Nature parades her wisdom in front of us, if only we have eyes to see.

Take the curious tale of the caterpillar that becomes a butterfly. We modern folk toss away the metaphor as something to do with a beautiful butterfly emerging from the cocoon that the ugly caterpillar entered. It’s a far more fabulous story than that.

It starts when you realize that inside that caterpillar from birth were these tiny things called “imaginal cells.” These cells carry the image of the butterfly in them and are embedded in the caterpillar from the very beginning.

The fifth molt of a caterpillar

But to the caterpillar…

Apocaloptimism: a belief that the end is near, but that’s not necessarily such a bad thing.

#2 The Accidental Farmer

It doesn’t feel the same looking back as it did looking forward.

At the time, I remember the dread, the fear… that persistent gnawing feeling in the pit of my gut.

There was this moment — a specific point in time — when suddenly I knew nothing I could do would stop the inevitable. I could see the train wreck coming, but I couldn’t stop it.

Growing up a privileged 20th century American, the idea of fate was alien; unthinkable. We were the masters…

What does it mean to speak truth to power?

This may be the most urgent question of our time. The majority of us see the writing on the wall. We recognize how dire the crisis is. We see how deeply interconnected the problems are and how quickly the cascade of collapse is happening. There is no normal to go back to.

And we also — many of us at least — see the changes and solutions that are necessary. We may not want to make the changes (and get argumentative and defensive about it), but we know nonetheless. has…

Looking for what’s really real

In 2012, Nasim Nicholas Taleb published Antifragile: things that gain from disorder. He pointed out a simple truth that is obvious as soon as you see it, but remains hidden to many people because they have no word to describe it.

Basically, our culture classifies things as fragile or hardy; they either break easily or they don’t break (or change) at all. But living things display a quality that is the opposite of fragile. It’s not that they simply don’t break under stress; they actually thrive.

Think of muscles. When we stress them by lifting heavy weights, then allow them…

I had an interesting day today. Didn’t we all? Mine had a slight twist on it, though. My morning started out with an amazing conversation about death and life and collapse and, really, what’s it all about Alfie.

Lately, I’ve been hosting online “navigation sessions” based on the sociocracy 3.0 model. We do them once a week and it’s on a free, drop-in basis hosted on Zoom. It’s usually a group of between four and eight folks with a rotating cast of characters, some who come almost all the time, others who pop in and out.

We use a circle…

Author’s Note: These thoughts have been rolling around my head for a while now and I think I just need to write them down to get them out. I’ve decided to publish this in “draft form” and invite comments from readers as co-creators. Are there any parts that need clarification? It feels like I have the ideas I want in there, but I’m not sure they connect smoothly. Any parts you object to? Any additional thoughts you would incorporate? Use comments as a way to extend the conversation.

As an aside, I am speaking primarily to a generally privileged North…

I had a sort of waking dream today. It was a most amazing experience.

I had been reading the news and, as is pretty common these days, felt a panic attack coming on. I used a technique I’ve learned to focus on the physical sensations in the body with simple curiosity as a way to short-circuit the catastrophizing mental narratives that fuel the panic.

I was feeling a tightness in my chess, so I turned my attention there and was instantly overwhelmed by grief. I was swallowed up by a sadness older and bigger than me.

From the Intergenerational Trauma Animation by the Healing Foundation.

Recently a counselor coached…

How to build an effective support network

Co-written by Ben Kadel and April Struthers

Saving the world is hard and emotionally challenging work. We are all exhausted, scared, angry, demoralized and/or confused much of the time. It’s just the nature of doing this work; of the times we live in. But we can make sure that no one feels like they are the only person in the world who really cares. Knowing that you aren’t alone and that there’s nothing abnormal or pathological with these feelings can be one of the most powerful healing tools there is. Pain may be unavoidable, but we can minimize suffering.


Coming home from the wilderness

A while ago, I attended a workshop by Kathi Camilleri called Understanding the Village. I wish I could recreate the experience here, but I know my words will fall flat on the page.

There was something almost hypnotic about the way Kathi spoke — a gentle cadence, almost wistful at times, then a lively story filled with humour and heart. …

Learning to believe what you see

There is an important distinction between belief and conviction. Belief still retains the flavour of its original meaning— a faith in an authority, often someone you were dependent on. It implied a sort of blind trust; faith even when evidence contradicts belief, subservience. The root of conviction, on the other hand, is the same as victory. It speaks to a truth that has emerged from a contest with reality and still rings true.

There’s a difference in agency between the two; a difference in who acts on what. Beliefs are passive things. One is forced to protect them from the…

Ben Kadel

Changing the way you feel about work.

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