Since 1966, Dr. Margaret Wheatley has worked globally in many different roles: a speaker, teacher, community worker, consultant, advisor, formal leader. From these deep and varied experiences, she has developed the unshakable conviction that leaders must learn how to evoke people’s inherent generosity, creativity, and need for community. As this world tears us apart, sane leadership on behalf of the human spirit is the only way forward.
She is a best-selling author of nine books, from the classic Leadership and the New Science in 1992. A recent work is The Warrior’s Songline, a multi-sensory experience of the journey Warriors for the Human Spirit take to become the presence of insight and compassion–no matter what is happening around them. This new form melds together voice and sound, creating an evocative and transcendent listening
Meg's latest book is the second edition of Who Do We Choose To Be?
Co-host, Dr. Kathy Allen
Dr. Kathy Allen specializes in leadership coaching and organizational change in non-profit organizations, foundations, small to mid-sized businesses, community development, higher educational institutions, and collaborative networks.
Dr. Allen has written and presented widely on topics of leadership, human development, and organizational development. She is a skilled facilitator of organizational change and organizational development. The earmarks of her work are the creation of shared ownership of the results of a change project, long-term sustainable change for the organization, and increased capacity for the staff members and leaders in those organizations.
Dr. Allen's most recent book is Leading from the Roots: Nature Inspired Leadership Lessons for Today’s World. This book firmly anchors leadership in the soil of nature. It’s a foundational leadership framework that challenges our 20th-century views that leadership concepts can be universally applied to all contexts.
A Quote From Who Do We Choose to Be?
Resources/Authors Mentioned in This Episode
About Scott J. Allen
My Approach to Hosting
About The International Leadership Association (ILA)
Note: Voice-to-text transcriptions are about 90% accurate, and conversations-to-text do not always translate perfectly. I include it to provide you with the spirit of the conversation.
Scott Allen 0:04
Okay, everybody, we have a special issue or a special edition of Phronesis. Thank you so much for checking in wherever you are in the world. Today, my second guest ever, Kathy Allen, Dr. Kathy Allen, is co-hosting with me. So, to bring you back into kind of the space of Kathy: In her consulting practice, she specializes in leadership, coaching, and organizational change in nonprofit organizations, foundations, small to midsize businesses, community development, higher educational institutions, and collaborative networks. Dr. Allen has written and presented widely on topics related to leadership, human development, and organization development. Dr. Allen is a skilled facilitator of organizational change and organizational development. The earmarks of her work are the creation of shared ownership of the results of a change project, long-term sustainable change for the organization, and increased capacity for the staff members and leaders in those organizations. Dr. Allen has co-authored with Cynthia Cherrey from the ILA, some of you will recognize that name, ‘Systemic Leadership: Enriching the Meaning of Our Work.’ She's written many articles and contributed to a variety of books including ‘The Transforming Leader: New Approaches to Leadership for the Twenty-first Century,’ and ‘Innovation in Environmental Leadership: Critical Perspectives.’ More recently, Dr. Allen has written ‘Leading from the Roots: Nature-Inspired Leadership Lessons for Today's World.’ This book firmly anchors leadership in the soil of nature. It's a foundational leadership framework that challenges our 20th-century views that leadership concepts can be universally applied to all contexts. And then, we have Dr. Margaret Wheatley. And since 1966, Margaret Wheatley has worked globally in many different roles as a speaker, teacher, community worker, consultant, advisor, and formal leader. From these deep and varied experiences, she has developed the unshakable conviction that leaders must learn how to evoke people's inherent generosity, creativity, and need for community. As this world tears us apart, sane leadership on behalf of the human spirit is the only way forward. She is a best-selling author of nine books the classic ‘Leadership and the new science' in 1992, and ‘Who Do We Choose to Be? Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership, Restoring Sanity.’ Her latest work is ‘The Warrior's Songline,’ a multi-sensory experience of the journey warriors for the human spirit take to become the presence of insight and compassion, no matter what is going on around them. This new form melds together voice and sound creating an evocative and transcendent listening experience. Now, Meg, before you got on, we were laughing a little bit about your experiences. And you've consulted on all continents except for Antarctica...we're concerned. We're thinking we need to find you a research station.
Margaret Wheatley 3:15
Thank you, please do.
Scott Allen 3:19
Kathy Allen 3:20
What's happening with those folks in Antarctica?
