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Our planet, our town: Waking the global heart

I grew up in the military. We called ourselves Brats! We were the children of nomads, constantly moving from one tour of duty to another. Regardless of the culture we were in, most of us felt separate from the others, out there. Even within our culture there was an unspoken caste system. The children of officers were not supposed to date those of noncommissioned officers. We went to different clubs, lived in segregated sections of the base and ran in different clicks. Change was constant. Bombers flying overhead day and night reminded us that it was an unsafe world out there.

What I got from the military was an interest in how systems function. I learned how I could make bureaucracy work to my advantage. It was connections, interrelationships, and the not so obvious interactions that led to unpredictable results that fascinated me. How could a seemingly random event such as a teenager’s interest in the daughter of a supply sergeant lead to the transfer of a whole family to Germany and to the reorganization of an entire division, which then led to the unavailability of shoes for incoming airmen? These and other bizarre connections led me into a career and lifelong study of how systems work. After 25 years of consulting for organizations around the world, I am still fascinated by how little we understand the reciprocal influence we have with the systems of which we are a part. Corporate, political, environmental, educational and public institutions are all impacted by our thoughts, actions, inactions and interactions, as we are by them!

After a long period of splitting things apart, we finally began to look at how



things go together.” How things go together is an understanding of

relationships, a paradigm of the heart.




Anodea Judith

For at least 300 years, since the time of Newton, science has been breaking the universe down into smaller and smaller units of measurement in the quest for understanding and knowledge. Only that which could be measured was considered scientifically valid, and matters of the heart were relegated to theology, politics, and social services. Now, with the introduction of quantum mechanics, science has begun to look at how relationships impact whole systems. This is called relational holism. So what does this have to do with you and I? Well, you and I are whole systems in one sense – made up of many miraculous self-organizing subsystems – the nervous, circulatory, digestive, pulmonary, and respiratory to name a few. But, we are also part of larger systems – such as family, work, education, community, political, human and ecological systems. Everything and everyone is connected as part of a system. Perhaps, if we caught up with scientific knowledge, we would begin to recognize, as science has, that everything is alive, related and interconnected. We are all integral parts of larger systems.

When we really look at the issues that we and future generations, must confront it can seem overwhelming. Right now we are facing problems never dealt with in all of human history. Climate change, resource depletion, economic instability, water and air pollution, and escalating war are threatening all life on this planet! Not since the dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago has the fragile balance of our ecosystem been so threatened. Scientists are calling this the Sixth Mass Extinction. We are losing a myriad of plant and animal species each day, forms of life that will never return. All are necessary to work together to create one large life-support system which provides us with vital aspects of the web of life, not the least of which include clean and healthy air, water and food.

In order to solve any single problem, we need systemic thinking, because these are all systemic problems, interconnected and interdependent.

Fritjof Capra

The problems can seem so overwhelming that we often feel helpless, discouraged and resigned. Perhaps we need to enlarge our frame of reference and expand our view of the systems in which we live. If you examine all the major threats to life listed above, you see that they are all global and they are all interconnected. Air, water, disease, economics, wars and climate change transcend all boundaries. We are all connected! We must begin to wake up and recognize our interconnectedness and interdependency and see that there is no out there. Not only our safety, but also our very survival depends on recognizing, honoring and celebrating with all peoples and all life! Each of our actions, interactions and even our thoughts impact our world. Perhaps we should be paying more attention to how we think and how we are being, than what we do or have. Maybe it is a breakthrough in being human that will fuel a renaissance of the heart, rather than a change in politics!

The majority of the problems of our time already have solutions. The only thing missing is our commitment to heal our species’ isolation and recognize that all life depends on our having a global awakening of the heart. I hope you will join me in deepening this conversation with my guest, Anodea Judith, author of Waking the Global Heart: Humanity’s Rite of Passage from the Love of Power to the Power of Love, this Tuesday at 12:05 p.m. on KVMR 89.5 fm.

The human heart feels things the eyes cannot see, and knows what the

mind cannot understand.

Robert Valett

Michael Stone is a concerned citizen who hosts a program called Conversations: Possibilities and Perspectives on Local and Global Issues that airs at 12:05 p.m. every other Tuesday on KVMR 89.5 fm. He can be reached at michael@welloflight.com


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