So sorry folks, but the ‘people’ are any wiser or emotionally healthy than the ‘elites’ and maybe quite at bit less educated, so no I don’t trust the ‘people’ to make any better decisions than anyone else. Given the choice of a ‘strong’ man for president, one who had only his own interest at heart, one who made it ‘OK’ to be misogynistic and colonialistic, I don’t see enough wisdom and compassion there to be trustworthy.
I get it! It’s frustrating to feel left behind, to feel voiceless (hey, I’m a woman after all) but the utter lack of compassion and empathy will simply not work, in the long run, no matter who is professing such behavior. From a systems perspective bottoms can look up and see what’s not working and how things might be structured differently – something tops can rarely see on their own but seeing something as not working and doing something about it are two different things.
Discernment is something that seems to come with age. Some people are old from the beginning and I believe discernment can be taught, but it’s a rare commodity. Religion, philosophy, and education of all kinds have tried to teach it without much success. Instead of taking agency we seem to choose obedience even though it’s been proven time and time again that obedience doesn’t work. The army has a term for that ‘malicious compliance.’ That’s what you do to get back at officialdom when they discipline you for ‘breaking’ the rules that aren’t working in the first place.
We often can see what’s not working but knowing how to fix it is another story altogether. The Greeks chose philosophy as the method for discernment, and while useful, that hasn’t gotten us very far either. Understanding the ‘other’ is always a barrier to both respect and caring. Intuiting the experience of someone else is an unusual skill indeed and one few have and few even see as needed. We expect everyone to ‘be like us.’
A big part of living a long life, I believe, is learning about people and being able to see things from another’s perspective. Still the wide variety in human understanding and creativity has led me to believe that you just never really know what someone else is going to think or how they will understand the same experience we both just had. The key, I think, is openness.
Systems thinking suggests that all living systems determine who they are by the boundaries they create. As babies we are constantly trying to decipher who we are and who our parents think we are or want us to be. As we get older society and our friends become the sources of new perspectives about who we might be. One of the insights from this kind of thinking is that there is actually a relationship between an entity and its environment. There is an openness that allows for ‘fit.’ For some, and for others as they age, keeping that relationship fluid is more difficult. For me, a Scorpio – a fixed sign, I’ve learned to keep my boundaries open through curiosity and a strong desire to learn. I’ve also learned to NOT make decisions. Once I’ve decided, I’m quite unmovable, or said another way, moving is painful. I simply take the action that seems best under the circumstances and so far, that’s worked well.
Ah discernment, what works well? How do you know? I’ve spent over 70 years trying to understand how I know that, and it was only in looking at the Earth and nature that I got it. The yardstick I use to measure is life. What brings, allows, engenders the most life into any situation is a good measure of its long-term success. It also is a step into the kind of world I want to live in – one where life is joyous, vibrant and robust!
Things are bad, no work, businesses closing, unemployment insurance is not long enough to meet the need, nothing’s working right, and on it goes, and all of this is true. Lack and scarcity stimulates fear, self-protection, defensiveness, and withholding, these things are not true and not even necessary. We are so used to thinking this way we seldom question not only the veracity, but the usefulness.
Things DO ebb and flow, things come and go, things die and are reborn, this understanding of cycles is a good prospective to hold as we watch things change. Holding on to what we have known and experienced as ‘the way it is’ just makes the natural changes we are experiencing more painful. It is the resistance to the power of flow that often causes pain.
This is a lesson I learned in childbirth. My third birth was natural. As I paid attention to my body it was clear to me that me resistance to the contractions only made it hurt more. My body understood what it was doing and it was moving fiercely. When I was able to detach enough to be in awe and wonder, then I was able to partner with my body in helping it do what it needed to do, and pain disappeared. I became so focused in syncing to the rhythm that my mind/attention had no room for pain.
In order to partner with the contractions of a dying/regenerating society we need to understand the birthing contractions for what they are. As the contractions increase and the only home known begins to disintegrate can you imagine the thoughts of the fetus at that time? Hope and joy or fear and dread? We are all fetuses at this time. We watch in…fear and dread or hope and curiosity? to see what will the future bring.
