All that I am today is the sum total of my experiences. My offerings to the world are rooted in the many people who have nurtured, guided, inspired, taught, lead, coached, encouraged, critiqued, healed and educated me. This is my best and ongoing attempt to represent, acknowledge, thank, respect and honour those whose wake has directly and indirectly created the person that I am and I am becoming.
AGES 0-13 1971-1984
I come from Swedes, Scottish Celts, Lenni Lenape. The Winn family originates in Carnarvonshire, Wales in the 1200’s. Winn means pale or white. I am 5th generation Californian after my dad’s. My family names include Freeman, Chapman, Scott + Ray.
My mom and dad, Cheryl and Darrell Winn. My mom is a biologist and naturalist. My dad is a theatre artist – he designs lights and sets and worked my whole life growing up as the Production Supervisor for the Drama Department at UC Davis. My parents gave me every opportunity to be myself and learn about the world. Two things I am most grateful for – they did not teach me prejudice of any kind and they always told me I could do anything I wanted. My grandma Illa was an incredible role model – she loved gardening and dancing.
Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America. I come from a scouting family. I was an active Girl Scout by the age of 5 until age 15. I learned how to camp, mark trails, tie knots, sing songs, lead meetings, sell cookies, develop merit, be of service to my community. My mom was my Girl Scout leader. My dad has always been passionate about Boy Scouts – running troops, camps or regional administration. I am a lifelong member of the Girl Scouts.
My hamster fluffy. My french lopped-ear bunny Thumper. My dog (Westie) named penny.
Mrs. Bell in 3rd grade, Mr. Newman in 5th grade, Mr. Roach in 6th grade.
Mrs. Kessler, my church choir director, who taught me how to read music.
My childhood best friend, pam march.
AGES 14-26 1985 – 1998
1987 In August I went on my first trip to the African continent. My mom took me on a safari to Zimbabwe where I had my first encounter with wildlife, met my animal totem and experienced my domesticity for the first time.
1989 Dr. Wu who introduced me to Chinese medicine in 1990; in exchange for acupressure on my back I practiced Qi Gong. This was my first holistic healing experience.
1990 My first community development course with Dr. Isao Fugimoto at UC Davis; Isao introduced me to the ideas of empowerment and social justice. There is this famous idea in “development” that it is better to teach a man to fish than give him a fish. Isao led us through this brilliant critique of this statement unpacking all of the assumptions and histories created with this sentiment. Very surely, this was the beginning of my meta-critique of Development [sic].
1991-1993 School for International Training, Brattleboro, VT
Attending SIT was an incredible experience – I was exposed to people from all of the world who were attending SIT to study English. This was a pivotal life experience. I was introduced to systems thinking, Donella Meadows, sustainability, global development economics (IMF, World Bank, economic structural adjustment, food aid), UNCED.
Above all, I am grateful for learning an independent study methodology and a process for self-evaluation that I have used continuously. I learned how to learn. SIT taught me how to be a world citizen and how to consciously develop intercultural human relations skills.
Dr. Gloria Rudolph
…taught me that gender extends far beyond our biology; gender can be socially constructed. She insisted that I approach all understanding with her mantra: problem-cause-solution; she taught me to identify the system roots of any problem before we think about a solution.
Dr. Nikoi Kote-Nikoi
…my first significant mentor – Nikoi taught me fundamentally how to present ideas academically and how to form a theory and use words efficaciously. Nikoi is absolutely brilliant. He pressed on me the importance of not romanticizing poverty, indigenous people or the other – perhaps one of the most important caveats I have ever received.
I remember his great comments on my papers: eschew, tautological, pedantic, verbose.
Dr. Jeff Unsicker who told me that I was “prolifically exuberant” and as such I was not accepted into an academic program. Wow – this was such an engine for personal growth and self-reflection, for years actually, and I am really grateful – ultimately – for being exactly who I am!
My friends from SIT Beth Gates, Kevin DeGabriel, Geoff Dorn, Merede Graham, Alix Berry, Zane Redman, Kurt Kaler, Norman Howard – all made huge impacts on my life. Merede had to leave the planet way too early and I miss her.
