With Margaret Wheatley
Residentials: June 9 - 15th, 2016; Nov 3 - 9th, 2016; June 1 - 7th, 2017
Warriors for the Human Spirit are leaders and activists brave enough to resist using fear and aggression to accomplish their work. Instead they train with discipline and confidence to develop the skillful means of compassion and insight. They aspire to use their influence and power to offer sane and life-affirming responses in this time of constant threats to the human spirit. And they train as a community that continues well past the year program as a vital support for their continuing courageous work.
There are three residentials at Schumacher College with active engagement in community building and personal advisement in the interim periods.
A Path for Warriors for the Human Spirit is based on the understanding that good leaders and engaged activists now require a very different kind and quality of training if they are to persevere in their work as effective leaders for their organizations, communities and causes. It is increasingly difficult for mature, experienced leaders and younger, engaged activists to do their work without failing victim to exhaustion, overwhelm, self-doubt, cynicism and despair. These leaders do not need more training in how to create adaptive and resilient organizations, or how to advocate for their causes, or how to engage their communities. What they need is an entirely different category of skills and capacities so that they can act wisely and well, are able to persevere, and to use their influence and power to offer sane and life-affirming responses in this time of constantly increasing threats to the human spirit.
The Trainings develop in depth capacities and skillful means in three areas:
1. DISCERNING LEADERSHIP THAT LEADS TO WISE ACTION
A Warrior for the Human Spirit aspires to bring sanity, compassion and discernment into situations where fear, aggression and self-interest have destroyed our better human qualities and prohibited effective actions. Skillful Means are developed for:
- Dealing with situations of high conflict and polarized positions
- Dealing with situations of high volatility and strong emotions
- Learning to perceive without bias to access the richness and diversity of information available in any situation
- Analyzing complex problems for their multiple causes and conditions in order to develop sane solutions
2. PERSONAL SKILLS TO DEVELOP A STABLE MIND AND STRONG PRESENCE
Warriors do not leave the scene. They are people intent on doing the best work possible, wanting to make a meaningful contribution, aspiring to stay and be of service even as situations become increasingly more difficult and disheartening. Skillful Means are developed for:
- Maintaining presence in difficult situations
- Cultivating a stable mind that reacts less and perceives more
- Acting with compassion and insight rather than aggression and fear
- Transforming negative emotions such as anger, grief, sadness into energy for intelligent action
- Embracing the Identity of a Warrior for the Human Spirit, with its implications for service, perseverance and presence
- Confidently being a role model and mentor of the best human qualities, such as generosity, insight, patience, compassion
3. DEVELOPING AS A STRONG COMMUNITY
Warriors need the strength of a community even when working alone. Only with a trustworthy community do we develop the skills and perseverance to withstand the loneliness, criticism, self-doubts, setbacks and failures that are part of this path. Warriors need to know that they can call on each other at any time, that without hesitation they will be there for each other. Skillful Means are developed for:
- Using the loneliness and stress inherent in activism and leadership as motivation to do the hard work of creating a strong community of support
- Training in processes that simultaneously develop individual skills and build a community of trusted allies and companions
- Strengthening the personal capacity to persevere because we have a supportive community to rely on
- Gaining insights and support for our leadership challenges from this community of practice
- Thriving on moments of joy and grace that always appear when humans work well together no matter how difficult the external circumstances
Each residential has three content components:
1. Forming the identity of a Warrior for the Human Spirit. What it means to step forward in this role. Defining the skills and capacities of Warriorship.
2. Developing a stable mind that can maintain presence, clarity and authority in difficult situations. This is accomplished through meditative practices.
3. Practicing Skillful means for acting wisely in difficult situations.
June 9-15th, 2016
Developing Presence and Direct Perception
Direct perception involves freeing ourselves of conditioned ways of seeing (our biases, judgements, identities). We learn to perceive with clear minds and awakened senses. Such clarity gives us the capacity to see what's needed and the confidence to act in any situation with greater perspective and insight. Meg Wheatley is joined by two artists who are also skilled meditation teachers: Jerry Granelli and Barbara Bash
November 3rd-9th, 2016
Transforming Difficult Emotions into Discernment and Wise Action
In this training we explore the difficult emotions that Warriors encounter, such as grief, despair, anger, sadness. Several mindfulness practices are taught for how to consciously welcome in these powerful emotions, and to work with them to transform their energy into wise actions. This training is critical to our ability to stay present in the midst of very difficult situations of injustice and suffering and not be overcome by them. As a counterweight to the heaviness of these emotions, we also explore how a good sense of humor enables us to stay in the difficulties. Meg is joined by three faculty: Jerry Granelli, Alan Sloan, and Ulrike Ebert.
June 1-7th, 2017
Wise Action: Joining Clarity with Boldness
With guest teachers Jerry Granelli, Barbara Bash, Michael Chender, and Chris Grant
Many of us are challenged by how to bring the more open, deep and accepting sensibility that comes from meditation, contemplation and inquiry, into synch with the bold, direct, decisive action that is often required in order for us to be truly useful in what we do. We will explore how to develop the sensitivity in our daily lives and work of when to explore, when to hold still and when to act.