Scott Allen 3:25
They need leadership as well, don't they? Probably more than anyone given their stead, their context (Laughs). Margaret, we are so thankful for you being with us today. We really, really appreciate your time. What else should listeners know about you before we jump into our conversation? Any other fun facts that you would like people to know?
Margaret Wheatley 3:48
Sure, I don't know if they're fun facts, but they're significant. I've raised a very large family of six boys and one girl. I married a family man who had been widowed, and so, I instantly inherited five children aged 5 to 16 just as I was starting my doctoral thesis at Harvard, to which my advisor said -- when it all worked out well, and I graduated, and then added two sons, so it's six boys and one girl who are now quite mature with families of their own but the same father -- but my thesis advisor at Harvard said, “Well, I always knew you were going to be on TV, Meg, with the story, I just never knew whether it was going to be daytime drama or nighttime family comedy.”
Scott Allen 4:48
Margaret Wheatley 4:48
So, that's been a significant part of my life. And starting in 66, I was in the Peace Corps in Korea, postwar Korea. We were the first group to go into Korea, it was a totally foreign culture. Different alphabet, everything was different. There wasn't even any chocolate. There were no American brands there yet, and it was really still dealing with the trauma of the Korean War. That experience formed me in ways I've been forever grateful for because when we left, another Peace Corps volunteer and I looked at each other and said, “We can go anywhere now; we can be anywhere.” And that proved true; I was never afraid of being in, quote, ‘foreign situations.’ I always knew if we just sat together, we will be human to human, and exploring the differences, and find this deep commonality of the human experience. So, that was a very formative and important experience as well.
Scott Allen 6:00
Oh, wonderful. Well, Kathy, would you like to start us off?
Kathy Allen 6:05
Start us off? Yeah, I'd be glad to. So, I've been following your work since ‘Leadership and the new science’, Meg, and attending various visits and workshops that you've done along the way, and speakers, and speaking engagements. And that's been, I think, as we said before the interview, over 30 years now, and I am curious. You're really a model of how people evolve, and people's thinking evolves with experience, and information, and what you share and put out there, and how people adopt it. So, I'm curious, as you reflect on your body of work, how has your thinking about leadership organizations changed and evolved over this time?
Margaret Wheatley 6:56
So, I love this question, and I want to add a dimension to it. It's not how much my views of leadership and organizations have changed as much as how has staying in touch with the world, being out in the world, and staying very observant of what's going on, how has necessitated the changes in my perspectives and views. So, I started out, ‘Leadership and the new science’ came out in 1992. At that time, and with the subsequent book in ‘96, ‘A simpler way,’ I was really hopeful. And I use that word deliberately because I am now teaching and showing people that, really, hope is a dangerous source of motivation. But I was truly hopeful, innocent, and naive, because I believed, at that time, that good ideas do change the world, that we act rationally, and from collective interests, not self-interest. I was just… Naive is a generous word. But those books, those two books were about presenting a new paradigm with the full expectation that, of course, once leaders saw how much benefit there was to work in a self-organizing way, shifting from control to finding sources of the natural order, working with inherent human motivations of wanting to contribute and be creative, I just thought this was a slam dunk. That, of course, you could show great results in productivity, achieving goals, and surpassing, everything that leaders and managers dream of was available with a new paradigm. And then I learned that the world doesn't change through great ideas, but the world changes. The world changes. I was really taken when I published my book of conversations: ‘Turning to One Another,’ which is still one of my favorite books. The subtitle was ‘Restoring Hope to The Future.’ My most recent subtitles still use the word ‘restoring,’ and, ‘Who do we choose to be?’ It's restoring sanity. And I think that is the arc of my work; always in response to what's going on in the world and what kind of contribution is possible. So with ‘Walk Out Walk On’ co-authored with Deborah Frieze, we really explored communities. Our subtitle was ‘Communities Daring to Live the Future Now.’ But that was part of my movement to realize the real, the only source of potential change is at the community level, at the local level. And when I published ‘So Far from Home: Lost and Found in Our Brave New World,’ I came up against the very hard reality that we are dealing with these massive systems that create oppression, that create poverty, that create injustice, that create environmental destruction. We're up against these systems that have emerged, and you cannot change an emergent system. That book was so dark that even within my publisher [Inaudible 11:01] people started asking, “What happened to Meg?”
