Laser beam precision

I received the gift of laser beam precision last week.  I needed a clone and had to make do with just me.  So I told myself I needed laser beam precision and I gave it to myself.

Here’s what I told myself as I headed into a fury of big tasks, all of which needed my full attention:

  1. Settle into the work.
  2. Pour self into the work.
  3. Love the work.
  4. Make meaning of the work.
  5. Share what I see in the work.

I delivered.  These little thoughts helped me create a habitat for myself and the work I needed to do. Stopping regularly to write in my little red notebook added focus as well. For Integral City 2.0 eLab participants, you will find my writing about integral intelligence, cultural/storytelling intelligence and building/structural intelligence for cities on the Harvest pages. It was a great week.

And two nights I was able to get up from my desk before midnight.  That is also success.



Tues/Wed/Thurs in September

A reminder that my posts are not appearing here on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in September.  My writing attention for these days is going to the Integral City Expo and eLab, where I am providing a written harvest for each day of the conference.

I realized last week that this is a paying gig to write about what I am passionate about – our evolutionary relationship with cities.  It’s not lucrative, but there is a transaction.  I write and I will be paid.  I write and it will be read.  Even better – I get to have a front row seat on what’s happening, even be the interviewer for 7 sessions.

This is a marathon endeavour for the month of September and it is a thrill.  The Integral City Expo involves 50 visionary speakers in 36 sessions over 12 days. Each day focuses on one of the 12 evolutionary intelligences of cities.  I am tired at the end of day 2, and I have yet to write today’s harvest.

Go to this link to register and listen to the 30 remaining sessions live as part of the Expo.  For a small fee, you can get MP3 downloads and my take on each day’s intelligence.

Tomorrow’s focus is Living Systems Intelligence, with an opening session with Elisabet Sahtouris.


Maps and markers

Even when a trail is obvious, it may not be clear where it is going.

This weekend my husband and I went for a walk through the woods from the cabin to the village.  There are a few options for trails and each trail clearly is going in the right general direction.  Until the trail we chose appeared to come to an end.  There were paths to take, but none were a continuation of the trail itself.  So we choose different paths and off we went.  (He choose the road and I choose to go off-road.)

I have to confess that my off-road choice involved a little bit of trespassing.  I have travelled through here before and my trail-sense knew that if I went a little further I would be in familiar territory.  I just had to traverse some land that a developer had put a road on (and removed the trail).  Before long I was on the trail in the picture above.

It is a beautiful trail, fully alive.  I immediately spotted two deer on the move.  Then a rabbit stopped to look at me.  I came upon a wonderful fallen tree full of fungi and a wasp nest.  I even noticed that as I came closer to civilization there were benches.

So a trail is always going somewhere, but is it going where you think?  In my case I knew I was going to end up at the store.  And I did and found my husband there.

What I found along the trail was significant for me personally.  I started to think about trail markers and their role.  I have contemplated their role before, but this was a timely reminder.

It occurred to me that as I write every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this month for the Integral City Expo and eLab, as part of the emerging Integral City Collective, I am serving as a trail marker.  Our on-line conference aims to make meaning of what we are learning along the way, and my job is to begin the process of harvesting the meaning we make each day, each week and for the month of September.  (The event lasts Sep 4-27).

It is my job to help provide maps and markers for people as they make their way through the oodles of content coming each day and the comments, questions and observations that people will be sharing this month.

Maps and markers.  This is a big job and I am looking forward to it.

_____ _____ _____

For readers interested in the Integral City Collective and our September activities, please explore our website.  50 visionaries are joining us to explore the evolutionary intelligences of the city.

Willfully unfolding lemonade


The words willful unfolding have continued to unfold!  Relentlessly.

As part of the Integral City conference, I have four roles: co-design the eLab program with Marilyn Hamilton, interview many of the 50 visionaries we have gathered, speak to participants about the role of the Integral City master rule (take care of self, take care of others, take care of place), and harvest the meaning we make of what we are learning.

