I will give you some of my background, although the intense transitions of the last few years have left me feeling like a new person. Hmm, I wrote that sentence two years ago, and it is still true today. I was born in 1967 and was a very sensitive, intellectual and dreamy child. I was always consumed by questions like, “Where did I come from?””Why am I here?” “Where am I going?” so of course, embedded as I was in a culture that sees science and reason as the source of truth, I tried to “figure out” the answers. I graduated from Yale University with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy, but my development of reason and intellect brought me no closer to any truth I really cared about.
I didn’t know what I was searching for, but I knew that none of the usual options life presents a Yale graduate attracted me. I went to Taiwan, learned Chinese, and soon found myself working as a translator. I spent most of my 20s there, educating myself broadly (though not at all rigorously – it was more through osmosis) in Eastern spiritual traditions. I also read voraciously: books on health, nutrition, globalization, physics, and biology. Translation led to other business opportunities, and I became familiar with this dimension of the human experience. In Taiwan, I met my dear friend and ex-wife Patsy, with whom I have three children, all boys.
In my late 20s I entered what was to be a long period of intensifying crisis. It started when all my professional work became intolerable. It became excruciating to do work I didn’t care about. Even though a million reasons told me why it was irresponsible, impractical, and foolish to quit, I eventually could not make myself do it anymore. An irrepressible feeling, “I am not here to be doing this!” took control of my life. So I entered a long period of searching. I spent time teaching yoga, learning about herbs, and teaching at Penn State’s department of Science, Technology, and Society. All of these endeavors have contributed to my present and future, but none were really me.
The next five years were much like a birthing process. The old world dissolved, and the contractions birthing me into the new took the form of a collapse of all that I once held onto. Crises in health, marriage, and money forced me to let go of a “life under control.” In my helplessness, I accepted help, discovering a generous universe that has always met my needs, somehow, in unexpected ways. I have never made much money, but I have become rich in connections to other people. Friends and strangers from all over the world write to tell me how my books have affected them; they sustain my faith and nourish my passion for my work.
In addition to writing books and essays, I have been doing a tremendous amount of public speaking. Sometimes, especially when I am tired from traveling, I wonder if the world needs yet another man performing “speaker up in front of an audience.” Why not stay at home and use technology? But I find that something happens in person that is irreplaceable. For one thing, at live events I can see the expressions on people’s faces, and I respond to that in real-time, engaging in a sort of dialog. Secondly, my speaking is not just about conveying ideas. Something else rides the vehicle of the words, even if the topic is something mundane like steady-state economics. I sometimes describe my experience as a speaker as being plugged into a field that is not my creation, but is generated by the audience and by something beyond the audience. Besides, I find that my thinking stagnates and my heart atrophies when I am in front of my computer too much. I need to interact with real people, face to face. That’s why I travel and speak.
On the other hand, I am increasingly drawn to developing the non-verbal, embodied gifts that I’ve neglected. Like many people, I have a feeling that there is a Next Step about to happen, in my work and beyond. I don’t know what it is, but I do know its revelation will come through transforming experiences that reveal and heal things I was blind to. My work, my play, my family, my deep soul connections, my wholeness, my wounds… all of these are bound up together, evolving as one.
I am now remarried as of 2011 and have a baby, my fourth son, Cary, with my wife Stella. Besides mothering, Stella practices Chinese Medicine and other healing modalities. The two teenagers, Jimi and Matthew live with us too; the 9-year-old Philip only sometimes. My favorite moments are watching Jimi and Matthew play “pass the baby” with Cary, who thinks it is the funnest game in the world. Of course we have our challenges and I have occasional moments of seeing my whole life as a father as a collision-course of errors, but overall I feel extremely lucky to have such amazing, sensitive, talented, kind children.
Lately people sometimes treat me like a celebrity, which makes me feel uncomfortable, because I know I am just me. On the other hand, it has become impossible to answer every email and say yes to every offer to interact. I have to turn down most offers to speak, travel, write blurbs for books, and so on. Also the attention focused on me can get overwhelming. I understand why real celebrities need to insulate themselves. Even receiving appreciation can be too much to handle sometimes, although it has sustained me too through periods of setbacks and doubt. I do my best to stay accessible and answer as many contacts as possible.
