18 Feb 2018 Who are we now?

Hello to you.  It’s 11:45 am on this cool, gray Sunday.  I just wanted to share a positive word.  I feel like I am discovering a way to be useful in this world, and it’s not an easy process but a process just the same – seeking and finding the positive things in people, places and things.   I used to be really good at this – when I was a child of course.  Well thankfully, inside, I still feel my inner child very much alive!  The part of me that our Sam taught me to hold on to – there are no strangers in this world, just family you haven’t met yet.  Not just friends, FAMILY.  Why do I say that?  With my understanding of God as energy.   If everything is energy and everything is God then that makes us all – every single form of life know and unknown – family!

Anyhew.   In my meditation this morning, the message that came forth was about how the past can hang and or trip us up to getting to where we want to go.  I have shared this before here but I will share it again:  “It’s not who we were in the past, it’s who we are now.”  The God of my understanding doesn’t care about the past because Time is our device.  The God of my understanding doesn’t care about what mistakes we’ve made in the past only if we don’t learn from them and intentionally keep repeating them.  If we don’t even try to make amends to those we’ve wronged to include ourselves.

As I sat outside doing this drawing and meditation a thought occurred to me for places we could start making amends – prisons of all kinds, nursing homes, mental health facilities, rehabilitation centers and our churches.  All the places for humans, animals and plants that could be considered cages.  Unconditional love and forgiveness has not been taught or learned by many.  What if we were to work together starting in a place we all share….the heart?  Just a thought…an idea with a positive intention and or motive.


DSC_0549 18 Feb 2018 Jackie Wygant morning meditation Alvarado TX


13 Feb 2018 Seek First to Understand

20 April 2017 – I don’t know why but I put these things together. The Prayer of St. Francis is one of my very favorites.

Hello just a quick post.  I wanted to share some thoughts that came to me today.  I had been feeling anxious and my brain was running pretty fast and I’m tired from not sleeping so well the past couple of nights.  So I grabbed my chalks, even though it is cold out (if you dress appropriately the cold isn’t so bad), and these thoughts came to me….specifically the words of one of my favorite prayers.  The part about seeking to understand versus always being understood specifically.  Most of my life I’ve tried to do the understanding part but it’s not always easy.  Sometimes you want others to “get you” to understand why you are the way you are and you can’t tell them the whole story of why because they have their own problems too.   It’s hard to focus on other people’s “stuff” when while they are talking, you are thinking about your own self the whole time….”what’s in this for me?  why should I care?”  It’s hard to be selfless and empathetic and or caring and also take care of, even “protect” yourself from others stuff.  This is where compromise, respect, treating others like you would want to be treated and healthy boundaries and all that good stuff comes into play.

Anyhew – hope something here resonates.  One person can’t fix a mess as big as the one we’ve got here on Earth.  I know I didn’t make all this mess but I did have my part in all of it.  We each have a part in the mess and have to find our way of working towards a loving, peaceful, non-violent solution to it.  It didn’t happen overnight!  The phrase that keeps coming to me, “Trust the Process.”  For me that means having faith in myself and the God of my understanding that there is a plan in all of this.

26 Oct 2017 A Simple Prayer St Francis that belong to Kyles Grandma Pat Hultgren

13 Feb 2018 – what a birthday gift to be able to do this every day. What is Time for?  To make money or make a meaningful life?  What is money without a meaningful life?  We’ve created quite the paradox!


10 Feb 2018 Houses and Becoming

Hello again. It’s cold and getting colder by the minute as I write. Today will be an inside day I think! This morning I finished working on the blanket I started working on back in January of last year! It’s a corner to corner pattern that my friend Erin and Red Heart Yarn taught me how to do and it’s pretty much the only one I use now lol.

10 Feb 2018 – finished my blanket this morning! Thinking I have a friend I may be gifting it to.

I did get out for a quick chalk meditation this morning and some interesting stuff came forward. For many, what I am sharing with you may not resonate with your belief systems, culture, morals or value system…may seem strange even. You may not agree with what is here and that is perfectly fine! Everyone has a comfort zone….a “warm blanket” if you will. I am just passing on what came to me with no expectation from you the reader.

10 Feb 2018 My morning chalk meditation messages

A phrase kept popping into my head this morning, “Old God’s in New Houses.” That is from where this meditation stems from – the train of thought. It may seem something like out of horror films or repulsive but a pallative way to consider this information would be the simple phrase at the end of it all, “I feel, I think, therefore I am, I become.” Who are you? Did you know once a long time ago but the world beat and or numbed it out of you? I am hoping to empower you to be who God brought you here to be. To remember who you are and if you can’t and want to, do the work here in this shared dream this planet-sized school we are all in, and find out!

10 Feb 2018 My notes about chalk meditation this morning.

From my own personal experiences, and what I’ve observed in the world, this is happening. Have you ever met someone and felt like you met them before? What was it about them?  A look, a gesture, a walk, a way of speaking, something they said, sharing sentences…a smell?  Some of this is just nature of course but I believe there is more to it than that.  Perhaps on some level you have or did. If you think about the entire cycle of life, death and new life why would that not be possible? What if the energy all around us, capable of making an entire planet full of life, not have such a system? Recycling? Repurposing? What is energy? To me? God! What is God? Life, death and new life. How do we get there? It’s a process and it takes time but it is eternal.

Aaliyah – Miss You

Source Internet – I LOVE this quote from Black Elk


9 Feb 2018 Love and Abandonment (Morning meditation)

9 Feb 2018 /1019 am

I was outside preparing to do some “chalking” when a revelation about connection between “wisdom,” Why of Life and Death and Tree of Life came. It was instigated by my finding seeds that blew down from cotton tree to my hoodie. My good friend the cotton tree helping me again. What came brought forth a lot of tears. If I (we as a species) had remained ignorant, didn’t need to find out why (curiosity) I (we) wouldn’t know or care about living and dying. Sentience and consciousness, “awareness” would never have happened and may be we would have been happier — “Ignorance is Bliss” philosophy.

