A Fire Inside: Thoughts on the Credit Crisis and the Creativity of Winter

Photo credit: Craig neal

Photo credit: Craig neal


A Fire Inside: Thoughts on the Credit Crisis and the Creativity of Winter

Outside my window the wintry English fields spread, as they have for centuries to the dark, smoke blue line of woods that limit the horizon of the valley. A bright fire burns in the grate to my left, while outside I can hear the call of a barn owl cutting the still, even air. All is exactly has it has been for many a hundred year in these Cotswold hills where I happily find myself this winter's day. Everything from horizon to horizon is eternal and quiet and seemingly unchangeable - except, that is, for one tiny but extraordinary portal I can open on this laptop to a parallel world of web-borne news, a world supposedly more real than the quiet one I inhabit this cold but beautiful evening.

With a few clicks, I can enter an astonishing world of worry, anxiety and for many individuals, and indeed whole societies, material hardship, brought on by the cessation of credit. Out of the hermetic silence of a quiet winter day I can take a few short steps and almost touch the sense of panic and the extraordinary breakdown in trust that has stopped the flow of currency from one person to another, one bank to another, one society to another. It is as if the cold hands of this financial season have touched every last monetary stream and rivulet, and frozen them over. It is winter here in the countryside with all its well-loved beauties, but out in the world of money, it is winter with another form of terrible beauty, the winter of disappearance, immobility, and the worry fret and anxiety that comes from seeming to have very little shelter from its effects. It is always a trauma for the human psyche when those elements it has over-invested itself in at the periphery of life are withdrawn, and the spring-like world of growth and opportunity seems to close down, as if the old currencies have become worthless while we as yet do not know how to value or harvest the following season. But this form of trauma has also been seen by many of our great religious, contemplative and artistic traditions as an invitation back to another kind of valuation, a return to a more internal focus, an opportunity to revive an old friendship with the place from which all the peripheries are recognized, priced and named. This internal, alchemical, almost catalytic core of identity-making and decision-making has long been associated with the soul of an individual; the part of us attempting to belong to the world in the biggest way it can; the part that witnesses our outer actions, stirs our conscience and quite often seems to be at odds with those other parts of us trying to game the system at the periphery. It is interesting to think that what may be a financial trauma for the surface personality may be a break for freedom for a more serious, central core of the psyche, the part that understands its own mortality and secretly knows that it will eventually all come to a place where we have to give up on all the peripherals anyway, at that unknown, appointed crossroads when our particular individual life as we know it, comes to an end. In times of difficulty, it is tempting to think that creativity, vision and new possibilities must be put aside simply in order to survive. It is tempting, when the financial tide goes out, to act from a sense of impoverishment; it easy to feel abandoned when the source and sense of our riches are no longer in the summer air but hidden deep in a form of winter potentiality.

"The practice of radical simplification, however, might not mean living in a desire-less, enlightened state, but simply catching our desires as close to the center of our experience as possible."