Margaret Wheatley 11:07
“This great purveyor of hope and relationships in healthy communities, what happened to her?” And I just responded, “Have you noticed what's happened to the world?” And I think that's where I want to hold people's perceptual… I want to hold our feet to the fire here, we have to notice what's changed in spite of our best efforts, in spite of our years and years of effort in perfecting our craft and coming up with change strategies that really work in a certain kind of world. What I'm saying now is we need to see clearly because we need to act wisely. And what's required of us now is very different than what I was thinking was possible with ‘Leadership and the new science,’ and that's why I've shifted my work into training leaders, activists, and concerned citizens as warriors for the human spirit. The word ‘warrior; gets people's attention, often negatively, But I use it with Joanna Macy's -- the gift that she gave us with the prophecy of the Shambhala warriors, which is an ancient Tibetan prophecy, and I've been well-trained as a Tibetan Buddhist. At this time that life hangs by the frailest of threads, and the Shambhala warriors appear. Now, that's another word for spiritual warriors. And we only have two weapons: Compassion and insight. Let me tell you that in order to not be triggered, to have a stable mind, not lose heart, and not be overwhelmed with these negative emotions that have taken over; greed, militarism, anger, rage, conflict, to not succumb to them, but instead, be a steady, thoughtful, clear-minded presence dedicated to serving other people and serving the spirit of life, that takes training. And that's why, since 2015, I've been offering many different ways for people to develop a stable mind, clear perception, mind-body awareness, and a strong supportive community. And that's the work I'm going to keep doing till I take my last rational breath.
Kathy Allen 14:03
You know, one of the arcs. I'm sorry…
Scott Allen 14:05
Kathy, could you start over really quickly, I interrupted you a little bit.
Kathy Allen 14:08
Okay. One of the arcs that I see in your journey is how you have welcomed not just the cognitive conceptual frame but have welcomed the heart, the spirit, and the emotions into both your observations and your response to the observations.
Margaret Wheatley 14:28
Like, how can we be a fully human being?
Kathy Allen 14:33
Yeah. That's what I see, and I think that even the difficult, dark, so to speak, book that challenged a lot of people's… well, it really talks about, I think, the relationship that your ideas have had to them more than the content…
Margaret Wheatley 14:56
Oh, that's a good point. Yeah.
Kathy Allen 14:57
… Through your ideas has been something that's kept them going over time, as we have each individually and through our networks tried to influence this emergent set of ideas to lead the world forward. Because, in some ways, I think we are reaping what we have sown. And what we have sown, it's not just the systems, we have embedded the leadership paradigm into our legal structure, into our management theories, into our organizational theories, into our social relationships, and into our response to the world. And so, we're going against many systems that are in place to hold the old paradigm in place, which I think is really about the enclosure…
Margaret Wheatley 15:43
This paradigm preceded our good efforts at leadership and organizational change. I'm just reading one commentary that places it back 4 to 5000 years. I think that's appropriate with, originally, the patriarchal view, but then, within the patriarchal view, was taking control of nature rather than participating. And I know many of us now are learning from indigenous worldviews, and it sounds like your new book does that as well, which I'm very eager to read. But we were so out of relationship with everything, really, when you think of it. The way the planet works, her laws are inviolable, and we're reaping the consequence of that. And the way- just let me say one more thing about that- and how we were taught to separate mind and body starting with Descartes just wreaked havoc on us as fully human beings. So, it's this great disconnection and displacement of ourselves from proper relationship with ourselves, with each other, and with the planet that's what we're reaping now those consequences.
Kathy Allen 17:17
Well, I think, in essence, relationship.
Scott Allen 17:20
Well, and Kathy, when I think of your work, I think of; we are not… When you look at the laws of nature, and Meg, you had just alluded to this, we are not aligning with them in many ways. We are going against the grain, and that's probably not going to go well for us because there are some larger systems in place that will win.
