Archives for Accessing our humanity

Trump and Climate Change: Can crises be opportunities?

Trump’s policies of deservedness Experiences of powerlessness, defeat and crises can be gateways to deeper perceptions of reality. The most disconcerting experiences sometimes help us to access a deeper sense of life in all its possibilities. For example, Donald Trump’s order to end to all federal action on climate change as well as his preliminary budget proposal challenges us in many ways – especially with regards to our worth as human beings. His proposal cuts right back on funding for many important social structures and support programs such as infrastructure, rural and urban housing assistance and homelessness programs, nutrition for
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The Future of Humanity

  ‘The Future of Humanity’ is a small text which captures the conversation between the philosopher J. Krishamurti and the physicist David Bohm. The text concludes that humankind’s biggest problem is the human thought process itself. This process creates unnecessary separations between people, denying each other their deeper humanity. When people see the story behind a tense situation or difficult to understand behavior, when they see the humanness in another person – they develop compassion that often leads to revolutionary change.   The knowledge of our shared humanity is what allows us to transcend  cultures, nations and organizations. For example,
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Finding Balance

Our lives often tend to be unbalanced for long periods. We experience high workloads, the discontent of not enough time to attend to family life or relationships, and often a lack of mindful stillness. At the same time we all know the symptoms of an unbalanced work life: dwindling relationships, a sudden lack of passion for life or the first signs of a burn-out syndrome.  Everything seems overwhelming. Yet when this happens a deeper force within us often pulls us back into balance. For example, we can experience a broken arm which forces us into not-doing, a good friend who turns away from us, a
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Empathy – Walking in another’s shoes

There is an African pro-verb saying “don’t judge people unless you have walked for a couple of miles in their shoes”. Yet discernment is human; it is part of our life. We often need it to walk our path with clarity. Can we learn discernment while simultaneously also learning to suspend judgment? Judging inappropriately and denying ourselves our shared humanity is a tendency we all have. It shows up in the inner struggle to walk past or help a beggar in the streets or in making or not making the time to ask our staff – how are you? If
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Mindfulness keeps us Aware

Awareness creates the distance needed to observe reality without judgment. In turn, such a distance allows insights to emerge. What seems separate begins to fit into a bigger picture. Awareness begins with observation and reflection. When we observe we take a step backwards. Instead of getting entangled in habitual patterns we just watch and become aware of all we have not noticed before. Integrating phases of stillness into our leadership journey helps us to slowly disintegrate habitual thought patterns, or preconceptions, and their subsequent actions. And when we  reflect, we draw meaning and coherence from a stream of incoherent experiences. This is
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Reconnecting with our early intention

I remember when I was a child that I never understood why people went to war. I never asked and never talked about it, but to me there was no sense in it. When I grew up in the divided city of Berlin, I began to day-dream about speaking to people about reconciling and making peace. This is what I call my early intention: without anybody telling me I felt that something needed to be changed in the world. When you find yourself in a state of questioning your leadership contribution, I believe it is worth looking at the early
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Can crises be opportunities?

Experiences of powerlessness, defeat and crises are gateways to deeper perceptions of reality. The most disconcerting experiences sometimes help us to access a deeper sense of life in all its possibilities. When the boundaries of our constructed identity are shaken, and we find a way of integrating the disturbing experience, we transform. We also become more human. When this happens, we enter into a new feeling of our identity. We depend less on the need to assert our greatness or a need to maintain our distinctive separateness from those we judge negatively. We gain resilience and strength through humor, humility
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How well do we know our mind?

The ecological integrity of river ecosystems depends on their natural dynamic character. (Stanford et al. 1996) In a similar way our minds as well as the greater sustainability initiatives we belong to need to uncover their own dynamic characters.  I believe it is important to understand the role of the mind in structuring and evaluating experience. The process of generating deeper awareness about ourselves, about interdependence and reciprocity, and ultimately the nature of reality is a prerequisite for contributing to wholeness in the world rather than fragmentation. The freer the mind, the more it turns toward the whole. It encompasses
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How do we gain power through loosing it?

Probably the most common form of dealing with any experience of powerlessness is a feeling of release, of yielding  – once it becomes clear that no amount of force can bring about changes in ourselves or others. Out of this release a letting go ensues. As a result we move out, change jobs, start something new. Such a change can be an important milestone on our leadership journeys. Even if it appears reactive, it can lead to an important transformation. A crisis of powerlessness can therefore initiate an external change that opens up new opportunities. In ecosystems this concept translates
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The gifts of powerlessness

Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle. A tree that is unbending is easily broken. Lao Tzu  Following on the first post ‘The Power of Powerlessness‘ this post explores the gifts of powerlessness: Paradoxically, giving up the kind of power and control – needed to predict the unpredictable and control the uncontrollable –  enables us to get our power back as individuals. How we as leaders for sustainability relate to both experiences of power and powerlessness has a decisive impact on the growth of our humanness, humility and compassion. As a result, the contribution we are willing to make
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