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 breathe; 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 seeds of change originate from each individual. That includes me and you.
I, Van Thi Diep, am the founder behind A Flourishing Commons. 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, the healing, 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.
Empowerment & Spiritual Coaching
Are you a graduate student who has a deep desire to make the world a better place?
Do you believe in social justice, world peace, and sustainability, but feel disheartened by our world’s rising social and ecological problems? Do you believe that knowledge, research, and education can help solve our world’s problems, but can’t understand why hierarchy and systemic challenges still exist in our social institutions?
Our world is going through a transformative process that appears to be quite chaotic. The chaos played out in the outer world is often reflected in our inner worlds as difficult emotions, such as despair, resistance, or confusion. A paradigm shift is necessary to usher in new ways of being on Earth, but change is more difficult than it appears. As a coach, I help graduate students see their lives and research in more empowering ways, and consequently, to nurture mindful and compassionate change in themselves and in the world.
My expertise bridges academic knowledge (particularly in ecophilosophy) with the wisdom gained by overcoming the challenges of my own spiritual journey towards self-love. Through this integration of knowledge and wisdom, I’ve created a coaching system that covers the seven essential facets of being at home in the world: acceptance, belonging, embodiment, narrative, courage, compassion, and praxis.
If you are doing meaningful research but feel overwhelmed or defeated by society’s problems or your own internal struggles, schedule a free discovery call with me to determine if coaching is right for you.
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.
Facilitation, Workshops and Teaching
Although flourishing starts as an individual commitment, to collectively flourish, we also need to come together.
For this reason, I offer workshop design and facilitation services to organizations that want to approach their social commitments through deep reflection and purposeful visioning (i.e., a group coaching workshop towards a social goal). If you have a workshop in mind for your organization or group and would like my assistance, contact me to discuss.
From time to time, A Flourishing Commons will also host educational webinars and workshops. To receive notifications of new events, subscribe to my mailing list.