I can’t really tell you my plans for the future; it all depends on what is revealed to me in the next phase of my personal exploration. Besides, the world is approaching a state of flux that could easily render most plans irrelevant. I will continue writing and speaking for at least another year or two. My main interest now is in exploring the boundaries of what is “possible” according to our received beliefs, received habits, received technologies, and received ways of knowing. For humanity to take that Next Step, we are going to have to violate what is politically practical, socially practical, and even technologically practical. The same holds on the personal and relational level. I have caught glimpses of the impossible in all these realms and I am excited about what lies ahead.
Coeo – “The Geo-Social Network for Conscious Changemakers” is a huge directory and community building project by Matt Dowle. Matt is a software engineer who knows his stuff and is potentially building a very important platform for bringing together a MUCH wider range of builders of the new earth that this website would ever be capable of. If you join his community you can chat with other community members, medite with others, post projects to like minded people and scope out the wide range of good works that are happening all over the world.
Projects Matt is planning in the future:
Coeo Radio – The response to this proposal has been overwhelmingly positive and we are working to make Coeo Radio a reality. Over 20 members have expressed an interest in hosting a regular show. If you are one of these people we will be in touch with you soon.
The New Earth Directory – As part of the ongoing development of the Coeo Graph (along with the Coeo API), I have been developing a new website focused specifically on enabling the co-creation of the most comprehensive, open-source data repository of individuals, organizations and projects working for a better future. You will soon be invited to participate in the co-creation of this ground-breaking database.
Funding – An opportunity has been presented to me which I believe may provide a solution to the ongoing challenge of funding Coeo. This proposal would not only help to secure the future of Coeo, but could also present an opportunity for you, the members of Coeo, to benefit and potentially gain the financial freedom needed to follow your passions. I’m currently considering this opportunity carefully. If, on reflection, I feel it resonates ethically and morally, I will send out a specific email about this in due course.
Relationships – The development of our unique relationship software continues in collaboration with the behavioral experts Hillcroft House.
Collaborations and Cutting-Edge Technology – I have spent many hours over the past couple of months speaking with a growing number of organizations and individuals who have expressed an interest in collaborating with Coeo. Amongst them, groups working at the cutting edge of decentralized web technology (holochain), and others developing innovative legal approaches, to those exploring new economic and organisational models for society.
We Are All One. Let’s Live That Way.
Awakening to Oneness is more than an intellectual understanding. Immerse yourself in our inspirational programs and fully embody your connection with all of Life and All of Creation.
Take Sacred Action
Clearly, the time to act is now. We face unprecedented challenges in all spheres of life. Together, we are powerful beyond measure. Join with us as we embody Oneness through Sacred Activism.
Be In Community
We all need support on our journey in Oneness. Connect with others committed to awakening and living in Oneness and advancing a compassionate world that works for all.
1. That the message “We Are All One, interrelated, interconnected and interdependent, with God/Life/One-another”, is the one spiritual message that the world has been waiting for to bring about loving and sustainable answers to humanity’s challenges.
2. That the world does not have to be the way it is – and that individual people can change it, using the power of spiritual citizenship.
3. That humanity is good and has unlimited potential, and that social transformation starts with personal transformation. I therefore recognize the importance of connecting with my Divine Essence and inner wisdom throughout my life’s journey; allowing the finest and the highest levels of human potential to flourish for the benefit of all.
4. That my aspirations support spiritual principles, global ethics, and universal values such as respect, justice, peace, dignity, freedom, responsibility and cooperation, that underlie this declaration.
5. That human beings need each other to survive on this planet. I recognize that we are all in this together and that community flourishes as we learn about each other and revel in the wonder and beauty of our diversities. I declare that I am playing my part to help to bring about a culture in which we, the peoples of the world, can address our common global concerns in an holistic, positive and transforming way and live together in peace with one another.
6. That Oneness contains All of life – also the parts that we regard as the “other”. I realize that wholeness and togetherness can only be experienced through the recognition of the uniqueness, beauty and purpose of all aspects of life, and that this recognition starts with my Self.
7. That I am part of the emerging consciousness that promotes a spirit of openness, enquiry, connection and relationship with myself and the entire universe, and who continues to recognize the wonder, beauty and mystery of it all.