Interim Period Between Residentials: Developing as a Strong Community and Personal Advisement
There are two cohorts in training in the U.S., and this one at Schumacher for Europe and Africa. We have developed and continue to experiment with ways to build relationships among participants so that a strong and reliable community of support emerges that will last long after the year of training. Here's what has been developed so far:
- An online site (NING) for exchanges including text conversations, photos and posting of resources
- A monthly video call with each cohort using Zoom technology. Zoom enables us to see one another and also to break into small conversation groups as well as engage as a full group.
- Each call features a teaching, a practice, and conversations.
- Participants have created drop-in 'rooms' using Zoom where people are encouraged to meet informally at specified times
- Participants have created "accountability partners" where two people commit to frequent check-ins and hold one another accountable for commitments they've made to each other
Personal Advisement from Meg and other teachers. This is the only work that Meg is engaged in at this time and she has been eager to coach, console, and challenge individual warriors when they reach out to her. Other teachers also provide support to individuals as needed.
Who should attend: This programme is intended to strengthen leaders, activists, community workers, and citizens to remain actively engaged in the world, supported by new capacities and a strong community, in devoted service to the human spirit.
Participation in this programme requires a year-long commitment to attend three residentials, one every six months, and actively participate in learning-as-a-community in the interim periods. You must be present for the entire year.
Margaret Wheatley writes, speaks, and teaches globally. "Who do we choose to be for this time?" is a question she asks of leaders everywhere. Do we passively stand by and watch the continuing dismissal of the human spirit, or do we stand up and do what's right on behalf of people. Warriors for the Human Spirit Training is her personal response to this question. She is President of The Berkana Institute, an organizational consultant since 1973, a global citizen since her youth, and a prolific writer. She has authored eight books, including the classic Leadership and the New Science, and, most recently, How Does Raven Know?: Entering Sacred World | A Meditative Memoir (2014). Meg has presented short courses at Schumacher for many years. www.margaretwheatley.com
Jerry Granelli is a renowned jazz drummer/composer and an experienced meditation teacher. He is a master of improvisation and works with groups to explore voice, movement and presence as the way to come awake and form a cohesive team. “One reason why people like improvised music is that it’s a direct reflection of life, not something we thought up. It scares you…makes you think you’re going to die for a moment…do you have the courage to play? Can I move out of my desires and wants, and into compositional choices?” www.jerrygranelli.com
Barbara Bash is an artist interested in communication in all its forms. She has written and illustrated many highly acclaimed books about the natural world for adults and children. She is a calligrapher, illustrator and teacher who leads classes in field sketching, communication practices, as well as the popular Big Brush workshops where participants learn to trust their own creative instincts while working with enormous horsehair brushes and great buckets of ink. She has partnered with Jerry Granelli in offering retreats on Creativity and Direct Perception. www.barbarabash.com
Alan Sloan is an executive coach and consultant working with people to develop stable minds through meditation and other mindful practices. "Through cultivating openness, awareness and courage, we can face the challenges of uncertainty and change with both vision and practicality. When we take full responsibility for our own state of mind, heart and body, we face our fears and limitations. We can acknowledge that we are just human beings--full of potential, creativity, sanity and, sometimes, confusion. This gentle bravery can become the ground for moving forward, for understanding the people we work with, and accomplishing our goals." http://alansloanconsulting.ca
Michael Chender has been a student and teacher of meditation in the Buddhist and Shambhala traditions for 45 years. For forty of these years he also ran what became one of the world’s leading mining information companies. This combination definitely helped develop his sense of humour. In 2000 he founded the Shambhala Institute of Authentic Leadership (later ALIA, now part of Naropa University) which brought together contributors working at the leading edge of tough social problems. Having sold his company (happily), he is now supporting a social movement among the many thousands working with a forward-looking view in his home province of Nova Scotia, offering training in collaborative methodologies and the foundational skills of systems view, mindfulness, and listening, with explorations of the deep structures of local politics and culture.
Chris Grant first began his career in Parliament and Higher Education, then for more than 20 years has worked in the fields of group facilitation, mediation, leadership development, programme management and change. Currently he is CEO of Sported, an Olympic & Paralympic legacy charity which serves more than 3000 clubs and groups across the UK, delivering sport and activity to help young people break through disadvantage. He sits on the UK Grants Committee of Comic Relief, and two other charitable sector boards. He has worked with all the faculty listed here at the Authentic Leadership in Action institute with programs in Canada, the U.S., and Europe.
Ulrike Ebert is founder of a Tai Chi and Qi Gong school in Rome, Italy. As a long term teacher and practitioner of this internal discipline, it is her experience that mind space and body space need to fuse in a profound way to bring the mind to reign and transform the body into something we call inner peace, or openness, or wisdom. Working with the subtle perception of one's own body, what has been blocked or disconnected can be brought into alignment; these energies then become available for mindful and genuine actions.