It is always very hard to understand that the world has shifted to another axis of generosity; one not so readily recognized. When we feel bereft of one form of support we can easily forget that it is because we might be meant to put that particular form of comfort aside and look to a fiercer more internally grounded stage of our maturity, one that might emanate from a simpler but surer ground than the outer sky of mirrors and monetary instruments we might have constructed for ourselves in the so-called real world. It also might be surprising to think that there are just as many forms of courage and creativity associated with disappearance and doing without; just as many satisfying elements of aliveness associated with a winter as with spring. This central, core conversation to which we return in each succeeding winter is both nourishing and deeply disturbing, it seems heedless of any flimsy structures we may have erected, it seems fiery in that it burns familiar things away and yet provides another form of warmth emanating from a more nested, interior hearth. In my experience the first necessity of an individual in finding this fiery, core conversation is a radical form of simplification. To get to the core conversation we have to withdraw from the edges. Whatever expenses we have been making at the margins of our lives in terms of emotions, finances or time-based commitment must be brought back to the central conversation that makes the most sense. Radical simplification often entails a seemingly ruthless withdrawal from secondary involvements, it also involves simplifying wants and needs to grant us another form of freedom not necessarily involved with the freedom to buy anything we want at any time. Arguments for indiscriminate buying to revive the economy are circular and lock human beings into a never ending cycle of buying goods that are non essential, with everyone encouraged to live beyond their means, to the ultimate dismantling of the natural systems that supply those wants in the first place. The practice of radical simplification, however, might not mean living in a desire-less, enlightened state, but simply catching our desires as close to the centre of our experience as possible. Practically, we can catch a need for an expensive new sports car early on in the process by buying a second hand version of the same, we can catch it even earlier, nearer to the center, by renting one every now and again, without having to go to expense of maintaining it, we can catch it very close in indeed, by attempting to live out directly the very qualities that underlie the desire itself. Without the prop of the car, we might try to cultivate a certain air of freedom as if the wind was always in our hair. The withdrawal from the literal, over- concretized periphery where everything is counterfeiting for something closer in, almost always leaves us dealing in another more imaginative currency at the center. Now that our focus is shifting away from the peripheral bubble of promised riches, we are just beginning to be reminded again of the depths of poverty, both in the developing world and the United States where the social safety net for those in difficulty has been worn almost to nothing. But it is exactly this re evaluation of the periphery and the renewed emphasis on what is essential that will bring spending back from mere baubles to infrastructure and education, back from foreign adventurism to a coherent approach to the sources of terror; in the United States especially there must be an attempt at a better health care system, a more cohesive, less poisonous political conversation and a renewed relationship with a world in desperate need for it to return to its foundational ideals. This new faculty of valuation can be quite disturbing to the way we might have priced and measured out our life in the recent, unbalanced, heady times. The road of radical simplification almost always leads to the door of the great and unwanted unknown. The door to begin with seems to open on to nothing we at first can recognize. To enter through that door we have to cultivate what Suzuki Roshi called beginner's mind, where we stop having to know and name everything in advance and allow ourselves the satisfactions of discovery and revelation. In doing this we actually start to re mould our identity in the form of the learner and listener. Learning, listening and radically simplifying as we go we might have a possibility of opening up that catalytic core where very few elements need combine to create a great deal of new energy. A decision made from this core has enormous leverage on the outer world where we see, hear, work and have relationships. This internal center appears when the outer peripheries have bankrupted themselves, fallen and become a loam that we must plough back to enrich the ground. In the depths of winter under the cold night of wind and stars and shut off from the garden, we look for those hidden and invisible springs that will uncoil, in the still summer air, each new, yet to be imagined rose. David Whyte



DAVID WHYTE   Poet, Author, Lecturer

Poet David Whyte grew up with a strong, imaginative influence from his Irish mother among the hills and valleys of his father’s Yorkshire. He now makes his home, with his family, in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The author of six books of poetry, and two best selling prose books, he holds a degree in Marine Zoology and has traveled extensively, including living and working as a naturalist guide in the Galapagos Islands and leading anthropological and natural history expeditions in the Andes the Amazon and the Himalaya. He brings this wealth of experience to his poetry, lectures and workshops.

Something to Live For

Photo Credit: Craig Neal

Photo Credit: Craig Neal

Something to Live For: Finding Your Way in the Second Half of Life
with Richard Leider, coach, author and founding partner, Inventure Group

Richard is consistently rated as one of the top executive educators and coaches in the world. He is ranked by Forbes as one of the"Top 5" most respected executive coaches and by Linkage as one of the "Top 50" executive coaches in America. So when Richard talks, we listen. :-)

Our most recent VisionHolder Interview with Richard provided powerful insights into ways of thinking and being that help us find meaning and purpose in the second half of life. Richard is clear that not only do we need to be fully alive, present and accounted for, but the world needs our presence and participation.

