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Archive for the ‘Inner’ Category


This newsletter is published quarterly using a cycle of perspectives on the Integral City viewed from: Planet, People, Place and Power. The theme of this issue is Power.

The reality of the (modern) city is that the issues of consciousness, intention and responsibility are the gateways of understanding, preventing and transforming material challenges because the boundaries of local environments are perpetually porous. When the elements of life can manifest butterfly effects (Lorenz, 1995) half a world away, with disastrous consequences in remote and different environments, then resourceful conscious attention and intention may hold the only keys to survival.  

Hamilton, M. (2008). Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers, p. 14

Solstice Reflections on the Power of Caring 

The spectrum of governance systems in cities around the world is revealing that 21st century city governance demands a range of varied capacities for responsiveness to immediate emergencies, emerging sustainability and long term resilience. Modes of governance, range from the dictatorial to the democratic. They are not accidental expressions of human consciousness, but reflect the interior worldviews and mindsets of both city leaders and citizens.

While we imagine and even expect that city governance systems should be steady structures, in fact, they are ever emergent and constantly being renegotiated because the stability of cities is forever dynamic. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear: some worldviews are more inclusive and more soundly contexted than others.

In other words, the internal life of those who coalesce authority, power and influence in our cities contributes largely to the capacity of cities to be coherent, adaptable and sustainable. The events that Paris faced in 2015 (from the darkest disasters of the Charlie Hebdo and November 13 attacks to the most hopeful dignities of the COP21 Climate Conference) particularly showcased the range of responsiveness that city leadership now requires in this stage of human system development.

We are fast becoming aware that seeking sustainability and resilience in the urban world demands mindfulness about our relationship to realities within our cities, across cultures, spanning ecoregions and impacting the world. Our inner capacities must match our outer intentions. And just as Paris demonstrated in 2015, the Power of Caring for our cities can be  (perhaps must be??) amplified when the Circle of Care expands through the scales of Self, Others, Place and Planet – because a whole “family of governance systems” arises from the nation (France), regional affiliations (EU), transnational agreements (NATO) and international organizations (UN). We are living in an age where the city is the Power focus of human systems, but at this Solstice time, it is fitting to contemplate that city wellbeing depends on the healthy interconnections of People, Place and Planet.

When City Crisis Calls for Greater Leadership Power 

With cities facing such a variety of leadership demands in 2015, we can see that the need for extraordinary leadership capacities is growing exponentially. In Integral terms we can frame this as Leadership to “x” Power. And it appears that we may have broken through even the levels of complexity that defined a Leadership to the Power of 7, to a need for Leadership to the Power of 8? If I were going to point to a triggering life condition that is calling forth such Leadership I would target the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe. If I were to name a Leader who is demonstrating the needed qualities of Leadership to the Power of 8, I would offer Angela Merkel. Mrs. Merkel may be a national Leader – but her decisions regarding an open refugee policy are impacting every city in Germany – and as a result many other cities in Europe.

Leadership to the Power of 8 understands the infinite qualities of adaptiveness that enable human systems to thrive (and reproduce themselves) in endlessly changing life conditions. In the spirit of Leadership to the Power of 8, Angela Merkel has taken the courage extend a Circle of Care that embraces not just the voters who put her in office, but to embrace the imperiled condition of the refugees and expand the possibilities for everyone.

In contrast to such Leadership to the Power of 8, we can also see on display Leadership to the Power of 4 that depends on authority and uses barbed wire to create a barrier to change (e.g. Orban in Hungary). Those using Leadership to the Power of 5 are invoking fear of change and “the other”, depending on manipulation and competition to foment resistance (e.g. Trump in USA). Others using Leadership to the Power of 6 are depending on arguments for justice equality but ignoring the “idiot compassion” where gang and/or tribal underbellies take unfair advantage of liberal societies (e.g. Brussels and its hotbed of jihadi neighbourhoods). Even Leadership to the Power of 7 that depends on complexity and the awareness of the environment and ecological realities risks being undermined by clashes of culture (e.g. on the streets of Paris at COP21).

Leadership to the Power of 8 transcends and includes even the healthy expressions of all less complex Leaderships (from Powers of 4 to 7). It depends on integral evolution – standing firm in the face of opposition from all the other Powers of Leadership because it can see a greater superordinate goal. Through the interconnections and cross-collaborations that are emerging on an increasingly global scale, we can see that Merkel’s intuitive (?) Leadership to the Power of 8 is creating the conditions that enable a transnational (if not global) flow of people, energy, security and resources. Today’s cities need leaders, like Angela Merkel, who have developed a consciousness that understands the interconnected, evolutionary, developmental nature of all life – and particularly of city life.

