How might telling a "new story" have the power to help shift our collective trajectory?

Our cafe call is now complete (podcast available here) and so we are moving into the next phase of our conversation, which we invite you to continue here in the forum and out in the world.

Our great thanks to New Stories Executive Director Jeff Vander Clute and Great Transition Stories Executive Director Duane Elgin for being our main conversation starters for this juicy dialogue, and also to our special last minute guests David DeGraw and Joel Levey.  It was a pleasure having all of you with us and we look forward to further collaboration.

We will revisit our "Occupy a New Story" theme on the Vital Conversation for Monday September 10th, when we will explore the story "A Global Brain Awakens."  Please join us again for that call (time and registration details in the box on the right hand side of this page).

Meanwhile, this conversation continues...  In this next phase, we again invite you to engage one-one with people around you.  You can use the three questions that framed our conversation on the phone:

  1. When you look at the overall behavior of the human community -- the 'social average' of human behavior -- what life-stage do you think we are in?  Toddler?  Teenager? Adult? Elder?  Ask why that their answer, and perhaps offer your own as well.
  2. Next, tell them that most people on the call chose teenager and that there might be something valuable about digging into that metaphor further.  Then ask: "what was it in your life that moved you most powerfully from adolescence to adulthood?"
  3. Finally, you can invite them to play with the story a bit further around the question: "what does your personal experience suggest about ways to catalyze a shift to adulthood and about where we might see adulthood already emerging?"

Consider having this conversation not only with people you feel are generally aligned with your own beliefs but also with someone whose opinions you find challenging!  Share your own perspective too, but try replacing certainty and advice with curiosity.  Try asking: "tell me more about that," especially when you hear something that challenges you!

Please post your own thoughts below, as well as anything that emerges from conversations you engage in with others (note: you must be registered and logged in to post).  

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Hafiz is my favorite poet and i love poets.  You are remarkable, keen insights, concise and all in, I feel it!

Here are two Hafiz poems that speak volumes that may shed scent to the blooming rose we are smelling in the Occupy Cafe Conversation:

 Tired of Speaking Sweetly

Love wants to reach out and manhandle us.

            Break all our teacup talk of God.

            If you had the courage and

Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,

            He would just drag you around the room

                                    By your hair,

Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world

                        That bring you no joy.


Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly

            And wants to rip to shreds

            All your erroneous notions of truth

That make you fight within yourself, dear one,

                        And with others,

            Causing the world to weep

            On too many fine days.


            God wants to manhandle us,

Lock us inside of tiny room with Himself

            And practice His dropkick.

           The beloved sometimes wants

            To do us a great favor:

            Hold us upside down

            And shake all the nonsense out.


                        But when we hear

He is in such a “playful drunken mood”

                        Most everyone I know

Quickly packs their bags and hightails it

                        Out of town.


The Warrior

                            The warriors tame

                         the beasts in their past

                           So that the night’s hoofs

                  Can no longer break the jeweled vision

                                    In the heart.


                        The intelligent and the brave

                      Open every closet in the future and evict

                    All the mind’s ghosts who have the bad habit

                                    Of barfing everywhere.


                        For a long time the Universe

                    Has been germinating in your spine

                        But only a Pir* has talent,

                               The courage to slay

                     The past-giant, the future-anxieties.


                                    The warrior

                              Wisely sits in a circle

                                 With other men **

                        Gathering the strength to unmask



                                    Sits, giving,

                        Like a great illumined planet on


                                         Earth.                               *Persian: Saint  **and women/all Homo sapiens amans

Maybe sharing poetic insights is the new language including music such as this song!

Have a great day!


Maybe sharing poetic insights is the new language including music...

Up twinkles. Nonlinear oceans of wholeness speak in whorls across thermoclines, locally and non-locally, playing along the full spectrum.

Jeff, et al

Pleasure to meet you and from what I understand in your presentation you have been involved for many years in cognitive sciences and in the last 24 months entered this enfolding new story idea?  Correct me if I am mistaken? I want to learn more about who you are, your story, since it appears we are all shedding the masks, getting naked and all pretenses of leadership, teachers, shamans, kings or queens, and especially priests, lawyers and judges are dead.  Entropy is great news and listening to the news today makes U buckle up we are just getting started in this emergent generative leaderless renaissance. 

A paragraph from a private composition this morning that exacts how biological cognitive sciences impacted my story, a life saving clearing for learning.

