Gifts of support gratefully received…

A note from Dennis Rivers,  Volunteer Editor & Librarian

As the editor and librarian this website (and what I work to make a virtual green university), I gratefully accept personal gifts of any amount in support of my work in creating and maintaining this web site, with its wide varieties of text, PDFs, streaming videos and music, available on PCs, iPhones and everything else in between. (I do it all with a variant of WordPress and about 70 plugins!)
In order to keep the accounting, legal and insurance costs of this site to an absolute minimum, this web site is operated as a close-to-break-even small business, an advertising activity of my small publishing and book selling company, rather than as a nonprofit corporation. (Even a small nonprofit can have significant insurance and accounting expenses.) Therefore, any gifts to me in support of this site will be received and greatly appreciated as personal gifts, rather than as gifts to a nonprofit corporation.

Send a one-time or monthly gift via PayPal:

Thank you! and more…

As a bow of thanks to the many people who have helped me on my journey of ecological awakening, I have placed all my ecological, eco-spiritual, and communication skills writings (see below) into the Creative Commons. Thus, you are welcome to make as many copies of them as you like, and use them in any organization or community.  And you are also welcome to incorporate as much or as little of the content of  my writing as you may need in your work to nurture and protect the web of life and people. Wherever possible on this site I feature articles and images that are in the Creative Commons, so that citizen activists around the world can make immediate use of them.

Special thanks to the Estates of Hector and Winnifred Tate, for support over many years.

Dennis Rivers, Editor

Dennis Rivers’ Essays, Articles and Mandala Drawings
All in Creative Commons — Open Source — May be copied, printed, adapted.

Five Wings of the Heart Mandala Series outline a set of spiritual practices intended to help a person bring together elements of blessing, prayer, meditation, self-help affirmation, and daily vows. We offer these practices as one possible way of developing the inner strength and calm that will allow us to participate in the mending of the world. We invite everyone to join hands in working strongly and lovingly for a more compassionate and life-friendly world.  

Teams-of-Two: A Model for Personal Unfolding, Citizen Activism and Social Transformation,  explains our vision of organizing our participants into independent supportive pairs.

Companions in the Storm, Companions-in-Blessing explores twelve of the deeper dimensions of spiritual friendship, in the context of our need to work together to protect the web of life from runaway industrialization. Ecology and biology show us how all life is woven together. But many of us work on the great ecology, peace and justice issues of our time as isolated individuals. The EcoBodhi community is a decentralized network that seeks to encourage the deepening of active, friend-to-friend (mutual support) relationships, rather than the development of passive, follower-to-authority-figure relationships.

The Ecology of Ecology Movements is an evolving blueprint for building a sustainable ecological advocacy and action groups, based on my experiences and struggles campaigning against nuclear weapons for thirty years. I hope this blueprint will help people everywhere build enduring organizations and communities that celebrate and protect the web of life. We are using this blueprint to support the unfolding of the Companions in Blessing community.

Infinity Hidden in a Speck explores the idea of as-yet unrealized resources and abilities hidden in our trillions of cells and their quadrillions of connections.

EcoBodhisattva Meditations and Creative Questions

Prayer Evolving
 — book by Dennis Rivers
Five Personal Explorations of the Future of Prayer (1995)  — free PDF ebook
— was one of the seeds of the idea

Featured item: The Seven Challenges Workbook —
Communication Skills for Success at Home & Work
(Creative Commons Copyright — May be copied and printed)


A Guide to Listening, Self-expression,
Creative Question Asking, Gratitude, and more.

by Dennis Rivers, MA — 2015 Edition — Free in PDF format

Table of Contents / Outline / Introduction

EN ESPAÑOL: Los Siete Retos

EM PORTUGUÊS: Os sete desafios

Introduction and Summary

How this workbook came to be, the Seven Challenges briefly described, and how we benefit from a more cooperative style of listening and talking.

web page ~~ pdf file

Communication Skills Challenge One: Listening more carefully and more responsively.
Communication Skills Challenge One:
Deep Listening

Listen more carefully and responsively, acknowledging the feelings and wants that people express in word and mood. Actively acknowledging another person’s experience does not have to mean that you agree or approve. Compassionately allow people to feel whatever they feel. People are much more likely to listen if they have been listened to with actively expressed acknowledgments.
web page   pdf file 

Communication Skills Challenge Two: Explaining my conversational intent and inviting consent.
Communication Skills Challenge Two:
Explaining your conversational intent and inviting consent

by using one of 30 basic conversational invitations such as, “Right now I would like to take a few minutes and ask you about… [subject].” The more involvement a conversation is going to require of the other person, the more you will benefit by sharing your conversational goal and inviting the conscious cooperation of your conversation partner.
web page   pdf file 

Communication Skills Challenge Three: How to express yourself more clearly and more completely.
Communication Skills Challenge Three:

Expressing yourself more clearly and more completely

how to express yourself in a way that gives your listeners the information they need to…

>>  understand (mentally reconstruct) your experiences more fully

>>  empathize with what you are experiencing

One good way is to use “the five I-messages”: What/how I …
(2)am feeling,
(3) because I interpret/evaluate/need, and now I
(4)want to request, and
(5)envision/hope for from request. 

Equally good for self-understanding, too. 
web page   pdf file 

Communication Skills Challenge Four: Translating my criticisms and complaints into requests
Communication Skills Challenge Four: 
Translating your criticisms and complaints into requests for action

and explaining the positive results of having your request granted. Do this for both your own complaints and the complaints that others bring to you.  Focusing on the positive outcome shows respect to the recipient of a request as having a positive contribution to make, and shifts focus from past mistakes to present and future successes.
web page   pdf file 

Communication Skills Challenge Five: Asking questions more open-endedly
Communication Skills Challenge Five:

Asking questions more “open-endedly” and more creatively.

“How did you like that movie?” is an open-ended question that invites a wide range of answers. “Did you like it?” suggests only “yes” or “no” as answers and does not encourage discussion. Sincerely asked open-ended questions can open up our conversation partners. (How comfortable are you with this suggestion?)
web page   pdf file 

Communication Skills Challenge Six: Thanking. Expressing more appreciation, gratitude, encouragement and delight.
Communication Skills Challenge Six:
Thanking: Expressing more gratitude, appreciation, encouragement and delight…

…in everyday life.  In a world full of problems, look for opportunities to give praise. Both at home & at work, it is the bond of appreciation that makes relationships strong enough to allow for problem-solving and differing needs.
web page ~~ pdf file 

Communication Skills Challenge Seven: Focusing on learning.
Communication Skills Challenge Seven:
Adopting the “living-as-continuous-learning” approach

Make the practices described in challenges 1 through 6 important parts of your everyday living and learning. Pay attention to each conversation as an opportunity to grow in skill, awareness and compassion.  Work to redefine each of your “opponents” in life as a learning and problem-solving partner.  Assist the processes of change in your world by personally embodying the changes, virtues and styles of behavior you want to see in others.
web page   pdf file