Archive for the ‘living wholeness’ Category

Elements for the New Story

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Third day in our learnIng gathering. We started with some singing and then moved to some excersises that were inspired by the systemic constellation work. First it was a relating to our highest potential – life’s work – soul – higher self; all in silence and using the body to sense the nuances and try new things out.

Then we did a collective sensing in how we relate with The New Story. As intro we used a poem, written by a dear friend living in Greece, and these days confronted with the reality of living without oil and what then comes to a halt. Again all happened in silence, and being aware of the many subtle ways that we know. What follows here are the nuggest spoken in a circle about what we learned, new insights we got, out of this last constellation; either on elements of the new story or how to relate with it.

I advice you to read it slowly, letting time between each line; maybe read it twice as we did in the circle this morning.


Expansion and flexibiity
Opennes and uncertainty of direction
Potential and bodies reaching for each other; no sense of what the new story is.
There is an opening between humanity and the source; the connection is beginning.
Role of attraction and allurement; of beauty; and the attraction of the trees.
Opening out.
Wicked cool! Wicked friends! Cool!
The light coming through the leaves and looking at the ground. The trees are solid.
I am the Earth, the old and the new story. I want respect.
Slowing and noticing.


Creative tension between opposites. Is humanity ready? It does not have to be big.
Spirits are here to guide us. Learn to ask and listen.
The call of the great wild cosmos.
Aware of pressure.
Each of us connecting to the earth, and the rest of the universe, and each of us seeking each other.
Being open to receive source.
Like a kid in a candy store: curiousity, playfulness and so much to discover.
It doesn’t seem incidentical that we are passing time (a little clock being the talking piece); counter clockwise.
People trying to connect in many different ways.
Lots of energy and potential and conversations and relationships.
Receiving the trees, guarding the forest; knowing there is no away.
Wonder, awe and curiousity.
Aware of being a small node in a vast system.
When you turn the clock face over there are stars.
Attention to the shifting whole.

The cellular depth

Friday, July 30th, 2010

In between my time here in the Art of Humans Being, I read the blog of Sarah Whiteley, over at the Axladitsa Ning site… so linking in with the theme of our gathering here in Essex. Here is part of her writing:

Through the tender witnessing, I realised to my utter horror that I had contributed to the oil spill – and that my need for fossil fuels was now destroying vast expanses of wild nature around the planet. And, I could not see a way of re-patterning my consumption, my… certainly not in the short-term… to the degree that was necessary. I faced the fact that this natural disaster was a “we did this”… not a “they did this…” and, so too I was guilty of playing my part in the systemic destruction of our Home.

It seemed clear to me that I must take the necessary preparatory steps and secure for the heavy seas – now so imminent – and not wait passively for when the big seas arrived and created chaos and destruction; that I too was feeling my own despair – and certainly times of empowerment, but now it was a time to feel another deeper level of despair; and that I too was the windsurfer out in the sea, without skill or a life vest. What skills and capacities did I now need – to not endanger myself, or others, through incompetence or recklessness?


Friday, July 30th, 2010

First morning here in the Art of Humans Being in the Essex Conference center. Not yet 7 am and I see already some people around writing in their notebooks; I hear a conversation going on in the background… I’m sitting here on my bed; the sun is sending its rays through the trees’ branches. My little room being under the roof, I see branches all around, as if sitting in a tree hut.

What to tell about our half day together yesterday? I’m not sure. There is nothing that really stands out for me, nothing that I could capture easily. The weaving of 26 stories and perspectives didn’t show a clear pattern; at least not to me. Or does it?


This is a gathering, a learning event that uses the Art of Hosting pattern, but its main pupose is not to provide a training in this art, but to use the art to dive into the main theme and question: How will we, as humans being, repattern ourselves, to create and activate the new story? Tenneson said: I want to loose myself in that question!

