Mark Vandeneijnde is a graduate of the Transformational Presence Leadership and Coaching program and a very active member of the Transformational Presence community. As an experienced Market Researcher (previously 10 years with Proctor & Gamble) and ICF Certified Coach Mark specializes in helping businesses reconnect with the essence / the heart of their organization. Through stakeholder interviews, deep analysis and insightful observation he helps bring to the surface the many hidden assets and inspirational stories that often lie dormant in organizations. It’s in giving life to these stories that he is able to help companies rebuild a solid foundation for their culture and bring more heart back into business.
On a skype call several months ago, Mark suggested that it might be interesting to view major news events from a Transformational Presence perspective. As Mark and I continued to explore that idea in subsequent conversations, I invited him to write a guest blog post. Thank you, Mark, for your insights and perspectives, and for all you are doing to make a difference in the world.
Transforming the world starts with transforming me. Transforming me starts transforming the world.
by Mark Vandeneijnde
One of the things I most love about Transformational Presence, and the Center for Transformational Presence, is the greatness of its vision: Inspiring Personal and Global Transformation. This is precisely what I signed up for when I participated in the Transformational Presence Leadership and Coaching program three years ago, and since then much of my work has been inspired by it.
As I started to engage the world with more Transformational Presence, I realized that much of the drama around me seemed to disappear. One of the things I noticed in particular was that I was paying less attention to the mainstream media. This certainly freed a lot of time and energy for my personal growth and development, but I did lose touch with the important events happening in the world. I found it more difficult to connect with the bigger picture and sense where the breakthroughs were trying to happen.
So a few months ago I decided to pick up the newspaper again and turn the TV back on (at least from time to time). The way I chose to engage with this information, however, was very different than before. I was more curious in the events that felt transformational in nature and seemed to be inviting an evolutionary perspective in how they were being reported. I saw an opportunity to shine light on the significance of these events. I wondered what story would emerge if we stopped seeing these events as problems to be solved, and instead, opened up to the choices we are being called to make. I wondered how we might be talking about the debt crisis in 10 or 20 years, or the tensions in the Middle East, or the stock market or the environment. I imagined that we would interpret the pain that we feel today as our greatest teacher and the key to unlocking a new, more sustainable way of life. I decided to give this kind of reporting a try.
The learning from the exercise was very insightful for me. I realized that, at the core, these events are inviting us to trust, even when there is no basis for it – to expand our awareness, even when it questions some of our long held beliefs – to serve the greater good, even when it feels like giving in or giving up on our own agenda.
In the Middle East, for example, there is very little reason to trust the recent proposals put forward by Syria and Iran to deal with their chemical and nuclear weapons. Giving them the benefit of the doubt feels irresponsible and dangerous. Yet isn’t this the only way forward?
The debt and environmental crises are painful and big burdens in the current financial and economic paradigms. Yet aren’t they also keys to greater creativity, entrepreneurship, simplicity and community building? Are we not being asked to shift the way we think about success?
Stepping back and relating to these stories from this future-inspired perspective has helped me to reconnect with the bigger picture and re-focus my attention on the positives that are emerging in these turbulent times. Intellectually this was an interesting exercise, but at the end, my contribution to the world felt somewhat limited.
The most powerful insight came some weeks later when I realized that breaking down these macro events and trying to extract the learning had encouraged me to take an honest look at my own relationships. I was surprised to find out that I was no longer meeting some of the most important people in my life with unconditional trust. Skepticism and fear were creeping into our communication. At times I would disengage to avoid confrontation.
When I finally came to this conclusion I immediately realized (remembered) that the most powerful way to assist global transformation is to deeply live and practice the shifts that need to take place in my own life first. I was relieved – finally, a next step that was fully in my own control!
P.S. Underneath Mark’s message lies the Hermetic Principle of Correspondence, which says, “As above, so below; as below, so above.” This principle helps us understand how making changes in how we live our individual lives can have an impact on the larger society. To learn more about the Principle of Correspondence and other Hermetic Principles that form the foundation of “how life works,” see Chapter 11 of my latest book, Create A World That Works. If you don’t have the book, it’s available through our website store, on amazon.com, or in bookstores everywhere. It is also available in digital format for most e-readers, including Kindle, iBooks, and Nook.
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