17 May 2017 – Cottonwood seed ships

Love changed everything because with love comes “attachment.” Something I learned more about through Buddhism’s the 4 Noble Truths and the 8 Fold Path. When you lose something or someone you love more than “existence” you will tear heaven and earth apart to find it, reclaim it. What I was willing to do at Mesa Springs when I didn’t know where Kyle was. What happened to me for 3 years after we lost our Sammy.

Source Internet: Seed of Life. I loved that this is made in stained glass with chakra colors.

Abandonment creates some of the largest energy vortexes, human black holes. It can be “perceived” or intentional abandonment but the abandoned feel it all the same. Why?!Where did you go?! When are you coming back?! Will you come back?!

(My mother, my Grandparents….all those I’ve loved and lost for whatever reason. I had to grieve and heal — fill the holes their “abandonment of me” left behind.

All of us have lost people, places and things through our shared journey. Are we so attached to these that we are willing to destroy ourselves and a planet to retrieve them? This is just what I see for myself. I hope there is something in this morning meditation that resonates with you….is helpful. I would ask you, what positive, loving aspect of existence can you put in the “holes” some sort of abandonment has made in your mind, body and most importantly your soul?

What do I do? All through my blogs here is what I’ve learned to do for myself with unseen guidance and loving nudges from the tangible elements that surround me. The arts, meaningful work, chores, spirituality, helping others and educating myself about people, places and things I don’t understand before making judgements about them. It is in the latter I have come to realize I can judge no one nor is there anyone on this earth who can either. We are all imperfect and it is in that imperfection we are amazing creations capable of greatness beyond our wildest dreams. We are here for each other. No one person can fix this shared mess our world has become. We must learn to build bridges instead of more walls.

17-feb-2011-my-puppy-sammy-and-his-tennis-ball (Sammy crossed the rainbow bridge 27 April 2011)

My Mom Jeanne and my Grandpa Harold (Hal) Becker on her wedding day, 21 Nov 1965.

8 Feb 2018 Dr. Wilhelm Reich books The Cancer biopathy and Function of the Orgasm Alvarado TX

8 Feb 2018 Jackie Wygant Blue Book for Alcoholics Anonymous Alvarado TX meditation about addiction like sugar etc

8 Feb 2018 Two books from Grandma Becker and Aunt Ruth to help me heal inside when I was younger I read from How to Be your own best friend out loud Alvarado TX


8 Feb 2018 Morphing through Time (Enigma)

8 Feb 2018 – sketch I did this morning. He looks like a composite of all the men I have loved and or admired through my life all in one. I did a numbers thing with my name Jacqueline and Kyles today. My name’s letters added up was 106 and Kyle’s 53. I thought that was so beautiful that he would be the other part of me like that!

Morphing Thru Time


Earth. A biosphere.
A complex,
Subtly balanced life support system.

Et turtur nidum,
Ubi reponat pullos suos
Altaria tua Domine virtutum,
Rex meus, et Deus meus
(and the turtledove a nest
Where it might place its young
Your altar of strengths, Lord,
My king and my God,)

We are floating over the line
Let us follow our mind
All of our life we’ll wait for the answer
And the question is why

If we’re following our mind
We can glide into light
No one knows if there’ll be an answer
While we’re morphing through time

We are floating over the line
Let us follow our mind
All of our life we’ll wait for the answer
And the question is why

Enigma – Morphing thru time (with lyrics)

Someone I didn’t know before that I heard for the first time today:

Geraldine Farrar – Kreisler: Star of Love


Alice Geraldine Farrar[1] (February 28, 1882 – March 11, 1967) was an American soprano opera singer and film actress, noted for her beauty, acting ability, and “the intimate timbre of her voice.”[2] She had a large following among young women, who were nicknamed “Gerry-flappers”.[3][4]

8 Feb 2018 – books Kyle and I picked up at Half Price Books today.


5 Feb 2018 We Are Humans First

4 Feb 2018 – notes on a chalk meditation I did about the water situation in Cape Town South Africa. I feel this is yet another “warning” for this entire world. Water is essential to all life. I read yesterday a town in Michigan is fighting with Nestle. Are they mad about not getting very much money from Nestle ($200  a year which makes me think of how oil and gas does business with small towns and royalties for mineral rights), the environmental impact or loss of water? What’s more important? Water is the most “precious” element on this planet, should it be made a commodity when no one can live without it?  What is fair?  Paying for the services it takes to get clean, safe water I think.  https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/tiny-michigan-town-in-water-fight-with-nestle/ar-BBIFykh?OCID=ansmsnnews11

5 Feb 2018 – We are all Human – not a color, not a creed, not a religion, not a sports team or a company logo. In the beginning there was darkness, blackness, shadow and there was light and both of them were part of life.

4 Feb 2018 – Rainbow by our back door – this with the colors of my husbands flannel were symbolic to me. There is always a fragment of Hope even when all seems lost.

4 Feb 2018 – Drawing I did after spending time out back in the late afternoon sun.

4 Feb 2018 – What I have come to understand for myself and I don’t expect anyone else to have the same understanding, is that God is everything, God is all and everything is energy. God doesn’t “feel” or “care” – that’s what we were made for.