Read more on Leadership to the Power of 8 in these 2 articles:

·       Concise Version: http://www.integralcity.com/discovery-zone/Research%20Docs/Leadership%20to%20the%20Power%20of%208,%20WiPsy-3-2012_Hamilton.pdf

·       Complete Version: http://integralleadershipreview.com/7686-leadership-to-the-power-of-8-leading-self-others-organization-system-and-supra-system/

 

Enlivening Edge Calls Forth the City in 2 Ways

1. Enlivening Edge a new ezine for next-stage organizations (inspired by Frederic Laloux’sReinventing Organizations) is theming the mid-January issue around reinventing cities to their next-stage of consciousness. Like Integral City, EE sees cities as part of the fractal sequence of reinvention and evolution emerging between organizations and societies. Integral City will be contributing one of the main articles for the city theme! Add your own voice to the City issue by following the guidelines here http://www.enliveningedge.org/get-involved/enlivening-edge-writers-guidelines/ (deadline extended to December 28)!

2. Join EE for the 2nd (international) Integral European Conference (see below) Reinventing Europe: Integral Reflections in a Rapidly Changing World

Enlivening Edge is curating a Teal Organizations Track there and city-related content is especially invited!

Call for papers for the Teal Organizations Track (and all tracks):
http://www.enliveningedge.org/news/gathering-of-people-organizations-going-teal/

 

Invitation from Integral Europe 2016: Reinvent Europe

Mark your calendar for BEFORE January 10, 2016 – and send IEC2016 your proposal for a presentation, paper or provocation.

What does it take to reinvent Europe from an embodied integral perspective, synchronizing different value-systems?

IEC - Flow Therapy Group Circle - Copy

That is the question IEC organizers are designing into their innovative conference format that will seamlessly interweave crisp presentations, juicy transformational workshops and heart-opening communal events.

May 48, 2016 at Lake Balaton Hungary is the time and place.

Advance whispers say Dr. Don Beck and Elza Maalouf will be keynoters and presenters.

Show Up. Speak Your Truth. Be Part of the Results. Learn MORE here.

 

The Power of WE: MetaIntegral Foundation’s Candidates for Integral Prpjects 2016

MetaIntegral Foundation, an Integral City constellation partner, continues to raise money to support some of the world’s leading Integral thinker/doers. Through their pooled resources and stewardship, research leaders will be supported as they apply integrative approaches to solving real-world challenges. Together, MIF and donors build credibility for these impactful applications and help to advance the field of Integral Theory and practice. The list of the candidates for 2016 Funding is below.

MIF uses an innovative approach where your votes generate funds AND help select the finalists.

Click here to read more about the projects, their leaders and how to add YOUR IMPACT.

  • Caucus for Children’s Rights (CCR) led by Kate McAlpine
  • Developmentally-Oriented Fundraising led by Jennifer Jones
  • Energy Futures Lab (EFL) led by Tamara Connell
  • Homeless Services Leadership Training led by Heather Larkin
  • Integral Economics led by Elizabeth Castillo
  • Integral Nepal Project led by Shushant Shrestra & Gail Hochachka
  • Let’s Drink Less by Half led by Riina Raudne
  • PUP Global Heritage Consortium led by Jon Kohl
  • SSU Core Leadership led by Mark Fabionar
  • StagesLens Text Analysis Research led by Tom Murray
  • The Natural Design Navigator led by Mark R. Dekay

 

Meshworkers of the Year Award 2015 – Imagine Durant, Oklahoma, USA

Imagine Durant diamond logo

Imagine Durant has created a bold invitation to the 4 Voices of Durant Oklahoma, USA to imagine a vision for the future and develop the strategies to implement it.

Imagine Durant has systematically documented the process, results and interconnections amongst a series of three Dialogues on the Economy and the Community. Imagine Durant brought together 24 Thought Leaders, 39 Community Members and 24 Policy Makers to learn what was most important to the community. From the contacts made through these representatives of the 4 Voices of the city, it is estimated that Imagine Durant has touched thousands of Durant stakeholders since inception in 2013. Read the full story HERE.

 

Power of Gratitude: Ken Wilber Gratitude Fund

KWF-200x200-C - Copy

Something quite moving and amazing is afoot in the Integral world. It is called The Ken Wilber Gratitude Fund which we might call the Power of Gratitude. This is an opportunity for all of us who have been affected, moved, and transformed by the brilliant work of Ken Wilber. The Ken Wilber Gratitude Fund represents a movement of those who have been enlightened and inspired by Ken’s gifts to the world, who relish the opportunity to be able to concretely say thank you with our financial contributions and to continue to support Ken and his work.

As Ken so eloquently communicates on The Ken Wilber Gratitude Fund website, he is far from finished with his life’s work and is currently entering a phase of massive output of new works that continue to build on the foundation he has created in his previous books, teachings, and articles.

It is the intention of KWGF founders that Ken will be supported abundantly for all of his physical and medical needs, and at the same time be held by love, support, and appreciation for what he has given us.  Thanks for giving – just CLICK – YES, I’LL GIVE

 

The Power of Learning Integral City Practices

We’d like to refer you to several Powerful learning resources that contribute to Integral City practices:

1.     Edited by Tom Christensen and published by Integral Publishers:

a.     Innovative Development: Emerging Worldviews and Systems Change

b.     Developmental Innovation: Emerging Worldviews and Individual Change

These 2 books featuring chapters from many of the big players in the Spiral Dynamics world provide practical applications of Spiral Dynamics Integral theory to all scales of life. Written by leaders for leaders responsible for healthy cities, states, countries, non-profits and businesses. – Educators guiding students from elementary school through university. – Economists concerned with money, finance, lending, and what is next for capitalism. – Policy-makers dedicated to disabled, impoverished, and other underserved citizens. – Those wishing a deeper yet practical understanding of large systems changes. – Therapists, counselors and coaches wanting a more nuanced view of their roles. – Lifelong learners who love personal stories of challenges, triumphs, and epiphanies.

