Wisdom from the curious, compassionate, & courageous co-creators of our desired and emerging future. Learn from personal stories at the intersection of humanity and the environmental, social, and spiritual divides we are facing. Hear from community activists, entrepreneurs, researchers, musicians, chefs, inventors, and more. I hope these conversations will encourage us all to look at the world differently, change our patterns of thought, and get out there and engage where our passions meet the world's greatest needs.
Joel de Jong
The Journey of Descent with Nature-Based Soul Guide Rev. Matt Syrdal
Nature-based soul-guide, Rev. Matt Syrdal, is re-wilding what it means to be human. His work weaves in myth and ceremony in nature as a way for people to enter into conversation with the storied world in which they are a part. Matt says, “there is a constellation of relationships with the more-than-human world in which our sense of self-hood, community, and myth emerges from a deep conversation that is always happening around us. This 'window of the imagination,' is the way of co-participating and co-creating through our imaginal sense in a conversation with another that can’t speak (nature).”
Nature is both the context and that which holds the wisdom to reveal one’s soul, which Matt explains is a realm of itself. Matt says the soul realm has nothing to do with primary relationships or vocation, is not culturally constructed, is completely beneath language, and is the place of connection with one’s own deeper mythos.
Matt is studying with Bill Plotkin in The Soulcraft Apprenticeship and Initiation Program (SAIP) at the Animas Valley Institute, a program designed for those called by Mystery to learn, co-develop, and implement an authentic, contemporary, Western, nature-based path to soul initiation. This path is marked by a descent into the underworld.
This journey of descent is far from common in our Western, ascent-orientated culture. In this conversation Matt talks about why this work is vital to developing initiated adults in our patho-adolescent society, and helps develop elders and ultimately healthy communities. All this requires soul-centric development and an eco-centric consciousness.
Indigenous Elder Dr. Randy Woodley: Shifting from a Western Worldview to an Indigenous Worldview
Dr. Randy Woodley is a Keetoowah Cherokee teacher, songwriter, poet, activist, former pastor, missiologist and historian. He is a lover of plants and lives with his wife, Edith, co-sustaining the Elohah farm in the Willemette Valley in Newberg, Oregon where they utilize and teach principles of Permaculture, Biomimicry and Traditional Indigenous Knowledge (TIK).
Eloheh Farm seeks to be a model of regenerative agricultural and animal husbandry systems that support human needs while improving the earth and all creation inhabiting the web of life. We desire to live in harmony with the land.
"Eloheh" is a Cherokee Indian word representing "harmony, balance, well-being and abundance.
Those are just a few of the attributes of the Indigenous Worldview, which Randy says is a necessary worldview for getting where we want to go in this time of ecological disaster.
David Korten: Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth
International best-selling author, speaker, and engaged citizen, David Korten, is a living embodiment of curiosity, compassion and courage, whose wisdom comes from many years of exploration and experience.
In early adulthood David devoted his career to ending poverty. Later after holding a faculty position at Harvard he made a permanent break with academia which he says was the most intellectually liberating decision of his life.
Fast forward a couple decades after being employed by the foreign aid establishment living and working in Africa , Latin America, and Asia, David completely defected from the establishment after recognizing the captivity foreign aid was actually creating.
Eventually, David came to see the connection between the social and environmental devastation he was witnessing abroad and the economic policies practiced and advanced by the United States through its foreign policy, use of military power, and corporate reach.
Finally embracing an Earth Centered Living Systems Frame David has since devoted his professional life to applying the lessons of life’s self-organizing evolutionary journey to the quest to displace a global corporate-driven money-seeking suicide economy with a life-serving living Earth economy.
David says, “The key to the human future resides in a simple truth that resides in most every human heart. We are living beings born of and nurtured by a living Earth.”
International best seller, When Corporations Rule the World is David’s seminal work, In this conversation David and I discuss his most recent book, Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth;
David says, quote.