I have two feelings right now. On the one hand there is a tension – actually I think it is a longing – that we talk about and engage with the real stuff: Why are we doing this? What’s the real point here? If we don’t repattern ourselves the end will come, sooner or later. That’s a fact. Did we do that yesterday? Where we blunt and bold enough to be at this point where we don’t have a clue how to move forward? On the other hand there is this calm feeling – a deep inner knowing – this kind of coming together is the repatterning! At least part of it. Being in a collective inquiry works on many levels: energeticc – intangible – subtle – conscious and also: individual – group – collective – systemic.


What sure is different here is the presence of other ways of knowing – other than mental – the poems, the silence, the collages, the artful workbook, the invitation from Judy to come from a soul-aligned space.

Let’s be bold and nothing than my unique self.
No forcing and no holding back (Rilke).
From hosting conversations that matter to hosting collective learning that matters to the planet.

What’s going on in the world out there that makes repatterning and restorying important? That was the question for our World Café and a way to ge to know each other. Some nuggets for me where:
It is us – you and me – normal people – civic society that will do the repatterning, not the leaders in politics or economy.
We have a choice – we can make a choice.


The collages, made as a way of harvest, showed in many different ways the bridge from the known and old story to pictures and images that spoke of nature, community, being creative and the like: a story of wholeness and wellness and being fully alive!

We ended our first afternoon with a circle. What calls you to be here now – as you are aware in this moment?

Highlights and threads:
It is time to live big.
All is not as it seems.
Home – where is my place? Where do I engage in transitioning with a local community? Commitment to find community where I am.
This land – here – Cape Ann.


Leadership – How to create collaborative leadership? How to listen to the voice of the collective, of the system?
Deep grief – what is it that is being griefed?
Living between stories, between the old and the new – literally, energetically.
Finding my own voice – finding home in myself – owning my wisdom.
The nourishment of circles engaging with big questions – the gathering of the people – the collective inquiry.

Are these the elements of our repatterning, of living wholeness?

To celebrate the beginning of summer?

Monday, June 21st, 2010

A Canadian friend of mine, Dave Stevenson, wrote a week ago a message to the Art of Hosting emaillist. He is doing great work within the process of giving child and youth care back to the first nations, away from the central government.

Here is what he wrote:
“Last week we held a ceremony at a local long house, which for those of you not familier with the West Coast First Nations traditions, holds the home fire of traditional laws and customs. The ceremony was to formally acknowledge and celebrate a relationship between Provincial, Federal and First Nations Governments working together for the care and protection of Aboriginal children in British Columbia.

As part of the event, one of the champions and leaders for First Nations Children was asked to speak and gave this message, which I am passing on. June 21st is National Aboriginal day, and the message is a request for a moment of clarity and intention for the care of mother earth.
Please feel free to pass along.”

Dear friends and family,

June 21, 2010 is Aboriginal Day for Aboriginal people in Canada. In light of this date, Caring for First Nations Children Society of British Columbia is asking for your support in the following initiative;

Mother Earth continues to nourish us and care for people regardless of the injuries she has suffered at the hands of man. From oil spills, earthquakes, logging, fisheries industry, among many other injuries, mother earth has sustained us and continues to fight for our survival. In the spirit of reciprocity, Caring for First Nations Children Society of BC would like for offices, agencies, organizations, families, and individuals to be conscious of the clock at 10am on June 21, 2010. At 10a.m. we ask that people consciously extend their healing thoughts to mother earth whether in the form of a prayer or otherwise. We encourage you to not underestimate the power of such a concentrated effort at a simultaneous time. Please extend healing thoughts, prayers, ceremony and positive energy for/to mother earth and ask that she heal herself and that people around the world support her healing.



Sunday, June 20th, 2010

As some readers might recall, last Autumn, I packed all my stuff in boxes, put it all in an old stable and not sensing where was my place to go next, I ended up living with Helen, in a Brussels suburb.

Actually this has been a most wonderful time, and out of her reorientation in life and my passion to live in a natural way, we now are just days away of getting the keys of a new house!