2. The Amplifield connects you with a global community of people who meditate and share intentions together. Joining, gives you access to several frequencies of sound entrainment and a psycho-active globe that shows how your intentions amplify others’ and vice versa. It is a seed-bed for practicing WE-space.

3. Systemic Constellation Work with Jane Peterson in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She is offering 2 programs on Feb. 18-20, 2016:

o   What lies beneath: understanding the hidden dynamics in organizational relationships, a workshop on Friday Feb 19 for leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs, and also for consultants and coaches.

o   Coaching sessions on Thursday Feb 18, and Saturday Feb 20. Each will be two hours long, experiencing many applications of constellation work – including what Jane calls the “FOO Factor” or the family of origin factor that keeps us stuck and unable to move forward as we sense is possible.

o   Contact Kate Sutherland for Registration Details kate.sutherland@thnk.org

Celebrating “Power-Focus” in the Coming Quarter to Light Up 2015 and 2016

December 21 marks the start of what IC calls the Power Quarter (from December 21 to March 20). What powers of leadership, creativity and meshworking do you bring to celebrate the Spirit of the City in this quarter? What WE-stories and Legends give you strength to embrace compassion in the face of adversity?  Where do you notice the Power of Cities expanding their influence on our Planet of Cities? Visit us at Integral City Collective on Face book and post a short update or a photo.

Meshful Blessings for December Solstice from

Marilyn Hamilton and the Integral City Core Team

PS

Here are some some Free Resources for amplifying Power in the Human Hive:

1.     Integral City’s ITC2015 Harvest Report The Fruits of Deep Design: How Integral City Harvested Pomegranate Impact of Integral Theory Conference 2015 – full report HERE.

2.     Tam Lundy’s Generative Change Primer has just been translated into Russian– click HERE for the link to download your pdf copy.

3.     Cherie Beck observes that she is very curious about technologies that use “vectors” to reveal what we would call Meshworks and/or architectures for our 12 intelligences. A wonderful example is in this demonstration that all roads lead to Rome:   http://www.wired.com/2015/12/here-are-all-the-roads-that-lead-to-rome/?mbid=social_twitter

4.     Check out the series of blogs on European Refugees and Paris:

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Travel broadens the mind. And when we can’t do it in reality, a good movie or documentary can open perspectives and even create a longing to visit more exotic places in far reaches of the world. But with a little imagination we can bring a new appreciation for the beauty goodness and truth that surround us at home.

Exotic View of Sunset Ablaze from Home Balcony

Exotic View of Sunset Ablaze from Garden Park Tower, Abbotsford

Inspiring the Soul

I live in Garden Park Tower (located in Abbotsford, BC, Canada) an apartment building that is also a secured community which gives me sanctuary from a world of travel, tensions and intensity. Here I am inspired by the stunning ever-shifting watercolor views of Mount Baker, sunrises, and the beauty of nature that feeds my soul. I have come to love my quiet times of reflection and regeneration here, where the introvert in me recovers so that the extrovert in me can interact with the world.

Respecting People

Our neighbours in GPT, many of whom have lived here since it was built, 18 years ago, are respectful but not invasive or cloying. Remarkably the residence and society meetings are well managed and civilized – partly because of the wisdom of the original developers who dared to imagine a community that would serve the larger community. They helped create bylaws that maintain both structural standards and people respect. We have worked out ways of being together that include everything from weekly movie nights (with free ice-cream), to seasonal “faspa” social events, fitness classes, current affairs lunches, crafts fairs, Christmas Festival of Lights and volunteer recognition teas. We share and stock and maintain a community library, flower gardens and frequently organize ourselves into cleanup crews for the landscaping. Volunteers self-organize to help anyone who is in need. Monday and Saturday mornings in the Rose Room Coffee Shop are popular gathering places for coffee, fresh pastry and the latest news.

Engaging the Senses

My location is surprisingly quiet as it is over a park, distant enough from traffic that it is interesting to observe but not intrusive from a unit where I hear little from the neighbours. My husband enjoys the many “eyes on the streets” that he can watch on the balconies and windows in neighbouring buildings. And my own eyes feast on the dazzling city scape with four seasons of changing colours, textures, scents and bird calls. Safe from traffic, it is easy to walk around the neighbourhood and park paths through wildy corners of great cedars to Fishtrap Creek where geese and ducks tend their broods. I especially enjoy my regular ambles with walking buddies by nearby houses, forever in the process of re-building themselves, with garden surprises around most bends and mysterious paths through a maze of backyard trails.

