How “The Movements That Can Shift the World” Came To Be Written
Part 3: The Backstory
Click Here For Part 1: A Call To Action.
Click Here For Part 2: The Larger Story.
Developed By Alice Holstein, Ed.D. February 2018
The 2017 Women’s March engendered excitement and hope after the despair of the 2016 elections. I was inspired by the fact that one woman, a grandmother, had sparked it by a Facebook post sent to her daughters, “Let’s March.” I was also inspired by the 25 page Indivisible document, feverishly downloaded, that has guided legislative resistance. Despite the fact that these two events emboldened me, I did not set out to plan this effort to make a difference myself. I did set out to write an essay, and the decision to flow with it evolved quickly. It has roots in some 25-40 years of study and experience.
The actual writing of “The Movements That Can Shift the World” began to gel in the fall of 2017. It is part of a larger collection of essays intended for future publication, We The People: Blueprints for the Revolution. It is myanswer to the question, “what can I do to make a difference? I had no idea when I started that this particular essay would take on urgent momentum. A 97 year-old friend, June Kjome, helped accelerate the process. She “just happened” to be temporarily confined to a nursing home to recuperate from a fall, which interrupted our reading aloud another book. That book was not available because it was back at her apartment. She is nearly blind, so cannot read herself; I took along several of my essays to read to her, asking which one she preferred. Being the life-long, well-known, sage and staunch social activist that she is, she chose the one that became “The Movements That Can Shift the World.” She encouraged me to get my material, which was then only a very long essay, out into the world as soon as possible. Instinctively I recognized the need to make haste.
I have been aided and emboldened in my efforts by readers, editors, catalysts and encouragers. They include Brenda Smith White, Reverend Wesley White, Kathy Walczyk, Mary Kathryn Fogarty (FSPA), Patti Jo Severson, Pam Shaheen, Kim Richards-Marquez, Catherine Kolkmeier, Liz Ash and Pam Radosen. Each contributed to ideas or extensive editing. Often their critical contributions occurred “by accident” in the course of our being together for other reasons. The birthing process was sometimes laborious, but is part of the craft of writing that I love. My website developer, Mikki Fattoruso contributed much beyond her artistic talents.
The actual content of this vision goes back some 40 years to when I began studying organizational systems for a doctoral degree in Organization Development, then began a practice as a consultant. This systems view led to understanding large systems and their capacity to become self-organizing, which is what characterizes the present “underground” of the organizations that together can shift the world. Another important part goes back 25 years when I wrote and published, Beyond Turmoil, a book about the mid-life inner journey and its relationship to business. That pursuit yielded a deep understanding of how higher consciousness unfolds. Individual maturation develops by doing our inner work, recovering the nurturing feminine, in order to move on to the spiritual quadrant, or a higher consciousness. Information from a number of transpersonal psychology theorists was integrated and matched with my own experience. I also developed a companion picture of the societal progression from matriarchy to patriarchy to the “Humanarchy.” That term is my word for a new era in history we are creating. All of this convinced me that humanity was on its way to a new level of consciousness. It also convinced me that it is the inner work that takes us beyond egocentricity; we simply must transform out “shadow” sides, examining the effects of our childhood and the culture.
Because my book identified that pathway to maturation, I began collecting evidence from many authors and theorists about how they saw such growth. I ended up with some 34 views that are all consonant with each other, following a similar pattern of personal unfolding. Their stages are portrayed with varying words or steps. The fact that the overall pattern is the same, however, verifies that higher consciousness is a matter of consensus. I believe that many are already operating at this level. I also believe that it is time for women to step forward to both lead and redefine the concept of “power” before we destroy ourselves with our wildly out-of-balance patriarchal beliefs and norms. Such a redefinition, at least in part, is that “power” be understood as “justice and compassion.”
I am convinced that there are enough enlightened souls and organizations to accomplish the impossible, which is to catalyze a paradigm shift of such proportions that it initiates a new operating system for the earth. (“Operating system” is a term used by “The Shift Network,” a web-based organization intending to be instrumental in this effort.) Such a “system” would feature balanced feminine-masculine leadership along with an economic system that fosters equality, justice and compassion.
