Elizabeth Kübler-Ross drew the curve of Death and Dying in a way many of us recognize all change happens. Her curve maps the Change Process of Spiral Dynamics. It is the same cycle that Otto Scharmer uses for the U Theory. It is the same pattern I designed for Integral City Book 2 using Placecaring and Placemaking to mark the right and left-hand sides of the curve.

As we ride the wave of covid19 we are experiencing the stages of grief that Kübler-Ross marked out – Denial, Anger, Depression, Bargaining, Acceptance.

I would also reflect our variations of the same curve could include: Fear/Withdrawal, Resistance, Anger, Bargaining, Acceptance, Enactment, Release, New Story.

In 1999 I worked with friend and colleague, Jan Nickerson to co-create a board game – Y2K Connections – Cocreating Community not Crises. We took our game and our learning to ASTD 2000 in a workshop we called “Y2K – The World’s First Global Learning Experience”.

The metaphor that we used was the Butterfly life cycle from Egg to Caterpillar to Chrysalis to Butterfly. That metaphor has become in many ways a global meme for the learning cycle that opens us up to the experience of the maps of Death & Dying, the Change Curve, the U-Theory and the emergence of a new Earth Story.

Recognizing the pattern of these fractal change curves reflects our current global experience might reassure us that we have been here before and survived. This passage through Life and Death to a Renewal/Renaissance  reveals the pattern of a meta-view that can reassure us that we can survive.

This is a time to gather the 4 Voices of the City and ask ourselves:

  • What do we need to let go of?
  • What do we need to stop resisting?
  • What must we accept?
  • What can we celebrate? Strengthen?
  • How can we cooperate/collaborate?
  • How can we prototype a New Story?
  • How do we Think Cosmically? Feel Globally? Act Locally?

Because if our species doesn’t take these questions as a guide to learning a new way of being in the world, we may not be well in the world … in any way we would currently recognize as wellbeing.