Building on Diversity

GPT is a special community – located where the old neighborhood of Clearbrook displays signs in German and Punjabi as well as English. Within walking distance I can dine on Thai, Chinese, Indian, Greek, German, Japanese and Korean food. We are so lucky to have our “pocket” Garden Park, on a bus route and be close enough to Elwood Park and the Discovery Trail, where it is common to meet pedestrians of all ages, with pets, strollers, bicycles, canes and walkers. The dogs are generally friendly and add humour and character to the passing stream of people. The community and city work hard at being responsible in their investment for the upkeep of all our private and public assets and are generally appreciative of the privileged environment we steward.

Delighting Life

So when I am tempted to dream for a distant vacation, a more exotic location or diverse culture, I really just need to wake up, step out, and fully enjoy the many delights of home. Here, beauty, goodness and truth all grace my soul, senses, community and environment with a daily flow of exotic life.

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This newsletter is published quarterly using a cycle of perspectives on the Integral City viewed from: Planet, People, Place and Power. The theme of this issue is People.

International developer Gail Hochachka proposes that people’s feelings, beliefs and worldviews affect how they are ready and willing to participate in sustainable behaviors (2005, p. 1). Moreover, she points out that traumatic experiences, like natural disasters and war, can damage people and leave them disabled from appropriate responses. Although these interior realities of a city’s population have been largely ignored or discounted because they are subjective, invisible and difficult to study, they are just as real as the exterior physical realities of the city. Interior realities create an interior environment that has just as many or more layers, contours and textures to it as geographic environments. We have studied them through the lenses of psychology, philosophy and the humanities, but until recently we have not recognized that, like our exterior qualities, they evolve and develop. We map the paleontology of our interiors through the shifts in worldviews that enable the growth of our interior landscapes and, therefore, our capacities for response, adaptability and resilience. The key centers of those internal views are the self, the other (family, clan) and the world  (society, sectors, spheres of influence, regions, globe).

Hamilton, M. (2008). Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers, p. 14-15

Pope Francis Offers Blueprint for Impacting a Planet of Integral Cities

With his encyclicals on the Environment and Climate Change (May, June, 2015), Pope Francis seems to be thinking as big as a Planet of Integral Cities.

Pope Francis has gifted the world with a Kosmic view of the environment and the implications for climate change. He instructs the faithful that God has not given dominion to man to dominate the environment but to respect all Life. He explicates what Integral City calls the Master Code – emphasizing that man’s individual expression must be viewed in relationship to others (particularly those in the developing world and the poor) and nature.

By implication that so many of the poor now live in cities, Pope Francis’ encyclical reveals the inextricable interconnected relationship of cities to their eco-regions and that cities everywhere have an obligation to steward not only the health of people but the health of the environment.

Pope Francis’ sweeping views that marry spirituality and science bring together the inner and outer worlds of peoples everywhere. He explicitly references our need to embrace Beauty and Goodness with our pursuit of Truth.  Without question Pope Francis has opened the door to an explicit Integral Ecology (the name of a whole chapter of the May 2015, Encyclical). In fact, in the May/June 2015 Encyclical the Pope has used the word “integral” 23 times.

Now is the time for all good people to come to the support of our sister/Mother Earth to optimize our impact on our Planet of Cities.

Many of Pope Francis’ points to make impact resonate with our series “How to Optimize Integral City Impact” (inspired by Roger Walsh’s 2014 Keynote at Integral Europe Conference). In this set of blogs we framed optimizing injunctions for the implementation and impact of Integral City Principles:

1.     How to Optimize the Impact of Integral City Work

2.     How to Optimize Integral City Impact Through Adult Development

3.     How to Optimize Integral City Impact by Getting Ideas Out Into the World

4.     How to Optimize Impact of Integral City Work from Direct Experience & Deep Wisdom

5.     How to Optimize Integral City Impact through Transconventional Religion

6.     How to Optimize Integral City Impact with Community of Practice

7.     How to Optimize Integral City Impact as Spiritual Practice

8.     How to Optimize Integral City Impact as Accomplice to the Divine

Read more on this story here.

Integral City Thinking

Integral City Blueprint

People in Dialogue: Imagine Durant Harvests Community Insights

How does Integral City work with a whole city? Durant Oklahoma is emerging as a gem of a generative action research process. We started with a visit in 2013 at the invitation of 2 City Leaders (Greg Massey, President of First United Bank, and Gary Batton, Chief of the Choctaw Nation). At that time we did due diligence with Integral City’s 12 Intelligences and came back to a small group (that became Durant’s Core Team for the next year) with a long term Proposal for Discovering, Imagining, Designing, and Delivering a unified vision for Durant and the strategies to implement it. From that Core Team, Imagine Durant was born as a project, financed by the 4 Voices of the city and guided by Executive Director, Kara Hendrickson.

Imagine Durant Vision Logo

On April 17-19, 2015, Imagine Durant began its visioning process, along with the Integral City team of: Beth Sanders, City Planner and Civic Meshworker; Linda Shore, City Management Advisor; Scott Moore, Architect and Community Planner; David Jaber, Natural Step Sustainability Expert; under the AQtivating leadership of Marilyn Hamilton.

