Jane Barrash, VisionHolder

Photo credit: craig neal

Photo credit: craig neal

Bringing new consciousness to the streets and the board rooms...
To say Jane is dynamic is like saying fire is hot! She is an irrepressible field of energy dedicated to bringing a new consicousness of interconnectedness and awareness to every facet of her life and others lives. She's delivering her Discovery of Life program in high schools, prisons, corporations and anywhere there is a willingness for new thought and discovery.

For 28 years, the Continuum Center has been at the forefront of new thought and cutting-edge research from fields including quantum physics, medicine, neuroscience, and the teachings from Native American, West African, East Indian, Asian and Tibetan cultures. As Executive Director of Continuum Center for 20 years, Jane has many stories of the emergence of the field of new leadership, new thought, new ways of being, consciousness and the nature of reality.

Listen to the VisionHolder Call with Jane on the left and post your comments below.

Leader as Conduit

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

"I'm going to begin the morning by asking us to hold the intention of creating powerful, sacred space together. Now I want those intentions to become alive in the circle, to make them manifest."

The December Minnesota Thought Leader Gathering welcomed Mary Hamann-Roland, Mayor of Apple Valley. We were pleased to be hosted by the folks at Twin City Co-ops Federal Credit Union, longtime friends of Mary and Heartland.

"The future is calling us to use our imaginations, to think differently, to create abundance, because it's already here. like Michaelangelo said, "It's already here—all we have to do is to chisel away and sculpt it together.

When we focus our intentions and share our gifts, we make a difference.  When things are hard, use that as the fertile ground to create what you really desire and want. Take that energy and turn it into the abundance."

We used the morning together to explore intention. The Wisdom Circle topics were:

•    What is your life intention?

•    How are you in relation to your life intention?

Powerful and challenging questions that created some of the best circle conversation ever. What i noticed in the small groups is that even though most of us feel as though we are intentional people, living intentional lives, the opportunity to reflect created an edge and focus.

Many thanks to Mary for a generative, juicy conversation.


Fred Kiel

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

On Moral Intelligence and leadership

Fred's a guy thats been around the corporate halls and boardrooms. One might think that after 40 odd years of coaching CEOs and top leaders at Fortune 500 corporations he might be a tad cynical or at least hardened in the heart...not so! During our VisionHolder Interview last night, Fred came on as an unabashed optimist, not exactly Pollyanna, however filled with a hope and promise that those at the top really "get it" and that they understand that people centric cultures are GOOD, if not the imperative ingredient for enhancing business performance.

He talked at length about how leaders are developing their moral skills and muscles around the universal priciples of Integrity, Responsbility, Compassion and Forgiveness.. sound appealing? visonary? possible? Well, the folks at Costco and a bunch of the other leaders Fred and his co-author Doug Lennick have been coaching over the years seem to think so. Listen to Fred and I go at it on the audio link to your left and then let us know what you think by clicking on the Comment link below.

Marilyn Tam

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

A woman of passion with a mission for the world!!

Born in Hong kong the eldest of 4 in a traditional Chinese family. tough life. came to the US, excelled in school found her way into the corporate system and rose through the ranks to senior leadership roles at Nike, Reebok and Aveda...how did she do it? what drove her to achieve at a game not usually open to young asian women?

So here are her life priciples that have been the guidepost along the way.....

Tell the truth:  easier said than done, but life is so connected, that if i don't tell the truth, things will implode around me
Make partners:  pushes to think bigger, work collaboratively. makes us look at our values.
Make big mistakes:  when we make mistakes, we're taking a risk. "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude means we'll be stagnant. otherwise, taking a risk means we do our homework, are planful.
Die by your own sword:  a graphic way to know what we stand for vs. what we're told to stand for.

What are your guiding principles and how are you applying them in your life and work? let us all know what you think. simply hit the comment link below and type away.

What got you here won't get you there

The title of Marshall's new book What Got You Here Won't Get You There speaks to the need to move away from old command and control behaviors to a mind frame of "Make peace. Change what you can change now. Take a deep breath and let go of the rest." Changing ourselves creates change around us... not rocket science, just simple wisdom to live daily.

Read More


photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

...to the Heartland Circle™ Journal. Chronicling the pulse of Heartland’s unique VisionHolder and Thought Leader network: current writings from Heartland, our VisionHolders, upcoming events, programs. Use the blog to 1-register for upcoming programs, such as the next VisionHolder Call (free), 2-listen to a past call (on the left), 3-check out our featured book (on the right).

Come gather round to learn, connect, express yourself and navigate the Heartland Circle™ Community. Join us on this journey of shared hearts and minds as we make our way together. You have the opportunity to fully participate in exploring ways to support, inspire, inform and interact with each other.

Claim your place at the fire, take your time, look around....