8. I support Global Oneness Day that has been established for all of humanity to come together each year as one human family, to discuss, celebrate and experience Oneness with the Divine, each other and all of life.
9. That the time for change is now.
Jean Houston, Ph.D., scholar, philosopher and researcher in Human Capacities, is one of the foremost visionary thinkers and doers of our time. She is long regarded as one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement. Dr. Houston is noted for her ability to combine a deep knowledge of history, culture, new science, spirituality and human development into her teaching. She is known for her inter-disciplinary perspective delivered in inspirational and humorous keynote addresses.
A prolific writer, Dr. Houston is the author of 26 books including “Jump Time”, “ A Passion for the Possible”, “Search for the Beloved”, “Life Force”, “The Possible Human”, “Public Like a Frog”, “A Mythic Life: Learning to Live Our Greater Story”, and “Manual of the Peacemaker”.
As Advisor to UNICEF in human and cultural development, she has worked around the world helping to implement some of their extensive educational programs. In September of 1999, she traveled to Dharamsala, India as a member of a group chosen to work with the Dalai Lama in a learning and advisory capacity. Dr. Houston has also served in an advisory capacity to President and Mrs. Clinton as well as assisting Mrs. Clinton in her writing of her book, “It Takes A Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us”. She has met with President and Mrs. Carter, and with leaders in many countries and cultures. As a high school student she worked closely with another First Lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt, in developing strategies to introduce international awareness and United Nations work to young people.
Since 2003, she has been working with the United Nations Development Program, training leaders in human and cultural development as well as in Social Artistry, a community-leadership training program that she developed. Together with other international agencies and companies, over the last 45 years, Dr. Houston has worked in over 100 countries.
In 1965, along with her husband Dr. Robert Masters, Dr. Houston founded The Foundation for Mind Research. She is also the founder and principal teacher, since 1983, of the Mystery School, now called the Renaissance of Spirit, a school of human development, a program of cross-cultural, mythic and spiritual studies, dedicated to teaching history, philosophy, the New Physics, psychology, anthropology, and the many dimensions of human potential.
In 2008, the Jean Houston Foundation was formed to teach Social Artistry in the United States and overseas. This training has been conducted in Albania, the Eastern Caribbean, Kenya, Zambia, Nepal, and the Philippines.
A powerful and dynamic speaker, she holds conferences and seminars with social leaders, educational institutions and business organizations worldwide. Jean Houston has worked intensively in 40 cultures helping to enhance and deepen their own uniqueness while they become part of the global community.
Dr. Houston is considered one of the most evocative and entertaining speakers on aligning the human spirit, potential and action with the needs of the time. Her talks are legendary for their ability to inspire, inform and activate her audience. Her lifetime passion is to encourage the inherent possibilities, visions and capacities that lie within each person and/or group, and translate them into positive action.
Jean Houston holds a B.A. from Barnard College, a Ph.D. in psychology from the Union Graduate School and a Ph.D. in religion from the Graduate Theological Foundation. She has also been the recipient of honorary doctorates.
“Jean Houston’s mind should be considered a national treasure”, said Buckminster Fuller, a renowned American philosopher, thinker, visionary, inventor, architect, engineer, mathematician, poet and cosmologist. A life-long friend of Jean Houston, his observation is shared by the thousands of individuals, communities, organizations and nations that have been and continue to be inspired by her words.
Dr. Houston is a past-President of the Association of Humanistic Psychology, and has lectured in philosophy, human development, psychology, and religion as well as cross-cultural studies at national and international colleges and universities. She has also taught as a professor and guest speaker at Columbia University, Hunter College, the New School for Social Research, Marymount College, the University of California at Santa Cruz and the University of British Columbia.
Her work has been the core of a great many teaching-learning communities throughout many parts of the world. In 1984, she created a national not-for-profit organization, The Possible Society, to encourage the creation of new ways for people to work together to help solve societal problems. Giving seminars to large groups of citizens in 17 cities throughout North America, she established ongoing teaching-learning communities devoted to the enrichment of their citizens and the betterment of their cities.