We convened the first (of nine) dialogues where community thought leaders met to exchange and brainstorm possibilities for the future of Durant, Oklahoma. The special focus of this first round of dialogues was on the Economy and Community of Durant.

Twenty-four Thought Leaders pulled inspiration from their surroundings at the historical Three Valley Museum, located in downtown Durant. Leaders and community members from a wide variety of organizations, businesses and industries took time from their family and friends to share their stories, hopes, concerns, and visions for the city of Durant, Oklahoma.

The dialogue began with reflections among participants over an evening meal where they each shared stories of their personal connection with the community. Over the next 3 days participants asked good questions, explored four revealing scenarios (Dark Days Ahead, Status Quo, Durant Leads the Way, The Stars Aligned in Durant)  and finished with commitments to take the next steps together.

On June 13, 2015, a Public Dialogue continued the Visioning process, as citizens gathered to explore Burning Questions about Leadership Capacity, Engaging Community, Civic Management & Performance and Influencing Business Development. Participants offered generous resources including designing apps for “Discover Durant” and engaging veterans’ skills and interests with city projects.

Imagine Durant Public Dialogue

Imagine Durant Public Dialogue

In September 2015, this first round will conclude with a dialogue with Durant’s Policy Makers, presenting the Harvests from the Thought Leaders and Public and seeking input for taking ideas forward for early wins, supporting resources and aligning long-term strategies.

Read the full Thought Leaders story in the harvest report in the Resources Link below.

Pop-Up Playground: A Unique Way to Constellate Integral City Intelligences

Have you observed the “Pop-up” phenomenon that is emerging as a form of urban engagement, experiment and enterprise? Pop-ups are usually temporary co-creations of citizens, artists, performers, entrepreneurs and even serious city developers. It is often associated with “tactical urbanism” and can emerge as restaurants, retail, and/or entertainment in places like urban streets, flood plains, under bridges.

Integral City has borrowed the Pop-Up process and is combining it with Systemic Constellation Work to co-create three lunch playgrounds at Integral Theory Conference 2015

Integral-QuarterPage_01 sponsor ad

Joining MetaIntegral’s Integral Theory Conference for its fourth international event (and sponsoring the conference for the third time) Integral City has designed Pop-Up Playgrounds where we invite conference participants to harvest conference insights with the help of the Knowing Field. Lead Constellator, Diana Claire Douglas (Founder, of Knowing Field Designs) will help us to explore and experiment with our conference experience – drawing on the systemic constellation process that taps into our collective intelligence and releases energy for surprising reflections and fun results.

In the context of our Integral City engagements, we call this method AQAL Systemic Constellation Work. Guided by Integral City’s Master Code, we will co-create conditions for participants to engage conference outcomes that take care of Self, Others, ITC2015 and the Places of our hearts and homes.

We hope that you can join our Pop-Up Playground Lunch, any or all days (July 17, 18, 19, at12:30-1:45pm.)

Click here for 10 reasons to Join our Pop-Up Playground.

 

Integral City Calendar for People Quarter

  • July 16-17: Integral Theory Conference 2015 – Integral City will sponsor 3 Lunchtime Pop-Up Playground Constellations
  • September 11: Imagine Durant Policy Makers Dialogue

 

Celebrating “People-focus” in the Third Quarter 2015

June 21 marks the start of what Integral City calls the People Quarter (from June 21 toSeptember 20). What people perspectives have been inspired by the Pope’s Integral Ecology message or Durant’s Integral City practices? What inspirations, actions, methods revitalize you?  We notice that People are gaining deeper, wider, broader insights of our Planet of Cities connecting not only because of disasters and sustainability challenges but because they are motivated to wake up, grow up and clean up. Visit us at Integral City Collective on Facebook and post a short update or a photo.

Meshful Blessings for June Solstice from

Marilyn Hamilton and the Integral City Core Team

PS

Here are some some Free Resources for learning how Integral City practitioners work with People:

1. Imagine Durant Thought Leaders Harvest Report

2. Tam Lundy’s leadership tip (offered in Integral Leadership Review – Canada Issue offered a Leadership Tip on Generative Change) explains how leaders generate change through both integral thinking and practice.

Connect to Tam’s key pointing out instructions for generativity that align well with Integral City’s 12 Intelligences here and download her Generative Change: A Practical Primer.

3. Here are three blogs that give “gentle” Integral City guidance to share as “Householder Dharma”:

Householder Dharma: Optimizing Home Base with Values

Householder Dharma: Connecting People, Improving Health

Householder Dharma: Fifty Shades of Green Make Walking Delightful

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Last year I moved with my husband Peter Dobson, to Garden Park Tower (GPT),

Garden Park Tower

Garden Park Tower

We moved from Cedar Springs Country Estate (town homes) on the east side of Abbotsford BC, where we lived for 21 years. We had travelled only 15 minutes distance across town, but it seemed like a new city and a new world had opened up to us here. We are now closer to the heart of the city (a walkable 2 blocks from city hall), the highway into Vancouver and the many health care and community services offered right in the building.