1992 Gladys Maseko, Africa Community-Based Development Initiatives Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
Maseko is an Isindebele word that means the three rocks on the fire where the cooking pot goes.
Gladys gave me immeasurable insights into North-South relations; I realized that there is no such thing as joint action and mutuality while the hegemonic powers of colonialism are extant. These insights fundamentally influenced my early philosophical views on Development [sic]. This was also the first time I began to consciously think about “decision making”.
1992 Fambidzanai Permaculture Training Center, Harare, Zimbawe.
This was my first design course and where I learned about Permaculture. I was introduced to the idea of “Holistic Decision Making” based Allan Savory’s (from southern Rhodesia) idea of Holistic Range Management. Savory’s 7-step holistic decision-making process was a watershed idea in what became a serious trajectory of study and ultimately to the creation of a large body of work on the subject of decision making for sustainability. This course radically shifted my thinking about development (especially learning the 3 ethical postulates of permaculture) and was the first time i was introduced to the idea of a holistic design science.
1993 I took my first Nia class. I remember exercising for the first time in my life without having an asthma attack – this may have been my first physical experience of liberation.
1994 Living in Jakarta, Indonesia.
I learned how to eat rice with my hands and was exposed to all kinds of interesting paranormal metaphysical phenomenon. Saya bisa bersuap nasi.
1995-1996 Mayor’s Office of International Relations in Portland, OR. I worked for Mayor Vera Katz when Sam Adams was the Chief of Staff. I had a full-time internship. I had my first real experience facilitating community relationships. I coordinated Portland’s nine sister cities. I also learned considerably about politics and international diplomacy.
1995-1996 I fundamentally changed my body and life practicing Nia at Body Moves studio in downtown Portland. I went to Nia twice daily mon-fri and weekend mornings because I loved it! In 9 months I lost 30 lbs and changed 3 dress sizes. I finally felt my body get strong. During this time, Carlos Rosas (now AyaRosas) transmitted an incredible sensory understanding of the dreamspell calendar. This was the beginning of my 15 yr learning journey with Carlos.
1996 Joseph Malki and Dr. Roger Apodaca
Joseph introduced me to Miller’s work on living systems, which is where I learned about nested systems and holons. Conversations with Joseph prompted my futuristic idea of Agropolis – the next future of technologically advanced land-based communities that would form organically in response to the collapse of globalization.
Dr. Roger Apodaca self-described Comanchero-Mexican-Vietnam Vet-Mathematical genius, lectured me for hours and hours sitting in front of Cafe Roma in Davis. I received precious dissertations on “political correctness”, “to supplant”, fascism, cultural autonomy, physics, indians, hegemony, military strategy, mathematics, gestalt and philosophy. Dr. Apodaca was a strategic mentor for me.
1996 -1998 Graduate school, UC Davis, Community Development
My idea was simply to study this emerging idea of sustainability just a few moments before sustainability was a subject taught at schools. I had many amazing professors there including Dr. Stefano Varese (Native American studies, who chaired my thesis committee) and Dr. Bernadette Tarallo. My master’s thesis explored the intersection of sustainability, autonomy and cultural resources. I first had to identify the meaning of sustainability, which took me on a 500 year odyssey into the Western paradigm to trace the evolution of the concept. I applied this understanding to a case study of Pueblo nations in New Mexico using permaculture design to effect cultural autonomy so that they could maintain and sustain cultural resources.
I have very special gratitude for:
Dr. Ted K. Bradshaw – the most brilliantly enthusiastic teacher I have ever had.
Ted loved inquiry and he loved teaching! Ted gave me the opportunity to write a peer review article with him (published in the Journal of the Community Development Society), introduced me to the International Community Development Society and enthusiastically endorsed my thinking. Ted’s class on Community Development theory is where I initiated my largest body of theoretical work: Holistic Decision Making Mandala. The mandala is a visual representation based on life systems science of what thinking looks like that yields sustainability outcome.
Ted was my foremost mentor.
The last time I saw Ted he gave me an incredible book, Ripples from the Zambezi (1999) by Ernesto Sirolli. He said I had to read it and he was absolutely right. Sirolli’s work is outstanding. Ted told me that I am a “networker”; he truly endorsed me and my work on sustainability. He was one of the first professors at UCD to explore this topic. I remain sad that he left the planet well ahead of his time.
