Friday 13 August 2021



"Are there relations of the heart that embrace what is most cruel for the sake of wholeness? For the world is only the world when everything is included"

(From Rilke's letters, in 'A Year with Rilke' by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

The world is only the world when the whole is included... These words happen to be today's reading from the book 'Daily Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke'.

My natural inclination is to want to separate the beauty from the terror, the joy from the pain. I want to give my attention to and celebrate 'good' people, projects and initiatives and ignore, berate or grieve the 'bad' news  reported on a daily basis. The devastation of the planet, the damage to the web of life and the destruction to all living things...

And Rilke reminds me that I must include everything... This doesn't make everything ok, but it somehow helps. It helps me see the value, the worth, the importance and power of having an intention to open to life in all its forms. It helps me not to get obsessed with outcome and results. It helps me to surrender to emergence, uncertainty and to the 'not-knowing'. And I know that the neat and often-repeated phrase, 'surrendering to uncertainty', does not begin to describe what it is like to be in the midst of agonising dilemmas, between hope and despair, fear of collapse and chaos. 'Surrendering to Uncertainty' is a neat and contained phrase, it can even sound quite pleasant. The reality is more broken, messy, unexpected and chaotic.

An eternal question for me this past decade with Emergence has been 'what is my/our work?'. Again Rilke invites us to not  answer, but 'to live the questions'.  And so I've been reflecting on how what I do and how I do it has changed since the inception of Emergence in 2010.

Much of my work with Emergence has been about trying to understand the concept of 'Emergence' itself. It involves a commitment to the generative forces of life in all its messiness, wholeness and creativity. For me, this involves holding an intention of service to the individual and the collective, the local and the global, the inner and the outer. It demands a deep belief in the unstoppable forces of life. To be alive is to commit to emergence - to change, to transformation. It is this more than anything which tells me I am part of an interconnected and inseparable whole. That I am a part of this living and sentient universe.

Emergence has evolved and I hope is still  evolving. At the heart of the work is a recognition of the principle of change and transformation and our/my practice therefore has to continuously evolve as a result. If it doesn't evolve, it ossifies, loses its vitality and significance and dies.

And so, you may have noticed from our past and recent work... Emergence projects and offerings are continually emerging.

Which Emergence project/offering did you participate in? If you want to find out more just click the links and you will be taken to the Emergence website archive for the relevant project...


Station to the Sea Peace Walk

With each and every offering there has been a mysterious and magical process of 'listening to what wants to emerge through us at this moment in time'. The rest is a combination of getting out of the way and being present enough to enable 'something to happen'. Though the form might appear different, the intention and the energy behind the form is the same.

For me, Emergence involves surrendering to the methodology of the marvellous, embodied systems thinking, or simply the process or event of enabling a coming into being.

Every outcome has been unexpected and directed by the spirit of Emergence.

For details on what's coming up later this year and in 2022 and for information about Artist Residencies, future Retreats and The Centre for Emergence (The Barn), click here to go to the Emergence website...

Thanks for reading and for your support as always.

Yours Truly in the Spirit of Emergence,
Fern and Phil


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Photo of Labyrinth by Erin Rickard & Sean Puleston