We don't usually just decide to transform our lives; it often takes a crisis to trigger change.  At other times, we do it for a reason--a purpose of which our bodies may be more aware than our minds.  We may fail to see the purpose clearly, but it is important to know that it does exist.

Behind the numerous stories of change in later life,there's a common theme.  We seek deep renewal.
Our ability to sustain authentic and wholehearted change in later life, letting go of patterns that we formed in the first half of life to discover new ones as we age, is tangible evidence of a spiritually transformative power.

Whether we call this force would, spirit, or purpose, they all share a common bond.  They acknowledge the mystery of a deeper wisdom that emerges from an embodied spirituality.


photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

May your day be filled with the grace of knowing you belong to this time on earth for the sake of a world that work for all.  -Craig & Patricia


Thanks & blessings be
to the Sun & the Earth
for this bread & this wine,
this fruit, this meat, this salt,
this food;
thanks be & blessing to them
who prepare it, who serve it;
thanks & blessings to them
who share it

(& also the absent & the dead).
Thanks & Blessing to them who bring it
(may they not want),
to them who plant & tend it,
harvest & gather it
(may they not want);
thanks & blessing to them who work
& blessing to them who cannot;
may they not want - for their hunger
sours the wine & robs
the taste from the salt.
Thanks be for the sustenance & strength
for our dance & work of justice, of peace.

~ Rafael Jesus Gonzalez ~

(In Praise of Fertile Land, edited by Claudia Mauro)

our heart's earnest striving

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

"When we create the space within to truly listen to our heart's earnest striving, the voice that emerges is our own, clear and pure. It speaks of a yearning to share our love." -Craig

The Opening of Eyes-David Whyte

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Goodmorning from Minneapolis. it is truly the time for opening of eyes long closed and for having the vision for far off things.
Craig & Patricia

The Opening of Eyes

That day I saw beneath dark clouds
The passing light over the water
And I heard the voice of the world speak out
I knew then as I have before
Life is no passing memory of what has been
Nor the remaining pages of a great book
Waiting to be read

It is the opening of eyes long closed
It is the vision of far off things
Seen for the silence they hold
It is the heart after years of secret conversing
Speaking out loud in the clear air

It is Moses in the desert fallen to his knees
Before the lit bush
It is the man throwing away his shoes
As if to enter heaven and finding himself astonished
Opened at last
Fallen in love
With Solid Ground

~  David Whyte ~

(Songs for Coming Home)

Watch the Wisdom Book movie

Photo Credit: Craig Neal

Photo Credit: Craig Neal

Please watch this video right away! Then take a deep breath and afew glorious minutes to take it in. Ask yourself- "What is the wisdom i carry to share with the world, what would i say if asked to share in this book?"

In love and wisdom


Paradigm shift-there is no waste: 10/3 TLG

If can get you to not think of waste as waste anymore, we’ll have accomplished the most basic of goals. People are actively participating. The education and action is amazing. We make that something that eliminates something from going to the landfill. It creates a unique and competitive statement which is something new.

Read More

Community with Peter Block and friends

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Dear friend Peter Block was the Conversation Starter at our Thought Leader Gathering in San Francisco on 9/12. An exhuberant participant writes about her experience  : "Well, Istarted with "WOW" on Friday and I ended with "wow"  Friday and I'll just start there again today!!  First and foremost, thank you so much for the gift of all your hard work and insightful design with your entire team including the incredible Peter!  It was such a full, rich, powerful day done in the spirit of risk of trying something new... The biggest gift of all was the powerful end of the day-the acknowledging of our gifts...it is such a hard thing for me and I so needed to learn from that ah-haa moment of grace for myself."


[10/7/08 note: Mariah Howard created a beautiful graphic recording of the TLG Panel Discussion and Harvest. Take a look here!]

