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Part 1: Promoting Healing-Centered Ecosystems through our Commitment to Care

Before we get into the framework...

I read an article by Masahiro Arimoto on "Using Classroom Assessment to Improve Pedagogy- The Japanese Experience" and I was captivated by the indigenous psychology of assessment steeped from deep cultural words like:

  • kankei - interrelationships; access to networks of trusted people; no line between uchi (inside, us, in-group, inside home) and soto (outsider, other groups, outsider the home)

  • kata cultural script - collective consciousness based ways of performing or doing

  • kaizen - continuous improvement down to the smallest and most detailed level of self-introspection

  • kizuna - another aspect of outcomes, growth rather than performance; bond, ties, wet human relationship like omoiyari (compassionate consideration for others) based on “innate nature is goodness”

  • kizuki - more multidimensional and multi-level level of awareness; constructing a new understanding of the targeted issue

  • kyodo tsunagari - native place, birth-place is dispensable for reflecting each other; one's old home is an epitome of the present-day world

The word kizuki got me piqued and I was drawn to knowing about it more.

Kizuki implies a sudden feeling of inner understanding of a phenomenon and can be roughly translated as “becoming aware of,” “noticing,” or “realizing” (Sakamoto 2011). It relates to seisin (spirit), “one’s inner being, which often derives spiritual fortitude from self-discipline.”

According to Arimoto, kizuki occurs when you embrace multiple perspectives that do not seem to have a particular pattern and then examine ways to make sense of these ideas by finding an overarching framework. This word stayed with me and made me realise how much I practice this in what I am learning and processing.

This work is a work in progress. It is my way of working out loud and sharing how I am synthesising what I am sensing, seeing, hearing, experiencing and feeling alongside what I am learning and my lived experiences as a facilitator, systems thinker, change maker and strategists.


The Healing-Centered Ecosystems framework is my way of presenting an overarching framework around healing and why it needs to be at the core of individual, relational, familial, organisational, and communal endeavours. Healing-centered ecosystems are places of refuge, restoration and regeneration.

Healing-centered ecosystems are guided by 4 Commitments and 8 Expressions:

Commitment to Care is expressed through:

  • Awareness

  • Advocacy

Commitment to Connection is expressed through:

  • Regulation

  • Restoration

Commitment to Contribution is expressed through:

  • Strengths

  • Service

Commitment to Community is expressed through:

  • Culture

  • Collaboration

The Healing-centered ecosystems is a guide, not a prescription. The concept is intended as an organizing framework and value base to support changemakers, leaders, founders, professionals, individuals, teams or communities in noticing, recognizing and re-evaluating the ecosystems that they are part of and how they can put healing in the center of their interactions, policies, planning and actions.

First Commitment: Commitment to Care

Care is our capacity to express the values of compassion, dignity and respect to ourselves and to others (both human and nonhuman). It is the foundation of love, attachment and belonging. Care is a deep concern and tending of the self, the us, the others and the bigger field. It can strengthen relationships, promote systemic sustainability and lobby for just practices and policies.

Studies have shown that caring for others is beneficial to our well-being. It can lead to “reduced stress, increased happiness, and an increased sense of social connectedness”. A caring individual, family, organization, community, and society tends to what matters most. When we care, we attend to what gives us meaning and purpose. It ensures that strengths are amplified, the needs are fulfilled, and challenges are alleviated.

Care is also the bedrock for activism and altruism. It is the fundamental value that underlies our purpose, values and our mission. Care is an essential component of societal values, moral leadership, and citizen responsibilities.

Sufi leader Cheikh Bentounes thinks of humanity as one unique body, with our overall health connected to the health of all our body parts. Our commitment to care for ourselves, for others, and for the planet ensures the health of all systems and therefore, our survival.

Care is expressed through:

  • Awareness

  • Advocacy

When expressed through awareness, care takes in the form of:

  • understanding of feelings and needs

  • attentiveness and deep inner perception (pakikiramdam) of what is happening inside of us, between each other, with others and in the bigger field

  • connection to one’s values and strengths

  • understanding of systems

  • recognizing one’s capacities and resources

  • cognizant of the narratives (both inner and outer dialogues) that can impede connection

  • knowing how to give and hold space for one’s self and others

  • deep concern and sensitivity to the suffering and challenges of others

  • knowing when to act and how to act when tending to one’s self or others

  • recognizing one’s patterns of giving and receiving

  • attuned to one’s responsibilities and moral obligations

When expressed through advocacy, care takes in the form of:

  • civic participation and active involvement in society

  • sharing concerns and information about human and environmental wellbeing

  • justice, diversity, inclusion and equitability

  • planning, policies and practices that are responsive to the needs of people and planet

  • sharing and redistribution of resources, wealth and power

  • parity and accessibility to resources and services

  • knowing how to use our privileges to alleviate others

  • taking part in finding solutions to societal problems (I.e. community pantry as a response during COVID)

  • representation to make sure that everyone can share their voice and be listened to

  • increasing the quality and dignity of all life forms

  • intergenerationally focused where the needs of the present are tended to without sacrificing the possibilities for future generations

  • addressing collective healing from past and ongoing traumas

  • preservation of legacies and living histories

Below is a worksheet you can use to reflect on your commitment to care.

Download the pdf here

healing centered ecosystems
Download PDF • 400KB


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