Archive for the ‘patterns’ Category


Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

seeing patterns,
seems to me like an intelligence to understand complexity.

I love this young guy and how he can talk so fast! And the imagery is just right.

like the coherence in living systems.



Perspective on food

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

I got this message, with pictures, through an email from a friend. Good to take a moment and stand still…

What is eaten in one week

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11


Germany : The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07


United States : The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week $341.98


Mexico : The Casales family of Cuernavaca
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09


Poland : The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27


Egypt : The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53


Ecuador : The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55


Bhutan : The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03


Chad : The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23


The email ends with: “I wonder if we have reason to be thankful?”

Did you notice that more and more generations are entering as we scroll down through the list? Did you notice that more and more persons eat of the weekly menu?

Thanks for the people who initiated this research! and send it through with emails etc.

Grief and Climate Change

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

An online friend of mine, Toni Stafford, had an inspiring blog a few days ago: Kubler-Ross’ 5 stages of grief applied to Climate Change. I had never thought about it in these terms, but there is a lot of value in it!

It has long been my position that what is commonly referred to as resistance to change can be better understood as one of the first four stages of grief. In my own personal history I have experienced all five stages in relation to global climate change. And while I’ll describe that in order, I want to emphasize that my progression through the stages has been far from linear. Before reaching acceptance I swirled and spiraled around and through the first four phases a number of times.

The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul

Monday, October 5th, 2009

I arrived here in Axladitsa on Tuesday evening and went straight to bed. So let’s say that my writing retreat started on Wednesday and now it is Monday morning as I write this. It is the first morning I feel really well. I opened my eyes before the day actually began and the sky was still more orange than blue. The two dogs I am ‘babysitting’ are still quiet and only two from the five cats showed up yet.
These last five days were more of: sneezing, feeling very weak in my legs, dripping nose, sour muscles, no energy ‘to do’ anything… so what I did was reading two books.

The first one was on Action Research (AR) (Systemic Action Research. A Strategy for Whole System Change, by Danny Burns), because I have a sense that the way we look at ourselves, at our collective learnings, and the constant attention for next questions and patterns are exactly that: action research. Of course, as in every discipline there are different schools with different focus points, but what I noticed so far, besides what I/we can learn from it, is that AR could learn something form the practices and models that we use in both Art of Hosting and Women Moving the Edge. So, I am looking forward to find a synergy that is a win situation for all of us and for the planet too!

More inspiring was a book by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, (The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul) which I only knew from a few quotes, which made me think it was the name of a woman. But no, it is a man, well versed and totally committed to a particular Sufi tradition. He has amasing insights to tell us! In the introduction, the shaman Sandra Ingerman writes: “In this book Llewellyn puts together his teachings on the feminine, which he stresses again and again is central in working with global healing and transformation and life’s regeneration. In these writings he reminds us of the primal secrets of creation that belong to the feminine. He emphasizes how this deep knowledge is by nature an inseparable part of the woman’s body and her inner knowing, and how it is especially needed in this time of great crisis to revitalize life as it is meant to be lived. He also reminds us of our ancient understanding of the anima mundi, the soul of the world, and how vital her presence is at this time. It is time for us to bring back the soul of the world by once again honoring this life-giving force.”

It is especially this notion of World Soul that was new to me, at least on a conscious level, and that inspired me a lot. Regular readers know that I developed the Spirit-Source model and I hardly ever came across anyone who – like I do – made this kind of distinction between the transcendent and the inner sacredness of matter/world; let alone in such a clear way. Llewellyn now offered me some more language and a framework that fits and enhances my own model.

One of the chapters’ title is: Anima Mundi: Awakening the Soul of the World. It speaks about the world, not only as a living being, but also as a spiritual being. And that as we all have a soul that is pointing us to our own unique life and spiritual home coming, the same is true for the world. It has a soul, a sacred substance, an inner realm and not only the outer manifestation that we all know too well. The author states that women have a special role to play in this work that contributes to the healing that is needed and the emerging of the new.

How I will be able to integrate all this in my own writing I’m not sure yet, but as the introduction of this book states: “I know everyone reading this book will be inspired. So please read on.”

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

Themes for the future

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

I owed you the last bit of the gathering Art of hosting Meaning in Place; here it is…

The gathering after the gathering – when some participants stay on a few days – is known for bringing out more wisdom and insights as the experience is being digested and consolidating within people. It is just interesting to see that the unfolding of the conversations reflect exactly the three points we gathered in the debrief of the hosting team.

I’m not sure how it happened, because we didn’t have intentional conversations about it, but for my self I got – finally – a deeper understanding of the real importance of the trans-generational, in the perspective of evolution.

I have been exploring this topic with the intergenerational gathering of Pioneers of Change last September, but as I noticed at that time, there wasn’t anything that really ‘got’ me. A few months later deeper insights settled during the conversations in Women Moving the Edge4. It was clear then that the generations can offer their core qualities to each other. The young having the courage to step easily into new and innovative projects, the older having the holding and grounding capacities. I didn’t do much with this insight, only that we invited daughters into WMtE5, with amazing results! Anna, being 14 years old, came up with amazing wise insights at many points in our gathering.