Some excerpts from Peter's remarks:

~A distinction related to community – transformation vs. change: Transformation is changing the nature of things; Change is making things a little better.

~You’re involved in the work of transformation, changing the nature of what we have today. A culture based on dominance, a “I know and you don’t attitude,” which is the high control, patriarchal narrative. The master narrative is to find conflict, controversy and rev it up.

~There’s a political element to building community – not just be among friends, but to shift the narrative in which this country functions. It’s too big for me to really grasp myself, but change is too small a God to worship.

~Community requires an act of leadership – the courage to step forward to imagine another world. Not management, which is to give order and structure, but that doesn’t create anything new. It gives order and predictability, and most of us will sacrifice our freedom for predictability any days of the week.

~Safety in response to the culture of fear – as long as we’re convinced it’s dangerous out there we will trade our sovereignty for the promise of safety. Leadership is a convening task of bringing people together in a way that changes things. That’s why the arts matter. The arts understand the nuances of experience – they tune us in to see the world in a different way. That’s the work – creating something we’re unaccustomed to.

...more to come in the write-ups later this week!

Angeles Arrien VisionHolder Call

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Angeles Arrien in September

On September 16, Angeles Arrien, cultural anthropologist, award-winning author and educator, will talk about The Four-Fold Way and how to "walk the mystical path with practical feet." Register here

The Four-Fold Way™ Program is an educational experience that demonstrates how to "walk the mystical path with practical feet." It is designed to increase our respect for nature and each other, and enhance our ability to work cooperatively and creatively in teams. The program inspires "spirit in action" using the cross-cultural components of leadership and communication skills, creative problem-solving, health care, and education. The Four-Fold Way™ Program emphasizes four major principles that integrate ancient cultural wisdoms into contemporary life.

  1. The Way of the Warrior or Leader
  2. The Way of the Healer or Caretaker
  3. The Way of the Visionary or Creative Problem Solver
  4. The Way of the Teacher or Counselor

7pm - 8pm CT

Learn More

email:  registration@heartlandcircle.com

phone:  952-925-5995

web:  http://www.heartlandcircle.com

Patricia & Craig Neal

Heartland Inc.

Life Lessons of Leadership

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

What would the world be like if everyone was interested in the other person’s success? asks Cathy Barr, CEO of Bethesda Hospital, part of the "Best Places to Work" award-winning HealthEast Care System.

In a slight departure from a "regular" TLG, Friday's Thought Leader Gathering brought a picture of leadership stemming from a core values of our three Conversation Starters, with Craig "interviewing" Cathy Barr, Pam Hull, and Betsy Stites.

What if...??? and WHY NOT?? What if we faced life's challenges with allies or colleagues who demand our best, and help us get there. Cathy created a team of trusted allies - Betsy as an Executive Coach and Pam as strategic partner - to explore the big questions of integrative leadership.

When asked, "What are the characteristics of leadership that you hold true?" Cathy remarked, "I espouse partnership and collaboration, listening, relationships. At Bethesda, it is 'Management by Walking' around and I know it is the little things that matter."

Betsy remarked: "Employees know you are there to make things the best they can be. One of my gifts is courage and standing up to be counted."

When asked, "What do you want to be known for? Your legacy? Your epitaph?" Pam responded: "I might say... She always left a trail of unconditional love and joy wherever she was. It was just in the way she approached things and how she moved things along...nothing stayed still too long when she was around. Her eye was always on the end user...the patient in the bed...she made a difference for those people. Her heart was soft and open and she continuously learned and grew as a person."

We were honored to convene with three remarkable women

The Story of WoLF: leadership and empowerment

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Reflecting on Friday's TLG, we continue to say "WOW!". Julie Gilbert and Mary Capozzi were inspired to launch an organization called WoLF (Women's Leadership Forum) to mobilize and support the women at Best Buy. The 3 pillars of Wolf exemplify how these leaders show up in their lives: Commitment, Network (helping all voices to be heard), Give Back.