Focusing on the horribleness of our current reality and resisting what we see is characteristic of a society in collapse. But the other truth – the hidden truth is that when we only see what is happening we lose sight of the future. This myopic vision cannot prevent the cycle from happening, but it does prevent us from seeing and partnering with the new vision, the new possibilities reaching out – asking to be born. Without conscious partnership that new future can be still born, as it has been in the past. Our chance now is to change that.
What if, what if, lack is really a change in flow? If we hold that view, then the task becomes one of managing the flow. Taking a page from permaculture what happens if we look at the land, the culture, the community, the market to see how it lies, what are the hills and valleys through which flows happens, or doesn’t? What can we do to partner with that geography to allow flow to happen instead of impeding it?
Let those old structures, habits, ways of being fall knowing they are not working and instead seek to understand what needs to happen to manage the flow that does exist to materialize more fully. If the flow of one thing is drying up then what is the flow that can replace it? How can we partner with the new to support its vibrant existence? Nature is continually moving and gently shifting things until resistance is met and then that gentleness shifts to one of mighty powerful contractions until the flow is reborn into a new configuration.
We are in the ‘end times’ when nature seeks to destroy the old un-useful structures and shift the flow to address the new dynamics that are arising. Our job is to let her do what she needs to do OR help her manage those dynamics by paying attention. We can do this! WE can do this! Never before have we know enough to be able to know what to pay attention to – now we do. Partner with each other and mimic nature, simple really, but there’s no place for fear. If we can shift lack, scarcity, fear, self-protection, defensiveness, and withholding into flow, change curiosity, self-care and partnership we will make it through to a new and yes, very different future. It may not be the future we are holding in our heads, but if we see, instead of resist it may, just may be better!
I’m motivated to do whatever I can to get us through this planetary shift in the best possible way! That’s why I’m doing training on what it means to be ‘regenerative’ and what can we do to help others get on board. I’m quite excited about the new training and there will be a couple of webinars in January to go over that in more detail – so keep tuned.
Knowing about the earth and how to keep her healthy is one thing, but being or becoming adaptable – open to change, is quite another. That is why I chose to get certified in AQai, an assessment that shines alight on what it means to be adaptable and how you can actually improve your ability to move easily through crisis and change.
One key aspect is Grit. Grit is the purpose you cling to when the going gets rough. What really motivates you. I think being clear on that is vital, especially when our culture trains us to think that either money or family is really the purpose of life. Where do you stand on these two? How big are they for you?
We all know about greed, but scarcity can also be a driver for money over life. So much of the scarcity we experience is artificial. The underlying belief that people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps plays into a justification for policies in both governance and finance that ensure scarcity. What is ugly about scarcity is that it engenders fear. Fear mobilizes our Amygdala and stimulates cortisol, diminishing our ability to either think deeply or learn.
If we are to get through this with anything even approaching style fear won’t do it. So what is Grit to you? What is YOUR motivating force? Fear works against being regenerative as it triggers survival angst and works against serving or helping others.
How about family? More importantly how about YOUR family? Are they nurturing or dismissive? Are they supportive or disparaging? Are they… you get the picture. Love them? Sure, but being very tightly tied to something that evaporates any desire to live of any feelings of self-confidence might no be the best strategy if you want to thrive and if you what to help the planet thrive.
What is underneath everything for you? What gives you joy at being alive? What makes LIFE meaningful, robust and vital? Answer that and you are on your way to being strong enough, flexible enough to find your path through this mess.
If you are interested in taking the AQai Assessment or in learning more about the Resilience Coaching and Regenerative Coach Training please get in touch.
Ten years, the United Nations gives just ten years to make enough changes to mitigate the worst impact. The world has already changed as we all know, so is there really hope? I CAN say is that every change we make makes it more likely there will be human life for a longer time after those ten years have passed. The changes are SO profound that it is certainly a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) to make it happen. We are buying time.
The good news is that if we can buy enough time we will have a rocky road, but we, as humans, can survive and everything we learn and do now will be needed then. It took us decades to create the habits and lifestyle that is cooking our goose and if we are still here decades later is will be because we took the steps now that we need to take.
OK, so what can I do, you ask? What you can do is learn how to work with your own clients, employees, boss to help them make the changes they can make by learning what’s needed. On the one hand the shift is very simple – care about the planet and each other. On the other hand that’s a tall order. It’s not like this is new information. What IS new is the grounding in science, neuroscience, psychology and systems theory that will help make the right decisions at the right time.