Last night we watched the second half of the Eagles and Patriots game and really enjoyed it.  It was a clean game with few penalty flags or injuries to players.  I saw good sportsmanship between members of the opposing teams which is a good thing to show our young people.  We decided to watch it to support the players, the fans (people), and the companies with the courage to start putting their money where their “mouths” are with regards to trying to give back to the world they (all of us) rely on to exist.  Leading by example.  It’s not about pride, flags, race, religion and all the plethora of labels we’ve come up with to segregate ourselves from one another – it’s about focusing on how diversity is a strength and how we are humans first.

“We are all humans – each walk of life on this planet has done bad things to ourselves and others. I would like to see us begin to focus on our shared strengths and how our diversity is part of that strength. We are biologically incapable of perceiving the world the same for a reason. If we can focus on how we are a human beings first perhaps more will develop empathy towards their fellows.”

I think we have a world filled with people who have never know unconditional love in all the many forms in which it exists.  They go to church on Sunday and hear stories about a God of conditions for giving them love and all the conditions for being “worthy” of it.  They go to work and schools where it’s always about conditions….being good enough or risking losing everything.  They go home and their families place conditions on them for their love and devotion too.  If no one ever shows you this kind of love, if all your life is nothing but conditions, how could you know what it is.  I was and remain blessed to have those who show me what unconditional love is.    This one, Sammy, our cocker spaniel, was the my first true example – no judgement of me when I got made at him, no cares about how I looked, smelled, what I was wearing, what music I listened to, what car we had to drive or where we lived – NO CONDITIONS!  He just wanted to love and be loved.  The only conditions that existed, and he didn’t put them there, we did, was spending time together, cuddling, playing together, walks, food and water.

Me with our cocker spaniel Sammy on 25 Dec 2009. He passed away 27 April 2011.

I hope something here resonates with you and in the place I’d most like to see people use when they are making decisions – your heart. 




http://www.johnsoncountytx.org/election-day-locations – I looked at the ballot this morning for the Democratic Primaries.  I’m glad I did and would recommend my fellow Texans do the same.  I’m not sure how I feel about the word “right” anymore.  When I see it and process the word, it sounds like entitlement and that word has some negative connections to it for me.  I think we have basic things that are rights – like food, water, clothing and shelter,  and everything else I’m not so sure is a right.  I am not so sure people just want everything given to them without putting forth any effort to obtain it.  I do think there should be fair systems in place so everyone has an equal opportunity to obtain what they want beyond the basics they need for survival.  Anyhew, there are many important issues on the ballot!  Definitely need to get informed and get out and vote!

DSC_0425 4 Feb 2018 Jackie Wygant morning meditation Alvarado TX 25



29 Jan 2018 Taking My Time and Never Truly Alone

28 Jan 2018 – Taking my time with this painting.  Not sure what I want to add next, so I’m going to let it sit until I know. 

29 Jan 2018 – drawing I did this morning – “5 parts.” We are male, female, light, shadow and spirit.

29 Jan 2018 – It was seeing this image through a glass crystal that inspired the title.

Just wanted to pop in and say hello.  Not been feeling 100% today.  Not sure if it’s the emerging super moon or what.  I am very sensitive to these energies.

Today was full of reminders for me that no matter how alone I feel for lack of human company, I am far from alone.  For starters, there was the rescue of a poor old cricket with a shiny golden face who was nearly frozen to death on the porch this morning.  I held them in my hand for a time and then found a safe place for them to get themselves sorted out.  Their antenna’s were all crooked lol.  Then there was the mud dauber wasp (black wasp) https://txbeeinspection.tamu.edu/mud-daubers/) that got into the house and I helped them back out – pink cup transport!  What was cool is when I got it outside, two other wasps showed up and acted almost like they were waiting for the one I got out of the house!  They twitched their beautiful raven wings at each other and all flew off together.  Finally tonight I was out admiring the beautiful night light to include Pleiades which is currently over the house and saw a dark shape on the power line across the street.  It was an owl!  It was flying up and down so it must have been hunting.  I was overcome with happy tears about seeing such a special night birdy.   Just the night before I had done a little drawing in my journal about such a thing, only it was Deegan out there with me.   My imagination of course.

Wish upon a star….the stars don’t care how old you are (wink) Pleiades

Anyhew – I hope this finds you loved and loving.  I know these times are hard for so many everywhere and it’s easy to lose to hope….to lose faith in ourselves and our fellows.  I couldn’t even bring myself to look at much by way of news or Facebook today!  There is a great upheaval going on in humanity and nature itself.

Something I learned in my Quantum Touch training (energy healing) was to focus on what you love the most when you were working to help others heal.  The same principles can be applied for what it takes to heal yourself.

Source Internet – loved this!



16 Jan 2018 A Swamp filled with Lions and Crocodiles (Dream) and Resilience

15 Jan 2018 – Drawing from yesterday. The word Untangled came to mind – the beauty of complete and true spiritual freedom.

Hello to you. It’s 8:39 am as I begin to write to you. It’s 21 degrees, with a feels like of 6 outside right now! Definitely winter here! So how are you? Hopefully you have nutritious food, clothing, shelter, clean water, clean air to breathe and love. Unless someone chooses to go without, I think everyone should have those basic things!

So with it being colder for sleeping, I’ve been dreaming a lot. The dreams aren’t always coherent enough to share but this first one is. It’s very symbolic I think of what it’s like to try and exist in this world.

The dream began with an actual flash of text, “What went wrong?” Then the dream progressed to a family living on a farm surrounded by a swamp populated with large crocodiles (this came from a video we watched recently of a man filming crocs and his friends telling him to run because they were coming after him) and lions (this came from a recent video of seeing a woman being dragged off by a tiger and mauled nearly to death (killed her mom) at one of those animal safari parks and healthy lion cubs being killed in Sweden).

