Clinton, Washington, USA
What is an underlying question that gives form to your work or interest in this field?
Can we experience our connectedness so deeply that we
can begin to think and create "as one", without any loss of
our individual uniqueness?
What is your personal experience of collective
wisdom in groups?
My interest in this field began in the early 70's through
my involvement in an intentional spiritual community, in which transcendent
group experiences were a frequent occurrence. After the spiritual teacher
around which this community had formed died in 1976, I and others in
the community continued to explore these "outer reaches of human
consciousness". However, we had to become more intentional and
aware in order to experience what I came to call "group consciousness".
We could no longer depend on the presence of our spiritual teacher to
create a field, within which collective intelligence and spiritual wisdom
were a natural outgrowth of a kind of spiritual communion among members
of a highly diverse group.
My many professional experiences of creative collaboration
and service involving a broad range of disciplines have had some of
the same characteristics as the communion I have experienced in spiritual
practice groups. Thus I deeply enjoy working with groups of people (typically
professionals in a work setting), who seek to work together in a cross-disciplinary
and creative way toward some goal that is in the public interest.
What is it about the work in this field that excites
you and connects you to your own deepest self?
I experience a growing awareness of my and others' full
energies, what I would call “presence. I and the other participants
often enter into an expanded state of awareness in which we have access
to much more knowledge, information and wisdom than is normally the
case. I feel “bigger” somehow, and in that state feel most
my true self.
Collective intelligence and spiritual wisdom seems to
be evoked by hearts and souls reaching out to connect with one another.
Please provide a brief storyline or snapshot of
what brought you to this work.
See above. In my earlier professional life I wanted
to learn what helps and hinders the experience of group consciousness,
since once I had experienced this myself, I was hungry for more of it,
for myself and for others! I carried this question with me into a 20-year
project in which I co-designed and managed a seven million dollar youth
development program, in which the community of staff (160 professionals
spanning 26 professional disciplines) and the inner city youth (which
the program served, and were served by) were often guided by the collective
intelligence and spiritual wisdom which came out of their deep listening
to, and with one, another. I explored this same question in my later
work as an organizational development consultant, around such issues
as capacity-building, creative collaboration and leadership development.
As the administrator of the Fetzer Institute’s Spiritual Heart
of Service Initiative (1997-1999), I was able to explore what fosters
the creation of group consciousness with many other people, since two
national conferences and five papers were produced specifically on the
subject of group service and synergy. One of those papers is Calling
Out Our Potential, written with my husband Robert
Kenny, which can also be found at www.co-intelligence.org
Though I have professional training related to
this work (e.g., as a Masters level social worker, an organizational
development consultant, and as a practitioner of Nada yoga),
my primary training came from a spiritual teacher who had no formal
education in this area that I am aware of, yet was a master in terms
of creating fields within which group synergy, collective intelligence,
spiritual wisdom and human transformation would occur. I experienced
this individual creating these fields in diverse groups of many sizes
and cultures. I learned by observing and by being a participant. I was
radically changed myself simply by participating in this process.
How would you like to be available to others in
I am always interested in exploring with other practitioners
the growing edges of this field, and what we are learning through our
experiences. I am also available as a “doer” (I design and
facilitate retreats, conferences, dialogue groups, workshops and other
gatherings; I am a facilitator of the Naked
Voice work of Chloe Goodchild; and I work with organizations around
creative collaboration, planning and deep visioning work). I have created
a workshop series with Robert Kenny on
creativity, leadership, and the use of cross-cultural reflective practices
to increase personal and team effectiveness and collaboration. (This
workshop series has been adapted from an applied research program conducted
at 11 U.S. sites, and has been used in both the for-profit and the non-profit
I do an increasing amount of my work in a retreat house
that I have created with my husband, Robert
Kenny. Perched on the edge of a bluff overlooking Puget Sound in
Whidbey Island, Washington, Bluff House offers a spectacular natural
setting within which to do group work, partnering with the profound
energies and beauty of the natural world. Bluff House can be used both
by those who want to participate in programs designed by my husband
and/or myself, and also by those who want to use it for renewal and
transformational activities which they have already designed for themselves
or for clients. Until our website is finished, inquiries about Bluff
House and its programs should be addressed to
Links to this site or others
Our Potential, paper by Robert Kenny
and Julie Glover
The Naked Voice,
founded by Chloe Goodchild (Julie is a facilitator)