Why Your Organization’s Culture Matters

In the 1990’s Roger James and I tried to help an engineering firm tackle some difficult issues like retaining staff and completing projects.  The groundbreaking work of Edgar Schein on Organizational Culture and Leadership had just been published. Most leaders and consultants did not understand what culture was nor how it affected organizational performance. Now, with the benefit of having helped numerous organizations successfully define and create strong, desired cultures, I realize that the engineering … Read more…

The Wisdom Body

  Once upon a time one of my dear friends quipped, “My body? It’s just a garage for my brain.” I chortled, recognizing my own perspective. Her name was Mary too. This was several decades ago. Now, I know better. The body is not an empty structure in which to park anything. Nor is it anything to unconsciously push around as if it were an object, subject to my demands or anyone else’s.  The Body … Read more…

Generating New Fields of Awareness: The Neuropsychology of Change

April 6-9, 2021 Daily from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm PT Mary Gelinas, Ed.D. and David Sibbet have been working together for several years on neuropsychology & change, co-facilitating eight GLEN Exchanges in 2018-19. This workshop integrates all this experience with new thinking from Mary’s work with Alan Briskin on fields and David’s visual facilitation experience. It will be offered to general public now as well as to GLEN members with a 50% discount. The … Read more…

An Antidote to Uncertainty

In a recent conversation with friends and colleagues in the United States and Europe, Marilee Adams, author of an insightful best-seller—“Change Your Questions, Change Your Life”—said, “The antidote to uncertainty is inquiry.” Since then, I have been reflecting on the truth of this observation. “Antidote” usually refers to a medicine to counteract a particular poison. Although uncertainty is not a poison, the discomfort we feel with uncertainty can become one. So, although I like the … Read more…

The Gifts and Challenges of Generative Listening

The first time I was listened to, really listened to, was a revelation. It happened in my mid-twenties while talking with Grace, a close colleague and friend. She did something deceptively simple. She paid attention. She restated back to me what she understood me to say. Then she asked a question to increase her understanding of what I was trying to convey.  Hearing my words reflected back to me was revelatory. I felt seen and … Read more…

Engender Psychological Safety at Work

Would you like to wield a magic wand and create a work environment in which people feel safe enough to take interpersonal risks, try new things, acknowledge mistakes and learn? In other words, a climate in which people do NOT embarrass, reject, or punish one another for speaking up? This is what you could get if employees feel psychologically safe. A 2017 Gallup poll estimated if leaders could move the current ratio of employees who … Read more…

Human Consciousness and Generative Social Fields

This post is inspired by ongoing conversations with my colleague Alan Briskin as we consider writing a book about social fields. The intention is to examine what they are and how to create generative ones in the service of positive social change. I intend it to be a follow-on to Alan’s blog post The Power of Fields. As I reflect on conversations with my friend and colleague Alan and his recent blog post, these phrases … Read more…

Four Rivers of Life in 2019

Although I live in the land of six rivers—the Smith, Klamath, Trinity, Mad, Van Duzen, and Eel—today I write about the four rivers of life: Inspiration, Surprise, Challenge, and Love. I learned about these rivers from my beloved teacher Angeles Arrien (1940—2014). According to Angeles, many traditional societies believe that these rivers—Inspiration, Surprise, Challenge, and Love—sustain and support us. They also connect us to the greater gifts of appreciating one’s life and making sure we … Read more…

The Fourth Dimension of Social Fields: The Human Mind

A note from Mary: This post is longer and more dense than usual. I am exploring some big questions so please hang in with me and read through the whole piece. I would so appreciate your sending me your questions, comments or suggestions. Last Saturday night, my husband, Roger James, and I watched the last episode of HBO’s five-part mini-series “Chernobyl.” It tells the story of the nuclear accident that occurred on April 26, 1986, … Read more…

That Which Is Unseen…

How do you feel in your meetings at work? Happy, sad, glad, mad or scared? What are your thoughts during those meetings? “This is such a waste of my time.” Or, “I am glad to be part of this conversation.” How does your body feel? Tired, engaged, agitated, calm? All three of these—your emotions, thoughts, and body sensations—contribute to a larger social or relational field in which the meeting is happening. The social fields we … Read more…