Tell us about a meaningful experience you have had with self organizing and or ways you are engaging with new forms of leadership and organization.

A little over a year ago I completed a research study that involved working with a small group using a format based on four movements (or what Varela might have called “gestures”): interoception, symbolic expression, personal inquiry, and group dialogue. The sessions involved no teaching of concepts or stated goals other than the practice of being present with whatever emerged during the process. My role as facilitator was minimized; I participated fully as a member of the group, as a co-researcher, rather than as a leader.

When you think about leadership in a self organizing world what questions are cooking you? What do you hope to learn at this gathering?

The group work had been done on Orcas Island, where I had lived for many years previously, and was thoroughly documented by audio and video recording and supplemented by intake interviews and followup questionnaires. After returning to the East Coast I pored over the documentation of the group work. During this same time I read A. H. Almaas' book The Emerging Now, which had just been released, and found myself exclaiming, incredulously, “It's as if every member of the group had just read this book before we started!” I was so amazed by this that I immediately plunged into a further round of research, digging still more deeply into the phenomenology of self-organization. Christopher Alexander (especially his four-volume work The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe) and C. Otto Scharmer (Theory U: Leading From the Future As It Emerges) turned out to be particularly fruitful sources of understanding.

Current research suggests that neural integration is supported by both interpersonal attunement (in human relationships) and intrapersonal attunement (in mindful awareness) through all stages of life. My interest was, and is, developing a replicable model for co-creative group work in which all participants are both teachers and learners, or “co-researchers,” in a process of mutual discovery. Traditional forms of education and socialization have not supported this kind of self-directed learning, which empowers individuals to work “from the inside out” rather than “from the outside in.”

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I recently completed a master's degree program in Integral Learning through the Institute for Educational Studies, Endicott College. The paper I wrote, titled "Lifetime Montessori: Self-Development Through the Stages Beyond Childhood and Youth," may be viewed at: The story of how I came to this work is described in one of the appendices.