Authentic leadership comes deeply from within; you can't fake it. It needs to be seen, experienced, embodied. Our time with Mary and Julie was a demonstration of authentic leadership in action.

TLG Member Amy Lenzo offers her reflections in an excellent Beauty Dialogues post. As Amy notes, "The truth is that in an integrated human being the personal and business realms are not separate, no matter how hard we try to make them be."

We are honored to have sat in circle with each of you and Mary and Julie. More reflections to come later today....

with gratitude, Patricia & Craig

Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

What an honor, 170 of us had this evening, to be invited inside the mind and heart of one of the seminal leadership thinkers and practioners of our time, Otto Scharmer.

How his early life on a bio dynamic farm, the environmental, peace and anti- nuke movements in East Germany influenced his integration of systems thinking, consciousness and organizational therory is absolutely spellbinding. Then he took us through the Seven Leadership Capacities that form the foundation of the Theory U.

He introduced the theoretical framework and practice called “presencing” in “Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges” (2007). We've posted the audio of the session in the left column so you can listen for yourself.

Or listen here:


In the meantime, for a wonderful primer on Theory U check out Download Uncovering_the_Blind_Spot_of_Leadership.pdf


Moving from "Rah-Rah" to "Ah"...Finding Success From The Inside Out

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

It's our choices that determine who we become, not our abilities. -Dumbledore to Harry Potter

Our VisionHolder Interview tonight with Robyn Waters was about the flow of life, moving from "Rah-Rah" to "Ah"...

Over the years, Robyn has been a cheerleader of possibilities. Success was about rah-rah, applause. Then, a mentor asked, "what would success feel like to you?" She began to know that it was time for her life to change, have a different focus, to take a step forward into something new....

"When we come to the edge of all the light we have and must take a step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe one of two things: Either we will find something firm to stand on or we will be taught to fly." –tom seller

At some point success became ah, contentment, peace, gratitude, being in the present moment, appreciation.  Now, she is a cheerleader for: Right place, right person, right reason.

Robyn spoke to four stages of her adult life:

  • Finding success
  • Finding me/authenticity
  • Finding meaning
  • Finding joy
  • Stage 5? Sharing the wisdom, the give-back. Asking: "How much is enough? Social capitalism: doing good while doing well."

One of Robyn's core values: hanging out with 'nutritious people.' People who don't want to change me, make me be anything other than my whole, best self."

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." Albert Einstein

Fearless Leadership

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

"Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real"
The 'tap' of the ship's prow against the iceberg...If you got just a little ‘tap’ that gave you a little vision of hope, 6 months from now you can be miles away from where you started.

Last Friday, the Bay Area TLG community welcome Joe Bailey and Beverley Wilson as our Conversation Starters. I wrote to Joe and Beverley that our time last Friday was one of the most simply elegant mornings we’ve had. "Simple, in that your words were seemingly simple. Elegant, in that they went deep to the heart of the matter. Truth was spoken, and heard by our souls."

Joe began the morning with the story of his real and metaphorical journey to the TLG, of losing his inner GPS momentarily. "As we go through life as leaders, whether official or not, we have this inner GPS—an inner systems that guides us through life—and we also have this inner fear. When we don’t trust our inner GPS, our heart and true self, then we get caught in fear – in this image that floats through our mind, and we mistake it for reality.

We find ourselves at that fork in the road, where we van take the path of fear, or the path of wisdom or heart, or the true self. Fear is a friendly little guy—it’s there for a purpose. Fear lets us know when we’ve fallen back asleep and gotten hypnotized. It wakes us up, without damaging us. It’s like an alarm clock; a feeling of discomfort in the physiology of our bodies. My fear this morning was a signal, letting me know I had moved away form my true self, and gotten caught in the illusion of fear.

"There is nothing we need to to create it, it’s already there. All we can do is obliterate it with thought and fear. I hope you will leave this place today knowing to trust this still small voice, the universal intelligence inside of us."

