Mentors, Allies & Wisdom Lineages
The individuals and organizations listed below represent a selection of our most influential mentor and ally relationships, which helped give rise to this project and its dreaming. There are also several notable teachers or wisdom lineages by whom many in this community have been powerfully shaped, thus their work has in many ways also given rise to this vision, though the inclusion of their name is not meant as their direct endorsement.
Many below have been gracious enough to offer their direct support and mentorship on this project, or they are personally connected through two or more of our community members’ deep involvement in their work. All have had a profound impact on the shaping of Aletheia Springs and we are forever grateful for their work and the inspiration, guidance and support it has given us.
Dave Henson | Occidental, CA
Occidental Arts & Ecology Center
Dave Henson has been the Executive Director of OAEC since it’s founding in 1994, and is a founding member of the Sowing Circle intentional community. At OAEC, Dave’s responsibilities include strategic planning, fundraising, and overall organizational management. Programmatically, he works within sustainable agricultural, environmental and social justice movements to further the cause of regional scale, socially just and ecologically restorative systems of governance and economy. With a background in ecology, sociology and law, Dave has co-founded or worked for many social movement organizations over the past 35 years, and has lectured and led training programs around the U.S. and in over 20 countries.
We were lucky to have Dave as a mentor for several months at the very beginning of our Aletheia journey. He guided us in setting up our legal structures, helped us explore options for organization and governance, and his joyful and supportive optimism early on was invaluable to us. The OAEC’s model of a multi-owner intentional community supported directly by its on-site nonprofit is a wonderful example for how we may one day structure this our community and its public service offerings. Also, as an elder sister community, the OAEC itself is a source of great inspiration to us, both in their impressive ecological stewardship work and multi-stakeholder research initiatives, and simply for having successfully navigated 23 years together while serving their community.
Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, PhD | Sebastopol, CA MetaIntegral Associates & The MetaCapital Framework
Sean is a global leader in the application of integrative thinking to leader development and organizational design. In 2011 he founded MetaIntegral, a social enterprise network that supports the embodied application of integral principles by change leaders around the world. Sean’s passion lies at the intersection of design, integral theory, and embodiment. He has published and edited numerous articles, chapters, and books. His most recent book is Metatheory for the Twenty-first Century.
We met Sean at the end of our first year as stewards, just as we were trying to make sense of all of the complex threads we had been following throughout the year. His mentorship and enthusiastic support of our project during this time was just what we needed to complete our first end-of-year summary. Using his MetaCapital Framework, we were able to organize all of the forms of value that we’ve been working with into an understandable format, allowing many in our community system to finally see the project as a whole for the first time. As we move into our second year, we are very much looking forward to continued explorations with Sean as both a mentor and friend to the project.
Aftab Omer, PhD & Melissa Schwartz, PhD Petaluma, CA | Meridian University
Aftab received his Bachelor’s from MIT and his Doctorate from Brandeis University. Formerly the President of the Council for Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychologies, Aftab is a fellow of the International Futures Forum and The World Academy of Arts and Sciences. Aftab’s research has focused on the emergence of human capacities within transformative learning communities and his work includes assisting organizations in tapping the creative potentials of conflict, diversity and complexity. His published articles include “The Spacious Center: Leadership and the Creative Transformation of Culture” and “Between Columbine and the Twin Towers: Fundamentalist Culture as a Failure of Imagination.”
Melissa received her Master’s from Beacon College and her Doctorate from Rosebridge Graduate School (now Argosy University). Formerly a faculty member in both the Psychology and Counseling departments at Sonoma State University, she maintains a private practice as a clinical psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist. Her interests include the psychology of women, adult development, and qualitative research.
Aftab and Melissa are the co-founders of Meridian University, a progressive graduate school in Petaluma, California. Several Meridian alumni as well as current students have also gotten involved with Aletheia. Melissa and Aftab graciously offered us their reflection and support at important moments since the inception of this vision. Their keen awareness of the intersectionality between psychology, spirituality, ecology, business, community and culture has had a significant impact on us and our project. Portions of our learning laboratory approach are modeled after Meridian’s example of embodied, participatory research into how to thrive in a world in the midst of deep transformation. In the future, we hope to explore more ways that Aletheia and Meridian University may work together building this knowledge field in mutual support.
