the future is connected

31 you never listen

‘With each emerging generation, the network that connects so many of us becomes less and less like a tool and more like a central nervous system of the human community.’*

‘These three capabilities – seeing systems, collaborating across boundaries, and creating desired futures – must continually develop institutions as well as individuals, for … institutions, and the networks they create, shape how our present world operates and hold the greatest promise for systemic change.’**

Joseph Jaworski outlines fascinating research into how the heart and gut are part of the intuitive mind: ‘There is compelling evidence that the body’s perceptual apparatus is continually scanning the future and that the heart is involved in processing and decoding intuitive information.’^

The heart and gut contain complex neuronal structures which produce hormones and neurotransmitters, so the next time your heart beats rapidly, it may be telling you something more important than your thinking about what you’re experiencing.

As we journey towards the future, we’ll see Humans increasing their learning and practicing of skills which connect mind and heart and will; connect people to people; and, connect us to the flora and fauna of our planet.

It promises to create a brave new future, one imagined and shaped together.

In Scotland, the government is encouraging as many as possible to be involved in an experiment of connectivity, inviting service providers, government bods, social enterprises, charities, and more to be part of ULabs Scotland, a MOOC (massive open online course), and getting together across the country in learning hubs and coaching circles.^^

One corollary to this is how it is each person’s responsibility to build the skills to bring to the party.  You can help me identify my skills and talents, and provide ideas for how to develop these, but you can’t do my deep practice for me:

Learn to do for yourself.‘  It’s the only way to broaden your skills.’*^

(*From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire.)
(**From Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)
(^From Joseph Jawaorski’s Source.)
(^^ULabs is a free course lasting for eight weeks and open to anyone and it’s not too late to sign up; it begins on the 10th September.)
(*^From Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit.)


more than human

30 on discovering

“We are sensible that behind the rustling leaves and the stacks of grain, and the bare clusters of grape, there is a field of a wholly new life which no man has lived; that even this world was made for more mysterious and nobler inhabitants than men and women.”*

I snatched the title down from a pile of books in my friend’s office, but I should have made a note of the author, too.

The book I meant to read was More Than Human by futurist Ramez Naam; instead, I ordered the book of the same title by science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon.

But it turned out okay.

Sturgeon serves up an intriguing tale of how the people society considers hopeless are together capable of achieving amazing things.

I got to read Naam’s book, too, in which he considers how Humans are being shaped by pharmaceutical, technological, and genetic means – to the extent there’ll be different forms of Human walking the earth.  After all, we are a teenager species growing into adulthood, and what shall we be?

Maybe all of this helps us to see the untapped depths of a Human life and life together, including the greater story of life:

‘A regenerative society is about life flourishing, not just human life.’**

When compared to what we have been as a species, we already appear more than human, and we can only imagine this continuing.

“So far, the evidence seems compelling.  What seems to be happening is that information is coming from the future.”^

(*Henry David Thoreau, quoted in Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)
(**From Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)
(Physicist Brian Josephson, quoted in Joseph Jaworski’s Source.)


inner light?

29 sometimes we're the last

Peter Senge describes a bigger story in which we ‘rediscover our capacity for awe at the marvel of the living world and our fellow travellers on Spaceship Earth, without which we are unlikely to rediscover our place in the larger natural order’.*

The words we often find ourselves using for life can be practical and specific – as they need to be: work, shopping, TV, repairing the bike … .  We use similar practical and specific words for ourselves.

But sometimes we need to use bigger words and pictures to reconnect with what life is about or can be about.  And we need to use bigger words to describe ourselves.

‘The journey from fear to love is a journey we are on as a species.’**

Within this bigger story we find something which resonates with our spirit in a unique way, guiding our steps like an inner light: to do what we it is must do and to connect this to every day.

(*From Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)
(**From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire.)

reducing co₂ levels

28 don't be a sleeper

Too much CO₂ can lead to the condition Acidosis.

Respiratory Acidosis can lead to fatigue, becoming tired easily, confusion, shortness of breath, and sleepiness.

There’s a metaphorical variant, leading to people being asleep to how they can contribute their art for a better future.

This isn’t how it has to be.

Peter Senge writes: ‘at its essence, leadership often comes down to how people move from fatalism to an awakened faith that they can shape a different future.’*

Don’t think of leadership in some formal way; it’s more about someone taking the initiative by living out their talents and waking up others to what can be.  Hugh Macleod simply calls such people wakers:

‘Are you a “waker”?  If the answer is no, I’m sorry to hear that.  Wakers are my favourite people.  A waker is someone who is very good at waking other people up from their metaphorical slumber, temporary or otherwise.’**

Reduce CO₂ levels.

Be a waker; wake someone else up.

(*From Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)
(**From Hugh Macleod’s Evil Plans.)

the greatest story

27 because

You are part of possibly the greatest story in the universe.

I don’t mean the Human story – the hubris of our species – we’re recognising the greatest story includes all fauna and flora.

What Humans can see are open doors and move through them.   Each gifting us the possibility of seeing the truth about ourselves and doing something about it.

Not that we’ll ever be perfect or the final article.  We have to give up the notion of needing to be better than we are before we can move.

‘Changing things – pushing the envelope and creating a future that does not exist yet (at the same time you’re criticised by everyone else) -requires bravery.’*

Peter Senge tells a beautiful story out of Uganda, of a project in which female students were encouraged to see themselves as “change agents.”  One example saw students sitting with parents and grandparents to ‘learn about visioning, planning for the future, entrepreneurship, innovation skills, and developing home and farm improvement projects.’**

The result was the future: ninety per cent of the female students’ families reported improvements in sanitation, nutrition, and income.

