accountable for the health of our communities.
  • We will not abide the obfuscating and buck-passing behaviors of bureaucratic institutions.
  • We will lean into the uncomfortable places in our lives to deepen our understanding of ourselves and our connections with each other.
  • We will create opportunities to engage in dialogue about what kind of future we want to create for ourselves together.
  • We will relish and celebrate the expansion and deepening of the many facets of the communities we create together.
  • We will embody the idea that relationships are more fundamental than individuals, that there is a hidden wholeness that connects us to each other, to the natural world, and to the universe.
  • We will live wholeheartedly in the suffering and unalloyed joy of community.

 Peter Guttchen | 2015