Join me on the third Thursday of the month at 4-5 pm PST for playful practice in decision-making as if life mattered. Get the Zoom link by signing up on my website; https://BridgeToPartnership.com/Events. You can also sign up for one of my courses or sign up to be coached. You can also read books, watch Youtube and do a host of other things, but please, DO something.
We need to think differently to get out of this mess. That’s why you need to get educated. You need to learn how nature really works so you can emulate it. You need to understand systems to better leverage change and to better understand why everyone is so concerned. No one can tell anyone else what they need to do. Every decision you make impacts the end result and the rate at which those results will become noticeable. For each person and each company to make the right choice you have to start now to learn to think differently – you cannot start too soon!
In discussions with Terri Mollner I was struck by his emphasis on power. He was very firm in that one of the biggest challenges in maturing to be a full human consisted in holding onto, as I understand it, the power for discernment.
Now what first raised questions was his insistence that people need to hang on to power. In my experience with the spiritual life power is the least of my concerns. I see power as a characteristic, an illusion even, of differentiation from source and if there is an attachment, then that desire can lead to an actual fragmentation from the whole.
My experience of higher levels of consciousness is that the concept of power fades away. That word no longer applies. If anything the aspects of the other end of the continuum – influence and appreciation – become more real, more true. Truth, for me is more about coherence than being ‘right.’ The concept of having to maintain and express power when in high states of consciousness speaks to a kind of dissonance that doesn’t feel correct.
If Terri means that as humans mature while maintaining their differentiation from source they need to be sure to ensure their ability to discern what is ‘true/resonant’ from that which is not, then that makes sense to me, and one area of discernment that is key is to be clear that the goal of a mature, differentiated human is to become as coherent as possible while still remaining differentiated. Doing this is possible, as he said, because we all know what oneness is and as long as we are ‘resting’ in that awareness then we can play at differentiation with integrity.
I hope I’m understanding him correctly. If I’m correct, then his book, The Love Skill, is a recipe for living into the fullness of humanity – while consciously maintaining differentiation. I see that as the desire to bring spirit down into creation, and that’s a wonderful thing to do. My minds eye sees stories from the Mahabharata about Arjuna, and these stories speak to the dawning realization that we are infinite souls. These stories speak to the shifting of the Kali Yuga and maybe even the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Love is that which recognizes coherence.
A friend asked me this question. What is real and true about this country? There was a small group of us. One member of the group suggested it was our land. We have a beautiful country and surely nature is waiting to refresh and regenerate and our land will bloom again. And this is true.
My answer is the graphic above. The spiral is the heart of our country. We were founded to be something special, something different. That is what we were, at the time. No one had seen an experiment in governance like the one we created with the help of the Iroquois Nation. Our constitution was modeled, in part, from the Iroquois Constitution, also known as the Great Law of Peace. The spiral is an important Iroquois symbol. It shines at the heart of our nation too. The butterflies and the new experiments coming into being as the imaginal cells that organize the goo of the old caterpillar begin to re –enchant the contents of the chrysalis and create the vibrant and spectacular butterfly of the future.
We are in a liminal time, neither here nor there. We are seeing a new flag at the current presidents rallies so perhaps it is time for a new symbolic representative of the new world that is being released in to birth as we speak. All systems are sensitive to the initial conditions with which they start. Each experiment is the very best it can be, at the time. Over time the cracks of the original dissonance start to show. Those cracks are the seeds of the new experiment as the evolution that is learning takes note and does it differently this time.
We do not know what will be birthed. Just as the seeds of this systems destruction were sown centuries ago so the seeds of this new birth were sown long ago. We know much more now than we did then. We have learned from our own experience and from the experiments of others. We are much more cognizant of nature and much more willing to learn from her. This is not a time to ‘go back’ but a time to move richly forward integrating new and old wisdom. For the first time in centuries we have discovered our home, the planet Earth, and now we see it for the first time.
Another member of group offered up that we are kind. May it be so.
I hear this all the time, but what does it really mean? How do you actualize it? What does it look like in action? How does that change/inform your behavior? How is the world different when that is a lived experience? I think these are important questions to ask each other and ourselves.