Well if you didn’t time it right, you couldn’t travel because the reptiles would get too close to the house. I actually had a showdown with two of them through a glass door. Someone had left the house and couldn’t come home because of this situation. I remember watching lions trying to climb over the crocodiles without getting bitten. It was a very uneasy relationship.

The symbolism of the dream holds true to the world we live in especially at the upper echelons it seems. I watch these human beings who claim to be civilized barely cooperating, biting each other, mauling and even complete devouring one another just to keep their “stuff” and their power. There is little compassion or empathy it seems – just doing whatever it takes to survive with little regard to collateral damage.  I haven’t lost hope in them though.  Each day I catch glimpses of the leaders and type of people I think they really want to be – people who make this world better for more than just themselves and their kin.  Progress not perfection!

Then there is this. I searched Google and Bing and found this one article that inspired me to believe we are more than just combatants in this world. This is also a great example of resilience. Today’s Daily Good article really ties into what it takes for a veteran like Brandon Dodson and so many others not to completely lose their shit after serving in the military. Resilience is a word that has figured into my own life on more than one occasion. Just when I thought I was broken beyond repair, the God of my understanding and all the accompanying Earth Angels they could send lifted me back up:


Walls raised for double amputee’s home in Vista

The “Walls of Honor” event was organized by the Gary Sinise Foundation, which is building the 3,000-square-foot house for Dodson, who lost both legs in Afghanistan in 2014, and his family.

Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.
Malcolm S. Forbes


Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings. –Victor Hugo

The Gifts of Imperfection

–by Brene Brown, syndicated from spiritualityandpractice.com, Jan 16, 2018

Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

“Resilience — the ability to overcome adversity — has been a growing topic of study since the early 1970s. In a world plagued by stress and struggle, everyone from psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers to clergy and criminal justice researchers want to why and how some folks are better at bouncing back from hardship than others. We want to understand why some people can cope with stress and trauma in a way that allows them to move forward in their lives, and why other people appear more affected and stuck.

“As I collected and analyzed my data, I recognized that many of the people I interviewed were describing stories of resilience. I heard stories about people cultivating Wholehearted lives despite adversity. I learned about people’s capacities to stay mindful and authentic under great stress and anxiety, and I heard people describe how they were able to transform trauma into Wholehearted thriving.

“It wasn’t difficult to recognize these stories as tales of resilience because I was in graduate school during the heyday of resilience research. I knew these narratives were threaded with what we call protective factors — the things we do, have, and practice that give us the bounce.

“What Makes Up Resilience?

“If you look at the current research, here are five of the most common factors of resilient people:

“1. They are resourceful and have good problem-solving skills.

  1. They are more likely to seek help.
  2. They hold the belief that they can do something that will help them to manage their feelings and to cope.
  3. They have social support available to them.
  4. They are connected with others, such as family or friends.

“Of course, there are more factors, depending on the researchers, but these are the big ones.

“At first, I hoped the patterns that I observed in my research would lead to a very straightforward conclusion — resilience is a core component of Wholeheartedness — just like the other guideposts. But there was something more to what I was hearing. The stories had more in common than just resilience; all of these stories were about spirit.

“According to the people I interviewed, the very foundation of the ‘protective factors’ — the things that made them bouncy — was their spirituality. By spirituality, I’m not talking about religion or theology, but I am talking about a shared and deeply held belief. Based on the interviews, here’s how I define spirituality:

“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.

“Without exception, spirituality — the belief in connection, a power greater than self, and interconnections grounded in love and compassion — emerged as a component of resilience. Most people spoke of God, but not everyone. Some were occasional churchgoers; others were not. Some worshipped at fishing holes; others in temples, mosques, or at home. Some struggled with the idea of religion; others were devout members of organized religions. The one thing that they all had in common was spirituality as the foundation of their resilience.

“From this foundation of spirituality, three other significant patterns emerged as being essential to resilience:

“1. Cultivating hope

  1. Practicing critical awareness
  2. Letting go of numbing and taking the edge off vulnerability, discomfort, and pain”

Syndicated from Spirituality & Health magazine. S&H was founded in 1998 for people seeking holistic health in body, mind, and spirit. It aspires to help guide the journey to self-knowledge, authenticity, and integration. Its articles draw from the wisdom of many traditions and cultures, with an emphasis on sharing spiritual practices, and look to science to help provide a context for the spiritual quest. Read more from Spirituality & Health here.



14 Jan 2018 Emergence (Drawing) and What exactly is Emergence? (Peggy Holman Cultivating leadership for complex times)

Hello,  how are you?  Keeping it short.  I did a scan of the headlines and even in places I was hoping to find something positive…nope!  Thankfully a couple of WordPress blogs I read this morning did have positive messages; here are links if you wish to check them out!



The final drawing I did yesterday was one I really liked and may even put to canvas at some point.  What came to mind about it was the word Emergence.  What is the definition of this word?  It’s not an easy word to define I found out!  I found Peggy Holman’s method understandable for someone like me and a couple of videos on the different spectrums of understanding.  The whole subject has lit a spark of “wow! that’s fascinating!” in my brain!

When  I was thinking of it after doing my drawing, I was thinking of shining even when we don’t want to – emerging out of our personal darkness and shining.  Quite simple compared to what I’ve watched and read this morning!

*19 Jan 2018 if you take a look at this article’s pictures, looking at the divers going through the cave with their flashlights makes me think of this drawing lol!  So cool!  http://fox43.com/2018/01/19/divers-discover-worlds-longest-underwater-cave-system/

13 Jan 2018 – I really liked this drawing after I was done. The word Emergence came looking at it. It is so hard sometimes to emerge from where we are hiding, our personal darkness in order to share ourselves with others and shine our personal light in the world. Kind of a personal hokey pokey perhaps?! “One foot in, one foot out….”