Margaret Wheatley 17:46
Well, you're a little too qualifying it with probably or most systems, we have just completely screwed up our relationship with the planet while the planet maintains her laws, her ways of being, her cause and effect, and consequences. And it's all just playing out now in a way that is now irreversible and unstoppable. And my own work is preparing leaders, activists, communities, to get prepared for more and more dislocation, and migrations, and food shortages, water issues, increases in environmental destruction, because that is now irreversible. But we can still be together in ways to nourish and support one another, but we're not getting out of this. And in the new edition of ‘Who Do We Choose to Be,’ which becomes available June 6th, everybody, please take notice. It's 80% new material. I felt the world had changed so dramatically in six years that I had just to rewrite the whole thing. We're dealing with climate and the ways we've changed the planet and then ignored the laws of the planet, of mother nature. I just named that both were acting like masters of the universe, that doesn't go well with the universe. It's like, “What do you think you're doing here?” But the other perspective I have is that we've really gotten into such extreme science denial, really. We just pretend human will and humans getting together, we're going to make it all fine again. It doesn't work that way.
Kathy Allen 19:58
You know, one of the Principles of nature, a regenerative system, the only long-running regenerative system 3.8 billion years that we can learn from for the future. And one of those principles is that nature evolves with information and feedback.
Margaret Wheatley 20:18
It’s so good, Kathy; thank you for bringing that in.
Kathy Allen 20:21
So, we're getting a lot of feedback here. But I'm struck by your language of wisdom and leading wisely or evolving our own kind of sense of evolution and wisdom. I've often thought that it goes from information to knowledge and knowledge to wisdom, but…
Margaret Wheatley 20:40
I agree with that progression. Yes.
Kathy Allen 20:42
So, I'm curious what are you kind of embedding in the way you're helping people evolve toward wisdom?
Margaret Wheatley 20:52
Well, I'm certainly drawing now; in my latest book, which I will keep promoting because I think it's so important, I drew from several sources, different lenses, from Western science, indigenous science, indigenous ways of community at the center, living system science, which is quite different from physics, because I wanted people to be able to see more clearly. But it is clearly indigenous wisdom not that's going to save us now, we cannot restore what has been destroyed. That is just not how living systems work. There is no such term as reversibility in life, it's always creating newness, and not necessarily better newness, but it's creating adaptive responses to what's going on. So, my own need right now, for everything I'm teaching and writing, is to include… It's both traditional wisdom from people who live in traditional cultures, and spiritual grounded wisdom, and indigenous wisdom. Not to help us out of the mess we've created but certainly, to help us come together in ways that we can support, nourish, and heal our communities and ourselves.
Scott Allen 22:43
When you talk about it happening at the community level, would you explore that a little bit, Meg?
Margaret Wheatley 22:50
Yes. I've long time felt that community is the locus of change; it's also the source of possibility. And one of the things I've learned and written about now is that if you put community well-being and healing at the center of any crisis, the way you treat individuals within that is completely different than our punitive, ‘lock them up, send them into exile ways of the Western world, which are now reaching ridiculous proportions of punishment, and fear, and exclusion of those we fear. So, from a community-based perspective -- and I learned this first working in South Africa and Zimbabwe, and then from many indigenous cultures -- I learned this at a school, the Siksika reservation, many, many years ago when they invited me to come talk about community, but really, I just learned about community being with them. If a student creates a problem, does something wrong, or violates the rules that have been well-established and clarified, the student is not sent away or sent out for punishment; the student is brought into a circle, a council with elders, teachers, which, in itself, is fearsome for a teenager, like, “I don't want to have to sit in council and evaluate my behavior.” But the whole purpose is you sit in a circle, you are all equals, and you are all members of the community. And then, everyone together explores what happened, and what can we learn that will benefit the community's health and well-being, which is the paramount concern of reviewing any infraction or crime. How does the community grow stronger by noticing what just happened? Now, that, for me, is so eye-opening. I also saw it in the Army when I was learning about after-action reviews. With all of our work now on diversity and inclusion, these are practices that start with the primary value: Community must be made healthier. Community must learn from this. And any individual error or mistake is a lens into something the community needs to learn about. But in the after-action review process, which has become cannibalized and misused now, when I first learned it directly from witnessing tank warfare trials in the desert in California, every point of view and person involved was asked, “What just happened?” And then asked, “Why do you think it happened that way?” Those are the two best organizational diagnostic questions ever. And it's not about, well, we want to be inclusive, or we want to be diverse; it's, no, everyone saw something different, and, in order to learn, we're going to have to get all those perceptions engaged without any barriers. So, in the one case with my army example, it's about learning. And I've made this story pretty well known, I think, when I was commenting to a colonel, “I've never seen so much learning. I've never been in… This is a learning organization.” Peter Singer felt the same thing. And when I said to him, “This is an incredible learning organization,” the colonel just replied, “Oh, Meg, we got that figured out a long time ago. It's better to learn than be dead.” And I've offered that for, I don't know, 25 years as we should be learning from each other. But then, bringing in these indigenous councils, I've done a lot of work and circle, practice, and council, but what I really learned from it this time around is you make community the priority here. You're not protecting the community like we do from criminal elements; you are protecting the community so it can be the container for, and sanctuary, and possibility for everyone. That's radical.