Actually it is a project on what we really want and what we are able to manifest. So we opened a separate blog for it to keep track of our learning and to share it with a wider audience, and you are welcome to read over there (both in Dutch and English!) Its name is Dorpsstraat, which is the actual name of the street and it translates as Village Street – just to be clear on how big the village is!

Part of the property is a totally grown over little apple and pear orchard, that we are unveiling of nettles and brambles… see how it was and how it is emerging…

The Feminine Blind spot

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Since a few weeks I haven been wondering why the need I perceive in men/masculine – as they are holding so much in the world ‘out there’ – and the offer and skill of women/feminine to witness and hold that, is not gelling, is not coming to a fruitful synergy (yet?). It all made me wonder if we – women/feminine – have a collective blind spot that keeps us away from our real power? Power, as I understand it here, in the sense of full contribution to life itself.

As sometimes is the case for me, giving language to the question itself, elicit almost immediately the answer. This came from me from that deeper inner well: “The blind spot is that we have inner knowing, and our mind doesn’t know.”

Immersion Jackie

I understand this inner knowing as a connection – through subtle sensing – into the realms of the invisible, the intangible and the non-human parts of our reality. Inner knowing is not something weird, but a reality that is mostly ignored in our mainstream culture, although unconsciously it guides our choices and all serendipity and synchronicity in life.

It is this subtle sensing that ultimately ties us, humans, back with nature and Earth. It is a relationship that goes much deeper than sustainability. A better concept is thrivability – where ALL that exists can thrive. Ultimately it is regenerative in its nature when we let our actions be grounded by this wisdom.

Immersion Jürgen

In the systemic constellation we did in the Immersion around the topic of what is the need in the world and how it relates with us and our masteries, the Wounded Healer was one of the main characters. He seemed to have a lot of power and was holding a lot, but he was also very stiff, rigid and not flexible or fluent. It was only when he connected with the Grandmothers energy that he could relax in his body and starting to breath a little deeper. After that had happened – and of course much more happened in the constellation – he was able to turn to Earth itself and saying “Sorry”, on her request. That gave the final relief in the constellation.

Having this story in my mind and still wondering about the feminine blind spot I asked myself: what is the Wounded Healer in us, women? This was the answer that came up: “We, as humans, can’t make it happen; we need to co-create with nature.” So, if I tie this all together then we need to become conscious and explicit about our relationship with nature and the invisible in order to co-create with these forces and energies – back into thrivability of humans and the earth. It seems to me, the feminine has to offer these capacities to the masculine, and can also ask the masculine to protect these skills in service of the wholeness of humans and earth; life itself.

What do you think about these matters?

(The people on the pictures were participants in the Immersion, and were representing the Wounded Healer and the Grandmothers.)

Signs from nature

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

This post was written during the Immersion, a gathering/program regarding Living Wholeness, that happened a few weeks ago in Axladitsa, Greece.

I realise more and more how I am connecting back to the worlds of the subtle, the invisible, the natural… and slowly – very slowly – the experience is dripping into my Western mindset that I am (and we are) totally interdependent with these worlds.

Rowan and the rock
(the picture is from some years ago, but the same beach!) I remembered having this feeling a lot of times last year when working in the garden. So many times that I questioned myself what it was and the answer came in the form of the book Cocreative Science, where the author describes how she cocreates together with what she calls devas and nature spirits. I first had to go beyond my childish ideas of dwarfs and elfs to understand these ‘beings’ in terms of energies and fields, which then make a lot of sense to me.

So I checked in with this being/energy/field, and my sense was that the spirit of this beach was quite happy with me being there and there seemed to be a connection with a spot on the beach where Axladitsa folks many times have gathered. I remembered that Jacki had collected some garbage from the beach a few days ago, and I did too; as it is my habit anyway. It seemed to me that I made this beach-being stronger by doing this.

Immersion flowers

Then there are the snakes and the lizards. We are approaching in our current program here the invisible and the unconscious, the subterranean as it is called in our map. Three days ago I noticed the skin of a snake tied into the little brick wall in our groups space. Interesting… Then on Wednesday I noticed a snake, tied in a strongly shaped knot around what I could later recognise as a lizard. I stopped and watched it for some time. Had the snake of transformation ourselves in her grip? I noticed the lizard being still for long minutes, then suddenly moving… it seemed to have gained some more freedom… I walked on to get something out of my tent.

