Happy holidays!

May we try to slow down and really see each other this holiday season…….


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Great opportunity to follow live sessions in Amsterdam of U.LAB: Transforming Business, Society, and Self.


A few weeks ago I was in Cape Cod for a 4,5 day program with Otto Scharmer (MIT & Presencing Institute) on Theory U: collective leadership for profound innovation and change. It was a great privilege to attend the program with 60 people from all over the world and from all disciplines. During this program we learned how to sense and seize future opportunities and how to connect to the deeper journey of our professional and personal life in order to become a more effective leader and change-maker. Once again it was made clear that at the heart of this process we as a leader need to do some inner work. At the foundation are two root questions: who is my self and what is my work or purpose? Eventually, trustworthy leadership starts from within.

“The only change that will make the difference is the transformation of the heart” – Peter Senge

Now you will have the opportunity to take part yourself! On January 7th, Otto Scharmer will launch a six-week course called U.Lab: Transforming Business, Society, and Self.  A free online course delivered by MITx through the online platform edX.

Short description online course

This interactive and experiential course is about leading profound innovation in order to pioneer a more sustainable economy and society. It focuses on the intertwined relationship of the following three questions:

  1. Transformation of capitalism: how can capitalism and society evolve from their current forms to emerging future forms that create well-being for all?
  2. Multi-stakeholder innovation: what kind of leadership is required to create profound innovation at the scale of a whole eco-system of stakeholders and partners?
  3. Presencing: how can people access their authentic self – their highest future possibility – and “act from” that heightened state of awareness?

The course will facilitates a journey of profound self-knowing and change and is organized around three main threads:

  1. Personal reflections practices: self knowledge (Who am I? What is my journey and work?)
  2. Relational practices like deep listening, precise observation, and dialogue
  3. Social practices: the transformation of capitalism, sustainability, and or role in multi-sector leadership for profound system-wide innovation and change.

Live sessions

Additional to the online course you can take part in live sessions in Amsterdam on January 14th and 28th and on February the 11th 2015. Where you can meet other participants of the online course, discuss the live streams and take part in supplementary practicals. Sandra van der Maarel and Wibo Koole will facilitate the sessions.

You can find more information through the website of the Presencing Institute:

And at PureChange:

And you can register for U.Lab through

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A New Year with new opportunities to remember what matters most


Tomorrow starts a new year with new beginnings. I have been quiet these days, listening to my wishes for the New Year and the inevitable endings, what do I not want anymore?

I have seen the need to stay present in today’s complex interdependent and interconnected world. We are increasingly confronted by major challenges as well as profound transformational opportunities. I recognize silence and tranquility as an ally to understand more, and build resilience. And it’s not only that I recognize it, I need it, to make sense of things. Silence is also creating an opening. An opening to a space without emotional garbage, where you can stop to listen to your feelings, thoughts, dreams and questions.

This is the perfect season to do this, to shine light into the shadows that hide profound learning and change. Did you have time to reflect, to make sense of things? To what are you saying goodbye? What are your wishes or resolutions for the New Year? Rather than focus on a resolution that highlights our imperfections, remember our own basic goodness. Talking of imperfections isn’t that where the light comes in?

Resolve to pause, reflect, and appreciate the joys that you encounter day-to-day and take time to enjoy the simple things in life. Forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Happiness is what we experience when we allow ourselves to acknowledge in fact how good life is and letting ourselves be seen.

This year I will embrace more silence.

I wish you a wholehearted and inspiring 2014!

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Book review: Wisdom – From Philosophy to Neuroscience


 Wisdom is the constant questioning of where you are. And when you stop wanting to know, you’re dead. You’re walking, but you’re dead.

Billy Connolly

Before the summer I read the book ‘Wisdom’ – From Philosophy to Neuroscience from Stephen S. Hall. I grabbed the book on every free minute I had to read wherever I was. I noticed this morning it is still in my bag, so I never threw it out and probably wanted it to carry with me.

I discovered these past months while reading the book I became more self- consciousness with the day. I found myself thinking about my own life: my values, my choices, my shortcoming and my shadow. With the eight neural pillars of wisdom from Stephen Hall in mind I was forced to see the limitations and inconsistences of my own behavior. With every day passing by I discovered how hard it is to act even a little bit wise.