Kathy Allen 28:10
I am playing with an article with a colleague in Utah who's been very involved over her whole career in child care providers and with child care providers in Utah. And one of the things we were recently observing was how conflicts are mediated through the social contract with these providers. So, when two kids are going at it, it's not a solution. Like you described, it's not the solution of who's right, who's wrong, who should be isolated, et cetera, but how are we together? And they kind of try to figure out what's the development and learning that goes into that deeper question. And I also wondered about the global North and the global South, and the different perspectives and voices that have influenced our evolution as a kind of global society. And I keep wondering, what if the voices of the global South and the experiences of the global South were more vocal, louder than some of the global North, which carries an awful lot of this kind of thinking about dominance, and [Inaudible 29:36] power.
Margaret Wheatley 29:38
Yes, yes, yes. A very large ‘but,’ which is we silenced those voices, ignored them, and corrupted them away from their traditional wisdom and cultures. And now, it's too late. It's too late. I've worked a lot in the global South - my work was primarily in the global South for over a decade. And I'm actually more comfortable working in those environments than in our halls of power in the north. But what's happened is complete… I use the word corruption, that there's been an insistence that any of your traditional wisdom is not modern. You have to get modern; you have to get certified and educated in Western ways. Even in China, there's no basis now and Confucianism where community has been totally corrupted by dictatorships and patriarchy. So, I think, for me, this is what should have been, but what is no longer possible. And that's the view that I bring to everything. If you want to talk about restoring or regenerating anything on this planet, you really have to look at; it is too late? And that's the hard truth. That's my work right now is to take people up to that wall and find a way beyond that wall to discover a truly meaningful contribution.
Scott Allen 31:39
What's your sense of some ways that we get beyond that wall? And I know that we've probably touched on some of them in our conversation, Meg, but what are two or three things that you're thinking about as part…
Margaret Wheatley 31:52
Well, this is the heart of my work now, and I asked people to forget about what they wanted or hoped to achieve, what they self-defined as meaningful, purposeful work for themselves, and to be out in the world as awake as possible past your biases, and past your judgments, past your triggers. All of that takes practice; that's why it's warrior training. But to be able to see clearly enough to ask the question: What's needed here? What's needed in this situation? What's needed in this meeting? What's needed in my family? What's needed in this controversy? What's needed for this cause that we're all working so hard for? What is truly needed here? And if you can ask that question, then you're overwhelmed with a multiplicity of needs. So, the second question is very important, which is, am I the right person in the right circumstances right now to contribute to this need? And that’s where you have to evaluate your own state of mental health, your situation if it's stable enough and if you've got the right skill. So it's not just, “Yeah, I'm good at conflict management,” but “How stable is my home base right now?” Or, “Do I feel supported by friends and family, or allies?” So we're no more Don Quixotes, just going after these lovely, attractive windmills, which definitely need to be addressed. So, I'm really focusing people on shifting our question, I guess, our focus, our lens, not what's meaningful to me in terms of contribution, which we all spent decades defining, me too. But instead, being able just to see more clearly; what is needed here, what's going on here, and what role could I play possibly in making a contribution? And you have to keep asking this question over and over and over again, this is not a steady state world, anywhere, anytime now. In fact, one climate scientist is in the Arctic and was discussing the rate of change with two other climate scientists. And he was saying the changes in Arctic ice melting, air currents, and habitat are happening so rapidly now. He said, “It's as if the exponential change has been exponentiated.” I don't know how to write that mathematically, but it really rings true to me. So, we have to stay. Being alert and awake is the primary skill, as well as wanting to contribute. Wanting to contribute on the world's terms, on the situation's terms, not on some of my predetermined definitions of what will be meaningful work to me.