As we have been working on the conference, we have been struggling with making sure that we create the conditions for the transfer of wisdom from people who have been living the 12 evolutionary intelligences to participants.  These are the 36 live sessions that form part of the conference.  We are also aiming to create the space for an asynchronous community space that allows the participants to meet each other and make meaning together.  Holding this latter intention as been my role as the Harvester.

Up until today, I have had no idea how our harvest function was going to take place with our technology choice.  I have willfully held on to the intention to create the conditions where the emerging Integral City Collective is able to connect as a collective, rather than as individuals.  We wish to create the conditions to see the collective, to discuss within the collective.  To interact with the collective.  To be a collective.

The way to go about creating this kind of space has been very slow in unfolding.  I have had to be patient as we made decisions about the technology we use and whether it can hold the dream of a collaborative space that can hold us in our exploration really well.  Our challenge is that the technology platform we are using is moderately good at setting up individuals to connect with each other.  Not more.  And at this stage in the game we are not in a position to change our platform so we are making lemonade out of lemons, as one of my colleagues puts it.  We will make great lemonade together.

Whether we meet face to face or virtually, the quality of our interaction comes with what we each bring and the spirit in which we conduct ourselves.  Regardless of the structure, physical or virtual.  This is how we will make lemonade.  And the lemonade will nourish the next iteration of the technological structures that we need to serve us well in our virtual worlds.

The lemonade will serve the next unfolding.


_____ _____ _____

7  free interviews are posted on the Integral City Collective website.  Go to the conference page, scroll down to the bottom of the page to register for the free Integral City expo and you’ll have access to the interviews.  This is free time to learn with Don Beck, Ann Dale, Ann Duffy, Barrett Brown, Buzz Holling, Hazel Henderson and Terry Patten.  Enjoy

Go to the conference link above, then click on this button...


Willful unfolding

It is 13 days until showtime, when the curtain goes up for the Integral City Expo and eLab on-line conference.  We have a lot to do and we could have chosen to focus our time today on tasks, but we made a different decision today.

We chose to pause and consider our work and its role in our selves and our world.  We circled up for 90 minutes to reflect individually and collectively on the following:

  • stories of when we feel appreciated working with each other
  • ideas of how to strengthen our culture of appreciation
  • the callings in our lives in relation to our work on the Integral City Expo and eLab
  • the common patterns of intention within our highest individual aspirations
This was a wise choice to spend our time this way as we head into the chaos of putting on a month long on-line conference.  We are grounded in the understanding of our shared calling to work together, even when most of us have never met face-to-face.
Our trust in each other has been amplified.  Our shared, emerging purpose has been amplified.  As we move into crunch time, our ability to priorize with purpose will be amplified.
We are ready to forge ahead.
Here is the poem that emerged from our time together, our feedback loop to ourselves, grounding our selves and our work serving cities and citizens as we design for our unfolding future.




Planet of cities

Earth is now a planet of cities.  The implications of this stage in our evolution are going to be discussed in 15 days by world thought leaders in the first week of a four week online conference: The City 2.0.

Each day  of Week 1 will focus on an evolutionary intelligence that supports citizens and cities:

  • Tuesday Sept 4 – Ecology
  • Wednesday Sept 5 – Emergence and complexity
  • Thursday Sept 6 -Living systems

Here is a quick review of what is happening Week 1 (please enjoy the links to web pages with some information about these folks).

On Tuesday September 4, Bill Rees, co-author of Our Ecological Footprint, will begin Day 1 of the conference exploring the contribution of ecosphere intelligence in cities.  Brian Eddy and Michael Zimmerman will follow, giving us examples of how ecosphere intelligence contributes to city design.  We will wrap up the day by setting the stage for participants to share stories of living ecosphere intelligence by hearing the stories of Karen O’Brien, Lummina Horlings, and Gaston Remmers.

Day 2, on September 5, will begin with Buzz Holling‘s take on emergence and complexity in cities.  Jan de Dood and Harrie Vollaard will give us examples on how emergence and complexity contribute to city design.  Day 2 will conclude with some stories of what this intelligence looks like in real life, starting with Ian Wight and Will Varey.