In 1986 the motivation to write Beyond Turmoil was prompted by the desire to produce a work that would persuade the CEO’s and upper-level managers who were my Organization Development clients to do their inner work. I could see that their unconscious behaviors were the source of dysfunctions played out in their organizations. I could not find readable accounts of “how to” conduct oneself through the maturation process, so I wrote one myself. This pursuit of personal transformation led me to search for an organization transformation methodology, not merely the organization development processes I had used in my practice for many years. An experimental series of booklets was the result. Deciding to market them on the internet, I set about developing a website in the late 90s. This precipitated discovery of the “underground” of organizations and causes, working on healing the world, that has given me hope for years.
Another source of inspiration has been the seminar I attended in England on “Ecological Economics” where I listened to Willis Harman, esteemed scientist and futurist. For five days he mesmerized me with his presentations that addressed the prospects for societal transformation. Willis described the fall of the Berlin Wall and Communism as examples of rapid shifts, and he convinced me that something similar, only evolutionary in terms of higher consciousness, was related to becoming inner versus outer-directed. Some nine years later, in 2005, I wrote the first draft of what I considered could be “a People’s Revolution” essay. It lay dormant for 12 years; in fact, I sometimes forgot about having written that and other futuristic essays. There didn’t seem much market for such ideas.
In 2014 I embarked upon a 3-year Spiritual Direction training program at the Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse. With the help of the profound healing and transformative nature of this experience, my creative juices flowed and I also remembered those futuristic essays. Several people encouraged me to develop them, but I put them on the back burner because another book seemed more urgent. Then the despair of the 2016 election caused We The People to become priority. I went to my “People’s Revolution” files for research. There I found several articles about Paul Hawken’s work. Then I read his ground-breaking book, the 2007, Blessed Unrest. He wrote about “the largest social movement the world has ever seen and why no one saw it coming.”
The final piece of my thinking came recently when I began to study the “none’s,” the one-fourth of our population who proclaim themselves spiritual, not religious. I realized that I had stumbled upon a population that was largely focused inwardly in their search for meaning and purpose outside religious institutions. They are a part of a profound “spiritual revolution,” potential contributors to “The Movements That Can Shift the World.” I also recognized the many protest movements emerging since Hawken’s compilation, especially those in the last few years. It was time to put all the pieces together.
Several other events go into this manifesto. In 2016 I put up a website. After giving speeches, I referred people there. I saw that documents could be downloaded easily, making communication possible, quickly, with many people. As external events accelerated in 2017, this “Movements That Can Shift the World” series took on a life of its own. Looking backward, I see that each step of my journey has led to the next. So much of it has come to me as “gift” or “accident,” the happenstance of just living my life. In many ways I have come to the right place at the right time with the right background with the right colleagues to bring this manifesto to fruition. I begin to believe deeply that the dream I mention in Part 1, “The Call to Action,” about a planet being healed, has a chance of manifesting.
I consider myself an elder, seeker, perpetual student, visionary, catalyst, activist, futurist, radical dreamer, evolutionary and mystic. I am blessed to have lived an unusual, rewarding life and intend to have many more creative years in which to share my bounty.
The other essays, either written or under development, for a book titled We The People: Blueprints For the Revolution include:
Bold Solutions to Ending War: Healing Our Wounds click here
Connectionspedia: A Vision of Rapid Transformation click here
The Humanarchy: Birthing A New Era in History (Completed)
Nurturing the Common Good: Higher Order Economics
Beyond Greed and Power: Healing the Giant Ego of Business (Completed)
Heal Yourself and you Heal the Culture click here
Tough Grace: Mental Illness As A Spiritual Path (see www.aliceholstein.et) “Articles,” Communities Magazine, 2011
From Breakdown to Breakthrough: Reinventing Civilization
Feminine Rising: Beyond the Marches and Harassment
Enlightened Values and Principles for Enlightened Organizations (Completed)
Untethered: Finding Meaning and Purpose in An Aching World.
(I welcome queries about a potential publisher.)
C Alice A. Holstein, 2018