What is an underlying question that gives form to your work or interest in this field?
What is it we require as individuals and collectives,
to create and sustain environments of trust and mutual respect and what
are the practices that empower us to do so?
What do we make possible when we choose to be fully present,
i.e., show up, pay attention to what matters to us and creatively live
into our questions?
In what ways does partnering with the Land hone our capabiliy
for presence, deep listening and discernment as individuals and as collectives?
What is your personal experience of collective
wisdom in groups?
I have experienced the emergence of collective wisdom
in groups gathered for many different purposes: to deepen individuals
personal practice of dialogue; to explore a topic of safety within a
large manufacturing plant; to create a vision for a community; spiritual
retreats, and so on.
Some characteristics I have observed when collective
wisdom has emerged are:
A dawning awareness of individual interdependence
and the power of this reality to create both harm and wholeness within
living systems, including the group itself.
A recognition, even awe at, the beauty, the mystery
and clarity of perception which become possible when individuals are
willing to suspend judgments and pre-set stories about reality, letting
go of attachments to “being right”.
A listening grounded in pure curiosity, even a longing
to experience and appreciate the essential being of the other.
A joyful acknowledgement that our interdependence grants
us power and responsibility.
The emergence of compassion for ourselves and others
through which we are able to transmute information and even knowledge
into wisdom and respond in ways that support our inherent, yet often
I believe it is important to add that I have not observed
collective wisdom emerge spontaneously, that is without cause. In each
instance there has been some form of explicit intention to create the
conditions for its emergence through the ways in which people are with
one another. This intention may express in many ways. The way the physical
environment is arranged. A particular process for engagement. A conscious
practice of mindfulness in service of self and other. A willingness
to experiment, the opening of hearts and minds and the loosening of
closely held certainties.
What is it about the work in this field that excites
you and connects you to your own deepest self?
Recent experiences during the dying and death of my father
have brought home to me once more, and with magnified power, the knowing
that “love is all that matters”. I believe we all long to
give and receive love. And, yet, we use so much of our energies in activities
and pursuits that bring us suffering and may often result in anger and
violence. At best a terrible waste. So, I ask myself each day how do
we bring forth wisdom to live the formation of a world that encourages
the flourishing of aliveness and loving? One way is to engage in practices
that help us develop our capacities for listening, being curious, honoring
differences…such as dialogue. Another, is to learn to “think
out of the box”. Not so easy, for we stand within our learned
stories/boxes, surrounded by and embodying the current thinking and
feeling of our worldviews. How do we engage the unknown, where possibility
lives? What are the practices that enhance our capacity to be all that
we are, individually and collectively? How do we develop the eyes of
compassion through which love sees and knows what wisdom is? These questions
inspire and focus my attention daily and inform all my work with individuals
and groups. I believe living these questions is my contribution to the
Please provide a brief storyline or snapshot of
what brought you to this work.
The initial impetus lies in my childhood. From the time
I was about 8 years old my dad would give me books to read. Many of
them were written by or about spiritual teachers from different paths,
Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Sufi. I read and I ended up shaking my head
over and over again. I was mystified. I remember going to my dad saying,
“Dad, I don’t get it. Why have all these religions been
fighting with each other? Can’t they see that they are all talking
about the same thing, the same God?” Already as a young girl could
see the violence that is generated when people believe that the story
of their God WAS identical with their God. It seemed to me that such
cases of mistaken identity fueled most of the religious wars throughout
the centuries. I did not understand. I had not yet the self awareness
to experience how grasping at one definition of truth can create so
much suffering. Now, I know all too well. My response has been to develop
a passion for creating open and honoring conversations between people.
This has taken many forms…yet the essential thread of a vision
of love replacing violence through understanding has remained.
How would you like to be available to others in
I always welcome conversation with others who are exploring
the edges of what is unknown to them. The joy of stimulating one another’s
inquiry and insight is a wonderful gift. In addition, I am professionally
available for speaking engagements, designing customized retreats-programs-workshops
- all with the aim of helping people develop their capacity for individual
and collective wisdom in ways that directly impact the quality of day
to day life and relationships.
Links to this site or others:
National Coalition for
Dialogue and Deliberation