Chapter 1. What Is Emergence?

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

—Carl Sagan, Cosmos

For most of us, the notion of emergence is tough to grasp because the concept is just entering our consciousness. When something new arises, we have no simple, shorthand language for it. The words we try seem like jargon. So we stumble with words, images, and analogies to communicate this whiff in the air that we can barely smell. We know it exists because something does not fit easily into what we already know.

Emergence disrupts, creates dissonance. We make sense of the disturbances that emergence creates partially through developing language that helps us to tease out useful distinctions. As the vocabulary to describe what is emerging becomes more familiar, our understanding increases. For example, disturbance, disruption, and dissonance are part of the language of engaging emergence. These terms are cousins, and I often use them interchangeably. Disruption is the most general of the three words. If something involves an emotional nuance, chances are that I call the disruption a disturbance. When conflict is involved or the disruption is particularly grating, with a lack of agreement or harmony, I will likely refer to its dissonance.

This chapter helps build a vocabulary we can all use by defining emergence. The chapter also provides a brief history of how our understanding of emergence has evolved. It offers some distinctions between strong and weak emergence and describes essential characteristics of emergence—what it looks like and how it behaves. The chapter ends by reflecting on the challenge of learning how to engage emergence.

Defining Emergence

In the preface, I defined emergence as simply as possible: order arising out of chaos. A more nuanced definition is higher-order complexity arising out of chaos in which novel, coherent structures coalesce through interactions among the diverse entities of a system. Emergence occurs when these interactions disrupt, causing the system to differentiate and ultimately coalesce into something novel.

Key elements of this definition are chaos and novelty. Chaos is random interactions among different entities in a given context. Think of people at a cocktail party. Chaos contains no clear patterns or rules of interaction. Make that a cocktail party in which no single culture prevails, so that no one is sure how close to stand to others, whether to make eye contact, or whether to use first or last names. Emergent order arises when a novel, more complex system forms. It often happens in an unexpected, almost magical leap. The cocktail party is actually a surprise party, and everyone knows where to hide and when to sing “Happy Birthday.”

Emergence produces novel systems—coherent interactions among entities following basic principles. In his bestseller Emergence, science writer Steven Johnson puts it this way: “Agents residing on one scale start producing behavior that lies one scale above them: ants create colonies; urbanites create neighborhoods; simple pattern-recognition software learns how to recommend new books.”1 Emergence in human systems has produced new technologies, towns, democracy, and some would say consciousness—the capacity for self-reflection.

A Short History of Emergence

If we want to engage emergence, understanding its origins helps. Scientist Peter Corning offers a brilliant essay on emergence.2 He brought a multitude of sources together to describe an evolution in perspectives. I have paraphrased some highlights:

  • Emergence has gone in and out of favor since 1875. According to philosopher David Blitz, the term was coined by the pioneer psychologist G. H. Lewes, who wrote, “[T]here is a co-operation of things of unlike kinds. The emergent is unlike its components . . . and it cannot be reduced to their sum or their difference.” By the 1920s, the ideas of emergence fell into disfavor under the onslaught of analysis. Analysis was seen as the best means to make sense of our world. In recent years, nonlinear mathematical tools have provided the means to model complex, dynamic interactions. This modeling capability has revived interest in emergence—how whole systems evolve.
  • Emergence is intimately tied to studies of evolution. Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher and contemporary of Darwin’s, described emergence as “an inherent, energy-driven trend in evolution toward new levels of organization.” It described the sudden changes in evolution—the move from ocean to land, from ape to human.

Although evolutionary scientists have done much of the work, people from a variety of disciplines have also struggled to explain this common and mysterious experience. What enables an unexpected leap of understanding in a field of study or practice? In 1962, Thomas Kuhn contributed to our understanding by coining the term paradigm shift to describe a tradition-shattering change in the guiding assumptions of a scientific discipline.3

Then the Santa Fe Institute, a leader in defining the frontiers of complex systems research, took the work further. Engagingly told by Mitchell Waldrop in his book Complexity, the story of how the Santa Fe Institute was born reads like a great adventure.4 In the mid-1980s, a hunch brought biologists, cosmologists, physicists, economists, and others to the Los Alamos National Laboratory to explore odd notions about complexity, adaptation, upheavals at the edge of chaos.5 Though their disciplines used different terms, they shared a common experience with this strange form of change. They were no longer alone with their questions. Others were exploring the same edges.

They gave this experience a name: emergent complexity, or emergence for short. While emergence has aspects of the familiar—Mom’s nose, Dad’s eyes—it is its own notion. It isn’t just integrating old ideas with what’s new. It is something more—and different. It is whole systems evolving over time. Single-cell organisms interact, and multicellular creatures emerge. Humans become self-conscious and track their own evolution.

In Emergence, Steven Johnson speaks of how our understanding of emergence has evolved.6 In the initial phase, seekers grappled with ideas of self-organization without language to describe it. Without a coherent frame of reference, the ideas were like a magician’s illusion: our attention was diverted to the familiar while the real action was happening unseen in front of our noses.

As language emerged—complexity, self-organization, complex adaptive systems—a second phase began. These terms focused our attention in new directions. People started coming together across disciplines to understand the nature of these patterns. The Santa Fe Institute was central to this phase.

During the 1990s, we entered a third phase, applied emergence, in which we “stopped analyzing emergence and started creating it.”7 In other words, we could see emergence occurring naturally in phenomena like anthills. And we started working with it—for example, developing software that recognizes music or helps us find mates.