Dr. Frank Hirtz – the quintessential professor – full of philosophical tenets, probing questions, incredibly adroit thinking and theoretical mind with a great passion to facilitate high-level learning among his students.
Frank (from Germany) introduced me to incredible European systems thinkers – Ulrich Beck and Nicholas Luhmann; these authors had a profound impact on me and my embodiment of systems thinking. He helped me radically evolve my theoretical compositions and ability to engage in rigorous dialectic. In every academic skill, Frank helped me advance my efficacy. While Frank was not on my thesis committee, he advanced my work significantly and in the process he became a lifelong ally.
My best friend in graduate school, Miguel Santistevan, who taught me a great respect for corn.
Over the course of these 13 years I was exposed to many authors and read a lot of books that had a paramount impact on my worldview. Some stand out:
- Tools for Conviviality (1972) Ivan Illich
- For the Common Good (1989) Herman Daly and John Cobb
- Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual (1988) Bill Mollison
- A Fate Worse Than Debt (1988) Susan George
- The Wretched of the Earth (1961) Franz Fanon
- Noam Chomsky
- Donella Meadows
- The Development Dictionary (1992) ed Wolfgang Sachs
- Risk Society (1986) Ulrich Beck
- Nicholas Luhmann
- Development Betrayed (1994) Richard Norgaard
- Das Kapital, Karl Marx
- Mayan Factor (1987) José Argüelles
- This Holy Earth (1915) Liberty Hyde Baily
- Wendell Berry
- Herman Hesse – especially Siddartha
- Carlos Castenada – specifically the earliest books
1997-1998 I practiced Aikido three days a week for two years. One day my sensei told me that at the moment it is time to find a practice partner, that I should every time run to the best student in the class to practice with; he said that it was my job to get there first so that I could learn from the best. Learning about OSensei radically influenced my ideas of leadership, personal mastery and human dignity.
1998 I met Dr. José Argüelles and Lloydine Argüelles
Despite any of the obvious later critiques on Jose, at the time reading the Mayan Factor was my entry into a whole other world of inquiry. I took myself on a self-study of ancient Maya culture visiting southern Mexico pyramids. This led to an invaluable education about the link between the Gregorian Calendar and the genocide of Europe’s indigenous peoples during the dark ages. José, but in particular Lloydine who became a dear dear friend and ally, were instrumental in shaping my facets on my extant relationship to time. I remember hearing Lloydine telling me her “Aha!” at the Museum of Time in Europe the idea that mechanical/clock time, fundamentally severs the human being body from natural time, (i.e., where the lions, trees and universe dwells,) and that until that rift is resolved we cannot in fact be in harmony with nature.
1998 Permaculture Design course Traditional Native American Farmers Association (TNAFA) Picuris Pueblo, NM
TNAFA radically shaped my ideas on sustainability. I grasped the importance of autonomy and sovereignty as necessary conditions for cultural sustainability. I was studying permaculture as an autonomy strategy – this led me to discern the importance of development as process (living systems) vs development as project (teleological systems). This experience translated into the major part of my Master’s thesis at UCD. I am so grateful to Miguel Santistevan who introduced me to TNAFA and to Louie Hena and Clayton Brascoupe for their work and insight.
During this course I met the Keeper of the Corn. I learned from him that there are 2000+ varieties of corn and every corn has a unique human creation story, which meant as the Keeper of the Corn, he must keep the cultural seeds alive in order to keep the biological seeds also alive.
1998 Colace family agriturismo, Azienda Pira Pora, Zambrone, Calabria
During a 3-month homestay, I foraged for wild mushrooms, learned how to make pasta, harvest olives, make vino, salumni, ricotta, bread and permaculture farming techniques. At Christmastime I witnessed the annual pig slaughter – it was amazing. This was the first time in my life I witnessed an animal dying in a natural family-based food cycle.
I learned considerably about healthy rural economic development and io ho imperato una poca della lengua italiana.