For an overview of the blog, use the 'ABOUT Heartland & this Blog" link (left column), and if you'd like help navigating this new format, check the 'How To' links (right column).

Please share your own musings in response to my posts or those of others... Let's use this space to ask the deeper questions & create the understandings that unleash the beauty and brilliance of this community!

Mark Thompson

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Success Built to Last: Creating a Life that Matter
Spending time with Mark is like having a conversation
about the really big issues of life with a dear friend while driving with the top down...like SUCCESS, love, passion and meaning along with making a buck and leaving an enduring legacy!!! Whew.

He's written a new book with Stewart Emery,of EST and Actualizations fame,and Jerry Poris, co-author with Jim Collins of the wildly famous Built to Last, about what makes for enduring success, how do you make for a sustainable life?

I've never seen a line up of endorsements of high profile global leaders for a book before. so whats up? seems he's hung the book around 3 core principles: Meaning - Passion - Action...

MEANING- making a difference for the sake of service, One thing that does last is love and meaning.

PASSION we do it despite what it gets done. a portfolio of passions.

ACTION- getting it all done!

What do you think? listen to the audio link to the left and weigh in on your definition of success in your life.

Moral Intelligence

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Integrity - Responsibility - Compassion - Forgiveness
An amazing in-depth conversation with Fred Kiel, co-author Moral Intelligence. Moral intelligence as a distinct intelligence is new to the playing field and is unfolding to be a vast subject. Moral intelligence is our mental capacity to determine how universal human principles - like those embodied by the 'golden rule' - should be applied to our personal values, goals, and actions. "MI" focuses on four principles that are vital for sustained personal and organization success:
reflecting the head: Integrity - Responsibility
reflecting the heart: Compassion - Forgiveness.

  • Why is this important in our work and lives? what are the implications?...
  • New Directions from Fred and Doug - exciting new website...

More on Fred Kiel...

The big decisions that face us all globally are probably in the hands of the leaders of large business organizations.
-Integrity: if these leaders want a workforce that trust them, integrity must be present.
-Responsibility: they might also want a workforce that is inspired to take personal responsibility for themselves and, possibly, the larger world.
-Forgiveness: if you want a creative workforce, you must have forgiveness.
-Compassion: if you want to retain your workforce, you must have compassion.

There seem to be areas of the brain dedicated to moral reasoning: We are born to be moral. if parenting/support is good enough, people will grow up to have the natural capacity to be moral.

Questions discussed: How were the four universal principles chosen? What is the organizational impact of grounding the culture and leadership with the four universal principles? Is there any real evidence that “character based” businesses do better than ones that aren’t? (THE ANSWER IS YES!!)

http://www.moralcompass.com—online as of 9/15
2nd Book coming from Fred and Doug: "What CEOs Believe and the Impact on the Bottom Line"

Margaret Lulic- Corporate Philosopher

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Our VisionHolder Interview with Margaret on Thursday was a unique window into the context and theory of Spiral Dynamic along with her applications in board and consulting work. Margaret took us through a brief yet potent "primer" on the various levels and colors of the spiral..here is what many of the caller had to say following the session. Listen to the Audio link to the right and let us know what you think....

"Her explanation of how to encourage everyone in a group to simultaneousy explore different perspectives as a collective, thus encouraging everyone to think in different paradigms and develop different perspectives, reminded me of a similar techniqe used in deBono's 6 Hats typology, and was a useful, practical strategy to remember and put to use."

"Two great take-aways: the idea of stacking in a unique and individul way, around centers of gravity, with the underlying notion of spiral movement; also the asking others where they are rather than judging and placing.  The discussion around diversity as well as the answer to how to bring people into the conversation without imposing empirical knowkedge of the structure.    Much to apply in how I convene, as well as how I communicate.  More dimensions to dialogue."

"I didn't know anything about spiral dynamics, so it was very interesting.  It seems to relate to the chakras and evolution of consciousness.    Use the information as another means of understanding the basis/origin of people's concerns, especially when they are distressed or in interpersonal conflict."

"Her extraordinarily lucid description of Spiral Dynamics and her examples of how she uses this framework in her work took my appreciation and interest to a much higher level."

Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches? Mary Oliver

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches

of other lives --

tried to imagine what the crisp fringes, full of honey,


from the branches of the young locust trees, in early morning,

feel like?

Do you think this world was only an entertainment for you?

Never to enter the sea and notice how the water divides

with perfect courtesy, to let you in!

Never to lie down on the grass, as though you were the grass!

Never to leap to the air as you open your wings over

the dark acorn of your heart!

No wonder we hear, in your mournful voice, the complaint

that something is missing from your life!

    Who can open the door who does not reach for the latch?

Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot

in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself


Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed

with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?

