This week we're sharing some "Voices from the Summit." Throughout the week participants in the 2008 Summit will be blogging about their experience, their work and their thoughts. These days, when I ask a friend or colleague how they're doing, I almost always get the same one-word response: "Busy."

I don't just interpret this as a reflection of the pace by which we live our lives; in fact, most of the people I know are busy doing things that either matter deeply to them or to people who depend on them. So it's not necessarily the pace that's the problem; it's the way the word choice reveals what we choose to illuminate and, by extension, value in ourselves and the world around us.

It's almost as if the word "busy" has become a short-hand way to describe what it feels like to live in modern society. Is this an accurate description? Is there a difference between feeling busy and feeling highly engaged? If so, what does the predominance of the one word over the other say about our states of mind?

These questions, for me, illuminate why the Harwood Summit is so valuable. Instead of crafting a busy agenda, Rich and his staff provide a precious opportunity for people to feel engaged. Together, we pause, exhale, reflect on who we are, what we do, and why it matters, and make connections with other committed professionals from a range of professional sectors.

~Sam Chaltain, Executive Director, Five Freedoms Project