In working to turn this ship around I keep searching for the core, the foundation, the leverage point that will generate the most impactful change. We speak about ‘going back to nature’ about reconnecting to nature. So is nature the foundation, the core? We know we are a part of nature, but that doesn’t sit so well with some of us. We came out of the jungle, we don’t want to go back. We live in cities – how can people in apartments connect to nature?
Janine Benyus’s words about how nature really works, keep coming back into my head: All actions create the conditions that support life. Is it life that is the core, the foundation? Respect and reverence for life, is that the magic ingredient? I do believe that that is the path to shift us from where we are to where we need to be. Respecting and revering life! What does that look like? Are the Jains the perfect example? They walk, devotedly sweeping before them so they don’t step on an insect. They believe that revering life is avoiding death. Is that true in nature? Nature seems to accept death, not avoid it. So what does revering life look like?
All life is conscious and even some things that don’t seem conscious – like stones – can be seen as conscious. Physics tells us that the connections protons and neutrons have for each other exists no matter the distance. They respond to each other instantaneously no matter how far away they are from each other. They exhibit oneness. Therefore anything that has a boundary that is maintained is conscious – choosing to stay connected instead of breaking apart into individual parts. Is consciousness the core, the foundation?
Again I’d say yes. Consciousness is expressed in life and expressed through nature. For me that is why nature is so significant in our search for oneness. Nature is the expression of what it means to be so connected that everything is interconnected – nothing can exist without the other. Life and consciousness really do include us. We know – personally, when we have honored our own life and our own consciousness or dishonored them. Thinking this way offers up a real-time, personal system of measurement. We know when we are in touch and respectful of life, because we feel that disrespect inside of ourselves.
Western civilization is not designed for this. Robin Wall Kimmerer, in her book, Braiding Sweetgrass makes what was to me a startling revelation. In her native Potawatomi language there is no gender. There are no words that signify woman or man. The distinction that is crucial to them is animate or inanimate. Think about that; everything that is animate uses the same pronouns as are used for people, for family. Everything that is animate is a ‘who’ only inanimate things are its. Even stones are ‘who.’ This is the shift we need to make. We need to know, deep in our bones, that we are all one, that we are all important and worthy of respect and, yes, reverence – even other humans.
In Kashmir Shavism everything is God. Think about that, everything is God. As a practice that means that nothing is pushed away and everything has it’s place. Finding the ‘fit’ of horrible disasters into your life is a healing experience. Like in childbirth resistance is pain, so in life resistance is what brings the trauma and anguish that so cripples us. Embracing Life does not mean condoning awful things, but it does mean respecting the situation and dancing with it until the ‘fit’ becomes known. Much like running a rapids it is working with the powerful energies of the water that is the thrill of the adventure. We are all ONE – all entitled to respect and appreciation, to be experienced with gratitude and yes, even reverence.
We have been seduced by the thought that leadership means that the person designated as "leader" does something that makes others what to do something too. A corollary of that is that "others" don't want to do anything and wouldn't, if it wasn't for the "leader."
What if that wasn't true? What if, let's just suppose, the "others" really, really wanted to do something. Consider for a moment if you might be an "other," do you want to do something? Do you have dreams and desires? Do you think you just might have solutions to some problems you see everyday? Do you?
So, if "others" do have dreams, desires and possible solutions, what role does the "leader" play? What if, "leader" was a job description, much like teacher, or mentor, or janitor? If "leadership" was a job title, what would the job description look like? Humm, maybe a little like teacher, a little like mentor, a little like coach, and a little like trailblazer, and maybe just a little like scout? Maybe the "leaders" job is to evoke from the "others" their innate abilities, dreams and desires? Maybe the "leader" is really a cheerleader with vision?
That leads to another seduction. "Leaders" often think that that job title means they can now do whatever they want. They have dreams desires and potential solutions that they really, really want to try out. Good on them! What that usually comes with, however, is the whining about the "others." Stories about how "they" don't understand, how "they" won't follow through, about how "they" don't really care and worries that what they do or want to do won't last.
This seduction is most often seen in organizations where the leadership changes about every 4-5 years for top leaders and about every two years for up and coming stars.
Michael Watkins surveyed Fortune 500 company HR Directors and found that executives had an average tenure of 4 years; high-potential managers 2 1/2 - 3 years, he quotes Brad Smart as saying that the cost of a failed executive hire was 15 to 24 times base compensation.