AGES 27-40 1999-2012
1999-2000 Dr. Kenneth Morris – outstanding healer and acupuncturist.
Ken helped me heal from life long asthma. It took 2 years of needles and herbs to profoundly change my life. By addressing my body as a whole system, he was able to neutralize the connection in health and the mind-body connection in healing. Much of what is told to us as “can’t be healed” is just a thought-form that prevents legitimacy of other thought-forms being true.
2000-2008 Tim Thompson, Ashtanga Yoga, Monkey Yoga Shala.
Everything I may know about yoga, I learned from Tim. His ability to connect mythology, philosophy and movement is profound. I am extremely thankful for the 200+ hours (at least) I spent in his studio. While I never became a yoga superstar, I did become a Nia teacher; Tim more than anyone influenced my attitude about what it means to be a movement teacher.
I had already changed my body and my life with Nia; I thought the White Belt would help me deepen my practice. Beyond any reason, I chose to become a Nia teacher, which was dreadfully scary as I was still rife with body image issues. This was a watershed choice. This intensive marked the beginning of an incredibly fecund relationship with Debbie Rosas.
May 2002 I asked Carlos why Principle 11 was called “Business and Marketing” because it had nothing to with the body like all of the other Nia principles. Carlos told me “I think you need to answer your own questions;” which then initiated me (although unbeknownst at the time) on a learning journey that has manifested in my greatest body of work to date, Principle 11 Creating a Sacred Livelihood – The business of My Body and My Life.
We had incredible conversations from the political economy of southern Africa to the emergence of the Green Economy. During the Green Festival experience I met largely all of the major thought leaders, populist authors and business leaders working in the United States on sustainability (social justice, ecological balance, sustainable economics). Kevin is truly a great collaborator and awesome public speaker. This was a highly formative professional relationship.
I am very thankful for the opportunity to work with Greg Roberts alongside Kevin. Greg is the keenest professional mentor I have ever had. I think he is a genius; excellent sales mind and incredibly skilled at weaving diverse interests.
I had great opportunities to meet some of the most passionate, forward-thinking solutioneers on the planet and present them to audiences across the United States – those who stand out include Dame Anita Roddick, John Perkins, Congressman Denis Kucinich, Dr. Cornel West, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Paul Hawken, Dr. Mark Anielski, Dune Lankard, Winona LaDuke, Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Amy Goodman, Lawrence Lessig, Chuck D, Mutabaruka, Dr. Gunter Pauli, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, Dr. Sharif Abdullah, William McDonough, Gilberto Gil.
There are not enough superlatives to extoll the greatness of Jane Lorand. She transferred more potent cognitive skills to me than any single other person, book or experience. Her impact on me, who I am today and who I am always becoming is without equivalent. Jane’s knowledge transfer and tutelage is present in absolutely everything that I do. By the time that Jane and I met, I already had nearly a decade invested in the idea of holistic-decision making; Jane took this to another level by teaching me how to use the model for making well-reasoned judgements. Jane taught me the value of knowing how to ascertain my intellectual standard of reasoning. Most importantly, she gave me a great gift: HIGHER PURPOSE. Jane was the first person to suggest that I could have a purpose and then she taught me how to discern purpose. All of the work I did for Nia creating Principle 11 is fundamentally an applied praxis of the methodology that she taught me. Jane, importantly, also introduced me to Rudolf Steiner. Jane introduced me to Alfie Kohn‘s work on motivation, Dr. Deming‘s thinking related to leadership, Dr. Everett Rogers book, Diffusion of Innovation.
These authors + Jane’s interpretation of their work have significantly affected my understanding of the world, my thinking about business and my analytical skills.
2004-05 Bainbridge Graduate Institute
This is where I learned about Virginia Satir from Libba Pinchot and Manfred Max-Neef‘s work on needs and satisfiers from Dr. John Ehrenfield – a superstar guest professor and expert on induduring my time at BGI.
Satir’s circle, which we used as a culture generator at BGI, opened a world of understanding to me in terms of the value of appreciation and organizational systems, relationship dynamics. Max-Neef has forever radicalized my notion of need; this overlayed with Jane Lorand‘s teaching about authentic business and the creation of true value fundamentally informs my thinking about the energy container called a business.