"Since 1984 Mushin has been captured and single minded in attempting to understand the significance of leading edge biological cognitive science awareness that has arisen through Gregory Bateson, Norbert Weiner (Cybernetics GST), Heinz von Forester, Humberto Maturana, Francisco Verela, Fernando Flores, Stanford Beer, Peter Senge, Russell Achoff and popular authors Joe Jaworski “Synchronicity and Source,” Fritijo Capra “Web of Life and Hidden Connections” and the entire field of “Spiral Dynamics” and futurist Alvin Toffler’s trilogy “Future Shock, The Third Wave, PowerShift.”  In personal professional learning Fernando Flores and Julio Olala in the “Ontological Design Course” (1988 to 1990) provided the basis for reconstructing the notion of a western self in business design and thriving in adulthood in modernity through communicative competence.  The International ManKind Project provided experiential initiatory sacred masculine emotional clearing in a new brotherhood of man.  Mel Lone Hill introduced Mushin to the ancient Lakota wisdom continuum and relationships in Lakota world especially Jhon Goes In Center’s notion of “The Lakota Paradigm.” Zen opened up new contemplative territory in silence, stillness and solitude.  Harry Palmer’s “Star Edge Avatar Initiatory” learning converged the deep primary knowing love and intentional commitment of bringing forth an enlightened planetary civilization committed to in 1971 in the Holy Order of MANS, that arose in the "Summer of Love" in the San Francisco renaissance."

I was surprised internally by the questions on Monday and the opportunity to turn on my unmuted voice into authentic indignation for the current human conditional situations.  I am not one interested in data, information, laws, rules, order for order sake, or suffering and happiness indexes by rational observers who appear to marginalize the "growth without restraint" happening in human denial in the global cultural matrix.  I submit the end of the world (Western Civilization's Mental Structure) has already happened when on "911" 2 billion people experienced PTSD.  We are now moving into a new decade where human suffering is about to take on a whole new exorcism with exponential political, economic, social disintegration as a waterfall experience shredding any doubt that we as a humanity are moving into a comprehensive integrated structure. 

My outrage within my group conversations was like the canary in Plato's Cave screaming bloody murder to wake up.  And hearing the current American Political discourse is a major triggering event in my assessment.  "They Eat Their Own."

Morris Berman's "Why the American Empire was Destined to Fail" offers this apocryphal story of a Native American scouting expedition that came across the starving members of the Donner Party in 1847, who were snowbound in the Sierra Nevadas and resorted to cannibalism in order to survive. The Native expedition, which had never seen white people before, observed the Donner Party from a distance, then returned to base camp to report what they had seen. The report consisted of four words: “They eat each other.” To summarize the argument of Why America Failed in a single phrase and our epitaph “They ate each other."

Unless Occupy Cafe centering on Wall Street's Political Power, operating in privatized milliseconds with algorithmic quants who need EMT's not more power, and a citizenry that has been reduced to robotic ignorant slaving rats in a consumptive gorging of oneself as a right to exist on the notion of self importance, food, drink, pretense, skin encapsulated egoic nonsense, and entertainment spewing manufactured insanity on thousands of channels 24/7/365, or some other unknown sociopolitical global movement to turn our human conditional situational around in a fundamental, radical, robust way, today.  We have run out of time in my assessment. 

"Left" and "right" are meaningless variations on the 1001 shades of white/flavors of vanilla available in the land of 24/7 shopping and meaningless distraction. Who needs old-fashioned dictators, when mere cheap imperial capitalist diversions will prompt the impoverished to willingly enslave themselves? Capitalism - like STDs - the "gift" that keeps on giving! Crime statistics are mostly in the eye of the beholder these days, and the only "TRUE" crimes worth reporting, evidently aren't. Obomney v Robama? Flip a coin. Hopefully it stands on edge and they call the whole thing off. Or better yet, let's commission Monsanto to produce a hybrid, totally election and public scorn resistant. A pol so unapologetically false that elections become totally (as apposed to merelyutterly) superfluous. (Thanks Disaffected)

We need indignation right now not rational reductive bullshit conversations. I know this word bullshit triggers fear, confusion, panic, and breakdown.  That's why I love it so much as a technical term in the American lexicon.  It's been validated by a Princeton Professor, doesn't get any better than that, do you agree? 

I submit this friend's blog best expresses the Age of Reason and epitaph "THEY ATE EACH OTHER."

I am starting to understand why the Dalia Lama loves heavy metal!  Another little blip into my music collection as a DJ:  Disturbed Just Another way to Die!  OR we start jamming create a new band and take "The High Road" in the Occupy Cafe as "Flying Fish" turning this baby around understanding we have all the time in the world and not a moment to waste. As for becoming "butterflies" I assess the coming future attraction Ben and pure fantasy in this moment!

Pray you enjoy playfulness in such a hopeless situation, I find it keeps me sane as a crazy person

Hello, Mushin! Thanks for this rich post. I'm preparing for the Happiness 2012 conference that starts tomorrow, so I must be brief. However, I don't want to wait until next week and potentially miss the opportunity to respond in the moment from my heart.

I hear you, and I welcome your perspective as well as the word bullshit. (In this moment I hear Wyclef Jean saying "bishop" on the Carnival album.) Let there be indignation, grief, outrage, and hopelessness. We actually need it all. My friend Chris Jordan has been exploring the depths of hopelessness and despair in his work. He has dived deeply into grief and discovered that grief is love - the source for profound and seemingly impossible transformation. I've been with him on this journey since 2009.

