While the core outcome of my work remains the same – to support leaders in advancing the common good – a loving and just global society – the pathway for my work is shifting because of the unique time in which we are called to lead.
I believe we live in a time of profound peril and profound potential. The peril is accounted for in the destabilizing human made (economics in particular) and natural systems — life as we have known it is going to change dramatically and there will be a number of “new normals” which we will have to embrace. If left untended these changes could lead humanity to an era marked by more confusion, conflict and chaos. While human reason (including moral reasoning) can help move us avoid the peril and move us towards a brighter future, we also need to acknowledge that our reverence for rational thinking and technology in large part put us in the midst of this peril and then admit that reason alone will not be sufficient to lead us to the profound potential in our midst.
The profound potential is the opportunity to reclaim the deeper sense of community and stewardship that our ancestors knew and depended upon. Security came from the quality of caring relationships in community that kept each other from falling through the cracks by the power of neighbor love and a lived reverence for the Earth as the source of all life. I have witnessed these “old habits” alive and well in indigenous communities in this county and in developing nations around the world. These communities are not only connected to the Earth and each other but also to Spirit. Spirit is at the center of their worldview and it informs how they treat all life and the systems that support life.
What is required for us — if we are to navigate past the peril and into the potential — is a humble and sincere renewal of our individual and collective relationship to Spirit. Spirit is a presence that exists beyond space and time and is as near as our own breath. Spirit resides in all life and uniquely in the human heart and as we turn towards Spirit we remember our heart’s way of knowing, which has the capacity to lead us to new life giving choices. The tools of principled reasoning and action — values, gracious space, courage etc. — still have a vital role to play in the advancement of the common good but today they need to be rooted in Spirit – our heart’s way of knowing — if they are to serve as the powerful leadership resources these times require.
Today we need humble leaders who seek first to be Spirit-led who in turn lead others from the heart. Heart-centered leaders will speak the truth in love about the perils of our time and call people together to faithfully listen for a new hope-filled pathways that will help us to claim the profound potential in our midst.
Your Experience with OSR:
OSR is a remarkable learning community that encourages staff, students and visiting faculty to show up authentically in service to the world. My experience of OSR students is that they are curious, open-minded/hearted and while excited about being schooled in cutting edge leadership and change theory – they know the importance of having the courage to be human.
Bill desires to be Spirit-led teacher and social activist who walks with those who seek to be used well by Spirit in these powerful times. He worked in Higher Education for 14 years, served at the Center for Ethical Leadership for 14 years and currently teaches under the banner of Common Good Works.