Later that night we drew Tarot cards to get clarity about where we were in the process of our gathering; and in the end asked personal messages about our shadows and what is holding us back. In having this conversation some energy was released, something opened up.

Much to my surprise this morning, at the well, a lizard without a tail showed itself to me… I’m not saying this was the same lizard I saw before, but somehow interesting!

More snakes would show itself over the next days to other participants in the gathering; and to my great, great surprise; when I returned to the well in the evening, I noticed the tail of the lizard in the grass! If you would ever try to find a tail of a lizard laying in the grass…

Is this just metaphor?
Or is some deeper interconnection going on?
Can I get into the experience of how this is all interconnected, mutually shaping each other?
Can I really move myself in the awareness that I – we as humans – are mirrored in what we do and what we go through in the other realms; subtle and invisible, or as visible as snakes and lizards?

Sustainability one – or more – steps further

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

I wa just reading a post on the Worldchanging website (Subscribe yourself to their newsletter, every time with 4 good posts – it keeps you updated on what is going on on the positive side these days). The post makes clear what is the difference between sustainability and thrivability.

The word thrivability is made famous by Jean Russell and her blog by exactly this name.
Its definition could be:

“our path out of unsustainable practices toward a world where all people have a high quality of life, a voice, and a nurturing earth supporting them. Using whole systems approach, it demands that we evolve our way of being together, of collaborating, so that our collective wisdom and action bring forth a flourishing world and thriving life.”

Maybe at first sight the difference with sustainability isn’t that great. But here is what Arthur Brock wrote:

Thrivability builds on itself. It is a cycle of actions which reinvest energy for future use and stretch resources further. It transcends sustainability by creating an upward spiral of greater possibilities and increasing energy. Each cycle builds the foundation for new things to be accomplished.

Thrivability emerges from the persistent intention to create more value than you consume. When practiced over time this builds a world of ever increasing possibilities.

This difference links with a dissertation abstract The Rediscovery of Place that I read recently, written by Nick Wang, in which he points out the differences between psychological levels in how we deal with place.
He names as third level (level 1 and 2 are not so interesting in this regard): The Psychology of Wholeness, a living systems actualisation – which goes beyond a self-actualisation. It is the capacity to co-evolve in harmony with the greater living systems. “At this level humans actively work to help enable and even improve the workings of natural living systems.” “This goes beyond the vision of creating ‘green’, energy self-sufficient cities to that of creating urban socio-ecological landscapes that are integral members and contributors to the ecological systems in which they exist.”

And recently he has added a next level, which even goes further, called The Psychology of Spiritualization, which is about field regeneration, or about to spiritualize existence. “With each place there is a right action that best coalesces with the spirit of that place.”

It is good that people start seeing beyond sustainability, beyond just surviving. The new paradigm is much more than that. It is about Radical Collaboration, but which much more than other businesses or people… with the whole of life I guess.

Where we are heading

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

A few days ago I came across the blog called The Archdruid Report. To me he writes with a kind of presence, reality about where we are with our human civilisation.
This is the last paragraph of his blog post of today:

So many of us want things all one way or the other, all good or all evil, without the terrible ambivalence that pulses through all things human as inescapably as blood. So many of us want to see today’s civilization as humanity’s only hope or as ecocide incarnate, and long for a future that will be either the apotheosis or the final refutation of the present. It’s far less popular, and arguably far more difficult, to embrace that ambivalence and accept both the wonder and the immense tragedy of our time. Still, it seems to me that if we are to face up to the challenges of the future that’s bearing down on us, that difficult realization is an essential starting point.