This book is about creating conditions for applied emergence in our social systems. It aims to help us work with the dynamics of emergent complexity so that our intentions are realized as life-serving outcomes.

Distinctions Between Weak and Strong Emergence

Scientists distinguish two forms of emergence: weak and strong emergence. Understanding this distinction clears up some confusion. Predictable patterns of emergent phenomena, such as traffic flows and anthills, are examples of weak emergence. In contrast, strong emergence is experienced as upheaval. When disruptions dramatically change a system’s form, as in revolutions and renaissances, strong emergence has occurred.

Weak emergence describes new properties arising in a system. A baby is wholly unique from its parents, yet is basically predictable in form. In weak emergence, rules or principles act as the authority, providing context for the system to function. In effect, they eliminate the need for someone in charge. Road systems are a simple example.

Strong emergence occurs when a novel form arises that was completely unpredictable. We could not have guessed its properties by understanding what came before. Nor can we trace its roots from its components or their interactions. We see stories on television. Yet we could not have predicted this form of storytelling from books.

As strong emergence occurs, the rules or assumptions that shape a system cease to be reliable. The system becomes chaotic. In our social systems, perhaps the situation is too complex for a traditional hierarchy to address it. Self-organizing responses to emergencies are an example. Such circumstances give emergence its reputation for unnerving leaps of faith.

Yet emergent systems increase order even in the absence of command and central control: useful things happen with no one in charge. Open systems extract information and order out of their environment. They bring coherence to increasingly complex forms. In emergent change processes, setting clear intentions, creating hospitable conditions, and inviting diverse people to connect does the work. Think of it as an extended cocktail party with a purpose.

Characteristics of Emergence

Although the conversation continues, scientists generally agree on these qualities of emergence:

Radical novelty—At each level of complexity, entirely new properties appear (for example, from autocracy—rule by one person with unlimited power—to democracy, where people are the ultimate source of political power)

Coherence—A stable system of interactions (an elephant, a biosphere, an agreement)

Wholeness—Not just the sum of its parts, but also different and irreducible from its parts (humans are more than the composition of lots of cells)

Dynamic—Always in process, continuing to evolve (changes in transportation: walking, horse and buggy, autos, trains, buses, airplanes)

Downward causation—The system shaping the behavior of the parts (roads determine where we drive)

The phrase “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” captures key aspects of these ideas. Birds flock, sand forms dunes, and individuals create societies. Each of these phrases names a related but distinct system. Each system is composed of, influenced by, but different from its mate: birds and flocks, sand and dunes, individuals and societies.

As with all change, emergence occurs when disruptions shape the interactions. In emergence, coherence breaks apart; differences surface and re-form in a novel system. The two most frequently cited dynamics:

No one is in charge—No conductor is orchestrating orderly activity (ecosystems, economic systems, activity in a city).

Simple rules engender complex behavior—Randomness becomes coherent as individuals, each following a few basic principles or assumptions, interact with their neighbors (birds flock; traffic flows).

Twelve-step programs characterize these ideas at work. Most participants are fiercely independent people who are not there to follow someone in authority. Yet with the guidance offered through 12 statements, these programs are highly complex, worldwide organizations that have influenced the lives of millions.

No doubt the simplicity of these two dynamics may leave many senior executives and government agency heads skeptical. No one is in charge? Not likely. Isn’t it interesting that the word order is a term for issuing instructions? What happens when orders come from the top? If they disrupt existing functions of the organization, sometimes it moves in novel and useful directions. And sometimes the orders produce entirely unexpected—emergent—outcomes that arise from within the system, bearing little resemblance to the orders given.

If managers say, “We’re too complex for simple rules,” chances are they’re confusing complicated and complex. We often make things more complicated than necessary. Filling out a form in a bureaucracy is a common example. Complexity is entirely different. Complexity has elegance. It is, to paraphrase Einstein, as simple as possible but not simpler.

Emergence is an energy-efficient approach to accomplishing complex tasks. Consider the different costs of handling conflict through dialogue versus war. Negotiations among a handful of diplomats can lead to breakthrough agreements for all involved. In contrast, armed conflict involves thousands and generally produces results that work for one party, along with loss of life and property for all involved. Quite a different proposition in time, money, and life!

How Does Novelty Emerge?

Two key dynamics shape how novelty arises—how systems, including us, learn and adapt. Increasingly complex and novel forms emerge from interactions among autonomous, diverse agents, like us, through

  • feedback among neighboring agents, and
  • clustering as like finds like.


Systems grow and self-regulate through feedback. Output from one interaction influences the next interaction. We talk to a neighbor, we share some of the discussion with friends, and suddenly everyone in town knows that Sally married Harry.

Disruptions are feedback. They signal potential change. Most of us focus on the symptoms, the visible outcomes of such signals. A fight breaks out, and we concentrate on who is winning and losing. What caused the fight? How else might it be resolved? We ask different questions when we pay attention to what’s behind the feedback.

Feedback opens communication. It connects what’s inside and outside, at the top and bottom, across and within systems. It gives us a chance to notice what is emerging and discern its meaning.

Systems theory uses feedback loops to help us map how interactions influence each other. It names two types of feedback loops: reinforcing and balancing loops.

Perhaps this is how the fight erupted: I speak my mind. It pushes your buttons; you get mad and push back. Even if I hadn’t intended to irritate you, now I’m on the defensive. To protect myself, I attack you. And things escalate. In what is called a reinforcing feedback loop, output reinforces an action in the same general direction—sometimes toward more, sometimes toward less. Reinforcing loops are also called vicious or, when healthy, virtuous cycles.