Peter has been retired from his own construction business since 2000, but I am still working – as a writer (of books and articles); professor (of graduate students at Royal Roads University School of Leadership and Environmental Studies); and city futurist. Happily for me, I can do much of my work from the comfort of my office chair, inspired by a view of Mt. Baker from my front window, the comforts of the Rose Room Coffee Shop downstairs and the renewal of a stroll around our pocket garden or an invigorating walk along Discovery Trail with new friends from GPT.

The City of Abbotsford has inspired me to learn from a variety of leaders in many walks of life; its unique geographic location as a hub of urban/rural living in the Fraser Valley; and the global opportunities and threats arising from its economics (the most intensely farmed region of North America), culture (the most giving city in Canada) and social structure (the city with the third most visible diversity in Canada).

But when I first started working in Abbotsford in 1985 I was offered one of the greatest opportunities of my life – namely to trade my management skills in exchange for learning the care-giving skills from the volunteers I came to meet in the Chamber of Commerce, Community Services, City Advisory Committees, Arts Community, Sports Associations, University of the Fraser Valley (and its predecessors), School Board, Health Authority, Faith Community and Government Agencies.

I quickly learned everywhere I turned, that Abbotsford was a city blessed with the spirit of volunteerism in action. The impact of this volunteer spirit offered leadership “stretches” to young and old, men and women, born Canadians and recent immigrants, Christians, Sikhs and other faiths, professionals and trades people, rich and poor. The wealth of differences seemed to really add up to the “difference that makes a difference”.

Since arriving at GPT this spirit of volunteerism has been an overwhelming value that has positively impacted the flow of life for both Peter and me. I was stunned when we moved in with the first offer of help to even unpack my dishes!! Since then we have enjoyed the continuous civility of greetings in the elevator, gentle guidance with “how we do things around here” (e.g. with buggies and newspapers) and the impressively cheerful, hard working volunteers in the office and the coffee shop. We are even inspired when we find little ways to volunteer (e.g. in the garden) and/or to discover how our gifts could be of service to the larger community.

We appreciate the tremendous respect for people, their cultures, their stories and their talents. While GPT provides a lifestyle that is so much more compact (in space and time) than the one we left behind, we have appreciated the breathing room we have here. We are grateful for the delicate balance of feeling publicly welcomed while still feeling our personal privacy is respected. We feel we have found a home base where it is safe and comfortable to look after ourselves, look after our neighbours and look after this place.

In my work with leaders and cities this set of values, is fundamental to a code that I believe healthy communities and cities are learning to live by. I call it the Master Code. It simply says:

Look after Yourself, so you can …

Look after Others, so together we can …

Look after this Place (and this Planet).

Living at Garden Park Towers, feels like we have moved into a Place whose values reflect this Mater Code. And we are grateful that we are called to optimize it some way every day.

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When Integral City is asked to work with cities, inevitably the invitation comes from leaders who have in mind the wellbeing of their city.

Integral City Compass

Integral City Compass

Tam Lundy’s leadership tip (offered in Integral Leadership Review – Canada Issue offered a Leadership Tip on Generative Change) explains this impulse in terms of the desire of the leaders to generate change through both integral thinking and practice.

Tam’s key pointing out instructions for generativity align well with Integral City’s 12 Intelligences.

  • Tam taps into the Integral City Contexting Intelligences that create the conditions for wellbeing at all scales. She frames this as Salutogenesis – the wellbeing of the city that arises because it is complex, adaptive, and full of life. Contexting Intelligences encompass Ecosphere Intelligence, Emergent Intelligence and Living Intelligence along with the Integral Framework.  Salutogenesis gives cities a natural drive to survive, respond to life conditions and thrive. When leaders make the life-sourcing assumption that the city seeks a natural state of wellbeing, then important technical and adaptive solutions underpin but don’t override the wellbeing of the city.
  • Leaders who work with developmental lenses realize that in order to create conditions that support healthy development in people, communities and organizations at all stages of life, requires Strategic Intelligences that embrace Inquiry, Navigating and Meshworking Together leaders who use these three strategies impact the whole city and create solutions that can be implemented in natural steps in service to the wellbeing of all.
  • The quality that Lundy calls Dialectical seems to relate most to the Inquiry Intelligence. Leaders who undertake a dialectical inquiry have the courage to challenge the “thesis” of accepted dogma – such as, with the increase of cars, we must build more highways. Jane Jacob’s classic challenge to this assumption offered a contradictory perspective – or “antithesis” – if you build more highways you will just get more cars and it will be a never-ending dilemma. City leaders who practised Inquiry Intelligence continued with the dialectical process and emerged a “synthesis” – if you build cities for people instead of cars, then many more mobility solutions become available – such as public transportation, ski lifts and walking.
  • Leaders who use the Integral City Compass to think and act intelligently at the city scale, generate the capacity of integrating the AQAL dimensions of the city. This Integrative attitude, enables leaders to situate their thinking and actions using the five Integral City maps. As Lundy notes, this enables leaders to “connect the dots among all of the interconnected, interdynamic and irreducible factors that support thriving” in the city.
  • The last quality that Lundy points to, aligns completely with Integral City’s Evolutionary Intelligence. Leaders who recognize the city as a living, complex adaptive social system, gain strength from seeing the evolutionary impulse at the very centre of the city (and the compass they use to make decisions and design strategies for a future that is preferred), because with an evolutionary life purpose, each city has the opportunity to be in service to wellbeing of the whole world.

