Recently I’ve begun facilitating interactive ZOOM calls with other leaders around the world interested in learning and sharing more about regenerative business, living systems and related topics. The calls began amidst the chaos of a new pandemic, and have continued as we seek to evolve and adapt through not only the impacts of COVID-19, but civil unrest and of course that little thing called an election.

Our latest series, the Regenerative Leadership Community call, has created some incredible dialogue, information sharing and collective learning. Participant and ecological scientist Carol Williams, PhD, contributed some of her thoughts from our call on October 27, 2020.  My many thanks to Carol for her insightful comments, in their entirety below:

What Carol sensed:
  • Passion
  • Dedication
  • Urgency
  • Pull toward action
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety
  • Hope
  • Sense of purpose
  • Unclarity
What Carol heard/observed:
  • Desire to find common ground for moving in a common direction; but frustration in finding “the thing” to rally behind and all pull together on
  • Interest in design of organizations, communities, global change
  • Desire to honor (and engage with?) change as a natural phenomenon common to all of Life
  • Desire to make profound impact on “how things are” (unsatisfactory by many measures) to move toward “something better” (as a permanent step forward in human evolution)
  • Insight into the connection between inner (self) work and change in the outer world (e.g., community, society)
  • Deep resonance with the models in natural systems as sources of inspiration and design for human socio-cultural systems
  • Focus on consciousness and it’s evolution, and this evolution as key to positive change for the future
Carol’s own reflections (offered as questions):
  • Is it possible that “the thing”, the “one purpose” for this group (at this time anyway) is a call to pose an essential question to ourselves and others?
  • Could an essential question be, “what is the nature of the inner journey as a pathway to change agency in the external world, and what do ecological/natural systems provide us as clues regarding this process?”
  • Said another way, “how do we transform and exchange material and energy between ourselves and others (and social systems – the larger context) in intentional ways to produce a shift in the ‘ecosystem’ toward something else”? (This question is an attempt to capture the fact that we, even as change agents, are embedded in ecosystems and social systems, and are bound in some ways by the “rules” of these systems – such as mass balance, for example.)
  • Is it possible that the action to do, is to pose this question (or some other deep question) to others and then observe-observe-observe the many answers that are returned?
  • Is it possible that the next action to do, is to reflect on these answers, individually and collectively?
  • Is it possible that the next action after that would be to make space for what wants to emerge from that process, individually and collectively, as an example of a regenerative process and collaborative leadership/followership?  I mean, nature rarely has an end goal mapped out ahead of time; often what we observe in nature is a just a snapshot of a combination of likelihoods within certain constraints that are constantly shifting.
A post hoc summation on a few threads, partly in metaphor form:
  • The human body is like soil – it tells the story of what happened years ago.  Science has recently shown that our DNA carries within it the story of traumas in prior generations.
  • Our bodies, including our DNA, are the bed within which we plant seeds of consciousness today; seeds take time to grow to maturity, to reproduce, and to expand into a population (i.e., changed society).
  • When we plant seeds in the garden, we typically can’t absolutely control what grows and how.  We nurture with intention and intelligence of course.  However, the interactions of seeds’ genes and the environment sometimes have unique and unforeseen expressions.  This is a natural part of evolution when the expression is passed to future generations and those generations survive to pass on the genes.
  • In spite of possible rapid change in human consciousness, our neural biology is still quite the physical thing – it often lags behind and we must deal with it’s legacies (per first sentence).
  • Therefore, would tending the garden of embodied experiences, embodied consciousness hold important insights into collective healing of collective trauma like slavery, structural racism, misogyny, discrimination, extreme climate change & natural disasters, violence and war over ideologies, forced migration, famine, etc.?  And, would this tending have a lasting impact on positive change for all?

Thank you Carol for these amazing insights! We’re looking forward to our next Regenerative Leadership Community call on Tuesday, December 1st at 11amPST, 1pmCST. If you’re interested in joining us, add your email below: