I believe we can change the world 

if we start listening to one another again.  

Simple, honest, human conversation.  

Not mediation, negotiation, problem-solving, debate, or public meetings. 

Simple, truthful conversation 

where we each have a chance to speak, 

we each feel heard, and 

we each listen well.

—Margaret Wheatley

With these words as my charge, I have spent the last year loving, listening, and learning.  Having served in broken and decaying systems, it has been profound to step outside of the institution and simply be present.  On the ground.  With no title or office, simply listening to friends and colleagues and strangers across disciplines reflect on their journey.

The Common Thread

The common thread throughout the conversations has been a hunger to make a difference.  To step beyond any attempts to fix what is broken to building the new, an entirely different task.  To be sure, there is a sense of dislocation and displacement that comes with stepping outside our bounded set realities.  But, there is also invitation.

The Invitation

Invitation to take seriously our responsibility to attend to a triple bottom line of environment, economies and equity.  Invitation to claim the reality that mental acuity, emotional health and physical fitness are not enough.  We cannot build the new apart from connecting soul with Source for the flourishing of our communities.  As environmentalist John Milton reminds us: Most great inventions and breakthroughs have arisen through deep communion with Source.

The Hunger

The hunger to connect to that place of deeper knowing is palpable.  The yearning for wholeness not just of body, mind, and spirit, not just for humanity, but also for planet, is core.  Our inter-dependence on both a local and global level reflects the realty that individual wholeness is impossible apart from communal wholeness.  The challenge remains, how?  

The Leadership Challenge

For starters, we need a new language.  As philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein observed over a 100 years ago: “The limits of language mean the limits of my world.”  Soul and Source: words ordinarily located in the lexicon of faith.  Global community: the people and nations of the world, inextricably tied together economically, socially, and politically.  Triple Bottom Line, an accounting framework, that evaluates performance through three measures: social, environment, and financial.   Words ordinarily located in the context of business.  Taken together, these words represent the core leadership challenge of the 21st century.   How are we going to intentionally form communities committed to the flourishing of all?  This calls for the development of a new kind of community, one that nurtures spiritual maturity in leaders, while also addressing 21stcentury leadership challenges.

The Call: The formation of a new kind of community, that nurtures spiritual maturity in leaders, while also addressing 21stcentury leadership challenges.

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