This is expensive in every way. The constant yanking around that happens as "leaders," who believe this seduction, strive to make their own mark, at the cost of the organizations progress. This becomes a never-ending cycle, one that organizations survive in spite of the turmoil it causes.
In some organizations and in many governmental roles tenure is mandated with the belief that change will prevent corruption. This process has become so ingrained that leadership succession is almost mandated in some companies.
Organizations that continually rotate leaders select for those that can "get their way" the fastest. The focus on manipulative power, political cunning, and strong will have more to say about the character of the person, than about their ability to serve and build the organization.
These two seductions create a lazy approach to leadership. It is way easier to try and get your own way than it is to listen and hear what the collective is saying. History is littered with "leaders," including kings and others, who tried to go against the will of the people and paid dearly. It is much easier to frighten and cajole, manipulate and out smart than it is to erase self-doubt, clarify vision and believe in others even when they don't believe in themselves.
We are not taught collaborative techniques to work and play together, we are taught competitive techniques that keep us separate and reinforce the belief that one someone is better than anyone else.
Knowing these seductions and being able to address them is critical as we move into regenerative business practices. The pressing need for organizations to be flexible and resilient, the demand for innovation that is off the charts, all call for a leadership that is skilled in evoking the very best from "others." This kind of shift cannot be done by one person - no matter how skilled and forceful. In fact force is the opposite of innovation as it is an expression of fear, not experimentation, trust or curiosity - all components of creativity and innovation.
The ability to be collaborative, to evoke the best from others and to create a culture of excited experimentation and innovation are the hallmarks of the new transformative leadership and are the new measures of a leader practicing resilient intelligence.
By applying the ‘methods’ nature uses to create thriving ecologies, by acting with each other the same way that the rest of the planet’s life forms interact, by recognizing our interdependence and working to strengthen it, transformational leaders use the dynamics of systems and the Resilient Values Set™ to engage with each other that evoke the best from us.
All of us are seeking to contribute, to grow in service to what is important to us. We want to contribute to the grater good and we want to see the results of our labor create a thriving world, not a desiccated desert, yet when we look around that not what we see. Knowing that nature is both regenerative and distributive surely gives us a clue about how we should behave. The world should be better for our presence. Everyone should benefit from what we do, make, create, but that’s not the case.
There are just two of the fifteen values from the Resilient Values set™ that can make a huge difference in our lives, if we but lived them: Work to Maintain the Health of the Whole, and All actions Create the Conditions that Support LIFE. Think about these and consider who living just these two would impact your own daily life choices.
I’m open for conversation and coaching – contact me anytime: (509) 934-5930 or by email at Bridge2Partnership@gmail.com
In times of difficulty sometimes things take on new meaning. In my Spiritual Practices class I was struck by a new understanding of hospitality. When things get difficult and scary, when things don’t seem to be going my way the need for hospitality just increases. In times of strife hospitality can be expressed by giving people, (the ‘other’ side), the benefit of the doubt.
Nothing can be harder when I cannot imagine how ‘they’ can think that. Nothing can be harder when I know ‘they’ have got it all wrong. Nothing can be harder when I have to wonder ‘how dare they.’ But I’m sure that if I bring curiosity into the situation and wonder, instead of declaring, then perhaps I can be more hospitable to those who seem to think differently.
We are all such unique individuals. The process of individuation by which we learn and understand what makes us not only special but valuable to others can get lost in the individualism that sees ‘me’ as the only important being. In truth, the interconnectedness that this time has made so clear, offers up the importance of the uniqueness of each of us that is manifested in the interdependence that makes our lives.
Sometimes that very interdependence, that being needed, can be felt as restrictive, because interconnection requires small ‘sacrifices’ of self in order to work together. When that feeling of being restricted prompts people to distance themselves from others instead of reaching out in curiosity, then the circle of interdependence gets broken.
Now is the time for me to practice genuine hospitality, to give others the benefit of the doubt. I need to trust they have the same goals even if they approach the situation differently. I need to appreciate being needed and not run from the demands that makes on me. I need to make strengthening that interconnectedness my service. I need to open myself and extend that hospitality to others.
Kathryn Alexander, MA
Regenerative approaches require a deep integration with nature. Collaboration requires different structures and ways of working together. If we want different results we have to do things differently!