In 1985, Dr. Houston was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Association of Teachers Educators. In 1993, she received the Gardner Murphy Humanitarian Award for her work in psychology and the INTA Humanitarian of the Year award. In 1994, she received the Lifetime Outstanding Creative Achievement Award from the Creative Education Foundation. The following year, she was given the Keeper of the Lore Award for her studies in myth and culture. In 1997 she was made a Fellow of the World Business Academy. In 1999 she received that Pathfinder award from the Association of Humanistic Psychology. She was given the Millennium award in 2000. In 2011 she was named Spiritual Hero of the year by the Science of Mind magazine.
Her PBS Special, A Passion for the Possible, has been widely shown. Her book drawn from the program was published by Harper San Francisco in August of 1997.
Documentaries of Dr. Houston’s life and teachings will be published in 2012.
ServiceSpace is an organization run entirely by volunteers. We leverage technology to encourage everyday people around the world to do small acts of service. Our aim is to ignite the fundamental generosity in ourselves and others, creating both inner and outer transformation.
ServiceSpace was conceived by volunteers, was built by volunteers, and is run by volunteers — all for the benefit of volunteers. Our projects range from a daily positive news service, to an acts-of-kindness portal, to a gift-economy restaurant. Regardless of the endeavor, we act in concert to create service opportunities for each other and to support each other’s service journeys.
In September of 2011, we formally changed our name from CharityFocus to ServiceSpace. Founded in 1999, ServiceSpace was originally started to help non-profits with technical services. Over the past dozen years, the organization has become an umbrella for many generosity-driven projects. Thus we have expanded our services from focusing just on helping charities, to encouraging everyday people to contribute in meaningful ways to the world around them. As the name suggests, our new expanded ServiceSpace platform allows people to stay connected with others interested in service, participate in service opportunities through any of our dozen projects, organize their own local service event using our tools, and stay connected to inspirational content. Above all, we believe in the inherent generosity of others and aim to ignite that spirit of service. Through our small, collective acts, we hope to transform ourselves and the world.
The Top 10 Kindness Stories What if we invited people from different parts of the world, to sit around a fireplace and share stories of their experiences with kindness? A kind act that they may have done, received, or been a …
DailyGood.org on Jan 6, 2016
Today’s Humans Of New York Post …Today’s Humans of New York post is a lovely random act of kindness! And the comments seem like a circle of sharing of each person’s own act of kindness received or given 🙂 For those who …
Neha Phukan on Jan 6, 2016
Find Your SPARK! We got a very powerful metaphor from Awakin call with Maki Saionji Kawamura. When you put flame underneath water, its temperature is going to rise. If it continues long enough, water reaches …
Deven P-Shah on Jan 5, 2016
Paths Are Made by Walking
Talk at UPenn graduation, that has now spread virally worldwide.
Designing For Generosity
An 18-minute Ted Talk overview of our work.
What is a Gift Economy?
Former editor of CS Monitor, Paul reflects on building a gift culture.
Would @Gandhi Use Social Media?
Nipun’s recent talk at the UN.
Becoming a Presence Activist
Viral shares nuances of including awareness in the work of social change.
Five Reasons to Serve
An articulation of our flavor of volunteering where inner and outer change are fundamentally intertwined. Also see this video.
Ripple Effect of Kindness
If you got upgraded to first-class, would you trade seats with someone in economy?
What happens when ancient values meet modern technology? A new kind of revolution.
The Shift Network empowers a global movement of people who are creating an evolutionary shift of consciousness that in turn leads to a more enlightened society, one built on principles of peace, sustainability, health, and prosperity.
Stephan Dinian, author of Sacred America, Sacred World: Fulfilling Our MIssion in Service to All founded the Shift Network many years ago. They offer a wonderful selection of online courses in every imaginable topic which support their mission. I will paste their mission below.
“We aim to create a sustainable, peaceful, healthy and prosperous world — what we sometimes call heaven on earth for shorthand.
“We hold a vision where, not only are everyone’s basic needs met while living in peace, but the very best in all of us is expressed and humanity’s full creative potential is set free.
“This is a world in which we know we are one sacred family and are united in our divinity, while celebrating our diversity.
“Undeniably, there are immense challenges on the road to this ‘better’ world and as Albert Einstein famously said, “You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created”.