As Tam Lundy notes, it is the natural inclination of integrally-informed leaders, to generate change capacities. Integral City Intelligences can be learned and practiced by all city leaders increasing the chances for city thrivability.

Tam Lundy’s ideas on generative change, and their practical application, are explored more fully in her short e-book, Generative Change: A Practical Primer.

This blog is one of a series that explores the relevance and application of ideas to the Integral City, in the articles published in the Integral Leadership Review – Canada Issue, 2015, curated and Guest Edited by Marilyn Hamilton.

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It’s all a question of story.

That is how Brian and May Nattrass start their exploration of where we stand on the path of waking up to our new global realities and responsibilities.

The stories we tell ourselves are always rooted in time. They explain the past. They comment on the present. They speculate about the future.

When the stories about the city across those three timelines are aligned, we have some sense of stability in our lives – psychologically, biologically, culturally and socially. Because together those stories govern our emotional ups and downs, locate us in a life purpose that gives our daily activity meaning, weave together knowledge from different domains, underpin how we educate the next generation and even sustain us when life is difficult. Those stories about the city mean we awake in the morning and know where we are, what we are going to do, who we will be with, and assure us that we can answer our children’s questions about their homework.

But what happens when the stories keep shifting and the alignment breaks up? What happens when we carry a picture of the future from stories of the past and we arrive at that magical date and find that what was predicted has come true but with consequences we never imagined and never intended?

In the next few blogs I am going use the inspiration of the Nattrass’ inquiry into our Evolutionary Crossroads (published in the Integral Leadership Review), to look at three stories that impact our cities differently than we imagined when they were first told. I have selected city-related stories about Women, Transportation, Climate Change – as they represent stories we tell about ourselves at three different scales – but with interconnected impact: Personal, Organizational and Global.

This week (March 8, 2015) we celebrated International Women’s Day. That is a new story that recognizes the importance of women around the world – at every scale from self to family, to neighbourhood, to workplace, city, country and globe. Newscasts celebrated the anniversaries of the formation of many women’s organizations in cities in the developed world and featured the voices of women in cities in India, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America speaking out as individuals calling their sisters to action.

Behind these stories of today lies a history/herstory (in cities of the developed world) of women’s emancipation to vote; empowerment to speak and act as men’s equals; participation in the work place; and control over reproduction. Paralleling and enabling these culturally transforming changes, systemic changes to the technology and tools of daily life have allowed women to amplify their physical strength, reduce the time they spend doing housework, enter the work force and optimize their family activities.

The pictures that General Electric featured in their 1950’s ads for household appliances created the modern myth of the benefits of technology for women, promising greater freedom, more leisure time and more happiness. But, while we can now measure those intended outcomes with some satisfaction, we also reflect with equal horror that the gains in strength, effectiveness and influence have not regularly resulted in greater freedom, more leisure time and more happiness for women – or their families. Instead we have unintended consequences where all those gains have resulted in many women compressing more and more work into more and more time-starved lives, attempting to care for both younger and older generations in the family (because technology has also enabled life extension), volunteering for a myriad of socially valuable causes and becoming stressed to the point of illness.

What is wrong with this picture? What is the matter with this story? What is the meaning of this story? What impact could a deeper understanding of this story have on the health and wellbeing of our cities?

This picture describes the dilemma of the modern woman stretched on the rack of the traditional city of family stability, the modern city of organizational work and the post-modern city of social interaction. Such a stretch is unsustainable because while technology has provided so many more options for women, it has created an unsustainable existence where the expectations for women are not matched by the resources to support them in changing roles (that ripple out across the city). As the shift in women’s relationship to the rest of society marked one of the earliest cultural shifts of modernity, revised stories to explain this shift have gradually emerged. But no consistent story supports women’s new roles. They are caught in the transition between the Old Story and the New Story – still in the stage that the Nattrasses call the “Critical Phase” where most women know life as very stressful because they experience it as unsustainable. They are caught in the abyss between the stories about the “Critical Phase” and “Transformational Phase” – where the story of unsustainability is dominant, but no clear picture of the story about a sustainable life has emerged.

Something about this dilemma reminds me of my mother – who as an educated home economist, was an early adopter of the views of environmental sustainability awakened by Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”. In the 1960’s she retold this story to the teenager who was me. That story has germinated within me for decades – until I have awakened to the larger story of sustainability and resilience, I have discovered, thinking about the new story that the city needed to tell when it had passed the metric as the habitat for more than 50% of humanity. Now I realize the power of the stories my mother chose to tell had an impact on me as the next generation – and I see that the stories all mothers tell shape the expectations of the next generations.

