Before a flourishing commons, exists a tragedy…
The “tragedy of the commons” (William Forster Lloyd, 1833) reveals that individual actions of self-gain from shared resources would eventually destroy the well-being of a society’s commons.
Undeniably, we are now living this Tragedy—this social paradigm fueled by oblivious and unhindered consumption.
Yet, are we willing to reverse our Tragedy of the Commons?
The real tragedy behind this parable is not about the commons, per se…
Common to the teachings of Greek tragedies, our Tragedy is also one formed by a self-fulfilling prophecy. The fundamental flaw in this consumptive paradigm is the belief that our commons can be commodified. Our physical home on Earth—the land we live on, the air we breath; the water that cleanses, the food that nurtures—and our psycho-spiritual homes—our sense of self-worth, our dignity irrespective of our external wealth—are commodified to give narrative to a false sense of scarcity.
For what purpose?
Maybe only to perpetuate a belief in our collective consciousness that says we are not inherently worthy, and our existence is not innately priceless.
I invite you to consider a paradigm shift.
What if we took an eco-spiritual and self-loving approach to education, place-making, and social-advocacy?
- Do you feel disheartened by our world’s rising social and political problems?
- Do you feel secretly oppressed by our world’s hierarchy and systemic challenges?
- Do you repress your true feelings in the face of increased political correctness, polarized beliefs, and other people’s intolerance of differing opinions because of a deep-seated fear of social abandonment?
If there is an ounce of truth to the questions above for you, then know that you are not alone. Our feelings of loneliness, despair, apathy, and/or repression arises because of our collective amnesia to the true meaning of our common home.
The essence of the “spiritual” is the recognition that every element in the universe is interconnected. So despite everything that happens, we are constantly making home (“eco” from Greek oikos) out of our lives on this planet. We all play notable roles in this world.
How “at home” are we in our social roles (as students, educators, designers, environmentalists, advocates etc.)? More importantly, how “at home” are we purely as living entities? It’s time to love ourselves inherently as human beings.
A flourishing commons starts with a paradigm shift of how to BE in the world by . . .
The seed of change starts from each individual.
A Flourishing Commons is a social enterprise with a goal to bring awareness to our collective social-ecological traumas and heal them by nurturing communal reflection, self-love, and conscious decision-making.
I, Van Thi Diep, am the founder behind this venture. As an idealist, an empath, and a natural-born philosopher, I feel the world deeply and think about my place in the world relentlessly. The human experiences that I have described above, I know them so well: the insecurities, the pain, the wonder, and the innate desire to make the world a better place. I have a PhD in environmental studies and previously practiced as a landscape architect. I am also a Certified Coach Practitioner and a Human Design Specialist. If you find your soul resonating with mine, you can learn more about my story here or consider working with me on one of my services below.
Research and consulting
I take a big picture approach to understanding social and environmental issues. Whether these matters are tangible or intangible (i.e., anything from urban design to climate change, to colonialism and racism etc.), they all originate from a flawed worldview. Deconstructing and re-envisioning our worldview changes narratives of oppression and insecurity to narratives of compassion.
Because our social wounds are collective and intergenerational, we cannot do justice to all this suffering without a heart-based attitude. A heart-based attitude to any project work starts with self-reflection—for both the researcher/organizer and for participants. Using individual and collective storytelling supported by theories in phenomenology (the study of experience) and hermeneutics (the study of interpretation), research and investigative projects can become tools for healing, empowerment, and ethical choice-making.
Transformation is a difficult process. Having someone by your side to support you during challenging times of your life journey is beneficial. I am here to support socially and ecologically determined individuals build a spiritual foundation to contribute to mindful and compassionate change.
With a background that spans across the social sciences, environmental ethics, ecopsychology and existential phenomenology, and the wisdom gained from my own difficult spiritual journey , I understand well the challenges that young people face today. Whether you are a graduate student striving to do meaningful research within hegemonic academic traditions or a young professional (in landscape architecture or planning) wanting to push the boundaries of status-quo business practices, at the same time dealing with your share of social-ecological distress, eco-spiritual coaching can give you new perspectives about life and work.
My coaching approach takes into consideration seven important facets of being at home in the world: acceptance, belonging, embodiment, narrative, courage, compassion, and praxis.
Facilitation, workshops and teaching
Although flourishing starts as an individual commitment, to collectively flourish, we also need to come together. Stay tuned for group events that I will be organizing. Pending events for early 2022 include:
- Sharing Circle: Unfolding beauty, overcoming social-ecological despair, and finding belongingness
- Webinar: Ecopsychology for landscape architects, planners, and those who “make place”
- Webinar: The hierarchy of knowledge and the destruction of our planet and our world soul