Kathy Allen 35:23
You know, I have noticed during and coming out of the pandemic kind of a rise of networks of people who are coming together and asking those two questions.
Margaret Wheatley 35:37
Kathy Allen 35:39
It's just amazing, but it all operates below the level of media presence. So, it's not reported on the evening news, it's not talked about as a movement or something that is major that's happening, but a lot of people are showing up in a different way, just like you described. Maybe not in your Warrior Training; they're not signing up for that, but they are, in their own ways, I think, beginning to show up in some way because this is…
Margaret Wheatley 36:10
I absolutely agree with you, Kathy. I noticed that because of the number of people who now show up when I put out a call or a training event. But there's a very important stage process here that, when we first wake up to what's going on in this world, as Steven Jenkinson, the author and spiritual teacher said, “If you truly wake up to this world, you wake up with a sob,” you wake up in the deepest grief. And my work has been, yes, we acknowledge the grief; it’s valid, but don't stop there because there's really important work to be done here. And it's the work that millions of people have modeled for us. It's like you get on with what needs to be done here, and you get over your own storyline: "Oh, I'm suffering so greatly with such grief and a sense of loss.” And so, there's always a point where you… I love this book, titled ‘Who You Choose to Be’ because we are operating on what is Viktor Frankl's, what he defined as the final freedom. In any situation, humans never lose the freedom to choose their response. So, who do we choose to be? Well, we're either going to withdraw and just get temporarily comforted in our distraction bubble, or we're going to step into this and really make a contribution, but it's not the same level of contribution. I've been working at a global level with high-powered leaders. And now, I'm focused on both individuals in islands of sanity. Very different. Bring it back to what we can create together, not to change the world, but to create healthy community that supports healthy human beings for as long as we can for as long as we can.
Scott Allen 38:45
Well, what I hear from you, Meg, and please let me know if this is on target, but there's an honoring of how you've thought about some of these things. There's also an acknowledgment of much of that may not have worked or yielded the results that we had hoped that it would. And there is an acknowledgment that things need to be improved, that we are not in a good space in many ways. And then, there's this sense of how we act wisely and approach this work in a new and different way to see if we can yield new results and connect in different ways. And the starting point there is at the community level. Does that encapsulate some of…?
Margaret Wheatley 39:38
Somewhat, but it misses very important depths to me, which is, what is the meaning of a good human life? Really. And if you grew up in a war situation, you weren't worried about the things that we now use to define a good human life. If you're just coming out of a tornado disaster, you're not focused on any other criteria for a meaningful life except, “I have my family, and our community is supporting each other.” This is the biggest but most essential shift we success-oriented, can do, want to change the world people… I led that category for a while, but now, it's really what is the ultimate value of living and being human. How can I be loving, creative, kind, generous? So I can easily now sound like a preacher, but these are spiritual truths that have been taught to us by every spiritual tradition. And so, for the people who are just waking up and sobbing to the tragedy of this world, really understanding where we are, the next stage is, no, let's open to what is truly meaningful, independent of what's going on around us. And those experiences of serving and supporting other people are joyful. That's the true source of joy. Not circumstances but our relationship with one another. So, I only want to work with those people now because we are so needed. And there are more and more of us waking up and not knowing what to do with our sense of loss, grief, anger, and rage. I have been through all of those stages, but there's work to be done. Let's get over our own personal feelings and just learn how to be present for other people [Inaudible 41:55].
Kathy Allen 42:04
Okay. We're just about out of time, so I was just curious if you have any advice for folks that you would like to pass on. People wake up. In your experience, is there anything that helps them show up in a different way?
Margaret Wheatley 42:29
Well, I will first say don't be afraid to face reality. Find a few good people that you can explore this with. Don't be afraid of these darkest, terrifying emotions of feeling overwhelmed with despair, depression, grief, and rage, which are very familiar to me in my community. But if you are willing to face reality together with other people, and I would say, some good guidance, some good teachers who are out there, great meaningful work can be found. And it's required of us, really. So one of the… You've always been someone who's wanted to make a difference; you've done your very best, you've learned your craft, you've applied your skills. And now, when you face reality, you realize, “Oh, it’s not going to work out the way I thought it was going to.” And it's not a question of working harder or getting lost in your own personal, emotional darkness. Just look around. There are people there who need you. There are people in your family who could benefit by you just asking, “What's needed here?” There are people in your community, and there are people at work, but we're no longer believing that by us waking up and developing these skills we’re going to make everything better. We're not. We're in this now, and we just have to be in it with love, grace, and clarity. And we will find many paths of contribution.
