President and Founder of The Grove Consultants International—organizational consultant and information designer, building on years of experience in leadership development, strategic visioning, organization change, and futures study—author of leading-edge group process tools and models for facilitation, team leadership, and organizational transformation. These reflections are for Grove colleagues worldwide.
I selected the following large Storymap's as representative examples of my information design work at The Grove where I was a lead designer on the project. Each of them were critical in moving us to another level of confidence and excitement about this big picture way of working. What these photos do not show, of course, is the rich process of facilitated design meetings that we led as a way of generating this material.
I've included this photo album of some of the people in The Grove's associate network that use our facilitation and Strategic Visioning methods integrally in their work. They are my teachers and I theirs. Collaboration networks are behind most truly innovative, robust methodologies, and our is no exception. Claiming credit as an individual would be like a tree claiming credit for the forest. If you aren't here and know that you should be, send me you picture and a writeup and I'll post it.
These are two supportive visuals for a Partners for Change model I co-designed with Sissel Waage and Ruth Rominger. It shows how we would bring multiple sustainability researchers and activists together around critical issues and support them to create collaborative efforts in media and tool creation.
Lynn Kearny sent me a link to this stunning graphic portrayal of what science knows about our universe. It's a humbling, inspiring experience to watch, imagining that our lives are part of such an incredible dance of light. On this day when we celebrate the birth of new light in so many traditions, let us remember that however we represent the universe, that it is alive, and whole, and probably aware.
For months I’d been looking forward to a special meeting in New Mexico at the Village of the Shining Stones near Abiquiu called the First Peace Gathering. It promised to be a very unique and inspiring event, initiated by an organization called Ehama, the teaching vehicle of two traditional elders named Rainbow Hawk and his partner Wind Eagle. They anticipated elders from the Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, and Native traditions plus youth from Europe to explore how their traditions have been evolving toward a common interest in peace. There would be lots of meditation, story telling, ceremony, and of course eating and social time.This photo called Skypainting by Sabrina Whitelynx reflects the beauty of NM that was calling me.
My good friend Pele Rouge and Firehawk studied with Rainbow Hawk and Wind Eagle for ten years in the 1980s and have gone on to be facilitators of some of the most powerful circles in which I am a member—the Bay Area Thought Leader Gatherings, the Summer Solstice event in Ben Lomond, our Second Life Medicine Circle, and the
Pathwalker group. They would, for the first time with their teachers, be
co-leaders of the event. I wanted to go and support them. In fact five of our
nine Medicine Circle group were going. I also hungered for the desert, the big
sky, the monsoon weather, and connecting deeply back into my own indigenous
roots as a mountain man from Bishop, California in the Eastern Sierra.
As I have written about in Touching and Technology, my wife Susan was diagnosed with uterine cancer and underwent a full hysterectomy three weeks before I was to leave. Our psyches resisted interpreting this development as truly life changing, and figured she’d be well enough to have me go to New Mexico. “I’ll go to Arizona and see Jerda and Jamie’s little Reilly while you are at First Peace,” she planning.
But at week two and half it as clear that the new journey we were on was going to be one with surprises. While laparoscopy is cosmetically less invasive, a hysterectomy is major surgery, and the removal of the lymph, ovaries, and uterus left Susan in pain, and not able to move around very well. She wasn’t supposed to lift things either.
I realized that I faced a choice, between supporting my community and my own practice and supporting Susan, my beloved.
This afternoon I followed a cascade of links and ended up
watching a half hour interview with Alan Watts from a 1971 television program.
His message is important and well worth sharing.
I'm not a Zen Buddhist, but being raised in the High
Sierras and spending many a time going back to nature for guidance and counsel
allows his message to resonate deeply. It's assumed in our times that things are speeding up. But sometimes I wonder, especially when I listen
to reflections like this one. The challenges we face today have long,
long antecedents in human's invention of language and our ability to separate
ourselves from nature with our abstractions, models, measures, and
technologies. Alan's message is a call to come back to our true selves. He
does a masterful job suggesting what that might be. My hope is a growing number of people are evolving to the perspective he advocates.
My nephew Logan Sibbet graduated from the University of Portland May 3 and sent me this commencement address delivered to his class by Paul Hawken. It touched me deeply and I would like to share it as widely as possible.
When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was "direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful." Boy, no pressure there.
But let's begin with the startling part. Hey, Class of 2009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation. but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, the earth needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.
"The earth needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades."