Disconnect, distraction, dissonance and destruction are on the rise. The heat is on. Big time. And the tendency for fight-flight-freeze ego-reactivity increases. Fight – polarize the problems ‘out there’, blame and project on to the ‘other’; Flight – turn a deaf ear, put one’s head in the sand, isolate into a clan/echo-chamber or literally go off-grid; Freeze – stick ever tighter to the status-quo.

Yet, such a time of widespread dis-ease can also beckon a new dawn. Rather than merely ‘coping amid complexity’ we might learn to ‘thrive amid complexity’ by finding flow: less distraction more coherence, less fragmentation more integration, less pollution more regeneration. Is this at all possible with so much tension and strife?

“The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.”  Joseph Campbell

Might it just be that amid this confusing cacophony and destructive disconnect we find insight, a seed-opening into a way of living and leading that serves rather than severs, that connects and integrates our diversity-in-unity rather than fragments, judges and polarizes our humanity?

Is this perhaps asking too much, or is it naïve wishful thinking?

I don’t believe so.

I think we’re born for this necessary (r)evolution; that a regenerative way is already unfurling – the Way of Nature – that’s not new but as fresh as it’s ancient. No need for (re)invention, it’s found all around and within us if we so choose to see. Like the fish unconscious of the water it swims in, we’re immersed in the very source-wisdom we need to become truly human – Homo sapiens – beings who work with wisdom. 

Admittedly, this Way of Nature is a significant metamorphic reorientation of our prevalent way of attending: capitalistic consumeristic anthropocentric egocentric carcinogenic self-as-separate-from-and-in-completion-with-the-world (‘self-as-separate’ for short).

This self-as-separate mode of living and leading is the biproduct of Mechanistic Materialism – a worldview rooted in separateness. Try and find solutions to our myriad crises with the same worldview consciousness that created them is futile, further exacerbating the very separateness and fragmentation it seeks to solve.

Self-as-separate promulgates a carcinogenic way of attending to life. Its inherent dynamic is one of striving for control. This spawns from an existential fear emanating from the illusion of separation. Cut off from the deeper flow of life, uprooted from the Way of Nature, and lacking a soulful trust-in-life, its starved of love, truth and wisdom. So we grasp, achieve, assert one’s will onto the things we seek to fix, projecting on to the ‘other’. In search of surety amid separateness we find false certainty through monocultured normalization and regulation, moralistic ‘thou shalt not’ codes and competing priorities trying to fix things ‘out there’ while leaving the dark-side suppressed within. We blame and project outward while leaving our own shadows unintegrated…the very place we find real insight is ignored in our haste to fix, assert, control.  It’s the insight within our own deeper nature that might just save us from our own unanchored egos.

“As long we are not conscious of the fissure within our own nature, and our catastrophic disconnection from our instinctual soul, we will be driven to seek out and attack an object on which to project our darkness.”  Anne Baring

When coaching leaders, I might use the metaphor of the bicycle wheel. At the center of the wheel – the hub – is a coherency, a stillness amid the turning world, a centeredness that invokes velocity. The wheel spokes provide ways of living and leading, practices of ‘working’ on ourselves amid the unfolding regenerative journey ahead. The outer rim – the tire – is where the rubber-hits-the-road, the pot-holes and punctures, twists and turns, daily constrictions and acculturations.  Over the last fifteen years of coaching diverse leaders, practitioners and change agents from all walks of life and across all continents, amid rising volatility in their communities, teams and organizations, and general rising stress across all systems, I have witnessed that those leaders most able to thrive amid complexity are the ones most able to adapt to change by sensing-responding rather than controlling-managing. The mastery these budding regenerative leaders start to live is the capacity to center amid turmoil, to stay in the stillness while still moving, to know the edge of the wheel while remaining true to its center.