Kathy Allen 44:32
Wonderful. Thank you.
Scott Allen 44:35
Well, we always close out, Meg, by asking folks what they've been reading, listening to, streaming, and watching. Something that's caught their attention recently. It could have something to do with what we've discussed; it could have nothing to do with what we just discussed, but for both of you, what's something you've come across recently that's caught your attention? Meg.
Margaret Wheatley 44:57
I am focused in two arenas. One is the collapse of modern physics' view of what's really going on. So, I listen to a lot of physicists and have conversations about that. What is reality? We know nothing. That's my science background.
Scott Allen 45:18
(Laughs) So, the spacetime, it's not a thing? That stuff.
Margaret Wheatley 45:23
It's so far beyond that. It's really wonderful. I've been watching physics, have to come to terms with the fact that we only understand 0.01% of what's going on out there, and the Webb telescope has helped that. So, that's my relaxation. [Inaudible 45:47] view of reality. But the other thing is, there are two books that I just rely on now for indigenous wisdom, and one is called ‘Restoring the Kinship Worldview,’ by a dear colleague and friend Four Arrows and Darcia Narvaez. And the second is a title that just got my attention of indigenous elders; both of these interviewed indigenous peoples. It's called ‘We Are the Middle of Forever’ by Stan Rushworth and Dahr Jamail. That title is still just like, “Wow, that's a great title.”
Scott Allen 46:34
Yes. Yes, that is a really cool title.
Margaret Wheatley 46:37
Yeah. So, that's what I've been reading.
Scott Allen 46:41
Kathy, how about you? What's caught your attention? What might listeners be interested in?
Kathy Allen 46:46
[Inaudible 46:49] is also kind of an indigenous…
Margaret Wheatley 46:51
Kathy Allen 46:53
… Nice book that I've enjoyed quite a bit. And the ‘Dark Emu’ is from looking at Māori native traditions and tribes in Australia.
Margaret Wheatley 47:10
Oh, I don’t know that book.
Kathy Allen 47:12
And also, one of the provocative ideas in that one is that the complexity that we need today in terms of thinking was present way back when. And so, this image of indigenous worldviews is simple or simplistic, or it just has a beautiful argument against that.
Margaret Wheatley 47:38
So the title is the dark…
Kathy Allen 47:40
Margaret Wheatley 47:42
Thank you for that.
Kathy Allen 47:45
And I am also just trying to… I'm in a project with the Pachamama Alliance at the One Planet Educational Network open. And we're collaborating together to see if we can figure out what the developmental model is for moving people from passion to action, kind of, maybe the warrior framework that you talked about. And a lot of things you talked about, I’m going to see if we can't figure out how to embed some of those things in their work.
Margaret Wheatley 48:19
That’s good work. That's very good work.
Kathy Allen 48:23
Yeah. I just think that, developmentally, we also are on some track that limits what we should really be engaged in from a developmental kind of point of view. I've also been reflecting on how education has become an instrument in holding old things in place.
Margaret Wheatley 48:45
Oh, for sure. For sure.
Kathy Allen 48:47
As collaborators and colluders, what threads do we need to pull there to ask deeper questions about what we should be doing.
Margaret Wheatley 49:01
So, I'm going to want to send you a proposal that I'm beginning to circulate that addressing teen mental illness through connecting them to Earth and to issues of soil regeneration. And I'm just about ready to circulate that.
Kathy Allen 49:23
Oh, I'd love to see that.
Margaret Wheatley 49:24
I think you would love it. Yeah.
Scott Allen 49:28
Meg, Kathy, thank you so much. This is…
Kathy Allen 49:31
It has been a pleasure.
Scott Allen 49:33
Oh, fascinating conversation. And Meg…
Margaret Wheatley 49:35
I've really enjoyed it.
Scott Allen 49:37
Thank you so much. And, for listeners, there are a lot of resources in the show notes. So, please check out the show notes, and you can find a lot of information there. To Meg, Kathy, thank you, thank you. Have a wonderful day. Be well and take care.
Kathy Allen 49:55
Thank you, Scott. Thank you, Meg.
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