The new bit of insight for me now is that it is not enough to help each other out, but that a real synergy of these core qualities is needed if we want to get ready for the times to come. That’s why I want to use the word trans-generational instead of inter-generational. We need to go beyond the linking of the generations, into a creative blending of different qualities; in service of the world, humanity and evolution.

Conscious Closure
As we move into a new paradigm, many old structures or organizations will have to die in some way or another to be able to let the new emerge. Not just new structures, but totally different kind of structures. I would name it as how to let organization die in a way that new organisms can take over.


In this gathering, Vanessa Reid, was excited about this topic and talked from her own experience of tending an organization in this dying process. She used the Eco-cycle to explain her point, and told us that in any biological ecosystem there is ‘creative destruction’ going on at some point, be it a fire or a big, old tree falling down and clearing some space for new life to sprout. Many of our (big) organizations are too good at maintaining the structure and hardly have an open space for new initiatives to come up.
It reminded me also of the story of Edveeje, a woman in the Boston area, who had build with her co-director an organization to support the sustainability movement in Cape Ann. At some point they realized this form – the organization – was not the right vehicle to support their purpose, so they dismantled it after two years of building up!
These stories of conscious closure brought back into my awareness one of the topics in the Art of Hosting training, late December ’08 in The Netherlands. Peter Merry, one of the hosts, harvested some of the nuggets of this conversation. Here are some: “We realised the deep truth in dying every moment to live the next one. We understood the need for conscious choice in every moment, in which we choose to bring one path to life, and allow a number of other potential paths to die. We felt the importance of honouring what has been, and where we choose not to go.”

The theme of old and new story-fields was brought into the gathering by Mary-Alice Arthur, living in New-Zeeland. She had been exploring this topic for many years, but only now found the ‘audience’ who could understand her. Through the questions we asked her, more and more insights and wisdom would show up in her.

From old to new Story Field

Her starting point is that a story-field is made up by stories – of course – but going from the archetypes and the myths, over the cultural stories of why we do things, who are the heroes etc. to anecdotes and all the conversations that are happening. She distinguishes the story-holders, which can be from the old story-field or from the new; they can act in a re-active way or in a pro-active way. Story-holders are different from story-catchers and different from story-makers. Story-catchers are able to read the field, they sense what is going on, they can mirror back what is going on to the participants; much like a good harvester I suppose. Story-makers are people who interact with the field; they co-create. All these functions are brought together by the story-weavers; which then can result in establishing a new story-field.
Through this explanation and exploration I understood much better why harvesting conversations is so valuable and so needed. It gave a clearer framework for what I am doing a lot of times: capturing conversations, write down nuggets of new insights, thinking about how others could get what was said…

… and reading a lot about what is going on in the world; as I did a lot today!

Emerging map

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

If you read the previous entry you can imagine that this circle took a lot of time, but we had lunch and some free time in between. Three of us had been consciously listening for patterns and themes, as we want to come up with a map that captures the people-place relationship. It dawned on my at the end that there were two maps appearing. One is explicitly on Meaning in Place, the other more on the transition we are in, but both are related, intertwined and we hope to get more clarity about it soon!

What I can share now is an extension and improvement of the map we started to use in the Powers of Place Collaborative. I will try to picture it out for you. Imagine a cross with horizontally a line that represents community. It goes from the past (left) – with ancestry and lineage – over the present (middle) to the future (right). Vertically is the line for environment, from the intangible and non-human (bottom) to the human made (top).

Extending the line of community it becomes Humanity, and extending Environment it becomes the Earth. So it seems to me that we are looking for a new way of relating Humanity and Earth, integrating the old and present ways into something really new.

The Mystery of...

During our inspiring conversation I saw also that this big cross fits into a wider circle that I would name The Mystery. Thinking deeper about it, it encompasses the sacred, the cycles of life and death; maybe it is the Mystery of Life on Earth. And all this fits into a big arrow, Evolution itself.

Stretching over the four directions there are two basic practices that I see now: the Subtle Arts and Tending the Land. We hope to get deeper insights on all this in our last day!

Ongoing spiral between Holding Space and Staying in Inquiry

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Just before lunch, on Saturday, the second day in our gathering Women Moving the Edge, my impulse was to speak about emptiness, speak about naming the feminine as ‘just being’. To me these are not the right words for what we are actually doing. It can be named more precise and explicit. And this has been my journey since a long time.
The so-called ‘emptiness’ is the holding space of the potential; indeed like a womb. It is an open space with no-thing in it, but it is a space that is ready to be of service to let new life unfold.
The ‘just being’ is like being pregnant. There isn’t much you can ‘do’ while being pregnant, but still a lot is happening! But the act of giving attention and care has value and importance.
Holding space – beyond being pregnant – is to be understood as holding space for your children to grow up. You want to support them so that they become their true self; you are holding space for that potential, although you don’t know what kind of person they are going to become.