In the last 2 years I have worked closely with a group of women who have collectively inquired into how humans (especially in cities) are Gaia’s Reflective Organs. We have been curious about why we have only attracted women? But perhaps our job has really been “women’s work” – to learn a new story, to answer our children’s homework, to share with our co-workers in other spheres of influence and to change how we create sustainable home economies?

On reflecting on women’s roles in cities, I am struck by the impact that they have on storytelling. And also by the track record of early women innovators who told new stories that are changing the world and the stories we tell about our cities – from Rachel Carson on environmental impacts, to Donella Meadows on systems thinking, to Joanna Macy on the “Great Turning” of worldviews.

With these inspiring new stories from women – from mother, communities of practice, innovators – perhaps we are glimpsing one of the ways that the Dalai Lama imagines that western women will change the world?

Women have a critical role as storytellers to bridge the Old Story through telling new stories that criticize, evolve, shift and transform into a New Story that once again can align past, present and future. And women have more power than ever to make that difference because not only do we (still) live longer than men, we have become ubiquitous in homes, work places and the world’s civil societies.

In today’s, cities, more than ever, “People need stories, more than food to stay alive.” (Lopez & Pearson, 1990). But they also need women as storytellers to share their personal experiences of unsustainability and give meaning to how we must all wake up to the reality of unsustainability in our cities that impacts daily life. The Nattrasses remind us that in order for us to change this story and move forward into living a reality that sustains our cities we must start with where we are. So when women tell their stories to the next generation, they are creating the transitional bridges that some day will tell  how we grew up into our new responsibilities as citizens and cities who became Gaia’s reflective organs. When we tell those stories will truly enable Gaia’s sustainable health and wellness. That is one way, women will help transform the Old Story into the New Story.

References:

Lopez, B., & Pearson, T. C. (1990). Crow and Weasel. Berkeley, CA: North Point Press.

Macy, J. (2005). World as Lover, World as Self. Berkeley: Parallax Press

Meadows, D. (2008). Thinking in Systems. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.

This blog is one of a series that explores the relevance and application of ideas to the Integral City, in the articles published in the Integral Leadership Review – Canada Issue, 2015, curated and Guest Edited by Marilyn Hamilton.

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When I think about harm, I am generally trying to ward off the harm others or circumstances might do to me.

 

World Peace Flame

World Peace Flame

The human species has evolved through a continuous onslaught of external threats from the natural world that have taught us to avoid, remove, reduce or prevent harm in a thousand ways.

However, as we have evolved other sources of harm have also always been with us – namely the harms that we do to ourselves and that reside internally in our individual and collective lives.

The wisdom traditions all invoke some version of the golden rule – that we do no harm to others, and that no harm is done to us. This injunction has universal power.

I have written in depth about the stratification of threats that human actions have unwittingly released upon the world, and how they destroy human security. The exposure to these interdependent threats has become a fact of life for all life (not just human life) on this planet.

What’s more, the potential external impact of our internal creative capacity is now so huge, we may have the power to do more damage to life on this planet, than the whole stack of external natural threats combined.

I want to believe this is not my problem. My individual capacity for doing harm is so small as not to make much or any difference on the rest of life. But if I aspire to be the enlightened being who is the Shambhala warrior, I must carry the swords of insight and compassion … and at the same time do no harm. So perhaps noticing my potential for causing harm is a discipline and a responsibility that I must practice?

Where to start? Start anywhere and follow where it leads. Ok I will start with basic questions that I can ask myself every day to expand my awareness of the harm I might have caused in my everyday life. And I will listen for the still small voice that whispers the PRACTICE THAT OPENS THE DOOR TO MITIGATING THE HARM.

  1. How did I protect the water I used to drink, cook, bathe, recycle? What do I know about how the basic foodstuffs I consumed are produced, processed, delivered, prepared? How did I reduce my eco-footprint? BE GRATEFUL
  2. How do I belong to the place where I live? How did I connect my person to my place in Earth’s environment, eco-region, cycles, seasons and resources? How did I belong and offer support to my family, tribes, culture, neighbourhood? BE KIND
  3. How did I express my natural voice, inspire others and find freedom without infringing on the voice, actions or freedoms of others? BREATHE, SING
  4. How did I respect order and authority that provides structures that align mine and others’ purposes, values, beliefs and commitments? LISTEN
  5. How did I obtain results in my work, play and life that were fair to all and sustainable in the long term? How did I share my good fortune? How did I leave the world better than I found it? BE GENEROUS
  6. How did I tolerate those who were different than me – older, younger, richer, poorer, sicker, happier, sadder, angrier, more loving, different culture/gender/ethnicity? How was I happy despite the differences and how did I create conditions for others to be happy? ACCEPT
  7. How flexible was I with the people, ideas, circumstances and the complexities of life? How did I negotiate the barriers I faced? How did I choose non-violence as an option? FLOW
  8. How did I think like a planetary citizen? When did I zoom out to get a bigger picture? Where did I contract to protect my vulnerability? BLESS

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