The Eight Neural Pillars of Wisdom

  1. Emotional Regulation: the art of coping.
  2. Knowing what’s important: the neural mechanism of establishing value and making judgment.
  3. Moral Reasoning: the biology of judging right or wrong.
  4. Compassion: the biology of loving-kindness and empathy
  5. Humility: the gift of perspective.
  6. Altruism: social justice, fairness, and the wisdom of punishment.
  7. Patience: temptation, delayed gratification, and the biology of learning to wait for larger rewards.
  8. Dealing with uncertainty: change, ‘meta-wisdom’, and vulcanization of the human brain.

How did I cope emotionally? What did I do or say when I had to deal, for example, with my children’s inconvenient moments of emotional demand or any other challenging situation? I was self-consciousness of the words I used, my tone of voice and actions. Is this the way wisdom begins? With awareness and reflections on your own behavior? With awareness of the tension between the inner “I” and the outer world?

This self-consciousness reminded me of the way I use to obsess about the way I speak and my behavior when I follow a training or course on personal development myself. With each new chapter of the book I had (involuntary) enrolled a program of personal leadership development with a lot of questions for which the answers lay inside myself.

As Stephen Hall puts it:

“Thinking about wisdom forces you think about the way you lead your life, just as reading about wisdom forces you to wrestle with its meaning and implications.”

Do you not only want to be smart, but get on the path to wisdom by reflecting meaningful on who you are and where you are going? As a start you can read this book, it is a minor investment in your personal development.

Enjoy reading.

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Zijn boeren wijzer dan ‘gewone’ mensen?

Applicants for wisdom do what I have done: inquire within – Heraclitus

Mijn zoon Olle van 8 jaar zat naast me in de auto en zei: “Boeren zijn eigenlijk veel wijzer dan gewone mensen”. “Wat bedoel je daar mee”, vroeg ik. “Nou kijk, boeren zitten veel minder achter een pc, ze zijn veel meer buiten in de natuur, ze letten goed op het weer en de dieren. Dan eten ze ook veel gezonder dan andere mensen en ze bewegen veel meer”. “En ik”, zegt hij vol overgave, “ik ben eigenlijk ook een boer. Soms moet ik écht even achter m’n ipad maar binnenin ben ik een boer.”

Nu het seizoen weer begonnen is lichten z’n ogen weer op als hij het weiland mag bemesten; de eerste keer maaien en de schapen weer de wei in leiden. Ja, dan is hij een boer.

En klopt zijn stelling nou? Als ik terugdenk aan Janice Longboat (Mohawk Elder from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory) in een interview op CBC radio en wat zij vertelde over wat wijsheid is ga ik redelijk ver mee in deze stelling.

Zij vertelde prachtig over ‘the seeds of wisdom’. Het allerbelangrijkste, wat wij als mens te doen hebben, is om de taal van de aarde te leren. Dat betekent dat we moeten luisteren naar wat de ouderen ons te vertellen hebben, en ook te leren luisteren naar de natuur. Luisteren naar het water, de bomen, alles dat groeit en bloeit. Dat is de taal van de aarde. ‘Het leven’ is de zaadjes van wijsheid. Verzamel de kennis vanaf je geboorte door te luisteren naar ‘de ouderen’, breng deze kennis terug in je dagelijkse leven en het wordt wijsheid!

Zeker waar, luisteren naar de ouderen. En ik leer ook zo te luisteren naar die kleine man. Jonge kinderen kunnen net als de boeren ook zo opletten, met wijde en open blik kijken. Zij observeren nog moeiteloos zonder oordeel, iets wat wij vaak, als we verder opgroeien weer opnieuw moeten leren.

Dus gaat het niet om luisteren naar wat de ouderen én de jongeren ons te vertellen hebben? En zit ik daar dan als 45-jarige precies tussenin? Eén ding is zeker, wijsheid is niet alleen verbonden aan ouderdom maar huist ook in een 8-jarige!

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Pari Center for New Learning

“Only love could bridge the gap between physics, spirit and psychology”

A beautiful first day at the Pari Center for New Learning with David Peat (Italy) on Synchronicity, Meaningful Coincidents, Encounters and the lives of Jung, Bohm and Pauli.Image

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