Another form of feedback occurs through balancing feedback loops. Opposite forces counteract each other. Separation of powers among executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of government illustrates balancing loops. Each keeps the others in check. In healthy systems, those that continually learn and adapt, balancing loops periodically interrupt reinforcing loops, ending their perpetual growth. Without such checks we get global warming, economic meltdowns, and cancer.


As we interact, feeding back to each other, like attracts like. Some of us bond around a shared characteristic. For example, we both like the same candidate for office. Over time, small groups with similar interests form. Perhaps parents advocate for a new style of school. With continued interaction, small groups become larger groups. Increasingly complex networks take shape when something binds them together. Parents, teachers, and small businesses unite to create new types of schools. At some point, a complex and stable cluster arises. It has unique properties unlike its individual elements. A national movement for charter schools takes off. Something novel emerges.

Humans are talented at pattern matching—clustering like with like. We even do it unconsciously. We see it indirectly in how towns and cities form. Asian districts exist in San Francisco, New York, and London. All of the auto dealerships are in the same part of town. As maps of the Internet are created, clusters of highly interconnected sites are appearing. We are experiencing emergence in process. Through our increasingly sophisticated technology, we can track complex networks forming. New tools show us the neural networks of the brain, the ecosystems of nature, and social structures in cultures. The ability to see complexity is reinvigorating interest in emergence. We can finally study complex patterns over time and space.

Such tools make complex stories visible. For example, at a 2010 Journalism That Matters conference, a map of Northwest news and information Web sites caught the attention of an executive editor. He noticed the competition in the center of the map. He searched long and hard to locate his organization. A colleague explained that their antiquated technology caused the problem. No doubt, priorities changed when the executive returned to the office.

Learning How to Engage Emergence

The story of emergence is still young. We have struggled with its existence, described some of its properties, and given it a name. We are early in understanding what it means to social systems—organizations, communities, and sectors such as politics, health care, and education. We are just learning how to work with it to support positive changes and deep transformation.

In social systems, emergence can move us toward possibilities that serve enduring needs, intentions, and values. Forms can change, conserving essential truths while bringing forth innovations that weren’t possible before. In journalism, traditional values of accuracy and transparency are making their way into the blogosphere, social network sites, and other emerging media.

Emergence is a process, continual and never-ending. It emphasizes interactions as much as it does the people or elements interacting. Most of us focus on what we can observe—the animal, the project outcome, the object. Emergence involves also paying attention to what is happening—the stranger arriving with different cultural assumptions that ripple through the organization or community.

Emergence is a product of interactions among diverse entities. Since interactions don’t exist in a vacuum, the context also matters. That is why just bringing diverse people together won’t necessarily lead to a promising outcome. Initial conditions set the context. How the invitation is issued, the quality of welcome, the questions posed, the physical space, all influence whether a fight breaks out or warm, unexpected partnerships form.

In truth, working with emergence can be a bit like befriending Kokopelli, a trickster of the ancient Pueblo peoples of the American Southwest, or his Norse counterpart, Loki. Working with mischievous spirits always has some catches.

Back to the Table of Contents

On to Chapter 2. What’s the Catch?

A couple of videos, if you type the word Emergence in to You Tube, there are more:

PHILOSOPHY – Metaphysics: Emergence

Emergence – How Stupid Things Become Smart Together (Kyle and I had to laugh about this)


12 Jan 2018 Time Travelers (chalk drawing) and How to Overcome Stress by Seeing Other People’s Joy (http://www.dailygood.org)

11 Jan 2018 – it’s been very cold and windy here the past couple of days so I haven’t been out chalk drawing as much. The sun is out but it’s not supposed to break 40 degrees today!

Hello to you.  It’s 9:01 am as I write to you.  The sun is shining out back but I know it’s still very cold LOL!  We are watching the in-laws dogs Henry and Suzie….last night was as the dogs say…RUFF!  We were up at midnight cleaning up poop and watching You tube Nuke’s Top 5 Lists lool!  There is always an adjustment period when combining packs!

My prayers go out to all those in California and all other parts of the world today.   Whether you are trying to survive the elements of Mother Nature or those of Humankind’s making, I hope you have what you need to get through it.  I hope you know you aren’t alone in this world even if often it may seem like it.  I decided to visit one of my favorite websites for positive stories and found this one.  I hope something in it will resonate in your heart today.

Learn to make the mediator between what you think and what you do be your heart.  If you feel your heart sink below center at the prospect of a thought or an action, chances are whatever it is isn’t the right thing for you!

“If it ain’t light, it ain’t right!” – Carol Lee


If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal every moment. –Carlos Santana


How to Overcome Stress by Seeing Other People’s Joy

–by Kelly McGonigal , syndicated from Greater Good, Nov 21, 2017

 If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, don’t cut yourself off from other people, says Kelly McGonigal. Instead, double down on your capacity for connection.

One evening when I walked into a classroom to teach my Science of Stress course, I found a newspaper waiting for me on the lectern. A student had brought in an article called “Stress: It’s Contagious.” The report claimed that stress is “as contagious as any airborne pathogen” and compared its toxicity to secondhand smoke.

As an example, the news story described a study showing that participants had an empathic physiological stress response when they observed another person struggling. One of the researchers commented, “It was surprising how easily the stress was transmitted.”

As someone who studies both stress and empathy, I get asked about this research a lot. Does it mean that empathy is a liability, increasing your risk of exhaustion, depression, or burnout? If you are highly empathic, are you doomed to become a reservoir for other people’s pain and suffering?

One solution is to create stronger emotional barriers—to put on a psychological Hazmat suit to protect against the stress and suffering you don’t want to catch. I’ve seen this approach adopted by many people in the helping professions, including health care, social work, and teaching.

