I'm Sara DeHoff. I'm a writer, author and cross-pollinator of ideas. My mission in life is to facilitate learning wherever I am. And often that's through stories—stories that illuminate our rich diversity and the beautiful unity of our humanness.
I've lived, worked and studied in China, Japan, Taiwan and the Czech Republic. I've worked in an African American community theater and a Native American agricultural nonprofit. I got my B.A. at Evergreen State College and my M.Ed. at Harvard.
Wherever I go, I'm constantly amazed at the resilience, the dedication, the hope and the creativity of this human family of ours—forging a path to the future. Here's to building a prosperous world together.
How this all began...
Some years ago I read Lynne Twist’s book The Soul of Money and was struck by her explanation of sufficiency: “…enough to meet our needs and then some.” I started noticing all the things that we do have and just don’t notice. A few days later a flood of questions came to me—questions that made me stop and actually look around me: “What color is the sky today?” “How does the air feel?” The questions came so quickly, I couldn’t write fast enough.
I didn’t know what to do with all this, so I tried several things. I created workshops around Sufficiency Thinking, which evolved into Prosperity Thinking. I put together a deck of cards with the “Notice” questions. I developed a Prosperity Thinking journal. Nothing quite fit.
Then one lonely winter day, when no one showed up at my workshop, I sat down and re-read The Prosperity of Humankind. I felt like I’d been hit by a ton of bricks…
Prosperity is nothing less than the spiritual and material well-being of every single person on the planet.
Suddenly I realized—I’m a writer. I use words to paint pictures. Why not paint a picture of what this looks like? Share stories of people living prosperity.
A week later, my father died. As I stood in his house and looked around me, it was so clear that all the things we accumulate in this life are just that—things. They have no meaning. Dad’s true prosperity was his kindness.
Dad lived in a tiny, remote village of amateur astronomers out in the Arizona desert, where the skies are clear and the nights are dark. Every single person we met there had been touched by his kindness and his unfailing willingness to lend a hand wherever needed. His last gift to us, his kids, was the overwhelming outpouring of generosity and support we received from his friends, people we barely knew.
Dad’s friends fed us, gave us a place to stay, organized the memorial gathering, took loads to the dump, helped us move the heavy equipment out of the shop… but most of all they shared stories. Stories about how Dad helped them build their observatories and their houses, how he designed the pump-house to end all pump-houses, how he would simply make the rounds of the neighborhood to make sure everything was okay, how he always greeted you with a smile and a wave.
As I listened to these stories, I felt myself changing. I found myself listening more and talking less. I became gentler with myself and kinder to others. These stories are powerful. They not only show us what is, they show us what can be… they show us who we can be.
So I embarked on a quest for stories that uplift us, stories that show us who we are and who we can become. Stories that show us what true prosperity looks like when we are doing it.
The world has plenty of problems, there’s no denying that. But we won’t find our answers in more money. We’ll find our answers in more richness. Richness in all aspects of our humanness. And this is a place to share these stories.
Along the way, I found the Presencing Institute (now u-school for Transformation) and took their course on systems transformation. As part of the course, I set my intention: to facilitate learning within groups and between groups. Suddenly my world exploded with opportunities to do just that.
In working with these groups, I realized that the truth-seeking practice of consultation is an enormously powerful tool for learning together. I wanted a simple, clear explanation to share with colleagues. So I wrote one: Collaboration Through Consultation.
Prosperity as well-being
Recently I've been involved in a growing global conversation around finding measures of success beyond Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
After the disappointing results of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, biologist Arthur Dahl started asking why do we have systems that create incentives for the wrong things? What if we actually measured well-being instead of profits?
This led to the idea of a Global Solidarity Accounting system that measures well-being in a number of arenas. What is really exciting to me about all of this is the potential for real action at the local level.
So now I'm collaborating with folks around the world to resources for starting this conversation in neighborhoods and community groups.