“In all stillness there is movement. In all movement there is stillness.”  Martial Art proverb

Just a few days ago one of my coaching clients embarked on a form of pilgrimage walk of his own making, to acknowledge the ending of one significant life-chapter and the beginning of another. Before setting off, he asked if I could provide a quote or phrase for him to ruminate on while he walked for twelve days. I offered this one:

“Stillness is what creates love,

Movement is what creates life,

To be still,

Yet still moving

That’s everything!” 

– Do Hyun Choe

Amid this epochal hour one ought not distance oneself from the order of the day and its multitude of challenges. That would be a mere fight-flight-freeze ego-masquerade. Yet one can learn to gain deeper perspective on the fragmenting, projecting, polarizing effect resting on the surface of the wheel creates in ourselves if we forget to remain connected to the center of things.

Learning to be still yet still moving is a vital way into regenerative leadership consciousness. It costs nothing yet is life-changing. This seeing with new eyes is our birthright.

Lao Tzu shared a timeless truth some two thousand five hundred years ago, which can also be found via different words across wisdom traditions and mythic narratives the world over:

“Tao gives birth to One,
One gives birth to Two,
The Two gives birth to Three,
The Three gives birth to the ten thousand things.” 
Lao Tzu

When we immerse ourselves in the Way of Nature we sense the One-Two-Three birthing in all things, the diversity-in-unity, and wisdom pervades our outer doing. Yet when we immerse ourselves in the ten thousand things at the surface of the wheel and lose our center, we forget the One of the still point, and start to strive for control and soon enough the ten thousand things become a competing cacophony distracting and disillusioning us. We get caught up in ego-maya and feel an urge to ‘save the world’ by fixing things ‘out there’, projecting our own lack of center (and our own unintegrated shadow) on to what we think needs fixing.

We forget what really needs saving – or re-membering – the center, the stillness of the One from which the duality of the Two can be held as a creative tension that brings forth the Three – the Trinity-in-Unity – which gives birth to the richness of diversity-in-unity, finding flow-dance rather than jostling-disconnect.

The urgency of today’s complexity can often take us to the rim of the wheel, and we quickly find ourselves with jostling competing priorities, and soon enough anxiety, fear, anger, passionate fervor, ambitious drive riles us to outwardly fix all manner of urgent challenges. To name just a few and in no particular order (as to prioritize is to polarize, to get stuck on the surface of fragmentation, pulled ever further apart):

Rampant rising biodiversity loss, carbon ppm in the atmosphere, ocean acidification, soil degradation, the fractional reserve banking system and exploitative investment incentives, corporatism and cronyism, transnational trading agreements degrading local entrepreneurialism, white supremacy/imperialism/colonialism, neoliberalism washing away local custom, the rise of hard-right/hard-left political rhetoric, the tendency toward totalitarianism and surveillance capitalism, transhumanism, mass migration, pressure on finite natural resources, renewable technologies and ‘rare earths’, rising armed conflict, supply-chain volatility, political corruption, pedophilia rings, sex trade, child labor, fast fashion, monocultural toxic agroindustry, industrial fishing, debt slavery, reductive scientism, international trade in exotic species, abuse of animal rights, ecocide, rampant waste and pollution, GDP and other jaundice economic metrics, structural racism and misogyny, erosion of civil liberties, widespread disenfranchisement, mental health pandemic, exponential rise in suicide rates, cost of living crisis, desertification, widespread watershed pressures, extreme weather events, sexual discrimination, exceeding planetary boundaries, destruction of the commons, microplastics everywhere, the collapse of insects, the nitrogen challenge… and the list goes on.

The (r)evolution in human consciousness in-part relies on the passionate fervor and gutsy ambition of human agency to rally behind these myriad symptoms, making change happen ‘out there’. Yet when we solely hone-in on fixing things out there, blinkering our view and losing touch with the center of the wheel, we bring yesterday’s Mechanistic Materialism in through the back-door, corrupting our fervent endeavors with the same consciousness that created the problems in the first place.

