Building Islands of Sanity.

June 1, 2022

Building Islands of Sanity.

May 29, 2023

One of our co-founders, Skylar, recently made an insightful comment during one of our team meetings. He said something to the effect of, “I am no longer hopeful that the world is going to turn around anytime soon.”

He was referring to the sentiment that Covid would only last two weeks, remember that? And as soon as it seemed the world was going to return to some semblance of normalcy, a new variant arrived and the war in Ukraine broke out. The stock market is crashing, interest rates are rising, airline tickets are twice the price and mass shootings are continuing to traumatize those of us in the United States.

When I find myself falling into moments of despair, one of the writers and thinkers I turn to is Margaret Wheatley. She wrote a tiny little book called Perseverance that I kept on my bedside table for years. Here is one of my favorite quotes:

“When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to one another.”

Yet, how often do we actually find that connection in our lives these days? Margaret’s most recent book is called, Who Do We Choose To Be? Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership, Restoring Sanity. It is much less gentle. In this book, she has come to the conclusion that it is time to face reality that the world is not going to right itself anytime soon. It is likely going to get worse. And, the best thing we can and should do is to build “islands of sanity” all around us. We need to act locally, focus on our community and restore the world from the inside out.

I felt this sentiment profoundly at our recent MEA reunion in San Francisco. After months of planning, the logistics melted into moment after moment of sheer joy to connect with so many we have known intimately online, yet never in person; including members of our team! If you would like to see an island of sanity in real time, check out this short video capturing our alumni restoring the world to wholeness.

I have had the tremendous privilege of curating the brilliance of Chip, Jeff, Christine and a cadre of extraordinary thought leaders on the topic of navigating midlife transitions for the past year or so. It has been life changing to witness over 1000 people from around the world truly turn to one another. They made big decisions, shared things they had never told anyone else, laughed, paused, chased awe, and they felt something that is becoming quite rare these days: authentic community.

And we are just getting started! The next topic of our online midlife wisdom school is studying purpose. This is the time to be reflecting on our legacy, pursuing a calling and developing a practice of becoming more purposeful in everything we do.

After almost a year in the making, I can’t wait to kick off our new 8-week online immersion experience called, “Designing Your Purposeful Path to Work,” starting this Saturday, June 4th. It is for anyone at any stage of life, work, retirement or anything in between - all you need is a desire to feel more purposeful.

We have perfected a framework of “digital intimacy” to really digest what the heck purpose means and how powerful it can be in your life. We’ve curated thought leadership from dozens of extraordinary people including CEO’s, bestselling authors, and award-winning artists. Our students engage directly with Chip and the team in four live events, meet others weekly in “purpose circle” discussion groups and enjoy a weekly package of material hand crafted to feel like a retreat. It takes about two hours each week and you can choose to learn via video, audio or reading.

It’s not too late to join us and no matter where you are, I hope you find your own islands of sanity around you.

Kari Henley is the SVP of Digital & Alumni Strategy at MEA, and the developer of our Online programs.

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