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As we approach the close of 2020, there’s lots to reflect on (and more to come, with US elections looming) — given the twists and turns of global events, some of us may have been feeling tossed about on the seas of change, barely able to catch our breath before the next wave hits, or feeling oddly isolated in our separate backwaters, left to face ourselves and our own stuff, trying to stay connected to each other through our screens.

Yet in the midst of disorientation, there has also been for many a deeper calling into purpose, values, and meaning, as we consider that we may well be the first generation to experience climate impacts on a global scale, and the last generation to be able to do something about it. If we weren’t already awake to the need to radically alter our course, we are most certainly being shaken into new and profound understandings of how inter-dependent we really are, and the savage toll that our illusion of separation takes on our planet and on each other. …


Trauma is typically attributed to events and their subsequent impacts of (early) life experiences — that have the potential to impair individual functioning over the long term. This may arise from parental separation, verbal, physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, or events such as a severe accident, a war, exile, terrorism. It may spring from the accrued impacts of certain forms of upbringing (e.g. showing up as boarding-school syndrome), or part of a wider social phenomenon such as racism, or the legacy of historical events such the atom bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In such contexts, our body’s immediate survival response is to put us into a state of shock — not being able to feel our pain is a way of staying safe. This is a normal response to traumatising events, where the body protects the mind from experiencing the full impact of the event, allowing for a certain level of functioning in spite of what has happened. Yet if these responses remain unprocessed and unhealed, they can lead to unhelpful patterns which are far more difficult to untangle. …


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Life is always in a state of dynamic flow, some parts receiving and giving more, some less, at different times and places. That applies as much to weather patterns as it does to families, yet whilst healthy systems have the capacity to maintain healthy exchanges over time, unhealthy ones do not. In unhealthy systems, something becomes stuck to such an extent that the inequality will turn into a pattern that replicates itself in an ongoing way. …


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Last week I took the opportunity of a few days solo camping in the Peak District to be in nature, as well as meet long-lost family members I hadn’t been able to see since the start of lock-down. I hadn’t anticipated that I might also experience a profound encounter with a bird which had flown over from the Alps no less, which is making the Hope and Derwent Valleys its home.

The lammergeier (bearded vulture) is a species which had become almost shot to extinction in the Alps, due to its reputation of stealing lambs and even snatching human babies, a false reputation as, being an old world vulture, it survives on bones and carcasses, preventing the spread of disease, rather than killing live prey. A programme in the last few years has seen several hundred of these magnificent birds re-introduced, and the one currently living in the Peak District in England, still with the dark head of a juvenile bird, is believed to have flown over from there — whilst vultures are capable of flying at remarkable heights and over a wide terrain, it is nevertheless an impressive journey. …


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This article is an extract from a longer piece co-written by myself and Giles Hutchins, which can be accessed via https://thenatureofbusiness.org/2020/01/28/a-guide-to-regenerative-leadership-in-practice/. In this extract, we emphasise some of the practical dimensions of beginning to apply regenerative principles to leadership and organisation development practice, namely:

· Start with yourself, but don’t travel alone

· Start anywhere, be generous

· Embrace a creative, inquiry-led, vs narrowly outcome driven approach to change

· Develop eco-systemic awareness and action

· Review your leadership frameworks and reward structures (if you have them)

· Make it easy for people to do the right thing, and socialise the…


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As a coach supervisor to many different groups of coaches, and a member of a number of professional communities of practice in organisation development and ecosystems leadership, like many others, I’ve been reflecting on what messages are emerging in our explorations and discussions around the rapid shifts that are happening in relation to responses to COVID-19.

What’s coming through seems to be amplifying much of what we already knew, and which were increasingly expressed loudly and clearly in relation to climate crisis. Given the average human’s limited capacity to respond to what, in spite of the screaming evidence, can still seem like distant, vague or incremental threats, there had been a lack of urgency and coherence to making the necessary changes. …


Katherine Long evolutionod.com

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Introduction

This is the first in a series of essays exploring the potential of living systems approaches to contribute to the wider mission of diversity and inclusion practice. Living systems approaches are not a recent invention, they have existed in various forms for millennia, but are being rediscovered and reclaimed today owing to their potential to shift entrenched patterns of thinking that keep creating results that nobody wants (Scharmer, 2007). …

About

Katherine Long

Living systems, diversity and inclusion, people and organisation development.

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