Archive for Second Life

Death and Dappled Things

A month or so ago Deborah Goldblatt and I hosted a World Café out at Commonweal in Bolinas for a group of end-of-life practitioners. Leading up to that event everything I saw or heard seemed to relate to our subject in some way – perhaps unsurprisingly given my sister Karen's death at the beginning of this year and my friend Kay's passing in June.

To prepare, Deborah and I went to see Anna Deavere Smith's phenomenal Let Me Down Easy at the Berkeley Rep, which was obstensibly about the body and resiliance – and it was – but it was also about death and disease and how poverty (and wealth) effects people's access to health care. If that wasn't enough, the circle I meet with every week in Second Life began a 16 week journey exploring the subject of Death and Dying through the 8 directions of the Medicine Wheel.

Somehow the essence of my whole matrix of experience during this time is rendered immaculately by this poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. We heard David Whyte recite it on one of his many CDs, this one about "apprenticing one's self to one's own disappearance" as we drove over the sacred mountain Tamalpais on our way to Commonweal.

It's called Pied Beauty:

Glory be to God for dappled things –
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
      And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                Praise him.

Congratulations! The Art of Convening is Born!

My old and dear friends Craig and Patricia Neal of Heartland Circle have just announced the birth of their first book, with Cynthia Wold. It's called The Art of Convening: Authentic
Engagement in Meetings, Gatherings, and Conversations

This book is going to be very important and of great benefit to everyone, especially those of us working with groups. The Art of Convening is available for pre-order at Amazon, and I invite you to join me in welcoming this wonderful new book – pre-order copies now for yourself and your friends and colleagues, and become a fan on their FaceBook page.

World Café in Second Life

As promised – here’s a link to my story of the Second Life World Café I hosted with Michelle Paradis, David Sibbet of Grove International, Nancy White, and Sherry Reson of the Rockridge Institute

Transformative Fiction

What I’m beginning to see with more clarity is the awakening of a new medium… as I go deeper into this new erotic electronic world which gives me my work, I am seeing new horizons. The realization begins to emerge that all things are possible …

Standing on the edge of the hill, looking out over the city across the bay; more and more lights coming on as the sun sets, the light in the sky darkens and the colors deepen…


There s a screech owl in a branch immediately above my head, calling to
a mate in a nearby tree. A sudden flurry of sinew and air as he flies
across my path to her. In this moment, all my senses are alive with the magic of the place and time. I don’t want to move, though it’s cold and getting colder.

Stay with me in this place, and hear my words.

I’ve been thinking about something lately… cooking it like a long simmering stew. The meat isn’t falling tenderly off the bones yet, but the flavor is distinct enough to share a taste & the fragrance is intoxicating. It has something to do with a new kind of creative expression, a new genre. Something I’ve been imagining for many years is beginning to take form in me, although the form it’s taking is nothing like I imagined when I first heard the call as a child, knowing I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

For a while now I’ve identified this new genre I want to produce as ‘transformative fiction’. In a way that term doesn’t work to describe something ‘new’, since fiction has been working its transformative magic on readers since the earliest alchemical touch between marker and mark … but now the possibilities of form have expanded and the transformation we can envision has itself been transformed. Nothing less than a collective leap in consciousness is required; a practical grasp of the unity that underlies all things; a way to reach the world’s heart and open our minds to the gift of humanity and the natural world, to the light that suffuses all life.

What I’m beginning to see with more clarity is the awakening of a new medium. I’ve been honing words, visualizing images… Previously I imagined I would write and paint this vision of mine, but as I go deeper into this new erotic electronic world which gives me my livelihood, I am seeing new horizons. The realization begins to emerge that all things are possible within a creative medium that lends itself to the total recreation of reality and allows multiple senses to enter into a narrative chorus of sight, sound and story.

In Second Life, they talk about the social & pscyhological implications of creating the “world we dream of” before it manifests in the “real” world. The ‘transformative fiction’ I’m envisioning works with this same set of ideas and creative principles… I’m looking at the possibility of linking the mind and the body in new ways, of opening new views in our collective neurostructure … making space for transformation – the "great turning" or paradigm shift that many people feel is crucial for humanity’s continued survival.