Time for a change or time to change?

“Change needs to scale across the depths of the culture, out into the wider environs and up into policy.”

I think of change all the time as a restorative practitioner based in youth, education and systems work. I think of it as three dimensional when it applies to systems and holistic when it applies to persons. With respect to systems, it has to do with scaling. Change needs to scale across the depths of the culture, out into the wider environs and up into policy. 

For individuals to engage in change there needs to be engagement with, at least, one of: the mind, the heart and the hands

Singularly, or ideally, all three, need to be addressed. Some are keen to know the whys the what’s and the wherefores regarding the actual or imagined possibilities. Some need to experience the visceral dimension of change and transformation. Others ask “how do we do this?”

However, rather than explore each of these in depth (which could be done in another blog?), let me speak aphoristically.


It is not chaos.

It is not what you think it is.

It is not what you see or are looking for.

It is not what you anticipate or expect.

It is not what you planned.

It is not where the light is shone.

It is not the tear that you expected.

It is not from where you are standing.

It is not only with the people who came to the table or circle.

It is not a straight line from A to B.

It does not travel in linear fashion from the past thru the present into the future.

It is not a noun.


It is complex.

It is over there where the light has not yet found its way.

It is where the voices have always been, most often muffled, unheard.

It is below the surface.

It is on the periphery.

It is in the shadows.

It is the nascent, emergent, tender shoots.

It is the space between the words and the silence that surrounds our utterances.

It is outside of the frame, on the other side of the box.

It is not within our reach, but within our grasp.

It is circular and traverses a path that spirals outward and upward.

It is what isn’t.

It is a verb.

About the Author

Rick Kelly was first introduced to the restorative model through an indigenous lens. He has been trained by a Buddhist, rogue teacher, police officer, pastor from youth detention and Kay Pranis at the Canadian School of Peacebuilding (CMU). He has a Masters in Restorative Practices, a BA in philosophy which he was told would doom him to a short and dead-end career, and an advanced diploma in youth work. He lives as an uninvited visitor on the traditional lands of the Anishnaabeg peoples in what is now called Canada.

Rick Kelly, M.Sc,(Restorative Practices), B.A, C.C.W, CYC  (Cert.)

Trainer /Consultant/Owner; Just Us: A Centre for Restorative Practices

Twitter: @rkelly123


PETA BLOOD   5 Jun 2021 12:59

Hi Rick. Love the thought provoking list of what change is and what it is not, and how this can apply to practice and almost any touch points we have in life. How often have we been caught expecting certain things to happen and surprised by what eventuates? Very poetic!

RICK KELLY  25 Apr 2021 19:46

Thanks for reading and your comments!