Well, there is time left --

fields everywhere invite you into them.

And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away

from wherever you are, to look for your soul?

Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!

To put one's foot into the door of the grass, which is

the mystery, which is death as well as life, and

not be afraid!

To set one's foot in the door of death, and be overcome

with amazement!

To sit down in front of the weeds, and imagine

god the ten-fingered, sailing out of his house of straw,

nodding this way and that way, to the flowers of the

present hour,

to the song falling out of the mockingbird's pink mouth,

to the tippets of the honeysuckle, that have opened

in the night

To sit down, like a weed among weeds, and rustle in the wind!

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

While the soul, after all, is only a window,

and the opening of the window no more difficult

than the wakening from a little sleep.   

Only last week I went out among the thorns and said

to the wild roses:

deny me not,

but suffer my devotion.

Then, all afternoon, I sat among them. Maybe

I even heard a curl or tow of music, damp and rouge red,

hurrying from their stubby buds, from their delicate watery bodies.

For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,

caution and prudence?

Fall in! Fall in!

A woman standing in the weeds.

A small boat flounders in the deep waves, and what's coming next

is coming with its own heave and grace.

Meanwhile, once in a while, I have chanced, among the quick things,

upon the immutable.

What more could one ask?

And I would touch the faces of the daises,

and I would bow down

to think about it.

That was then, which hasn't ended yet.

Now the sun begins to swing down. Under the peach-light,

I cross the fields and the dunes, I follow the ocean's edge.

I climb, I backtrack.

I float.

I ramble my way home.

~ Mary Oliver ~

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading tothe most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets' towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone,...

and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you -- beyond that next turning of the canyon walls." - Edward Abbey

The Great Remembering: An African Journey Home

PHoto credit: craig neal

PHoto credit: craig neal

Last night I interviewed Craig, my Heartland partner and husband of 26 years, following his recent trip to Tanzania, Africa. The trip with 13 men over 50 years old, led by old friend Richard Leider, was a watershed journey into his emerging elderhood as well as surprise "inventure" into a deep remembering into his humanhood. Caig kicked off the session saying........

We’ve all had those moments of awakening or remembering, some fleeting as if from a dream, where we know and feel connected in a visceral sense to all things, human and otherwise. Then, most of us return to the “real world” where day-to-day life resumes. What if these moments were the reality in which we were born to live, and that what if these episodes are the great remembering of what it truly is to be human?

My recent trip to east Africa, the birthplace of humanity, was one such moment in time, when the journey to a far off place brought forward a deep remembering of innocence, and connection to all things.

Craig's connection to the land and the people who have inhabited and known the land for over 4000 years was ground-shaking for him because it brought him squarely to the question of being, remembering, connection.

What is it you wish to remember about who you are, why you are here, and to whom or what you belong?

Patricia Neal

The Highest Goal /Let the Courage Begin!

PHoto credit: craig neal

PHoto credit: craig neal

The focus of today's Member Campfire Call was The Highest Goal: The Secret that Sustains You in Every Moment, by Michael Ray. [All calls are 2nd Tuesday of each month]

Wow! what a juicy call today! Many thanks to Michael Ray for joining us. As we reflected on the questions: "What do you know to be your highest goal? How are you acting creatively and/or courageously to meet the challenges of our times?," what became apparent is the intentionality with which we all live.

Michael asked us to explore one of the exercises from the book: "The Most Meaningful Thing," that leads to discovering one or two words related to our highest goal. Some of the words spoken: connectedness - service - justice - action - love - communion - emergence – authentic being - trust – co-creation.

Courage/We are not alone...

We spoke of using these calls and other opportunities to remind us that we are not alone, that there are many powerful, wonderful visions in action, that our combined efforts create and support courage to take the next step, to keep going.

Michael closed with the following reflection: Our shared words of our calling, our passion, move us to exhaltation. Move us toward whatever is emerging. We’re doing it now, together. We are visions in action, in service, in love.

Thank you for joining us!

Power In Numbers

PHoto credit: craig neal

PHoto credit: craig neal

The Heartland home page states: "Experience the power of onemultiplied by the power of many" as an offer and invitation. Why is this so important? Excerpts from a newsletter I receive, called the Daily Om, explain eloquently why we must gather— either in person or virtually—to create an exponential effect.

"Like tiny ripples that merge to form great waves, combined human intent is worth more than the sum of its parts.

Alone, the light you emit is a wonderful healing tool, but when you join with others who share your intent to shine compassion and positive energy over the world, a powerful force is created.

Each person's light joins with every other, and through the joining all are strengthened. What matters is not technique or what religion or beliefs you hold, but intent.

As you gather together willing people, your individual intent will become a great and powerful wave, and you will see results in your fellow humans, in the news, and in your daily life."

-Patricia Neal