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Fellows Spotlight
Key Takeaways: Yutori
December 19, 2023
Photo of Omidyar Fellows at Yutori Workshop

(Back row from L to R): Quinn Vittum, Darcie Yukimura, George Yarbrough, Ben Treviño, Emillia Noordhoek, Chris Lee; (Front row): AJ Halagao, Sheila-Anne Ebert, Sondra Leiggi Brandon, Bill Coy, Stephanie Shipton, Sulma Gandhi

Contributed by: Sulma Gandhi

What grace, that as we are nearing the close of 2023, we had the opportunity to be in the presence of Bill Coy’s wisdom as he invited us to consider yutori. I have learned a few new words this week. 

The first I, and I suspect many others, are afflicted with: torschlusspanik, a German derivative word that means “gate-shut panic;” it is the fear that time is running out and that one is going to miss an opportunity. More than simply a fear of missing out, it is more for me a sense of urgency when wanting to build new worlds that are just and equitable. We hold a deep-seeded burden to our past and our future to fight for a healed and loving world. I mean, I work at an organization whose call to action is “because change can’t wait.”

Yutori, a Japanese derivative, is a life space that exists internally and externally. It allows us to empower ourselves, provide agency, and remove excuses. Bill led us through self-reflection in considering what is the benefit of having too much to do? And, what stories (LIES) are we telling ourselves about the current level of busyness? We often talk about what it means to have a work/life balance, though any working individual who is also a caregiver would roll their eyes. Balance is stasis; is that what we are seeking? For me, it is not, especially when change is on the forefront of our impact and requires momentum.

Poet David Whyte talks about the three marriages we have: to those we love, to our call in life, and to ourselves. How often do we sacrifice the marriage to yourself in service (LIES) for the other two marriages?   
Finally, we individually and collectively became curious about what our life would be like if we had more spaciousness for ourselves, and furthermore, how could that benefit others? Perhaps lōkahi, a sense of integrated, harmonious well-being, is the impact of yutori.

To learn more, here are some recommended books:

Photo of Rich Matsuda
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