“Because of this, we are working to upgrade the ‘human operating system’ by…
Supporting people to unlock their full potential through transformative education and media.
Inspiring everyone to bring their unique gifts to the world and create real, tangible change.
Celebrating and spreading the most effective and innovative ideas and practices that are transforming the way we live.
Sharing openly about our own efforts in social change via lobbying, activism, philanthropy and more.
Connecting global citizens who are called to create a better world into a network of millions around the planet.
“Our intention is to share the very best in personal and societal transformation, so that together, step by step, we’re shifting the way we do things on this planet and creating a beautiful world that works for all.
“We call ourselves the Shift Network because it will take millions of connected, activated, inspired citizens to enact the changes that are possible. A network of inspired hearts, awakened minds, and dedicated souls.
“This is what we’re creating and we’re well on our way, having served over 800,000 people worldwide with customers in 150 countries and having featured over 1,000 thought leaders in domains as diverse as spirituality, peace, holistic health, psychology, parenting, enlightened business, indigenous wisdom, and sustainability.
“We’re committed to shifting our world, sober about the challenges that lie ahead, and inspired by what is possible.
“And of course, we’re so very grateful for your partnership in this important work.
The Gaiafield Project promotes the study and practice of subtle activism, which affirms the power of consciousness-based approaches like global meditation and prayer events to support social and planetary transformation. The Gaiafield Project develops subtle activism principles, practices, and programs, builds connections between leaders in the field, and co-creates a global network of subtle activists to support a shift to a global culture of peace.
“Subtle activism is an umbrella term that describes a wide variety of spiritual or consciousness-based practices intended to support collective transformation.”
David Nicol, from his “Subtle Activism: The Inner Dimension of Social and Planetary Transformation” book.
Another quote I liked from David’s blog in February 2017:
A Way Forward through Chaotic Times
A Way Forward through Chaotic Times David T. Nicol, February 2017
One of the characteristics of our strange new post-‐US election world is that things are in such flux it is difficult to orient ourselves to the new environment and know what actions to take. It is as though a bomb has blown open a gaping hole in the established structures of thought, leaving most of us scrambling to make sense of our new reality.
We are being required to re-‐ evaluate our most fundamental assumptions about how things are and where we thought we were going. In this psychic maelstrom there are real dangers. We can hear in our times the echoes of previous traumatic episodes of history, and many of us are working hard to assess whether or not our situation will likely unfold in similar fashion.
However, this opening also creates an unprecedented space for the influx into society of radically creative ideas and energies. Thus we also have an opportunity to make rapid, non-‐linear progress in our collective evolution. Much of my work over the past ten years has involved tuning into and working with collective fields of consciousness.
What I sense emerging on a deep level in the collective right now are new energies of unprecedented creative power. It is as though there is virtually unlimited support for completely fresh ideas and directions, whereas old, habitual arrangements seem by comparison almost lifeless. We are all up-‐leveling to a fundamentally new world and are being asked to discover our new shape in this emerging reality.
The sense is that creative evolutionary forces are vigorously engaged in a process of absorbing, metabolizing, and re-‐calibrating to the shock of the disruption. The depth of the blow will in due course catalyze creative responses of equal and opposite magnitude.
But these responses will not arise from the same states of consciousness we currently identify with. In grappling with the crisis, we ourselves will undergo a fundamental transformation. We are all being called to a higher level of integration, individually and collectively.
The light of awareness is strongly illuminating the shadow right now, at both personal and collective levels. It is an opportune time to look unflinchingly, but with great compassion, at our own places of personal weakness and egoic resistance. Where do we drag our feet in our process of becoming awake and whole? What dysfunctional patterns of behavior and thought do we tend to indulge, even after years of inner work? What places do we feel deep down are ‘impossible’ to shift? Where do we stubbornly hold onto our defensive structures, although on some level we know better? Just holding these questions sincerely can invite a more pristine awareness into even these extremely challenging parts of our psyches.
In this process, it is crucial to understand that we are not doing it alone, nor are we doing it just for our own benefit. The crisis into which we have been thrown has made it clear that we are linked together in an epic evolutionary drama, and we all need to do our part. As we heal and integrate the places of deepest resistance in our own psyches, we contribute to the development of a collective psychic capacity to integrate the most fearful and defended aspects of our society.