If you are feeling similarly overwhelmed by how affected you are by the emotions of others, I’d like to offer another possibility for preserving your well-being: Double down on your capacity for empathy. Instead of trying to become immune to other people’s stress, increase your susceptibility to catch other people’s joy.

The benefits of positive empathy

While modern psychological science has largely focused on empathy for negative states, a new field of research dubbed “positive empathy” shows that it is also possible to catch happiness.

You might have seen studies showing that seeing other people in pain can activate the pain system in your own brain. It turns out your brain will also resonate with positive emotions. For example, when you witness other’s good fortune, it can activate the brain’s reward system. Moreover, this kind of contagious happiness can be an important source of well-being. The tendency to experience positive empathy is linked to greater life satisfaction, peace of mind, and happiness. It is also associated with greater trust, support, and satisfaction in close relationships.

Those around you may benefit from your empathic joy, as well. One study examined the experience of empathic joy in teachers in fourteen different U.S. states. The teachers who had more frequent experiences of positive empathy toward their students felt more connected to them. This positive attitude led to more positive interactions with students, as observed by classroom evaluators, and higher academic achievement by their students.

Importantly, positive empathy doesn’t just make you feel good; it can also inspire you to do good. The tendency to feel empathic joy is associated with a stronger desire to help others thrive, and a greater willingness to take action to do so. Positive empathy also enhances the warm glow you feel from helping others—making compassion much more sustainable.

Search for small moments of joy

Joy is a big-sounding word, and so we tend to look for classic expressions of “big” joy—huge smiles, exclamations of delight, hugs and cheers. The kind of joy associated with winning the lottery and marriage proposals.

Yet other forms of joy exist all around us. As you begin to look for joy, you will notice more and more of them. There is the joy of pleasures, simple or sublime, such as enjoying a delicious meal, listening to music, or savoring how it feels to hold a baby in your arms. There is the joy of purpose, and how it feels to contribute, work hard, learn, and grow. There is the joy of being connected to something bigger than yourself, be it nature, family, or faith. There is the joy of wonder—being curious, experiencing new things, and feeling awe or surprise.

There is the joy of being acknowledged and appreciated by others—sensing what you have to offer, and knowing that you matter. There is the joy of being your best self—how good it feels to use your strengths in service of something you care about, or to express your most deeply held values. There is the joy of having your needs met—being helped, listened to, or held in a comforting embrace. There is the joy of laughter, and especially shared laughter, and especially shared laughter when everything seems to be falling apart.

These are just a few of the possible joys you can witness. When you keep your eyes open for them, you learn a lot about how much possibility there is for joy for ordinary moments, and even difficult circumstances.

Ultimately, this is how I think of empathic joy: as a resource that allows you to stay engaged with life not just when things go well, but also when they are difficult. It’s not just a practice of celebrating and amplifying the good; it also allows us to sustain hope when we face the reality of suffering unrelieved and needs yet unmet.

How to catch joy

What if right now, your empathy radar seems tuned in only to stress, unable to resonate with other people’s happiness? Maybe you even feel the opposite of contagious joy: envy at other people’s success, isolated by others’ happiness, reminded by their good fortune of what you long for, or lack.

If so, you aren’t alone. Philosophers and psychologists have observed that, for many people, empathy for negative emotions is more instinctive than for positive states.

Fortunately, you don’t have to rely only on instincts; empathic joy can be cultivated. In Buddhist psychology, empathic joy is considered one of the four brahmavihāras (sublime attitudes), alongside equanimity, loving kindness, and compassion. Like other mindsets, empathic joy can be deliberately trained as a way to deepen your wisdom and well-being. With practice, you can strengthen your capacity to notice, resonate with, and celebrate the happiness of others.

Here are five of my favorite everyday practices for catching joy. As you strengthen your intention to notice joy, you will surely discover your own favorite ways to witness and share in the happiness of others.

1. Watch a child or animal play. Delight in their joy, energy, and wonder. Let yourself smile or laugh as their playfulness awakens a similar spirit in you.

2. Watch an athletic, artistic, or other kind of competition without taking sides. Appreciate the effort, skill, or artistry of all competitors—and celebrate the joy of whoever wins. Feel glad for their success, and watch how they celebrate it with others. See if you can extend your empathic joy to how they share the moment with friends, family, coaches, or teammates.

3. Help someone else celebrate their happiness. If someone shares good news, ask them to tell you more, and listen whole-heartedly. If you become aware of an accomplishment or milestone in a person’s life, write them a congratulatory email or Facebook post. Go beyond “pro forma” congratulations and really feel the joy of helping someone savor something positive.

4. Witness the good in others. Set the goal to notice when others display character strengths like kindness, honesty, courage, or perseverance. Take joy in seeing the good. Feel heart-glad about what you observe. Let yourself feel inspired by their actions to do good yourself.

5. Let someone else do something nice for you. This might not seem like a practice of empathic joy, but it becomes one when you begin to pay attention to how happy it makes the other person. Sometimes our own discomfort with receiving kindness, or fear of being a burden to others, gets in the way of seeing that joy.

As Pema Chodron writes in The Places that Scare You:

“Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world. We can do this even at the most difficult moments. Everything we see, hear, taste, and smell has the power to strengthen and uplift us.”

From this point of view, it becomes possible to open your heart to what can feel, at first, like a vulnerability. To let your natural capacity for empathy connect you to both the pain and joy of others, and to trust that this capacity is a blessing, not a liability.

This article is syndicated from Greater Good, the online magazine of the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC). Based at UC Berkeley, the GGSC studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society. Author Kelly McGonigal, PhD, is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, and a leading expert in the new field of “science-help.” She is the author of The Willpower Instinct and The Upside of Stress.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
Lao Tzu

The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it
Marcus Aurelius

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
Albert Einstein