Week 1 concludes on September 6 with a look at living systems.  Elisabet Sahtouris starts us off on Day 3 with a look at life cycles and aliveness in the city.  Darcy Riddell and George Por will show us how how to apply living systems intelligence.  The day will conclude with a round of stories about implementing living intelligence.  Bjarni Snaebjorn Jonnson and Roberto Bonilla-Nunez will get us started.

These folks come from around the world.  Appropriate for a week’s exploration of Earth as a planet of cities.  They hail from Canada, The Netherlands, the United States, Scotland, Norway, Iceland and Mexico.  Their work takes place on planetary and local scales.  They look at cities integrally, examining the city ‘s interior and exterior perspectives.  Among them they are thought-leaders, scholars and practitioners.  They are a wonderful blend of what it means to think about cities integrally, to feel cities integrally and to embody cities integrally.

That’s week #1 in a nutshell.

For more information, please explore the conference web site.  Speakers’ bios can be found here.





City designers for ecosphere intelligence

I will be interviewing Brian Eddy and Michael Zimmerman on the opening day of the Integral City eLab, Tuesday September 4, 2012.  We will be exploring ecosphere intelligence, our awareness and capacity to respond to a city’s climate and eco0region.

(For over a decade, Brian Eddy has been exploring sustainable development with an integral lens.  Here is a link to one of his articles available online:  Integral Geography: Space, Place  and Perspective (2005 – World Future 61).  Michael Zimmerman is author of Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World, a wonderful treatise on the the transdisciplinary nature of integral ecology.)

Day One will begin with Marilyn Hamilton’s interview of Bill Rees, author of Our Ecological Footprint,  who will provide an overview of the contribution ecosphere intelligence makes to cities.  Eddy and Zimmerman will zoom in on how the three principles of ecosphere intelligence can be used in city design:

  1. Honour the climate and geography of your city.
  2. Steward the environment.
  3. Add value to the earth space.
Day 1 will conclude with ecosphere intelligence practitioners Karen O’Brien and Ina Horlings, and a look at integral approaches to climate change and sustainability.

Click here for information on the eLab.  Stay tuned for more information on the eLab and details on how to participate.




eLab: a relevant crucible for change

The Integral City eLab is taking place from September 4-27, 2012.  Our mission – to pool curious minds to co-create an exploratory space for anyone wishing to create cities that serve citizens and cities well.   We aim to create the conditions for a new, life-giving story for our cities, the habitat we create for ourselves to ensure we thrive.

eLab rooted in three principles

We have created the eLab because we believe that:

  1. Cities are the most relevant boundaries and crucibles for change
  2. For collaboration we need a common lens and language from which to communicate
  3. The city lens is under construction – it requires learning how to think differently

The purpose of the eLab is to create the conditions for these three principle to gain life, to change how we think about our cities.  Our cities are a part of our evolutionary story and a significant part of the systems we humans build to support ourselves.  It is time to understand city systems.

Here’s the skinny on the format

The eLab will take place over four weeks, three days each week for a total of 12 days.  Each day of the eLab will explore one of the 12 evolutionary intelligences I have been exploring here and that form the basis of Marilyn Hamilton’s work (Integral City website, the book).  The 12 intelligences are grouped in threes, giving each week an overal theme:

  • Week 1 (Sep 4-7)  – Planet of Cities
  • Week 2 (Sep 11-13) – Gaia’s Reflective Organ
  • Week 3 (Sep 18-20) – Aligning Strategies to Prosper
  • Week 4 (Sep 25-27) – Amplifying Intelligence

Each day will explore one evolutionary intelligence through three questions and three principles that guide the intelligence.  This will be done each day at three scales (three sessions each day): a thought leader, people who design for this intelligence and the stories of practitioners of the day’s intelligence.

Feel free to explore the eLab program further at your leisure.  For details and registration please contact Marilyn Hamilton at

Over the next couple weeks I will be highlighting the speakers that will be sharing their work, life and stories about our relationships with our cities.