November 25, 2002

Spirituality and Personal Development
Nurture for Leaders

The meeting was attended by 17 members and 32 guests.

Business of the Institute

Stewardship and the Environment. Jim Haliburton gave an update on the several projects proceeding under this theme. Michael Dunn reported that the process for establishing the Gulf Islands Centre for Environmental Learning is proceeding well.

Business and Sustainability. Desmond Berghofer announced that the next meeting of the Institute will be on the theme of Business and Sustainability on January 23, 2003. A flyer announcing the program will be available early in the New Year.

Youth and Education. Gerri Schwartz advised that the Institute has now received 3 sets of the “Living Values” books described at last month's meeting. One set will be used with students at the Vancouver Learning Centre. The other 2 sets will be given to the New Westminster School District and the Faculty of Education at UBC in support of the pilot project on a values-based curriculum.

Membership. The new membership year begins in January 2003. Members are asked to renew their membership with payment of $120 for 8 meetings in 2003. If you have a credit because you joined during 2002, Desmond Berghofer will advise you. Please make payment by sending a cheque to 209 –1628 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver BC V6J 1G1.


Diane Jennings chaired this session in her role as Chair of the Spirituality and Personal Development Committee. Diane briefly reported on previous activities of this committee (Youth Spirit Quest and a presentation on Spiritual Intelligence by Tanis Helliwell). She said that the current work of the committee focuses on the nurturing of leaders and that on the previous weekend the committee had sponsored an inspiring workshop on Bowen island led by Gerri Schwartz.

Diane then introduced Gerri as the speaker for tonight's program, emphasizing Gerri's long and distinguished career as a psychologist and inspiring leader of initiatives in personal development, creativity and ethical leadership.

Gerri divided the program into 3 parts: presentation, visualization and discussion.


Opening question: Who are you when you are not doing?

All of us are energy, connected to one another by the energy we share. We pour our energy into the spaces between our relationships. It is the power of this energy that makes a difference.

Strong leaders are always putting out energy, but too often they don't get nurtured in return. Tonight's program is about providing some space for nurturance.

Some questions to consider:

The best you can be is to use your gifts to support the needs of the world. It is a combination of heart, spirit and mind that determines the outcome.

Gerri said her presentation was based on her reading of two books:

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Vantage Books, 1955.
I will not die an unlived life: Reclaiming Purpose and Passion by Dawna Markova, Conair Press, 2000.

Though these two books are separated by half a century, their authors are clearly soul sisters. They both engaged life to the full. They each had tragedies in their lives to overcome. They each went away on a retreat and put the “time police” on hold. We all need to do the same from time to time to make space for a miracle to come through. The two books emerged from their author's retreats.

We all need to take a sacred pause and create a blank screen for messages to come through.

A second main question for the evening is: How do you create a ripple effect in the world?

Gerri told the story of how the following poem by Dawna Markova created a ripple effect when it was picked up and used by a powerful African woman to work with impoverished women in Africa.

Living Wide Open:
Landscapes of the Mind

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

Dawna Markova

Gerri then referred to the work of Milton Erikson who built on the work of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers in searching for the patterns of success (rather than limitations) that made people successful in life.


Gerri led the audience in a visualization to consider their own patterns of success throughout the decades of their life.


People shared their patterns of success with a neighbour.

The audience then discussed in groups what they saw as the needs of the community and the world.


The following points were reported from the discussion groups:

  1. Changing the world starts with being the change ourselves
  2. Need to honour each other and to listen non-judgmentally
  3. We can create a ripple effect through education
  4. People at the bottom need to be empowered
  5. The world needs less emphasis on finances and more emphasis on sharing and intervening for good
  6. We need to support organic growers
  7. We need to question authority
  8. Face to face communication is best
  9. We need to use our power as we, the people, to force corporations and governments to sign on to a code of ethics
  10. Support random acts of kindness
  11. Model the community you wish to see
  12. Value children as our most important asset
  13. Honour the wisdom of elders
  14. Re-connect with Nature
  15. Put more fun and joy into our lives
  16. Honour feminine power (creativity, intuition, emotion)
  17. Use the media to create a ripple effect
  18. Encourage businesses to create wellness departments
  19. Take little action steps every day
  20. Write letters of complaint to TV stations that broadcast bad stuff
  21. Support community banking
  22. “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn is relevant reading

The following needs of the community and the world emerge from this list:

  1. Need to honour, empower and educate whole society
  2. Need to support and respect elders, children and the natural world that supports us all
  3. Need to honour the feminine and especially to give respect to creativity and intuition
  4. Need to support organic farming
  5. Need for corporations to be ethical and pay attention to the wellness of their employees
  6. Need to embrace a changing consciousness so respect for each other is common practice, as is kindness and willingness to listen

How do your gifts and talents intersect with these needs of the community and the world? What actions can you take to help meet these needs?

Gerri concluded her presentation by reading her poem, written under her pen name of Lea Star, Yes(2) [click here to read in Acrobat ] [click here to download in Word]. She invited everyone to compile their own list of yeses to help meet the needs of the community and the world. She stressed that our unique talents are just potential until they are used to meet the needs around us.


Diane stressed that the Institute for Ethical Leadership is a group of people who have agreed together to act for the common good. We are working strategically to address some of the needs of the community and the world. We meet monthly to support each other and our various projects. All guests are invited to join the Institute, a company of soldiers of love on the journey.

Next Meeting

January 23, 2003: 5.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m., Vancouver Public Library
Theme: Business and Sustainability
Topic: To be announced,