Cassandra Ferrera & Cindy Cunningham Sebastopol, CA | Green Key Real Estate
Native to California, Cassandra found her slice of heaven in west Sonoma County in 2002. Practicing real estate here for seven years, Cassandra blends intellect, humor, and heart into her business, and has great relationships with her clients. With a particular passion for permaculture and community, Cassandra loves to work with clients seeking an integrated lifestyle that is intimately connected to place. She raises two children here and is tapped in to the needs of families as well as professionals. Cassandra lives in a newly formed community still discovering its name, where her family and land mates put ideas into practice as they humbly relearn homesteading skills. Intimately familiar with the desire to live an increasingly sustainable lifestyle, Cassandra seeks to blend the village experience with the rural farm life.
Cindy’s career in real estate has specialized in country properties, distressed properties and guiding her clients through the purchase or sale process so that each sale is well designed to suit their particular needs. Her work has led her to the community building movement and she has dedicated herself to helping provide real estate opportunities for sustainable living and co-housing. Her previous careers in education and fire services both serve to enhance her contributions. She is on the Board of Directors for Rebuilding Together and the creative team for Sebastopol Village Building Convergence. Her ability for creative collaboration has enabled her to bring forth new ideas and solutions towards each client’s dreams.
Cassandra and Cindy midwifed the 6-month birth process of discovering and finally closing escrow on this incredible place. So much more than just real estate agents, they were already versed in the complexity of community projects and how they intersect with county rules, neighbors, legal structures, financing and shared ownership challenges. But even more importantly, they were remarkably steadfast in their support of us and incredibly nimble in their ability to navigate huge plan changes and long periods of uncertain financing. We truly could not have pulled this off without them.
Ray Castellino, DC (retired), RPP, RPE, RCST Santa Barbara, CA | The Womb Surround Process
Ray draws on over four decades of experience as a natural health care practitioner, consultant and teacher. His current practice focuses on the resolution of prenatal, birth and other early trauma and stress. Dr. Castellino is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Association for Pre- & Perinatal Psychology and Health, the American Physical Therapy Association, the Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America, and others. He was a founding board member of the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children. He has been practicing and teaching prenatal and birth therapy since 1993.
Ray’s early attachment trauma work has been deeply transformative and healing for a number of community members here at Aletheia. Most of our Core Team went through a Womb Surround Process group together in August of last year, and Seiji Ohno also recently completed a two and a half year Pre- & Perinatal Therapy / Womb Surround Facilitator training. In our community practices we use many of the principles and language from Ray’s work to address trauma and regulate our nervous systems on a group level. We’ve also adapted our creative process modeling after Ray’s Natural Sequencing. We hope to share this powerful group process with more of our community over time in order to broaden the base of our shared language and support our direct understanding of trauma and the creative process.
Frederic Laloux, MBA | Belgium
Frederic tries to square, not always easily, the many projects he is passionate about with his inner knowing that he is meant to live a simple life, spending much time with his family and whenever possible in the silent presence of trees. Among other things, Frederic advises leaders of organizations who feel called to explore fundamentally new ways of organizing. His research in the field of emerging organizational models, published in his book Reinventing Organizations has been described as “groundbreaking,” “spectacular,” “world-changing,” and “a leap in management thinking” by some of the most respected scholars in the field of human development and management. A former Associate Partner with McKinsey & Company, Laloux holds an MBA from INSEAD, and a degree in coaching from Newfield Network in Boulder, Colorado. He has traveled widely and speaks five languages fluently. Frederic Laloux lives in Brussels, Belgium, where he is blessed to share his life with his wife, Hélène, and their two children.
Frederic’s work was interwoven with the visioning of Aletheia from the beginning, after Sean ran into it back in 2014 during a long period of study into alternative forms of capital and governance. From reading Reinventing Organizations and living in an intentional community at that time, Sean was immediately struck by the vision of a self-organizing community. Laloux focuses on the evolution of the workplace, but what was immediately apparent was the power of the principles that he observed to transform the communities movement, too. While we have not had the honor of building direct relationship yet with Frederic, we are exploring knowledge sharing with other organizations and communities around the globe that have sprung up around his work and are also exploring what it means to work as a self-organizing system.