Peggy Taylor, founder of Power of Hope, helped my identify my creative source on a guided meditation in a course called Creativity and Right Livelihood on Cortes Island (2009). This course also led me to investigate more fully the Buddhist precept of Right Livelihood and that led me to the word sacred, which became the focal point of Principle 11 that I created later that year.
I’m grateful to my key learning peers from BGI: Candance Chin, Aly Tibbets, Rick Anderson, Josh Billeter.
Conversation thematics: quantum theory, astrology, human design, mythology, science, industry, sustainability, magic, healing, enneagram, permaculture, community process. While living at the Grove I created the concept “Transformational Profiling” – why use one symbolic system when we can use the intelligence of them all? The peer-to-peer learning at Solstice Grove was evolutionary and in every sense of the word profound.
I have gratitude for all of my mates during that cycle:
Amira Diamond, Troy Lush, Jim Fournier, Jenny VanWinkle, Steven Green, Michael Gaio, Andrea Vecchione, Palma Vizzoni, Matt Sluder, Anna Corona, Danny Brent + the hundreds of epic dream characters that were constantly migrating through.
During the time of the grove, thanks to Palma, I had the tremendous benefit of meeting Jojopah Maria Nsoroma. Jojopah carries Dagara medicine; she is adept at perceiving through the veils of the what is isn’t world. Ritual and ceremony with her have had palpable and enduring impacts on my psyche (body-mind-emotion). Through this relationship I was able to come to understand the importance of feminine sovereignty. Jojopah was a catalyst for me to choose above all things the willingness to learn about myself and to eschew the workings of the victim. Eventually, inspired by working with her and in conversation with one of my best friends, Danny Brent, I created “The Little Lam(b)”: Learning About Myself.
Planetwork was a huge part of my life while living at the grove. This is an outgrowth of the genius of Jim Fournier – a person whom I have deepest respect for and life long gratitude. Through Planetwork I met an ally and friend, Kaliya Hamlin aka Identity Woman. Kaliya is remarkable in addition to a long string of endorsing adjectives; she has been a stalwart educator on Internet technology, philosophy of identity and civil society values vis a vis the Internet and technology. I have indirectly taken entire graduate level course from her on these subjects that I find to be of immense value in comprehending the rapidly changing world we live in today.
2008 I was introduced to Jody Turner, founder of Culture of Future. Jody became an instant mentor – she is incredibly gifted blending and crafting the worlds of big business, design, spirituality, vision and leadership. I have profound respect for her.
2009 Dr. Bruce MacKenzie, introduced to my by Jane Lorand, radically advanced my understanding of systems thinking and gave me some amazing collaborative thinking tools.
2009 Chobe River National Park – by this time I have been to 15 national parks in southern and eastern africa. I have seen vast splendors of the wild, tasted with my eyes and nose the magesty of african bush – only on this trip to have a truly “national geographic moment” – seeing leopards is extremely difficult and seeing animals on a kill – mostly doesn’t happen!
2011 Tamalpa Institute in Mill Valley where I studied with Anna Halprin to become a facilitator of her Planetary Dance Ritual. Anna Halprin is amazing – she embodies movement creativity in all realms from the inner personal to the outer social – she is a cultural architect and I am extremely honoured to have studied with her.
Over the course of these 13 years I was exposed to many authors and read a lot of books that had a paramount impact on my worldview. Some stand out:
- Natural Capitalism (1999) Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins
- The Fifth Discipline, (1990) Peter Senge
- Punished by Rewards (1993), Alfie Kohn
- Profit Beyond Measure (2000) H Thomas Johnson, Anders Bröms
- Dr. Deming (1990) Rafael Aguayo
- Fritjof Capra
- Ervin Laszlo’s “ “ self reference process
- The Road to Serfdom (1944) F A Hayek
- Leadership and the New Science (2006) Margaret Wheatlley
- The Spell of the Sensuous (1996) David Abram
- Diffusion of Innovations (1995) Everett Rogers
- How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation (2002) by Rogert Keegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey
- Lawrence Lessig – Remix, Free Culture
- Avalanche, Brugh Joy