"We will prosper in the pursuit of life, or we will perish in the pursuit of money. The choice is ours."
Part 1: Reverend Bianca Davis-Lovelace on "The Poor People's Campaign"
Activist Reverend Bianca Davis-Lovelace on The Poor People’s Campaign, a National Call for a Moral Revival
Activist Reverend Bianca R. Davis-Lovelace is on a mission to fight on behalf of the marginalized, oppressed, and poor against systemic inequalities and injustices. Raised on the South Side of Chicago in a working class family, she learned to serve justice from her mother, a Chicago Police officer, and to love God from her father, a Baptist pastor. Reverend Bianca found her calling to activism in her twenties and grounded herself in that purpose by becoming a master of divinity.
Among the many titles Reverend Bianca carries, she is Tri-Chair of the Washington State Chapter of The Poor People’s Campaign, a National Call for a Moral Revival, which is uniting tens of thousands of people across the United States to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality. The Poor People’s Campaign is reviving Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign of the same name exactly 50 years since 1968, when Dr. King was assassinated.
Now 2018, 50 years later, beset by deepening poverty, expansive ecocide, systemic racism, and an economy harnessed to seemingly endless war, “The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival” likewise beckons our nation to higher ground. With a modernized playing field, in the midst of a digital revolution, ubiquitous internet phone connectivity and social media combined with a keen sense of distributed organizational structure and resilience, Reverend Bianca is confident that the campaign will be effective in boldly carrying Dr. King’s anthem forward, changing the narrative, and making lasting change at the intersection of today’s deepest injustices.
This conversation serves as part one of a two-part series on Reverend Bianca and the Poor People’s Campaign.
Jeremy Lent—The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning
Author and integrator, Jeremy Lent, investigates the patterns of thought that have led our civilization to its current crisis of sustainability. In his book, The Patterning Instinct, Jeremy covers a vast expanse of territory. In time: from the dawn of homo sapiens to the present day and possibilities for our future. In geography: across Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. In ideas: investigating key questions about who we are.. and where we're headed.
The themes of Jeremy’s book and our discussion include:
Culture, Values, History: How culture shapes values, values shape history, and asks the question, “How will our values shape the future?”
Human Nature: What is our true nature? The answer may shape humanity’s destiny.
Science and Religion: The battle between science and religion is ultimately a false choice. Jeremy explains why.
Power and Exploitation: The mindset of the Scientific Revolution also spawned genocides and environmental havoc. What made it unique in history?
Consumer Society: Our rampant consumerism is ransacking the earth. What are its root causes?
The Future: Is humanity headed for collapse? For techno-utopia? Or something entirely different?
In this conversation, Jeremy addresses each of these themes with eloquence, humility, and heart.
Gayle Karen Young Whyte: Minding the Invisible and Working the Mythic and the Mundane
Gayle Karen Young Whyte is a technologist, human rights advocate, leadership, adult and organizational development expert, and the former chief Talent and Culture Officer at Wikimedia. She consults senior leaders on personal development, organizational culture, and helps them be able for complexity.
Gayle was in the process of becoming a monk when she became an executive, taking on the challenging role of Chief Talent and Culture Officer with Wikimedia, a global movement with a mission to bring free educational content to the world. Wikimedia’s most well known project, Wikipedia, which we all know as the free online encyclopedia and use frequently, grew to 100k volunteer contributors and 500m visitors/mo while she was in leadership.
This endeavor and the business world became her spiritual practice ground. Gayle says, ”Working with culture is like understanding the role of dark matter in the universe—it’s everywhere, it’s influential, yet impossible to detect with the naked eye. If you want to understand the universe or want to deliver on a mission, you must mind this invisible force.”
Gayle is the wife of the globally renowned poet, David Whyte, who is also a master conversationalist, so Gayle is well practiced in the art of conversation and brings elegance, humor, heart, and soul to this exchange.