In the Eye of the Storm. Now is the Time for Edgewalkers

Edited By Susan Furness, Edgewalker Senior Associate

US-based Dr Judi Neal offers a heartfelt observation on the troubling realities world over, showing how the Edgewalkers can help. In 2006 she wrote the book Edgewalkers, people and organizations that take risks, build new bridges, and break new ground.  

In the Middle East, Edgewalkers International is represented by the well-known brand strategist Susan Furness.  

The original article was penned by Dr Neal for the Edgewalker Blog   

“The world is on edge. I’m on edge. I can’t tell if we are on the edge of destruction or on the edge of creating a more loving world that works for all.  I feel strongly that this is the time for Edgewalkers to help make a difference”.  

Humanity is experiencing a perfect storm of three global crises at once, all embedded in the global climate crisis.  There is the crisis of a global pandemic, creating life and death choices. There is the racial crisis of oppression and brutality to people who look different from us. There is the crisis of leadership through fear and domination.  Each of these crises appears to set us back on our evolutionary path. Things can seem darker and darker, and we find ourselves facing a perfect storm of challenges.  

How will we respond? Will we rise to the occasion? Will conscious change agents find ways to facilitate transformation? Will individuals make the changes needed to make a difference? Will old era leaders reach their limitations and make way for enlightened leaders? Only time will tell.  

Here’s my thinking about each of the three global crises and the role for Edgewalkers in creating transformation.     

The Pandemic Crisis  

There is something different about Covid-19 and about being in a pandemic in the age of the internet.Those of us interested in sensing the future could see it coming, from the news coming out of China and then Europe. This kind of information wasn’t available in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, but it is available now. We stood in shock as leaders in some countries responded with denial. They ignored the facts and the science. People are continuing to die needlessly because of lack of preparedness and ineffective policies of some governments.    

The Racism Crisis  

Racism, oppression and brutality towards others who are “different” are not new phenomena. They are ‘designed’ to accumulate and hold onto power and privilege.  These tactics come from our tribal fear of  ‘the other’; a belief that some feel they are genetically superior to other races and they should therefore dominate society. The irony is science focussed on. the genetics of race has found no evidence that race exists as a biologic or genetic concept. It is a social construct. As a kid I read somewhere that “there will be peace on Earth when all the world is tea-colored”. Maya Angelou said, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”     

The Leadership Crisis  

The Course in Miracles (like many other spiritual texts) states that at every moment, we have a choice between love and fear.  Authoritarian leaders choose to rule by fear; their motivation is to hold on to and increase their sense of power.  The motivation of democratic and spiritual leaders  is to empower others to take on leadership and to increase the common good. These Edgewalker leaders choose to lead with love.  There are no perfect leaders, and no leader leads perfectly all the time. We are all human. People make mistakes. Still, it’s not difficult to sense whether someone is leading through fear and intimidation or through love and compassion.   

The three challenges – the pandemic crisis, the racism crisis, and the leadership crisis – requires more than we are used to providing. They are a stretch for humanity. They are high level assignments in the ‘spiritual graduate school’. As these individual crises come together in a perfect storm, our boat can feel battered. We may not survive. But our will to live is strong, and so is our will to evolve to higher levels of potential and consciousness. We are on the edge of something uncharted. Edgewalkers, pioneers, and bridge builders are being called to step forth.  

Now is the Time for Edgewalkers  

The convergence of these three crises call for us to embrace and integrate Edgewalker qualities and skills as humanity hopes to navigate this perfect storm and to arrive on a peaceful shore in the near future.   

Edgewalker Qualities  

1. SELF-AWARENESS: Is essential to anyone wanting to live their purpose and make a difference.  It consists of emotional and spiritual intelligence, and  developed through journaling, meditation, contemplation, and being in nature. It is supported through therapy, spiritual direction and/or coaching. It’s important to take the time be aware of what you are thinking, feeling and needing, not gather the winds of other people’s agendas, especially in the midst of chaos.  

2. PASSION: We are each here for a reason, with a unique calling and purpose. This is discovered by self-awareness and paying attention to what gives energy and what drains energy.  The intensity of our responses are clues to what we should be doing. When we don’t know “how,” we trust the Universe will guide us into action if we take the first step.  

3. INTEGRITY: Is about aligning our core values and our actions. What do we take a stand for?  It takes self-awareness to realize what our core values are, and it takes passion and integrity to live them, even when it might cost us dearly.  

4. VISION: If Edgewalkers are going to help build a new, healthier, more just and inclusive world, we must use reason and intuition to envision what’s possible. The clearer our vision of the world post-Covid-19, and post-protests, the more we can work together to create that vision.  Most spiritual traditions have practices that help u to clarify vision, and we can use our rational minds to assess the patterns and trends of what seems to want to emerge at this time in history.Vision is essential to transformation.  If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.  

5. PLAYFULNESS: Transformative work is hard, demanding work, whether personal or organizational transformation, or shifting global consciousness. It’s very easy to get caught up in what needs to be done and to forget our playful, spontaneous and creative human nature.  But this is essential if our transformational work is to be sustainable.  It’s important to have fun and to lighten up. Laughter lights up the whole brain and actually makes us more intelligent.   

Edgewalker Skills   

1. SENSING THE FUTURE: Rather than ask “What’s wrong and how can we fix it?” Edgewalkers ask “What wants to emerge?”; “What’s possible now that wasn’t possible before?”. In disruptive times, it no longer works to predict the future based on the past. Intuition, divination, synchronicities and other non-linear processes are far more useful in times of crisis than linear forecasting, trend analysis and mathematical modeling. The most powerful way to sense the future is to co-create it with each other and with divine guidance.  As visionaries, we picture a world that works for all, a world where each person is supported in living their full potential including their intuitive and spiritual potential.  

2. RISK-TAKING: While Edgewalkers are usually seen as risk-takers, they don’t see themselves that way because they have a strong inner knowing when taking certain actions.  We aren’t talking about inappropriate risk-taking that can harm others, but the risk of trusting you will be guided by something higher. What are you willing to risk and to let go of in order to make space for something more meaningful to emerge?  

3. MANIFESTING: Edgewalkers are practical mystics, soulful facilitators and change agents. We move from visions, to plans, to shared actions for transformation. We attract others to our big ideas, and help build communities as we organize and inspire people. We know how to get things done with one foot in the mainstream (the source of the current power structure) and one foot in the margins of system (where innovation is born). We know who to contact, how the system works, and how to create what’s never been created before using spiritual skills such as intention, prayer and affirmations, and organizing skills such as communication, technology, networking. We are political savvy to either shift or replace systems or situations that are broken.  

4. FOCUSING: In the midst of these three crises colliding, we must stay centered and focused on what we are to do and who we are called to be. We are the quiet eye of the storm.  It is the time to remember our core values, our visions, and our strengths; why we are on the plan at this time. Contemplative practices help us remain centered, grounded and focused, as we carry the fruits into individual conversations, Zoom meetings, and even protests. More than anything, remember to breathe.  

5. CONNECTING: Edgewalkers are natural connectors. During self-isolation, Edgewalkers are reaching out more than ever.  We tend to belong to several different communities and find ways to link these communities and movement(s) begin. We are energized and inspired by these connections; they give us the courage to do what we came to do.  

In the words of Nelson Mandela: “There is no passion to be found in playing small in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”.  

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