December 27, 2018
“I need love
Not some sentimental prison
I need god
Not the political church
I need fire
To melt the frozen sea inside me
I need love.”
– Sam Phillips
Image by Luke, Ma, “Love by Nature,” shared under provisions of Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
I started this year with a post focused on love, and this idea that 2018 would be the year of love. This thinking wasn’t offered through rose-colored glasses, but from a shared sense and conviction that love would be required to see the year through. And not just any kind of love. In that original post there were a few definitions and quotes that we have been playing with at IISC, including these:
“All awakening to love is spiritual awakening… All the great social movements for freedom and justice in our society have promoted a love ethic.”
– bell hooks
“Justice is what love looks like in public.”
– Cornel West
“To show compassion for an individual without showing concern for the structures of society that make him [sic] an object of compassion is to be sentimental rather than loving.”
– William Sloane Coffin
“Love is seeing the other as a legitimate other.”
– Humberto Maturana
March 22, 2012
“The ultimate act of love is allowing ourselves and others to be complex.”
September 1, 2011
The post below is a repost of a piece by Kathia Laszlo on the “Rethinking Complexity” blog from Saybrook University. It captures a lot of what I am exploring these days about systems thinking as an intellectual exercise to greater embodiment of doing systemically. Enjoy!
A system is a set of interconnected elements which form a whole and show properties which are properties of the whole rather than of the individual elements. This definition is valid for a cell, an organism, a society, or a galaxy. Joanna Macy says that a system is less a thing than a pattern—a pattern of organization. Read More
Three years ago I had the privilege of helping to design and facilitate a convening of people in Maine interested in the power of networks for social change. The day featured many interesting presenters, including Michael Edwards who gave a provocative concluding talk entitled “Love and Networking.” His words have been coming back to mind of late, as I do work in different systems where networks are all the rage and we struggle to balance the more formal structural elements with the animating consciousness and connectivity that are the transformational juice. During this Labor Day holiday, I invite you to consider Michael’s inspiring words, excerpted from the fuller presentation, and add your own thoughts and reactions: Read More
August 9, 2011
I am honored to be part of a listserv called “The Gamechangers Salon,” there is brilliance and passion in it. There is also a lot of anger these days, particularly given recent events in Washington. Following is my recent contribution to the conversation, coincidentally, my colleague Cynthia Silva Parker, just wrapped up her blog series on Power & Privilege with a post on Pursuing – something in the air at IISC! Here is my post:
April 30, 2010
April 15, 2010
(A repost from April 2009)
I suppose it’s the overlooked companion of Change: Anticipation. It’s the silent provocateur that causes us to peer into the distance, squint past the horizon, turn the proverbial corner, stand on the brink, gear up for the jump off, and on and on. It is the automatic reflex within us that kicks into gear once we have a cognitive or instinctual knowing, that things are about to…shift.
That Change is afoot, we well know: Sam Cooke crooned it; Grandma prayed for it; Obama touted it; analysts predicted it; planners plan for it. My thoughts here turn to unpacking a hunch that what we are missing out on, quite unbeknownst to us, is the wisdom, creativity and knowledge available to ( through?) us/clients in that (anticipatory space of) calm before the storm (of Change). Scharmer’s naming and exploration of pre-sencing gets at it; Gibran’s queries around testing for “readiness” in groups is along the same lines; prototyping as a way into solving complex problems is yet another expression within this same sphere. Rather than an anxious, fear-based, controlling energy wherein we brace for change, I’m suggesting that there is a playful, curious, self- and Other-awareness we can decide to adopt that enables us to learn from Change, and how to navigate it, perhaps even before it occurs.
|Photo by John D. McDonald|http://www.flickr.com/photos/psychoactive/2943294866|
Science has confirmed what many of us feel, that we are each more than one person. We are minds and bodies, left brains and right brains, controlled and automatic responders. This last division is due in part to the fact that we each have more than one brain. Our old reptilian brain is what we can depend on to keep us safe from physical harm most of the time. Our newest brain is what gives birth to the wonders of critical thought and creativity. The amazement I feel about the evolution of our higher thinking is dampened somewhat by my understanding and experience that my multiple brains are not often well coordinated. I walk into a meeting on the one hand (or brain) excited to facilitate, while on the other I am anxious, my more primitive wiring believing there’s a saber toothed tiger in the corner). Welcome to what Seth Godin calls “the lizard” inside.