We do not have to be perfect or complete but everyone can contribute to the greatest story.

(*From Seth Godin’s’ Tribes.)
(**From Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.  There’s a lot more to this story I haven’t space to share here.)

edinburgh and london

26 the innovative

‘North and South. Nothing more. Look for the north; look for the south. Don’t stop travelling between them.’*

I’m on the train, travelling from Edinburgh to London, seeking what my organisation refers to as “seeking to be without appointment.” Effectively this means I won’t be moved to another appointment but I will remain connected.

Thirty five years is a lot of time to turn one’s back on, and I always seek to bring all of my past experiences into the present, as resources for the future – like carbohydrates, but the future is my protein, and skills and passion, my vitamins.

I am seeking to live in the “north” – Developing the work or art I must – but staying connected with the “south” – my organisation (HQ in London).

I’m trying to figure out how how to stay with the organisation – though I won’t be paid and step into a tribe of ‘creative nonconformists, … difference makers, aliveness activists, catalysts for change,’** though I haven’t got it all figured out yet.

‘When you lead without compensation, when you sacrifice without guarantees, when you take risks because of what you believe, then you are demonstrating your faith In the tribe and it mission.^

We all need a North and South – life in all its fullness is found in the tension between. It is where I have found myself to be a dreamwhisperer, listening for thin-silences in the lives of those I serve.

As Saint Hugh of Macleod so eloquently says:

‘This is it. Fight like hell.’^^

(*From Albert Espinosa’s The Yellow World.)
(**From Brian McLaren’s We Make the Road by Walking.)
(^From Seth Godin’s Tribes.)
(^^From Hugh Macleod’s Evil Plans.) – as I’m travelling, the links will be added later; also, the cartoon will be scanned rather than a picture taken on a bouncing train.

oceans of possibility

25 time is not

There is a universe within every person.

We can quickly be overwhelmed.

‘The truth about me is I don’t even want to know the truth about me.’*

Moving through open doors has a way of telling us truth about ourselves.  We get to suspect this is how it works and begin to ignore the open doors.

It’s like I’m an ocean threatening to overwhelm.  I need to find a boat – a story to sail in – and keep it seaworthy; we’re like the Ship of Theseus, completely changed in the process and yet still who we are.

These same oceans are universes of future possibility – especially when we collaborate and innovate together – explorers of the emerging future:

‘If the human subject does not possess the honesty of mind and purpose to see things as they really are (interconnected and full of meaning), creativity is blocked, and the patterns of the present will continue to unfold the future.’**

Think work or politics or even an argument at home developing in the same way they always do.  Then imagine a new way.

We are learning to be skilful in an art: ‘an art to “knowing” the significance of a particular moment of time, the seed from which future events will flow’.**

More open doors.

(*From John Ortberg’s All the Places to Go.)
(**From Jospeh Jaworski’s Source.)

scouting and leaping

24 we are finding 2

We do not know all we can know yet, nor how what we come to know will change us.

The universe is expanding.  As a child of the universe, you are made to grow too: to find a story you love and to live it.  Wisdom tells you this story is never complete.

‘The toll of making change is that you will be changed.’*

The living of this story will bring you to many open doors, and passing through open doors will tell you more about who you are and who you can become.

Knowing who you are and what you must do causes you to scout: ‘Again the proverb is, when in doubt, scout.’**

And when the door doesn’t seem to lead anywhere, it may be that this is a moment of expansion, a moment to leap.  When Chris Sharma broke the rules of rock-climbing and began leaping, ‘They discovered that it was a reasonable (but surprising) solution to a large number of rock-climbing problems.  Suddenly, impossible routes weren’t impossible any more.’*

‘So, when I’m thinking about the future, it isn’t enough to ask, “What happens next?” We must ask “What happens because of what happens next?”**

(*From Seth Godin’s Tribes.)
(**From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire.)

3 anniversary gifts

23 the mind and

The 23rd August is Christine’s and my 35th wedding anniversary.

I’ve been pondering wisdom these last few days, so I found myself reflecting on some of the biggest learnings I might share:

To be able to change our minds is a gift: seeing things from a different perspective, or a better perspective, and there is always more to something than meets the eye.

To be able to change our hearts about something is a DNA (life) altering experience – another gift.

And so, to behave and act differently from the heart is generative and regenerative – the most powerful of the gifts.

I’m really happy to say Christine has embraced all of these learnings over the years.


Seriously, these three changes have been gifts to us when we’ve been wise enough to embrace them.

If your universe-paradigm, philosophy, life-story, or god don’t allow these gifts, you’ve identified somewhere to begin.


22 i was awakened

“The universe is a communion of subjects rather than a collection of objects.”*

When we understand ourselves to be part of the natural order, rather than above or apart from it, we can learn from all fauna and flora, including sheep.

There’s Shari Lewis’s Lamb Chop and Nick Park’s Shaun the Sheep, but I can’t think of many heroic sheep.  Even in the sheep world, it’s the shepherds and sheepdogs who star.

John Ortberg suggests sheep are about vulnerability rather than invulnerability.  And vulnerability, as Brené Brown reminds us, is more powerful than invulnerability.  Jesus of Nazerath once told his disciples he was sending them like sheep among wolves.

We’d prefer to be wolves, really, or hawks, lions, or rhinos maybe.  Antoine de Saint-Exupery has his Little Prince asking the pilot/narrator to draw a sheep.  It’s a way for the adult to enter into the world of the little prince.  Everyone’s perception is different- perhaps sheep help us to see how this is so, being more open to one another’s worlds.

(*Evolutionary theorist Thomas Berry, quoted in Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)