Fear covers up love. It makes it appear that the world is a terrifying place, out of control. But when we remember and reconnect with who we are – spirit – it is the seat of our sanity and leadership. There is nothing we need to to create it, it’s already there. All we can do is obliterate it with thought and fear.
I hope you will leave this place today knowing to trust this still small voice, the universal intelligence inside of us."

Beverley Wilson, G.O.D., spoke next with a story:

"I was called to Michigan State to address a group of people who totally intimidated me… I felt completely overwhelmed, like I was shrinking inside myself. I lost touch with who I was on the inside. When we do that we make other people into giants, and ourselves into little grasshoppers. So I was called to the stage, and felt this voice inside me. Who am I? A child of God! I have to believe I’m called here today because there is a rare need – I only get special assignments. We were all guided here, and I know I am not here by accident, but by divine design. There’s an energy in the room, and it starts getting bigger, and it feels like it’s going to take over. What do you do?

The 'correct' answer is to let your heart expand, (like Betsy said). But when I first started doing this, I felt overwhelmed. Authenticity is VERY important to leadership. If you’re saying one thing with your mouth and something else with your body, most people will see right through it and know it right away.

What we fear the most is immortality. When I first saw that picture (a painting she brought), it absolutely floored me. It took my breath away and my spirit was turning flips backwards. I saw people just freely dancing in the fire, without the power to hurt. That’s fearless leadership! Can you see yourself in there dancing? I want that kind of fearlessness – once I lose my fear of losing this mortal body. Who we really are is so big… we’d walk inside those flames and start dancing in a New York minute."

More to come when we send the write-ups!

An Conversation with Peter Block

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Tonight was a night like any other, except  we got to spend it with our friend, Peter Block. He's got a new book, Community, The Structure of Belonging

Below are quotes, and unless otherwise noted, they are all vintage Peter.

Craig & Patricia

"I'm not about outcomes and results. Everything we know about high performance points to the quality of relatedness." Does the organization create the opportunity for relatedness?

Of course I care about results, but to focus on results too quickly, too soon, does not lead to change or transformation. We’ve set it up that we need "a quick hit," "go for the low-hanging fruit," "the ideas that speed, results, evidence-based matter, are antithetical to transformation.

Book excerpt: “we change the culture by changing the nature of conversation.  It’s about choosing conversations that have the power to create the future."

The thread that ties all powerful conversations: a powerful conversation is one in which the person takes full responsibility for and commitment to their ownership, their authority, their citizenship.

The meme that is common to a powerful conversation is the good question. The question becomes the vehicle for a new conversation and the answer is useless.

How do we turn this ship around? Slowly. "Blowing on the bow of the Queen Mary doesn't turn the ship." We’re deduced by the saying things like “it's a critical time in history.” no it's not. That’s a self-importance that is a distraction from the things that bring us to real change.

The desire for quick results (keywords: urgency, crisis, etc.) is a defense/code against any kind of redistribution of power, or willingness to really create change. It means I don't have time to go deep, time to deal with the ambiguity or mystery of life. It’s the enemy of transformation.

Craig asks, "How do we create that spaciousness to create the depth and intimacy you speak of?"
The world isn't any more fast-paced that it used to be. There are still 24 hours in a day. If I decide to not be seduced by "quick results," "speed," etc., then time changes. If we keep reminding ourselves of what really matters, then we realize that quick results don't work.

Faith is to believe in something/give yourself over to something in the face of no proof. In the business world, the stance is to have faith that change can happen.

Leadership is the act of having faith in a future that is uncertain and unpredictable. That is when real change happens.
Change management doesn't change anything; it just repeats the old patterns.

It’s a choice to say, "Where does cause reside?"

Speaking to the questions:
If you bring people together in emergent space, how long can you keep them there? Not long. After about 3 meetings, you have to pick some simple project to act on what they’ve learned together. It’s gives people an excuse to stay engaged.