This all let me to explaining more of my model and what holding space has to do with finding the right question and embracing a bigger complexity. Here is what I wrote on it earlier:
“At some point in our inquiry, it occurred to me to wonder why we (women) were always speaking about Source, and not about Spirit. It seemed obvious to us women that holding space had to do with Source, not with Spirit. But why? It got me thinking.


Following some impactful physical/energetic experiences, I realised that – for me – holding space is something that happens in my body. I don’t ‘do’ it, rather, it happens through me. It is as if my body is a vessel, through which I am able to hold space for potential to unfold. We are familiar with this idea of ‘potential unfolding’ when we think about raising our children. But now we were applying it to groups and organisations. Is it always future oriented? Again: why Source and not Spirit?

The more I contemplated it, the clearer it got. To my sensing, Spirit comes – somehow – from above, from somewhere away from here, while Source seems to be accessible from somewhere deep within. Source is like a seed, it holds potential, which can unfold into manifestation. But the full picture needed to include Spirit. So what was that about? What did it have to do with manifestation?


In my daily life, I understand Spirit as asking for distance, reflection, talking about, concepts… very different from potential! Spirit has focus and clarity. It seemed to me that the translation of Spirit into ‘the future that wants to emerge through us’ was to stay in the inquiry, to keep the questions open. It is the intention that some innovation will become possible.

Wasn’t that a beautiful couple: Holding Space for Potential to Manifest and Staying in Inquiry to discover new patterns? Isn’t the synergy of these two what we desperately need in our complex world with it’s huge challenges?”

Since I wrote this piece there is more to this model. In a conversation with Maria Scordialou, Sarah Whiteley and Judy Wallace, as preparation for our upcoming program The Edge of Collective Sourcing, we saw a new aspect in this model. This is what we saw:
Ongoing spiral between Holding Space and Staying in Inquiry creates New Wisdom
We realized the ongoing dynamic  – like a spiral going back and forth – between the level or depth of Sourcing and the level or depth/height of Awareness or Spirit.
The depth of the potential can only become accessible for manifestation and action when we are equally able to become aware of the intention or the clear purpose. This explains us the importance of finding the good guiding question(s). If our question comes from a higher level of awareness it will invite in a deeper possibility of sourcing. In this widened field of wisdom, through many cycles, new wisdom can be generated.

Embracing more Complexity

Related with this – and drawing it in the model – we realize that this dance between both poles in the spiral also relates to widening our reach in the manifest. The depth of sourcing and the height of the intention make sure that we can embrace more of the whole, which is so needed in dealing with the challenges of our time. “

Many of the participants were very happy to get this framework and to see their own role in holding the new paradigm. One participant said: “There is wholeness in the model. It is like an egg.”

Living in emergence

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

Talking is nice…
talking about emergence is nice…
but it is not it!

Proposing some ideas can be useful, but doing what is needed and right in the moment is different!
“Can’t we ask Emergence what it wants to speak to us?”
“Go ahead. Put yourself in Emergence shoes and speak what you feel.”

… some doubt… some resistance… and then she took the leap and stood up.


“I am Emergence.”
A Constellation happened!
“I have been waiting.
My nature is now and in the moment.
It is not about me, but about we.
It is what it is, right now.”
Gratitude stood up and joined the constellation.
Collective Presencing stood up too.
Emergence said to Collective Presencing: I long for you to stand next to me. Then the World came along. She spoke about needing emergence, but was cought up in ‘being defined’ and having ‘density’. How could she be changed when she is pure form? Isn’t she ‘what is’?
But the World became tired, and became open for some support. Emergence, ‘the author of form’ could stand behind her and Collective Presencing could come closer. “Perhaps I can be remade. Perhaps it is not the form that holds my essence after all. I am the world willing to be remade.” (the picture might not make any sense to you, it is a colorful representation of how the constellation unfolded)
Big insight: Emergence is just a matter of standing up and do it!

We closed our day with sharing stories. We talked a lot about gratitude, how all the old wisdom traditions have always told how important that is. There is power in Gratitude! It is a practice we need to cultivate.

Message from the Tarot

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

As the photo shows, I was ‘out’ on that Sunday evening.

Maria and Sarah offered to do a Tarot reading on our common question: What is the next level of women’s leadership, connected to Source?

Now, I would maybe call it ‘feminine leadership’…

Many elements that came out of this reading supported my own ideas of how and what is next; so I could safely lay down…

At the centre is the realisation that it is about change, huge change; about breaking out of a paradigm; and we don’t have a choice! Many people feel that these days, and our trap is that we want to have the bigger picture first, and then act. No, it is as we said before: sense and act, sense and act, sense and act…

This ‘sense and act’ is our new practice. We do it over and over again, like a good apprentice who wants to become a master, until we slip through the mystery! It is coming into our awareness that we do need a new form, not one we planned ahead, but a form that is coming from Source – the form is ‘coming through’ us.

There will be many forms, many layers, many versions; with a danger that creativity can be scattered. We will need to be very un-traditional, and to let a form emerge that makes the feminine visible. But the near future brings ‘the wheel of fortune’: we will awake to the alignment…