Blog Posts By

Margaret Wheatley

Margaret Wheatley

Founder of The Berkana Institute, Meg has been working with people for many years to develop radically new practices and ideas for organizing, where people are seen as the blessing, not the problem. In her early years, she eagerly studied in many different disciplines, including science, history, literature, systems thinking, organizational behavior, social policy, cosmology, archeology, geology and theology. In the mid-sixties, Meg spent two years in the Peace Corps in Korea, learning to thrive in a foreign culture, teaching junior and senior high school English. Since 1973 Meg has been a consultant and speaker and has worked (she believes) with almost all types of organizations and people. They range from the head of the U.S. Army to twelve year old Girl Scouts, from CEOs to small town ministers. This diversity includes Fortune 100 corporations, government agencies, healthcare institutions, foundations, public schools, colleges, major church denominations, professional associations, and monasteries. She has also been privileged to work on all continents (except Antarctica). These organizations and people are wrestling with a similar dilemma—how to maintain direction, integrity, motivation, and effectiveness as we cope with relentless turbulence and unending change in this very troubled world. Meg is an internationally acclaimed speaker and author of Leadership and the New Science, A Simpler Way, Turning to One Another, Finding Our Way and more recently, Perserverence, So Far from Home and How Does Raven Know?

My Personal Journey into Warriorship

Posted on February 7, 2017

Who do we choose to be in service to this time? I have asked this question of thousands of people in many different places for the past few years and now it’s become the title of my newest book. It’s a question I had been asking myself for many years, as I struggled to discover ways I could serve that also would give me the ability to persevere. Now, after many decades of working in the world, I have declared my answer to this question by naming myself a Warrior for the Human Spirit.

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Berkana Steps into a Bold Experiment in Living Systems

Posted on March 13, 2012

All living organisms and all living systems rest. From the smallest single cell organism to vast aspen groves connected via intricate networks of roots, life must pause, be still, relax, hibernate, lose its leaves. Stillness is a state of being which allows organisms to later thrive. If perennial plants did not shrivel up and lose their leaves in the winter, they couldn’t reserve their vitality to come back in the spring. If we did not go to sleep every night, we would not have the energy to do all that we need to do during the day. There is a Chinese saying: “the circle of wholeness is made up of action and stillness.” We all need to rest from time to time.

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Come On Irene!

Posted on February 28, 2012

No more prizes for predicting the rain, only prizes for building the arks.” —Don Beck

This quote appeared on the invite for the Vermont Art of Hosting that took place in late August, 2011. Little did we know that a week after the training Vermonters would be putting their ark building skills to the test when the torrential rains of Hurricane Irene tore the state apart. The calling question for our Art of Hosting was: What are the conversations we need to have with each other to build healthy and resilient communities now? We explored meaningful conversation as a catalyst for community building in the region, where belonging, identity and neighborliness are dyed-in-the-wool traditions.

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Hablamos de la Comunalidad

Posted on October 26, 2011

Last night I went to a talk by local anthropologist, Benjamín Maldonado about the origins and history of comunalidad. Given Berkana’s focus on healthy and resilient communities, I thought it would be worth my time to learn a bit more about what people here in Oaxaca mean when they talk about community. Comunalidad is a framework that grew out of the work of a small group of anthropologists here in the South of Mexico at the end of the 70s. This theory explores the essence of indigenous communal life in this region. Read More »

Working Locally to Support Upcycling as a System of Influence

Posted on September 16, 2011

This fall will mark the five-year anniversary of the first time I upcycled my own trash. With the help of friends from SoMoHo (Soweto Mountain of Hope) in South Africa, I transformed a couple soda cans into a pair of earrings, a necklace and a bracelet. Since then I’ve become increasingly passionate about the practice and the mindset behind upcycling (making things that are more useful, beautiful or durable from what was previously considered garbage).U.S. citizens generate around 251 million tons of waste a year – 4.6 pounds per person per day. I’m convinced that if we begin to recognize waste as the most abundant resource on our planet, we’ll not only contribute to “solving” what is currently one of our most pressing global dilemmas, we’ll also become more creative, both individually and collectively. I’m also convinced that creative thinking is absolutely essential to develop during times of increasing complexity and uncertainty. Read More »