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“What shall we do?” Drawing on paper by Jeff Barnum

This past year of lockdowns and mass confusion about “The Truth” has been pretty exhausting, hasn’t it?

Let us provoke you with a few questions that we hear people asking. Do the real dangers associated with COVID justify global lockdowns, medical mandates, and the largest transfer of wealth in history — or is it instead a new and unprecedented abuse of power? Is Israel defending itself from its rogue neighbor or has it become an oppressive apartheid regime? …

These hornets feed on self and other. Pencil drawing by Jeff Barnum

Having trouble sleeping, feeling an undefined nervousness, or just can’t settle into yourself? You are probably anxious. Not in that acute, obvious sort of way, but in that chronic, under-the-radar-but-always-there kind of way. You might not even know what it feels like to NOT be anxious.

There’s a whole lot of pop-psychology about how to manage anxiety because it’s a problem that is growing more and more serious — teachers around the world are struggling to handle the radical increase in anxiety in both their students and parents — but good luck in finding anything that can help you heal…

The butterfly is free of it’s earthbound struggle at last

I was sitting with a friend recently who was sharing her struggles with really stepping into her life mission of social healing and social change. She was in transition out of her current job and didn’t seem to be ready for what she wanted to do next. She didn’t know how to take the plunge. It’s not the first time I’ve sat like that with someone in the same situation, and things rolled out exactly as they have before: we looked at what was holding her back — fear. Of what was she afraid?

Her own unworthiness, and fear of…

Between 2007 and 2014, I apprenticed to a man who helped South Africa transition out of apartheid, Colombia find the road to peace, and an alliance of North and South American countries change the war on drugs. He works in the background, well out of the public eye, facilitating high stakes dialogues.

As his apprentice, I learned how to help even the bitterest of powerful opponents sit and talk together as a way of healing conflict, finding their humanity, and embracing a future of working together.

During those years, we helped dangerous enemies become friendly collaborators.

If I were to…

In Part One we mentioned KH Kim’s research about plummeting creativity levels in America and offered five ideas for developing creative abilities in the form of artworks with explanatory paragraphs. This week we have five more works (#s6–10) with corresponding morsels about how creativity works and why it’ll save us all.

#6. Feel the pain and do it anyway

Wear the flaming crown, 2017, oil on canvas.

Developing creativity means, as we said in idea #3, walking through the flames of uncertainty. But if you get so far, rest assured, you are fortunate. Those flames are opening your eyes, mind, heart, and will, so you can do your…

In her book The Creativity Challenge, KH Kim presents her research about plummeting creativity levels in America and the long term impact this will have. Educational policy since the 1980s is part of the problem, since more standardized testing means less creative thinking, and more recently, Trump’s stance on immigration is part of the problem because America’s creative power is historically based in the mixing of cultures.

All of this gets us wondering about developing creativity. Most contemporary literature and research suggests that creativity can be developed, but we don’t think the usual brain teasers and problem-solving challenges — the…

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Leadership training for the new way of change

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