What is most true for me - based on involvement with the Compassionate Action Network International, The Happiness Initiative, and New Stories - is that consciousness is evolving, and is being forced to evolve. What is widely recognized and reported on is the insanity. For whatever reason, the global situation seems to need to get pretty dark - I sense as a springboard for impossible transformation amidst hopelessness. Of course, time will tell.

Personally, I've opted into a "promising vision of the future" based on a deep inner knowing that we have vast power to choose and to create the world that is experienced. The narratives of Great Transition were not invented as propaganda, but have emerged over decades and seem to me to be a beacon. As I've moved toward that beacon, my own life situation has changed radically in mind-blowing ways, so the anecdotal evidence is that there's something to this that has to be experienced personally.

A bit more about me here:

Duane is a lifelong scholar with decades of research on both the inspiring possibilities and the frustrating trends. He just published a blog on HuffPo that you may find refreshingly candid:

I look forward to more conversation, though my preference when it gets this juicy is less for text and more for Skype! My Skype name is jvanderclute.

I like Duane's "Earth Voice" blog post on HuffPo a lot as well.  It reads to me as a major validation of the experiment that is Occupy Cafe, as well as an inspiring vision of where we might be headed.

Great balls of fire Jeff! Why didn't you say so in the first place?  I want in-- to grow into this and be on the mailing list (

The Joy of Building Thriving Community:  A Report from the First Annual Thriving Communities Conference...   and “taking responsibility for what has heart and meaning for you” and “occupying yourself 100%.”

Hi Dyck! We don't have a Thriving Communities mailing list yet, but we do have a Facebook page and a Twitter account:

Sometimes I present Thriving Communities as the overarching theme of my activities. It seems to me that the metamovement is aiming for holistic well-being (a.k.a. thriving) - individually, communally, and globally - which by virtue of being holistic must necessarily include social justice, environmental sustainability, and all 10 of the domains covered by the Happiness Initiative survey. There was a conference called "Beyond Sustainability" where, for a bunch of people, the answer to the question of what's beyond sustainability was thriving. Moreover, the word resonates for me.

That said, because people attach to language and particular memes, lately I've been emphasizing movement weaving: encouraging conscious relationship between folks working on Occupy, Compassion, Happiness, Thriving Communities, Transition Towns, etc. Even though it's early days I'd say the movement weaving is bearing fruit.

So... whatever we call it, I'm in too!

Mushin Mushin thank you for these soulful offerings. Indeed there is more than just words... even right here, now!

I second Ben in appreciating your energy, reflections, and unsettling contributions [Dyck].

My unsettling contribution in this moment is: What happens when we see the outer and the inner as one? Recognizing the enormous value of inner work, is there nonetheless a point at which the division no longer works? How might we recognize that a duality no longer serves? Is it possible that there's a glass ceiling on all transformation - whether social or personal - while we energize an inner-outer split? With Hafiz in mind, is it possible that the metamovement is toward the undivided Light? How might Occupy et al. - including us! - move in a fundamentally undivided way? Or could it be somehow that we are already?

These questions I will meditate on today...

Jeff, so engaging and also beyond only words, your "nonlinear oceans of wholeness".  You tempt my journeyman to walk faster and yet take in more... to be less careful and even more daring...

Thanks for shining a light back toward the actual, Dyck,,,the moment which is always now.

Since I rejoined the raucous fray which is the the outer dance of activism, I've been endlessly curious regarding this great dynamic tension between being, doing and thinking. It's maddeningly wonderful really, feeling the spectacular frustration of those not moving the way we see might be most helpful or productive, while simultaneously realizing "they" need to be doing exactly what they're being/doing/thinking.  Of course, the more sophisticated we are, the more we declare allowance while praying we embody it.

Hoping to have some these voices on our Occupy A New Inner Story exploration today.

I think I hear your question C.A.  And to expand on it I'll suggest it deals with an attribute of existence that is so common it becomes subtle, mostly unnoticeable. 

For example, I walk, yet don't notice my gait or my shoe strike on the ground.  When I at some point stop and look back I see I have walked from there to here.  I think to myself I must have taken steps to get here, and further I recognize I had some kind of gait and each shoe came down in a flexing kind of way as my foot pushed off to propel me. OK, fundamental.

If all I ever do is talk about (or think about) what happened as I looked back... or if I project to say I'm going to do this again tomorrow... then I am not ACTUALLY dealing with life as it happens.  Thinking even more deeply on this you can see & deduce that anything that is not now is not life at all... but only memory, speculation, theory, imagination... (thought).  Which seems necessary.

I don't intend this as an answer but an inquiry into an ever-expanding question into reality & self.  This fact of reality at each breath of life, is always the elephant in the room (that is so difficult to notice).


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Regular Calls are no longer being held.  Below is the schedule that was maintained from the Fall of 2011 through Jan 10, 2013.

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