Richard Dale | Sonoma, CA
Sonoma Ecology Center
Richard co-founded the Sonoma Ecology Center in 1990. He has been its director since 1992 helping build the organization from an all-volunteer group to a professionally-staffed, regionally-respected nonprofit working to promote sustainable ecological health. Programs at the center focus on education, research, and restoration. Professional interests include land use interactions with biodiversity, water and energy policy, multistakeholder/multi-benefit policy formation, and local and regional climate change adaptation and mitigation. Richard worked in the technology and entertainment industries, helped in a grassroots effort to pass the Alaska Lands Bill, and lectured extensively to preserve the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the related Gwich’in nation. In 1997 he received the national John Muir Conservation Award for his work to protect the Arctic Refuge and his dedication to the Sonoma Ecology Center and the Sonoma Valley as a model watershed-based community striving for sustainable ecological health.
We consulted with Richard while we were in our land purchase phase and we were immediately struck by his warm, helpful, and approachable nature. Not only is he incredibly knowledgeable about the ecology and politics of the Sonoma Valley, but he has also not lost his visionary and hopeful spirit after nearly three decades of steady work here. Currently we are beginning to explore how we could ally with the wonderful work the Sonoma Ecology Center is already doing to protect Sonoma creek through restoration and education, and we are looking forward to working with Richard and his team more as we move deeper into our Restore the Springs initiative.
S. Loren Cole, PhD | Sonoma, CA Inquiring Systems, Inc.
Dr. Cole founded ISI in 1978, to provide ethical and sustainable ecosystem management services to nonprofit organizations, community-based projects, and value-driven for-profit entities. Cole holds the first PhD awarded by UC Berkeley in the field of Ecosystomology. For over thirty-seven years ISI has provided ethical business consulting services, and development & resilience management services for both nonprofit and for-profit business enterprises. As a key element of ISI Development & Resilience Services, and ISI’s overall systemic approach to management, Dr. Cole has stepped into the roles of President, CEO, COO, Controller, Business Manager and Director, for 37 organizations and corporations over the years. Dr. Cole is the founder of the Environmental Program within the Conservation and Resource Studies Program, U.C. Berkeley. Winner of many awards and commendations, Dr. Cole is a keynote speaker & guest on radio and television. He has published numerous articles and papers related to his areas of expertise.
When we found Inquiring Systems, our fiscal sponsor for our Restore the Springs initiative, we had no idea it would also come with a visionary mentor and systems practitioner like Loren. While we have just begun to work with Loren, we’re already well aware of the incredible wealth of his wisdom and lived experience, having fiscally-sponsored and mentored hundreds of startup nonprofit organizations on their journey toward “implementing ethical social change,” as ISI’s mission states. With the systemic challenges we face in today’s world, we need more ‘whole systems’ thinking, and we’re very grateful to be working with Loren and the ISI team for just this reason.
Kate Bunney | Occidental, CA
For 15 years, Kate lived in one of the most progressive communities in the world and held a focus on educational programs and consultancy for communities in conflict areas, fundraising, global networking, organizing and public relations. One of her main roles was organizing and walking pilgrimage, through Israel and Palestine, Colombia and Europe, as a way of empowering social action and rediscovering our potential as agents of change. In 2012, Kate founded Walking Water –a pilgrimage with the waters– as a way to inspire us to be in community, be in relation with the waters and the places we live and ultimately to experience the huge potential we all have to create change. Walking Water already has a strong global following and is seen as a model in social action. Kate is a member of the Beyond Boundaries team, a Council carrier and community consultant and has recently joined the Weaving Earth team in California.
Sean Wadsworth and his father, Hank, both had the privilege of joining Kate, Gigi Coyle and the Walking Water pilgrimage for Phase 2 in September-October of 2016, following the course the water once took from the Owen’s River Valley over 200 miles to the Los Angeles basin. After Sean & Hank’s experience on the pilgrimage, it was clear that our own local water future must include everyone, and most especially indigenous peoples. Kate’s way of making contact and bridging cultural divides, with a special attention on the broader historical context, has deeply inspired our work at Aletheia. As we move towards partnership with those leading Sonoma Valley into a future of local water resiliency, we are committed to a future where there is enough for all.
Deb Lane | Santa Rosa, CA
City of Santa Rosa Water | Bio from departments/utilities/Pages/default.aspx
Deb is a Water Resources Analyst for the City of Santa Rosa where she provides training, education and administration of water-use efficiency programs. She administers the City’s Commercial, Industrial, Institutional (CII) program and is currently the project manager of a grant funded sustainable landscape retrofit of Santa Rosa’s City Hall campus. Deb serves as Co-Chair of the California Urban Water Conservation Council’s Landscape Committee and is a Board Member for the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper Program. She holds multiple certifications in water-use efficiency and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Mills College.
