The liminal and sensemaking web – some links

Published by Aubyn Howard on

Happy New Year!

To kick off the year I am sharing a selection of video and audio content I came across from my research last year (particularly from the Rebel Wisdom archive), that may help deepen and broaden our psychospiritual awareness and systemic understanding of the interplay of individual and collective psyche within a VUCA world in crisis.

My intention here is to share recent material that represents the leading edge of systemic and psychological thinking, using video and audio media where possible. I originally selected these for their relevance to students on our leadership coach training programmes, this is an eclectic selection which I hope may connect you with something new and interesting.

Charles Eisenstein – the coronation article/book

I recommend reading or listening to Charles Eisenstein as one of the best ways to develop our capacity for tolerance of uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.  He writes beautifully about diverse current topics from different perspectives in a way that helps both our sensemaking and meaning making. I see him as one of today’s leading moral philosophers.  Alongside his website with podcasts and RW videos, I recommend his book The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible from a few years ago.

Daniel Schmachtenberger – humanity’s phase shift video/podcast

Rather full of jargon that takes a while to assimilate, I find it helps to listen to short sections at a time.  However, worth persisting with a very compelling narrative from someone with a biological and ecological background who also recognises the psychospiritual perspective. Where it ends up, is where we can pick up as psychosynthesis practitioners.

Rene Girard – memetic desire and individuation video with Luke Burgis

A good starting point for engaging with the complexities of the collective psyche, and the notions of mass psychosis, memetic thought-viruses, group-think, mass formation delusion or whatever term you want to use for what has become a very important phenomena for us to understand, whether we are engaged in individual, group and systemic work. Girard was an important thinker and Luke Burgis introduces him very well. 

Collective psychology project and Alex Evans  – larger us paper/video

I really enjoyed listening to Alex Evans speaking about the psychology of polarisation on RW and this is a link to where he seems to have gone with his collective psychology project since then.  I think there is a brave attempt here to educate a wider audience, although not sure this will create the breakthrough he seeks.

Simon Cavicchia – relational coaching video/book

Simon speaks to the VUCA environment of leadership coaching in a similar way to how I like to think I do and uses clear and grounded language to explain how complex psychological dynamics, such as attachment patterns, come into play and how we might work with them as relational coaches. He draws upon his background as a gestalt psychotherapist to show how the call to coaching today is changing and why we need to be able to work with psychological depth as leadership coaches.

Stephen Porges, Gabor Mate, Deb Dana, Richard Schwartz,  Peter Levinevideos or podcasts

These are some of today’s leading neurobiologists, psychologists and therapists, who together are shaping the emergent narrative about somatic experience, embodiment and trauma.  There are many videos that you can find from all of them online, I have picked out three with Porges, Levine and Mate on RW that speak to the wider issues in society and two from Dana and Schwartz from The Weekend University lectures, which serve as good introductions to polyvagal and IFS respectively.

I am adding a link to a very recent post by Alexander Beiner on his Bigger Picture substack which engages and explains the wider debate around trauma which I think coaches will find extremely valuable.

Keith Witt – personality as the base note videos

Keith Witt has a great ability to ramble on about psychological concepts, in this case psychopathy and personality disorders and their relevance to personal development and therefore coaching, in a way that eventually makes a lot of sense.  One of the few voices I still listen to on the Integral Life platform, this and his other recent sessions on personality disorders and confirmation bias are very educational for coaches wanting to work at depth but needing to know where the boundary might lie with therapy.

Sarah Ness – difficult conversations video

A compelling voice to listen to on the theme of difficult conversations that transcends the popular treatments of many years ago, alongside the works of Gervase Bushe and Nancy Kline. I really like her summary of the different ways that people communicate: e.g. we can ask questions, or we listen and share our observations, or we can tell stories, or we can challenge. She seems to be doing great work in the groupwork field and is one to follow.

Daniel Schmachtenberger, Jamie Wheal, Jordan Hall – Various sensemaking videos

Some very clever people not making a great deal of sense for a while in this three way conversation but they get somewhere in the end! These are leading systemic thinkers and futurists who are each worth listening to in their own right on the RW platform, so I recommend browsing the RW library  for topics that you connect with.

Schuyler Brown and Samantha Sweetwater – Feminine Wisdom video

RW founder David Fuller speaks at the beginning of this film about his awareness that their sensemaking conversations have tended to favour male voices and big picture systemic thinkers. He wonders what can be done to include more female voices and feminine wisdom, which sets the context for this conversation.  I am personally interested in creating an ongoing dialogue between what I call the emergent masculine and sacred feminine, for example at our upcoming Symposium in March.  This video would provide a good starting point for such a dialogue.

Aubyn Howard

Aubyn Howard

Aubyn has 30 years’ experience as an organisational consultant, facilitator, educator and coach, supporting transformational change and leadership development with leaders.