Archive for “restoring wholeness”

Solstice 07


I just returned from a Solstice celebration held in a redwood forest in the Santa Cruz mountains. This ceremony and its ‘Dreaming’ counterpart held in the middle of winter have become necessary bookmarks in my year, rituals of integration and relationship that bring wholeness and balance to the busi-ness of my life.

One of my favorites moments in this pattern cycle is the night we dance a prayer dance in a medicine wheel built into a meadow, surrounded by redwoods and anchored by a mother tree that must be at least 600 years old. People have been dancing to the Tree of Life for millenia and you can feel a sense of eternity and timelessness that comes like grace as we dance around the delicate Oklahoma Redbud, our ‘tree of life’,  hour after hour.

Leg muscles powered by the relentless beat of a large hand made buffalo skin drum (and the energy of the rotating team of drummers that keep this beat alive), the dancers alternately rush to the center and ebb back to the perimeter, again and again. Running forward with outstretched hands, raising our eagle feathers to bless the tree that stands in the center representing Life, we offer our gratitude for the gifts she’s given us all year. Then we dance back in equal rhythm, gratefully receiving life’s bounty and drawing it deep into our own centers, again and again.

When the drums have stopped and we’ve finished dancing, those who want to stay pull a circle of chairs close around the tree … She’s lit from below by a thousand candles encircling her base, long white ribbons that decorate her branches dancing in the night wind. We sit in long silence as the stars and moon move above us and the night whispers its secrets to the trees. I drink this endless moment like water in the desert, stillness pouring into my body like holy communion wine.

My deep gratitude to my companions on this prayer dance journey, and to the hosts and conveners of this beauty: FireHawk and Pele at Resonance and their partners Bill & Marilyn Veltrop at Infinite Games and Craig and Patricia Neal of Heartland Circle.

Spark to the Fire

We just finished another amazing Thought Leader Gathering on Friday, produced by the west coast
Restoring Wholeness team of Heartland Circle, Resonance and myself –
this one was held in San Francisco, in the Golden Gate Officer’s Club at the Presidio.

Our conversation starter (so called because rather than a keynote
speaker or presenter, their words are truly a spark to fire the
group conversation) was Eamonn Kelly, CEO of the Global Business Network.

Eammon’s perspective about the state of the world (outlined in his excellent new book, Powerful Times) was in complete accordance with my own, but he used such a different analytical matrix to get there that it had the effect of blowing the top off my conceptual limits and letting in more light, illuminating my understanding with different hues than I am usually aware of. I heard variations of this opening and quickening in others as we engaged with Eamonn’s words in small group and whole circle conversations.

The group assembled for this TLG was one of our largest ever – 55 of us sitting in a circle around a centerpiece of beauty created by Pele Rouge of Resonance. We had to lean in a bit to hear each other at first, but with our ‘outdoor voices’ on it was soon effortless and the morning’s experience was extremely full and rewarding, in the unique way this event has of creating magic for us all.

I am continually awed by what happens in these sessions… it seems that no matter who the conversation starter is, who shows up, what the weather or external conditions are (we met the week of 9/11 in an almost unbelievable confluence, given travel limitations in the US at that time), there is always ‘something’ that occurs to make the morning seem like a special gift to each of us. I have the feeling this one will be reverberating in me for some time…

Restoring Wholeness in Lake Superior


This week I’m in a ceremonial retreat in a cottage on the shores of Lake Superior with some dear friends and colleagues. We are engaged in an emergent endeavor that has brought us together several times over the last year to contemplate the sacred task of restoring wholeness in the world.

The first part of this task is of course to restore wholeness in
ourselves, and spending these days and nights cradled in the rhythm of
nature feels like a crucial step in that process for me. I’m reminded that waking each
morning to the sunrise is an amazing restorative, completely free and
available to all…

Each of us have work and lives that take us to the heart of restoring wholeness
in our own part of the world, and yet we realize that none of us can make the
difference we want to see alone.  We feel that the crucial call of
our time is to come to consciousness about our relationship to each
other and to the earth. To recognize that we are individual parts of one
living organism, one body, and that all our actions, even our thoughts, effect
the other parts of this shimmering web. As a species we’ve wandered off that
path of knowing and our subsequent actions have effected the very air
we breathe and water we drink. It is imperative that we find our way back to consciousness, and to the love that is the very core of life, the motivation and reward and purpose of all. To the wholeness that is our true nature.

So we meet, and strengthen our bonds, and develop the microcosm of wholeness within and between ourselves and take the next step in doing what’s ours to do in manifesting wholeness in the macrocosm … I take an enormous amount of heart in knowing that we are not unique (and of course we ARE unique). All over the world there are others, too – gathering, restoring wholeness, repairing their part of the great web of life. I know many of you, and hear of more every day. One of my passions is shining a bright light on each of us so we can find each other and make common cause, because our time together here is precious and all too short, and there is much to do.

Design ala Pink

According to Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind, “Design is a classic whole-minded aptitude” and “… as more people develop a design sensibility, we’ll increasingly be able to deploy design for it’s ultimate purpose: changing the world.”

Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind heralds a whole new day, when the right brain skills and traits join the traditional dominion of the right brain perspective to produce a truly integrated psyche, and a healthier more balanced future. Moreover, he says this shift is imminent for a number of perfectly logical reasons.

Design is the first of six right brain skill or ‘senses’ Pink profiles in his book as important to our emerging collective future, and he seems to look at the design mind-set as a kind of super-aptitude that encompasses all the others in interesting ways. 

"Design is a classic whole-minded aptitude", Pink asserts, and "… as more people develop a design sensibility, we’ll increasingly be able to deploy design for it’s ultimate purpose: changing the world."

One of the justifications for Pink’s assertion is the inter-disciplinary skills that are essential to good design. The ability to think ‘out of the box’ and see the ‘big picture’, the ability to put yourself in other’s shoes, create meaning, and be a little whimsical that are the essence of the other right brain skills he mentions are all necessary prerequisites to the designer’s art. If you add beauty, the aesthetic aspect of design, you have an extraordinarily valuable skill that has uses far beyond the popular idea of design as decoration.

Aesthetics matter. This is becoming more and more clear. But Pink is exploring just how much they matter in a number of important settings. He quotes furniture designer Anna Castelli Ferrieri "It’s not true that what is useful is beautiful. It is what is beautiful that is useful. Beauty can improve people’s way of life and thinking", and goes on to give statistics and examples of the ways in which attention to beauty and good design can help patients get better faster, improve student test scores in public schools, change the atmosphere of fear and despair in public housing, decrease environmental pollution and effect national elections.

"To be a designer is to be an agent of change", indeed.