While I was in New York last week, a walk over to Union Square introduced me to the Urbanmonks Thinktank and its founder, Douglas Krisch. Here’s a snippet of the Urbanmonks mission statement from its website:
What we call anxiety and depression have existed for many generations. Though we’ve used different words and applied different forms of treatment, one thing has remained constant: we have primarily diagnosed and treated the individual.
. . . Today, tens of millions of Americans struggle with anxiety and depression. We continue to focus on healing the individual, which is essential and life-saving work. But when anxiety and depression have become common parts to all our families and communities, we must step back and examine the system, the culture.
The Urbanmonks Thinktank proposes that we, in the face of widespread anxiety and depression, must shift our approach from solely diagnosing and treating the individual to concurrently diagnosing and treating the culture.
Douglas introduces himself this way on the website:
I am a life-long learner and life-long teacher. Working with plants and bees grounds me. Producing books and selling them on the streets excites me. Any day I have connected with others feels like a day well-lived.
At Union Square, Douglas further explained his commitment to promoting emotional health in our society. He is doing so in part by writing and publishing short books that educate us about wisdom, reflection, and community, and then selling them via his Manhattan streetcart and online. I ended up buying a bunch of them, including The Weather of the Mind (2015), book 1 of the “Urbanmonks Wisdom Curriculum.” He also is forming a small team of compatriots to work together on various projects.
Douglas explains his publishing philosophy and practice in The Small Street Book Revival (2014) pictured above. Urbanmonks will consider manuscripts from potential contributors and consult with others who want to write short books. (Go here for more info on that.)
It made my day to talk with Douglas and John Francis Mcgill, an Urbanmonks author. You can’t go wrong when you connect with good people who want to create an emotionally healthier world. I look forward to watching how the Urbanmonks Thinktank continues to unfold.