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Rethinking Complexity

Is the “Eco-System Economy” Ready for Prime Time?- A Review of Leading from the Emerging Future

01/08/2014
Is the “Eco-System Economy” Ready for Prime Time?-  A Review of Leading from the Emerging Future
For anyone interested in 21st century organizational effectiveness, sustainability, integral leadership, conscious evolution and/or societal transformation who has not yet delved into Otto Scharmer’s concept of “presencing” -- the practice of “sensing” future possibilities and acting from the “presence” of what wants to emerge – I invite you to prepare for a most satisfying journey via the recent publication of Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies (Scharmer & Kaufer, 2013). A senior lecturer at MIT and co...

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New Existentialists

Scared, Yet Still…

01/08/2014
Scared, Yet Still…
That is what I woke up to: that thought, “I feel scared.” It came like a clear flash. In that moment, it was true—that was what I felt. There was no point in any denial. It was a moment of seeing that there was this field, or ground, or cloud of fear that has accompanied me in this life, and in certain moments, starkly reveals itself. Around age 50, when you go to the doctor, health care providers start to recommend various screenings and tests. I am not writing about the value or validity of these screenings, but about what has been unearthed and revealed in my own heart/...

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New Existentialists

Mariko Sendai: August 25, 1948—December 11, 2013

01/07/2014
Mariko Sendai: August 25, 1948—December 11, 2013
I often referred to Maiko as my “Japanese sister.” When people gave me a quizzical look, I would explain that Mariko became a member of our family after my sister, Hope, spent four months as an exchange student and lived with the Susaki family in Japan in 1968. (Susaki was Mariko’s maiden name.) Mariko wrote in her journal that upon first meeting Hope on a train in Japan, she was so impressed with Hope’s self-confidence, she decided to come to the United States. Perhaps she thought if she came to the U.S., she could get some of the confidence she saw in Hope for...

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New Existentialists

The Spiritual Heresy of Maria Von Trapp: Existential Musings on The Sound of Music, Part Two

01/06/2014
The Spiritual Heresy of Maria Von Trapp: Existential Musings on The Sound of Music, Part Two
As we pick up the story of Maria in The Sound of Music from where we left off in Part One, The Reverend Mother sends Maria against her wishes to the estate of the widower Captain Von Trapp. She is to be Governess of his seven children. Maria is hesitant. Here, she must come up against her own idea of what she thought her life was supposed to be and submit to something different. Yet, even in the face of the unknown, she sings: What will this day be like, I wonder? What will my future be, I wonder? I purposefully place emphasis on “I wonder.” Wonder has become a staple to...

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New Existentialists

The Spiritual Heresy of Maria Von Trapp: Existential Musings on The Sound of Music, Part One

01/03/2014
The Spiritual Heresy of Maria Von Trapp: Existential Musings on The Sound of Music, Part One
When lay people think of existentialism, they often make associations to death and atheism. Nietzsche’s phrase “God is Dead” is interpreted to target the existence of God versus our belief. Sartre’s “Hell is Other People” suggests that we are here, in hell, on Earth. Camus’ The Plague illustrates in excruciating detail the uselessness of dogma and science in the face of even a young child’s death, rendering both medicine and religion helpless when up against the inevitable disease and decay of nature. All of these are examples of how...

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New Existentialists

Waxing Existential: New Year, New You?

01/02/2014
Waxing Existential: New Year, New You?
I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed. --George Carlin I’m going into 2014 considering all the events of the last year, and what the New Year will bring. While I feel the urge to self-assess and get on the bandwagon of New Year’s resolution-making, I am trying to think of myself and my life differently this year. Resolution, according to Merriam-Webster online can be defined six ways. Allow me to self-indulge and share a few with you: the act or process of resolving as a: the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones b: the act of answering...

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New Existentialists

The Walmartization of Higher Education

12/30/2013
The Walmartization of Higher Education
I quit one of my jobs today. I’ve been trying to get out of the for-profit college that first employed me out of graduate school but, until recently, could not afford to. Remember that we all make choices from the range of options available rather than from a range of idealized possibilities. Just as people work at Wal-Mart or McDonalds largely because all the other options are worse, so I worked for a for-profit school because the alternative was complete unemployment. Things are better now, but far from perfect. I considered keeping this job but events this term have really made it...

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New Existentialists

Christmas, Incarnation, and the Experience of the Sacred

12/27/2013
Christmas, Incarnation, and the Experience of the Sacred
Martin Luther once stated that the image of a baby lying in a manger demonstrates the profound wisdom and compassion of the Almighty. He believed it was human nature to be drawn to a baby because of the innocence and vulnerability a baby represents. C. S. Lewis once described the birth of Jesus as the equivalent of a human being becoming an ant. Each of us has experienced encounters with the sacred or holy. Some refer to these experiences as seeing the face of God. Others describe such an experience as connecting with the Universe. Each of us, in our own way, experiences that which is...

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New Existentialists

We Need To Talk About Kevin… And His Mother

12/26/2013
We Need To Talk About Kevin… And His Mother
“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.” (Sartre, 1957, p. 27) Or… is he? And what about his mother? A few nights ago, I watched the 2011 movie “We Need To Talk About Kevin.” Since then I’ve been saying, “Oh yes, we do.” (Warning: A lot of spoilers following). This movie left me with a feeling so weird, I didn’t even have the words to describe. I was really in a state of shock and sadness. I also felt the need to discuss it with someone, but unfortunately for me, I...

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New Existentialists

The Growth-Oriented Dimension of the Person

12/23/2013
The Growth-Oriented Dimension of the Person
What makes life worth living? Is it the depth of one’s capacity to love and trust, the ability to forgive and make amends, the realization that life is momentary and nothing can be grasped, the satisfaction and recognition of accomplishment, self knowledge, the power to accept what we cannot change, or something else? Another set of questions then arises…. Where do we find strength and fortitude when life is painfully difficult and seemingly nonsensical? Do we give up? Do we mentally uncover and uncouple rationalizations to logical conclusions? Do we take a stand based on our...

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