… the wonder and the immense tragedy of our time…

I agree with the writer that not many people are able to face the tragedy of what is going on. Most people stay in happy denial, not even thinking of a tragedy. Recently, in many conversations, we talked about holding the pain of the past, and holding the pain of the land AND connecting this with holding the potential of the future. I’m well aware that this is not an easy thing to do; it asks a big stretch in our hearts and in our bodies. But to me it seems like nothing less is asked from us these days…

… the wonder and the immense tragedy of our time…

Generation M Manifesto

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

This is a must read for all of us! A blog post with 256 comments so far!

Dear Old People Who Run the World,

My generation would like to break up with you.

Everyday, I see a widening gap in how you and we understand the world — and what we want from it. I think we have irreconcilable differences.

You wanted big, fat, lazy “business.” We want small, responsive, micro-scale commerce.

You turned politics into a dirty word . We want authentic, deep democracy — everywhere.

You wanted financial fundamentalism. We want an economics that makes sense for people — not just banks.

You wanted shareholder value — built by tough-guy CEOs. We want real value, built by people with character, dignity, and courage.

You wanted an invisible hand — it became a digital hand. Today’s markets are those where the majority of trades are done literally robotically. We want a visible handshake: to trust and to be trusted.

You wanted growth — faster. We want to slow down — so we can become better.

You didn’t care which communities were capsized, or which lives were sunk. We want a rising tide that lifts all boats.

You wanted to biggie size life: McMansions Hummers, and McFood. We want to humanize life.

You wanted exurbs, sprawl, and gated anti-communities. We want a society built on authentic community.

You wanted more money, credit and leverage — to consume ravenously. We want to be great at doing stuff that matters.

You sacrificed the meaningful for the material: you sold out the very things that made us great for trivial gewgaws, trinkets, and gadgets. We’re not for sale: we’re learning to once again do what is meaningful.

There’s a tectonic shift rocking the social, political, and economic landscape. The last two points above are what express it most concisely. I hate labels, but I’m going to employ a flawed, imperfect one: Generation “M.”

What do the “M”s in Generation M stand for? The first is for a movement. It’s a little bit about age — but mostly about a growing number of people who are acting very differently. They are doing meaningful stuff that matters the most. Those are the second, third, and fourth “M”s.

Gen M is about passion, responsibility, authenticity, and challenging yesterday’s way of everything. Everywhere I look, I see an explosion of Gen M businesses, NGOs, open-source communities, local initiatives, government. Who’s Gen M? Obama, kind of. Larry and Sergey . The Threadless , Etsy , and Flickr guys . Ev, Biz and the Twitter crew. Tehran 2.0. The folks at Kiva , Talking Points Memo < , and FindtheFarmer . Shigeru Miyamoto , Steve Jobs , Muhammad Yunus , and Jeff Sachs are like the grandpas of Gen M. There are tons where these innovators came from. Gen M isn't just kind of awesome — it's vitally necessary. If you think the "M"s sound idealistic, think again. The great crisis isn’t going away, changing, or “morphing.” It’s the same old crisis — and it’s growing.

You’ve failed to recognize it for what it really is. It is, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out, in our institutions: the rules by which our economy is organized.

But they’re your institutions, not ours. You made them — and they’re broken. Here’s what I mean :

“… For example, the auto industry has cut back production so far that inventories have begun to shrink — even in the face of historically weak demand for motor vehicles. As the economy stabilizes, just slowing the pace of this inventory shrinkage will boost gross domestic product, or GDP, which is the nation’s total output of goods and services.”

Clearing the backlog of SUVs built on 30-year-old technology is going to pump up GDP? So what? There couldn’t be a clearer example of why GDP is a totally flawed concept, an obsolete institution. We don’t need more land yachts clogging our roads: we need a 21st Century auto industry.

I was (kind of) kidding about seceding before. Here’s what it looks like to me: every generation has a challenge, and this, I think, is ours: to foot the bill for yesterday’s profligacy — and to create, instead, an authentically, sustainably shared prosperity.

Anyone — young or old — can answer it. Generation M is more about what you do and who you are than when you were born. So the question is this: do you still belong to the 20th century – or the 21st?


Umair and the Edge Economy Community