Hi, my name is Ajax. I am the new Chief Operating Officer here at the Foundation for Family and Community Healing. As a long time, serial social entrepreneur and business advisor I am deeply passionate about our work here. I thought I might share the situation I personally (along with many others) see humanity in and my theory of change which is why I remain so hopeful and inspired.
It might not feel inspirational to start a blog post with a list of all that is wrong with the world and an image of humanity on the cusp of a collapse that would make Mad Max proud. Please hang in there with me. I promise there is a happy ending.
Many folks in the activist community have settled on the term “The Great Unraveling” to describe where we are collectively; I too believe this is an appropriate descriptor.
In the 1970’s the term “poly–crisis” was coined. It describes large system breakdowns across many silos of specialists, which is how our society primarily functions and why we are struggling today. In 2023 “polycrisis” became hip at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. It was even given the title of Random House’s 2023 word of the year.
The description below of The Great Unraveling (Meta Crisis) lists 28 polycrises on my personal list. Please note that one polycrisis could potentially exist within multiple categories; I have done my best to organize them as logically as possible. This list has been shared with many smart folks. Most feel the list is accurate, some feel its sadly too short. You can decide for yourself.
Environmental polycrises (10)
- Climate change (carbon)*
- Species collapse*
- Water (droughts, floods, poor quality, sea-level rise), sinking land*
- Land use policies (extraction, over-farming, mono-cropping, overbuilding)*
- Increasing challenging/diminishing access to natural resources used in supply chains*
- Waste management (Nuclear and solid, composting)*
- Plastic crisis*
- Air pollution*
- Natural disasters (increased storms, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires)
- Pandemics (unforeseen new diseases)
Social poly–crises (18)
- Income inequality/poverty*
- Economic/business change/collapse*
- Social inequality (race, gender, etc.)*
- Failing healthcare system*
- Food system*
- Housing shortage & affordability*
- Care crisis (demographic shifts)*
- Technology (AI, robots, etc.)*
- War/Nuclear/violence (still here and very disruptive)
- Social division (we value money over life, short-termism, authoritarianism) crisis of democracy, truthiness)
- Education (costs & value of college, public school quality)
- Guns/mass shootings/crime*
- Birth rates (voluntary childlessness, infertility)
- Global and national debt*
- Employment shortage/Medicare/SS crunch (demographic shifts)*
- Human mass migrations
- Complexity, misinformation, and trust in institutions, problem-solving, and decision-making*
- Mental health and loneliness epidemic
*Denotes the 20 poly–crises primarily driven by our economic system and business activity. This is, in part, why I believe focusing on evolving our economic system will give us the biggest returns.
This is why my life’s purpose is devoted to reinventing the way we do business.
OK, I apologize for raising such fear inducing topics. Now, on to the good stuff and why I am so excited about my involvement with The Foundation for Family and Community Healing.
In the face of these overwhelming challenges, I remain very hopeful for the future. Coherence is the path.
If wisdom is something more specific than time on the planet, then what is it? Coherence = Wisdom. What is coherence and where does it develop from?
The old myth that we only use 10% of our brain has been widely disproven. Then the question becomes how many parts of the brain are in use simultaneously? This is coherence. The more effectively and holistically we integrate our brain functions along with neurons in our heart and gut the better we function, the more coherence we tap into.
When I experience overwhelming fear as a rock climber, my brain narrows its focus to solve the problem. But what if the solution is outside of my now narrowed field of thought? This creates a potentially life-threatening situation. Yet, if we can recruit additional brain functions, we can open up our solution path and often find a usable way forward. Hence, I am still here to share this wisdom with you.
Many of you may be familiar with the term flow. Until science shows flow and coherence are the same thing, we will assume that they are close cousins. The global consulting firm McKinsey has said people working in a flow state are 500% more effective. How valuable would that be to you?
Below is the list of science-backed practices that, so far, are activities I believe promote brain coherence and subsequent wisdom.
This list may change and grow as science evolves.
To my knowledge little or no head-to-head studies have been done comparing these practices. The top four in the numbered list are the practices I have seen the most in scientific articles. They all have evidence-based results worth paying attention to.
The three vital things I find to make all the practices, listed below, most effective for brain coherence are:
- You must be intentional (you consciously are choosing to be on the path of inner growth)
- You must let go (stop driving your inner bus for a while)
- It must be a regular practice (I assume daily)
It is clear to me that two people going on a walk in nature together may get vastly different outcomes based on their adherence to the above loose criteria. By employing the three requisites above, each practice on the list below will become more effective.
- Meditation (all kinds)
- Mindfulness (This is a broad description of a range of practices focused on being present in the moment)
- Yoga (all styles)
- Breath work (intentional, through the nose, etc.)
- Time in nature/forest bathing/gardening/hiking
- Movement/Sports (in the flow)
- Art, music (in the flow)
- Gratitude & Generosity (as an intentional practice)
- Traditional authentic indigenous ceremonies (such as traditional sweat lodges)
You can Consciously Create Wellness practices through HealingEdu.org
As stated above these are all practices with a scientific basis. I am not a scientist and I am still learning, so it’s important to do your own research, too. Having done most of these practices deeply and all of them on occasion, my personal experience has been overwhelming and positive.
Why do these practices? They have been proven to gradually improve your motivation, creativity, moral reasoning, resilience, and health indicators (such as blood pressure). This is a partial list, yet in my mind incredibly impressive.
When I started meditating over 44 years ago, I was fortunate to have no expectations. Meditating twice a day just became what I did every day, with no thoughts or comparisons. Years later I noticed subtle yet amazing changes. I can say now, without reservation, that choosing to be consistent with my practice is the best decision I have ever made. I cannot imagine why others are not making their own version of this commitment.
Imagine a team of people at your organization who have their own individually designed self-practice from the list above. Far from being unified thinkers, they bring a flow of valuable thought and a capacity to collaborate and blend their original thinking with others.
In my opinion, this holistic approach to problem-solving is the next step in human evolution which will significantly evolve business. Changes in the brain can happen quite quickly and are cumulative. It starts with a commitment to self-care and grows exponentially when we collaborate with others for the greater good. Now, imagine your family, your community, and a global society in coherence and exhibiting the kind of wisdom that solves poly crises.
This is how we collectively save humanity and increase our prosperity in the process.
This is the beginning of a dialogue we will be having here on our blog, in our podcast, in our salons, and with our clients. Please join us.
We at the Foundation for Family and Community Healing welcome your comments below and by email. You can reach me at email@example.com
Can you and your organization use some wisdom?
Ajax Greene is the Chief Operations Officer at the Foundation for Family and Community Healing and founder of Coherence Collaborative.