As an embodied being, you have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Getting to grips with this fact of life leads to endless possibilities — and a new story

Wall mural of a womans face and a bike leaning agianst the wall
Wall mural of a womans face and a bike leaning agianst the wall
Photo by Timon Klauser on Unsplash

The narrative you weave for your life cannot be outsourced. You cannot rely on promises of salvation via vaccines, politics, or even pseudo-spirituality to put things back to the way they were and restore what was. There is a growing realisation that most people would not want this anyway.

So what next?

It is time to write yourself back into your own story…

…A story that will be greatly enhanced…


Two things I have learned in 2020, including a paradox of chili proportions

Wooden chicken sitting on desk
Wooden chicken sitting on desk
Photo by author

Lockdown curry

“The lockdown curry” became infamous, when, after months of home cooking I announced we were splashing out on a takeaway. Our mouths watered as we studied the online menu and grappled with our desire for chicken, avoiding the eye of the hens staring back at us from the garden. These handsome characters arrived at the beginning of lockdown and spent their first nights sleeping in an empty compost bin while their home was built from the ground up.

By June, we knew it was Ruth (Fisher) with…


jellyfish swimming in blue globe
jellyfish swimming in blue globe
Photo: Author

If you are reading this — Thank you! Please feel free to look around our publication and let us know if you have an article you would like to share.

This is a platform for sharing ideas about our deep systemic interconnectedness and how systems thinking, being and doing can help us all expand our thinking and develop competencies we can take back out into our emerging worlds.

Living in Systems is about learning to use Systems Thinking to inform how we take action in our lives.

It is about integrating embodied Systems Being with Systems Thinking in finding ways to be, in a fast-changing world.

It is about taking responsibility in our personal and professional lives to live authentically and to design systems that serve both humans and the…


The key to understanding our nature as Systems Beings

Elaborately decorated painting of. hand on a wall, with a moon to the right
Elaborately decorated painting of. hand on a wall, with a moon to the right
cenzon-Fc9TtSfjKjE-unsplash

The human brain has a network of nearly 70 billion neurons and the cosmic network of galaxies is thought to have at least 100 billion galaxies. Given the vast difference in scale, what could these two most challenging and complex systems in nature have in common? New research suggests that both are self-organising networks. This finding offers a fresh perspective not just on who we are as human beings, but how we naturally organise as living systems.

Is the universe is one giant brain?

Research by scientists Vazza and Feletti (2020) found evidence that both the universe and the brain…


Getting to grips with “The Facts of Life”

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

There is no cure for the facts of life just as there is no cure for hot and cold.

If you have been waiting to go somewhere, it is time to let it go. If you have been waiting to arrive somewhere, it is time to think again. Yes, you are always in flux, yes, you are always in the process of change, but looking to find the Departure gate to fly to the next career level or the medal that says you have arrived somewhere is a misplaced objective. If you are looking to land somewhere, this option is also, not without risk.

We have been lured by some fictions…


Rooting ourselves in our bodies to seed new possibilities

Today I am a human catalogue of seeds. Who knows which might take root and grow, or be blown in the wind to some lifeless spot. In either case, I will sow, as we humans do — cycling between downward and virtuous cycles.

berries on a twig
berries on a twig
Photo by Gerson Cifuentes on Unsplash

At 1 pm, I am having a Zoom lunch with a friend: we are both feeling up-ended: it’s an edgy discomfort. There seems to be no ground that we can safely land and rest in our hearts or our minds. It is as though the turn in towards Autumn brings turbulence that is more unnerving than the-summer-of-going-nowhere. We are both circling in downwards spirals, going nowhere fast.

Two hours later, I am alive with possibility and wonder. On an upward curve, I could not have predicted. Everything and nothing has changed…


Living and learning through a systemic lens

jellyfish swimming in blue globe
jellyfish swimming in blue globe

Living in Systems is a platform to develop our systemic sensibility, sharing skills and developing competencies we can take back out into our emerging worlds.

Living in Systems is about learning to use Systems Thinking to inform how we take action in our lives.

It is about integrating embodied Systems Being with Systems Thinking in finding ways to be, in a fast-changing world.

It is about taking responsibility in our personal and professional lives to live authentically and to design systems that serve both humans and the planet.

We live in complexity, we…


Bio

me smiling in a pub with a pint
me smiling in a pub with a pint
The pint of 2020

I find myself living in liminal spaces, always in gaps, where the nebulous gold of our lives reside. I can fee it and touch it and it illudes description, but ripples through all our being. And it is a source of eternal inquiry for me.

The most momentous moments of my life have been the spaces in between, where all the magic happens when I thought I was just going from a to b. And this does not necessarily make me a patient person. …


And why turning up matters so much

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Image for post

How do we craft new ways of living in an uncertain world?

Part of my Dad still punctuates a ditch halfway between the town I come from and the farmhouse where we spent school holidays. His first camper van still leans at an angle, dirty and creased with rust, pointing west.

Eternally stuck in time and space.

We spent many hours bombing along that road, sweeping in the mountain, and sea, driving towards the beach, or some other urgent mission. There was no expectation of more: a simple pleasure tinged with silent satisfaction. But the world has taken several turns since my Dad last roamed the earth at van-height.

This turn is…


Al line of bees that look like people, painted on a wall with “Bee Uniquie” written over them and sea in background
Al line of bees that look like people, painted on a wall with “Bee Uniquie” written over them and sea in background

So what do we do, when we cant hug our friends, visit elderly parents, pick up grandchildren? When our allocated spot on the planet shrivels to our home, a room, which becomes our office, dining room, kitchen or bedroom?

How do we stay sane? Connected? Vital?

The practices that have grounded me and those I have worked with remotely through Zoom have led to surprising levels of intimacy and connection, between people who have never met, as well as those whose bonds go back decades. The practices involve nothing more than turning up as you are and hanging out with…

Joan O'Donnell

Doctoral researcher, lecturer, living and learning in systems. Advanced Social Presencing Practitioner, Editor: https://medium.com/living-in-systems

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