To accomplish this inner work may require a certain level of individual courage, but it is not occurring in isolation. We are rising in awareness together, and we can all help each other lean into the hard places. Much of the work involves simply having the humility to acknowledge that we, like everyone else, have our shortcomings, and then allowing ourselves to receive the support of our fellow travelers and the heightened energies of transformation available right now.
The threat of losing that which we hold precious about human civilization and life on Earth is indeed precipitating a collective awakening in human consciousness. Our shared sense of vulnerability is bringing a greater poignancy and immediacy to all our connections. There is a widespread sincerity to ask real questions and a willingness to go to a deeper level. These conditions can lead to the emergence of something truly remarkable in collective human awareness, even while we face grave dangers.
Rick Ulfik is the founder of “We The World” and the WE Campaign at WE.net which includes a lot of resources for collaboration and action in making the world a better place. Rick has a lot of fabulous projects such as the 11 Days of Global Unity Tele-Summit which was in Sept 11-21, 2017.
Check out his websites including “An Urgent Message From Your Children” at WeYourChildren.org and the GlobalUnityCalendar.org where you can see and post social change and cultural events worldwide.
Below is a message from Rick sharing what its all about:
In order to have a peaceful, caring, just, and sustainable planet, my wish is that We, The World has Full Participation Support now from all our friends and allies, including you, so we can expand our strategic collaborative plan for large scale coalition-building, collective action and the promotion of “WE Thinking” that prioritizes the Common Good for people and the whole web of life.
We believe it is essential to end the pervasive fragmentation of transformative grassroots movements that makes progress towards ending poverty, militarism and climate disruption so much slower than it otherwise could be.
With your generous support (and if possible, connecting us with any Visionary Investors you might know) we can implement our comprehensive “WE Strategy” to properly address the systemic obstacles that perpetuate Rising Inequality, Intolerance, War, Pollution and the Mass Extinction of Species. Our goals are:
1) To greatly expand our already substantial coalition-building
accomplishments and establish unprecedented cooperation and
coordination between the world’s transformative grassroots
movements for change, and
2) To spark a cultural and political shift towards “WE
Consciousness” and the Common Good in which the wellbeing of
each member of our society and all forms of life are valued
and prioritized – from personal attitudes to government policy
With deep gratitude, appreciation and love,
Rick also publishes a magazine TRENDS in Global Grassroots Organizing and he has a wonderful “Declaration of Interdependence” on his website at http://we.net/declaration/ which you can sign. Info below.
PREAMBLE to the Declaration of Interdependence
In acknowledgment of the many existing documents and efforts that promote peace, sustainability, global interconnectedness, reverence for life and unity, We, The World hereby offers the following Declaration of Interdependence as a guiding set of principles. It is inspired by the Earth Charter, the essential values of which represent those of the many peoples of the Earth.
We, the people of planet Earth,
In recognition of the interconnectedness of all life
And the importance of the balance of nature,
Hereby acknowledge our interdependence
And affirm our dedication
To life-serving environmental stewardship,
The fulfillment of universal human needs worldwide,
Economic and social well-being,
And a culture of peace and nonviolence,
To ensure a sustainable and harmonious world
For present and future generations
Well.org is a project of Pedram Shojai (an “Urban Monk” by his own telling) which started addressing the problems in our medical/health systems and has broadened into an amazing project addressing the economic systems of our times. His work addresses what I would call sacred economics. He addresses the possibility that there are ways we can behave right away in the way we use money, and make it reflect our values. We can make our money support the good works in the world, of which there are many, whether through the way we spend or the way we bank or invest.z
Pedram has created a new movie called “Prosperity” and it so very inspiring and stimulating to creativity to watch it. It got me all revved up, motivated and excited because it profiles a lot of GREAT projects that are happening in the world that I didn’t know anything about! Now I need to get busy and put them all up on this directory. There is so much good happening out there!
This particular movie is about how economics can be sacred… can be an expression of our highest consciousness. We can support with our earning, our spending and our investing, the good works in the world – the businesses, banks, projects that are creating the new earth right now in our midst. No longer do we have to give our money to those businesses that are harming our environment or putting profits over the well being of their employees. This is such good news.