Author Archives: Beth Waitkus

About Beth Waitkus

Gardening as a revolution. Most recently, as Founder & Executive Director of the Insight Garden Program, I built a $1+ million nonprofit that works across sectors to provide experiential, transformative gardening and landscaping training in prisons, participant re-entry programs, and advocacy for systems change at the intersections of environmental, criminal, and social justice. To become environmentally aware, all people need is a little time in the garden, or outdoors -- nature teaches us everything we need to know.

Occupy Yourself!

My definition of “authenticity” = becoming more conscious about how we show up in the world, and what uncomfortable changes we are willing to make within to find a better way to be with each other. In other words, aligning … Continue reading

Posted in Associational Life, Citizenship, Community, Grassroots Change, Leadership, Organization Development, Politics, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Real America (again)

I’m reposting this after almost a year.  Seems appropriate, considering the (very sad) state of politics these days. During campaigns, I’m always reminded of Sarah Palin’s “Real America” mantra so prevalent during the last presidential campaign. Somehow she positioned folks … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Fly On My Nose (a true story)

It’s stifling hot September day.  I’m sitting cross-legged on a zafu cushion in a room with a large gaggle of other meditators, trying to notice and release discursive thought, resisting the slightly sharp pain in my right knee.  I shift … Continue reading

Posted in Associational Life, Gratitude, Self-Actualization | 2 Comments

Good Grief

I am not channeling Elizabeth Kubler Ross, but I’m going to delve into one of life’s more taboo topics – death.  It surrounds us.  And lately for me, grieving for ones lost has been heartfelt, sad, contemplative, and curious. In … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

The Way Through

(or Cultivating Happiness) The only way out may be through, but the only way through is IN. Happy?  What is happy?  Not being haunted by our demons (but learning to make friends with them?), breaking through karmic cycles? Feeling through … Continue reading

Posted in Associational Life, Self-Actualization | 1 Comment

Cultivating (Empathetic) Connections

Connection.  It is so utterly essential to healthy human and ecological functioning. Indeed, the mission of our garden program at San Quentin State Prison is to use nature “to reconnect people to themselves, their communities, and the natural environment.” In … Continue reading

Posted in Associational Life, Community, Environmental Care, Gardening as Transformation, Gratitude, Organization Development, Prison Reform/Prisoner Rehabilitation | 3 Comments

Egypt Empowered

Why am I writing about Egypt?  Because, once upon a time, I lived there — and had the time of my life.  A year after Mubarek had ascended to power. And 30 years later, Egyptians are reclaiming their destiny. During … Continue reading

Posted in Citizenship, Grassroots Change, Politics, Self-Actualization | 2 Comments

Civil Discourse

“If we want there to be peace in the world, we have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid in our hearts, to stay with it.  We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind … Continue reading

Posted in Associational Life, Citizenship, Community, Grassroots Change, Leadership, Organization Development, Politics | 2 Comments

Manifest (your) Destiny

Last weekend, as I sat down in Starbucks in Pt. Richmond, CA, on came a remake of the Chrissie Hind/Pretenders hit song 2000 Miles…”You’ll be back at Christmas time…Diamonds in the snow sparkle…”  Immediately flashed me back to the early … Continue reading

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The TSA Tussle

“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” (James Madison) The TSA Tussle’s not a new Hip Hop song (though there have been a few poking the airwaves!), or a remake of … Continue reading

Posted in Community, Foreign Policy, Organization Development | Leave a comment