Some people are resistant/not coming to learn anything. The invitation makes a huge amount of difference. It has to warn people that we are here to connect with one another and invest in relationships with those who have come.

Meeting design is important: shift the context from problems to possibilities
•    Structure the meeting to include small groups.
•    Ask people to be with people they know least.
•    You have to stop people from giving advice. Tell them: Don’t be helpful, don’t give answers. Help is just a wish to maintain control and exert power over another.
•    No tables, and sit with your knees 9” away from one another.
•    Ask people to speak to what matters to them.
•    Have people switch groups 2 or 3 times, so that people know their small group isn’t unique, special.
•    Being in a small group, in a witness.

The thing you came to complain about: what have you done to contribute to the problem?

Story: most of us are trapped in our story. You have to help people let go of their story. Ask people how their story is a limitation to the change needed.

Speed is life. The only way to deal with that is to ask, “Are you interested in a future distinct from the past?”
Our communities in crisis. The truth is our communities have been in crisis for a long time. The people who are most vulnerable in our society are those without a support system, without a sense of belonging or connectedness.

Questions that put people on the line: Who would you betray if something changed? What’s the gift you’ve not yet brought into the world?

What can we do to lessen the fear? The only way to deal with fear is to name it. Once I’ve named, the power is taken away. It doesn’t necessarily take away the fear, but takes away the power. I no longer have to treat it like it matters.

Are we story-less? I don’t have to give up my story, but I just need to know it’s a story. I don’t want to take my identity from my story, or the future won’t be different. My story is a limitation.

The challenge in life is to convert fate to destiny.

The first-world is bent on achieving things that are ultimately unsatisfying. 

VisionHolder Interview w/Peter Block

Photo credit: craig neal

Photo credit: craig neal

Join us Tuesday April 16, when Craig interviews Peter Block in our  VisionHolder Series. 

Community: The Structure of Belonging

with Peter Block, Author, Consultant and Partner, Designed Learning

April 16: VisionHolder Interview Call, 7pm - 8pm CT

Peter articulates a potent design for creating living communities whenever and wherever people gather, through the realization that everyday acts of citizenship are acts of leadership.


Registrations for the VH call on April 16 have been unprecedented. This time, we asked registrants to tell us what they hoped to get out of the call. A tiny sample of responses so far:

"Finding out what Peter considers to be everyday acts of citizenship, more detail about the design for creating living communities, what is his personal experience out of which came this new book."

"Essence of Peter Block--I don't even care what he says, I just like listening to him."

"I spent the first 20 years of my career as a grassroots community organizer, and the past 8 years as an organization consultant. I'm very interested in the intersection of those two worlds. I'm looking forward to hearing Peter's insights."

"A knowing of Peter deeper than knowing him from reading 'The Answer to How is Yes.' Getting additional thoughts provoked for me before heading into the Spring Ceremony weekend"

An amazing way to begin your day

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Dear Heartland friends,
As you begin to bring in your artistry this fine April morning, here are some reflections we offer to you...

for the Artist at the Start of Day, a posthumous poem from John O’Donohue. [From Bay Area TLG Member, Amy Lenzo, author of BeautyDialogues]

What to Remember When Waking Download what_to_remember_when_waking.pdf  

Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened -- as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding -- she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.
From the 2008 TED Conference: Consensus among TED’sters is that this may be the most memorable and important TED Talk ever.

Have an amazing day!
Patricia & Craig

A poem for you this day from Tao Te Ching

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Dear Ones

A poem for you this day from Tao Te Ching

The highest good is like water.

Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive.

It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao.

In dwelling, be close to the land.

In meditation, go deep in the heart.

In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.

In speech, be true.

In ruling, be just.

In business, be competent.

In action, watch the timing.

~ Tao Te Ching ~

(Translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English)