To reorient our awareness back from the surface of competing crises and the busyness of everyday reality into the center of our own (and our humanity’s) eco-psycho-spiritual ground is what the process of becoming a regenerative leader entails.  It entails a psychospiritual journey into the center of one’s very being, and into the center-point of the world, deep into inner-outer nature.

“Look deep, deep, deep into nature and you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein

Nature does not enforce a rigid order, code, external logic or set of principles on our minds. Instead Nature’s Wisdom invites a yoking, centering, surrendering that brings forth an effortless spontaneity into our way of living and leading.

This requires trust.

Trust in our own natural wholeness and true nature, amid suppressed wounds, trauma and shadow, which calls for self-acceptance, forgiveness, courage and compassion.

Trust in others, in the inherent soulfulness inside the humanity of each and everyone of us, the uniqueness that unfurls fecund unity.

Trust in life, beyond the nihilistic Neo-Darwinist mechanistic view of life drained of meaning and mystery; instead, a felt-sense of the sacred flowing through each ephemeral-eternal moment pregnant with purposefulness.

Our way through separateness does not lie at the surface of the wheel, it lies deep within and all around us amid the everyday epiphanic moment which tears the fabric of space-time duality if only for the briefest of moments to begin with, yet is ever-present in the origin of all things amid every moment, for all with soul-sight to see.

“Learn how to see. Realize everything connects with everything else.”  Leonardo Da Vinci

The time has come to learn how to see, and realize that what is within us is within everything. That our consciousness originates and reorientates around the centre of the wheel, where the dance and dancer are at-one.

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;

Neither from nor toward; at the still point, there the dance is,

But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,

Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor toward,

Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,

There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.    T.S. Eliot

The importance of finding the radical rootedness within the rhizome of regeneration is what impelled me to write my latest book NATURE WORKS which explores – indeed activates – regenerative leadership consciousness so we don’t merely ‘cope’ but ‘thrive’ amid increasing complexity by learning to flow as life flows.

NATURE WORKS – Book Description

We live in a world of rising disconnect, distraction and destruction, and it’s increasingly apparent that the meta-crisis now facing humanity cannot be solved with the same level of consciousness that created this crisis of crises in the first place. Nature Works is an urgent response to this call for change, illuminating a pathway toward a new dawn where humanity finds harmony with all life on our planet. Giles Hutchins draws upon decades of research and experience in activating regenerative leadership consciousness to address the root problem of our interconnected crises. Blending pioneering neuroscience and cutting-edge findings on consciousness with ancient wisdom, he has catalyzed a way of living and leading that’s more resilient, agile, whole, and wise. In doing so, this book becomes the metaphysical foundation vital for the Regeneration Revolution.

Extracts from Forewords in NATURE WORKS:

“Giles’ philosophy and coaching has been a strong rudder and regular sounding board over the last four years of Vivo’s evolution and for my own development as a leader.” – Galahad Clark, CEO, Vivobarefoot

“There is an urgency to the regenerative approach that Giles is facilitating, and Nature Works is another vital piece in the jigsaw of how to align heart, mind, gut, and soul with nature’s wisdom, walking with Mother Earth, not against her.” – Dr. Carolyn Eddleston , Founder, Cycles of Change

“Nature Works and the wisdom of Giles will transform and regenerate our organisations”  – Paul Hargreaves, Founder & CEO, Cotswold Fayre & Flourish

“Journeying with Giles reshapes our leadership paradigms and enriches our daily lives with depth and purpose. His mentorship has not only guided me through the practical aspects of integrating regenerative practices into my work and leadership style but has also strengthened my spiritual connection to the world around me.” – Veronique Letellier, CEO, Butterfly & Head of Culture & Regenerative Business, AXA Climate

NATURE WORKS is now available direct from the publisher here https://www.wordzworth.com/sales/authorbooks?ISBN=9781783243112

And from Amazon here

as well as other book providers and all good book shops.

For more on coaching with Giles, visit his website here.

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There is a special one-off one-day immersion with Giles at Springwood Farm on 19th September 2024, see here for more details.