We met Deb through our shared work in the Diamond Approach and immediately connected around watershed protection and landscapes that ecologically regenerate as they help recharge aquifers. We’ll never forget meeting for coffee, realizing these connections, and then looking down under our table at a big manhole cover with big block letters that said “WATER.” As someone who has project managed a grant-funded visionary water project from within a local government department, Deb is an inspiration to us to continue our own Restore the Springs project and we intend to be in mutual support with her in any way that we can.
The Diamond Approach
Berkeley, CA & Worldwide
As a contemporary spiritual teaching, the Diamond Approach to Inner Realization considers the totality of the human being. It is a path of self-realization and human maturity based on an original synthesis of modern discoveries in the field of psychology and a new paradigm about spiritual nature. On this path, students learn how spiritual realization and liberation from our psychological patterns and limitations can be understood as two sides of the same coin. Such an approach makes it possible to be a full human being in the world, a soul, while living in the eternal spirit. The Diamond Approach differs from most other paths in that it recognizes the uniqueness of each individual soul and adapts itself to each person’s needs at the time. It does not require that people adapt to some ideal, but welcomes people as they are helping them to take the natural next step for their unique development.
There are at least six key Aletheia Springs community members who have been studying in the Diamond Approach for a significant period of their lives. Many of those here who are most involved in the circle facilitation and creative process work are also informed in a strong way by the teachings of the Diamond Approach. While limited in its ability yet to explore collective and cultural layers of experience and ego structure, the Diamond Approach is a brilliant path for realizing the true nature of self through the lens of more personal and intra-psychic self-inquiry work and meditation.
Charles Eisenstein | United States
Charles is a teacher, speaker, and writer focusing on themes of civilization, consciousness, money, and human cultural evolution. He is the author of several books including The Ascent of Humanity, Sacred Economics, and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible. His online writings have generated a vast following; he speaks frequently at conferences and other events, and gives numerous interviews on radio and podcasts.
Many community members have read Charles’ books, attended his talks and workshops, and even collaborated with him some. Charles’ work has been a guiding light through dark times for many of us. He urges us to spend time in the unknown and to be humble with where we actually are in our understandings of what the “new story” now emerging is, an orientation that is deeply resonant with our guiding principle of aletheia. He also focuses on economics as a key pivot point for this great transition; his writings on the gift economy are truly an inspiration for us as we work to put them into practice here.
Tamera Peace Research Community
Tamera is a School and Research Station for Realistic Utopia. The project was founded in Germany in 1978. In 1995 it moved to Portugal. Today 170 people live and work on a property of 330 acres. The founding thought was to develop a nonviolent life model for cooperation between human being, animal and nature. Soon it became clear that the healing of love and of human community had to be placed at the center of this work. Sexuality, love and partnership need to be freed from lying and fear, for there can be no peace on Earth as long as there is war in love. The ecological and technological research of Tamera includes the implementation of a retention landscape for the healing of water and nature, as well as a model for regional autonomy in energy and food. Through the Global Campus and the Terra Nova School, Tamera is working within a global network on the social, ecological and ethical foundations for a new Earth – Terra Nova.
In early 2015, members of our nascent Aletheia community began studying books related to Tamera’s Healing Biotope and Peach Research Community in Portugal. Then, while in our land purchase phase, an envoy from Tamera visited the bay area and offered several two-day workshops, which several of us attended. Around that time we also had the honor of participating in an incubator to launch a nonprofit group related to Tamera’s work, called The Grace Foundation - America.
While our interests and cross-connections thus far with Tamera have been multilayered and remain open-ended, our interweavings have expanded our network and we have had the joy of meeting dedicated and like-minded groups and individuals doing powerful work in realms of social and environmental justice, cultural change, re-wilding and nature connection. Through our study of Tamera’s principles and practices, we continue to be inspired by their example as an elder community living and researching their healing biotopes plan and working to foster its pollination around the globe. We hope that in the coming years a group from Aletheia will be able to travel together to Tamera so that we may enter into deeper conversation and learn from the direct experience of their community.
How You Can Participate
There’s so many ways to participate in this adventure with us. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll become a resident-steward here. Or maybe you have a part to play with your time, skills, money or listening presence –either this year, or a few years from now. Perhaps you are the one that wonderfully alters someone’s life forever when you forward them our Prospectus...