Here is a collection of videos that I hope you will take the time to watch.
Among all the wonderfully creative short videos being produced these days, the ones I’ve selected for inclusion in my site are those that beautifully and poignantly express the beliefs, dreams, and difficult realities that also underpin my own work.
Videos Featuring Margaret Wheatley
For the most recent videos from 2020 onward see Current Thinking.
The Role of Art in Expressing the Fullness of the Human Experience
A Conversation and performance with Slovenian violinist Mika Pogacnik
Becoming a Shambhala Warrior: A Tribute to Pema Chödrön
Presented at The Wisdom of Pema Chödrön; A Summit of Timeless Teachings to Awaken the Heart by The Lion’s Roar
Resilience Through Compassion and Connection with His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Meg was invited to be in a public conversation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Orleans on May 17, 2013. The theme was “Resilience through Compassion and Connection.” The event was sponsored by Tulane University and, because of her work in New Orleans post-Katrina, she was invited to speak about the power of community in times of difficulty.
Islands of Sanity Meaning Conference, Brighton U.K.
This was an audience of bright, committed and hopeful activists focused on using innovative approaches in business to create large scale changes. I felt the need to caution them against being motivated from the hope of accomplishing these goals and instead to do their work beyond hope and fear, clear that the work is necessary and good no matter how it turns out.
Meg Wheatley Interview: Our National Parks Service
In this video, I summarize my seven years of work with National Parks Service, as a member of the twelve-person National Advisory Board. As I tell in this video, this has been among the most rewarding consultancies of my entire career. And I am deeply connected and passionate about the work of the National Parks. This is the 100th birthday of the Parks and you’ll probably notice that there’s a lot of publicity designed to both promote parks and to create a sense of stewardship for the parks. Nothing is preserved and protected against the constant onslaught of threats to our parks except through determined citizen engagement.
Video with Meg Wheatley for I-Open.org
Meg Wheatley presented “The Gift Economy” seminar November 1, 2013, at the River’s Edge Cleveland in Rocky River, Ohio. While visiting the Cleveland area, Meg contributed a conversation to the I-Open library offering perspective on today’s shifting world, what we as leaders can do next, and what must be done in the face of deteriorating civilization to sustain belief in human potential.
2012 Smart Start Conference
Meg Wheatley answers questions about leadership in this interview filmed at the 2012 National Smart Start Conference for early childhood educators.
Perseverance: Leadership in Turbulent Times
This October 19, 2011 presentation in Vancouver, B.C. was part of an event sponsored by Hollyhock and The Dalai Lama Center for Peace & Education.
Let Go and Lead
In this interview Margaret speaks about: the illusion of control, motivation, humility, a fundamental paradigm shift, the new paradigm, relationships, taking action, and process.
For Persevering People
This video features Margaret Wheatley discussing the topic of perseverance, and her DVD For Persevering People
This video features Margaret Wheatley discussing her book Perseverance, including why she decided to write on this topic.
Eight Fearless Questions
This brief video is excerpted from Meg Wheatley’s DVD entitled Eight Fearless Questions. In the DVD, Dr. Wheatley explores eight questions designed to help you develop clarity about your work and the contribution you want to offer at this troubled time.
Meg’s Peace Corps training experience in 1966, Hilo Hawaii
From 1966-68 I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Korea, the first group to go into this war-ravaged country. Korea was still a traditional culture, foreign in all ways: food, language, alphabet, religion, culture, geography. I now realize what a privilege it was to live in a culture that had not changed its ways of being and relating for many centuries. Today Korea is the poster child for globalization, and the old culture only appears at festivals and weddings, lost to development and modernization as have most cultures the world over.
This video relates the experience of the Peace Corps Volunteers who trained in Hilo Hawaii (also before Hawaii became a tourist destination). While it doesn’t focus on my group specifically, it fully captures the experiences of training I went through as well as the idealism that propelled so many of us to serve in the Peace Corps in its first years. We were truly inspired by President John F. Kennedy and the Peace Corps was one way that I, as a young college graduate, tried to carry on his vision.
As I reflect back on my experiences in Korea, it was where I first learned to deal with a culture that was truly foreign, but to which I became very acclimated in the 2.5 years I served there. It was also where I learned that beneath our varied cultural manifestations, we are all humans with the same basic wants and values. When we left Korea, my friends and I agreed that after this, we could go anywhere and feel comfortable. And I did.
Videos by Others
Learning about Songlines
To learn more about Songlines in general, and specifically about the Wardaman people who painted the cave used on the cover of A Warrior’s Songline, click here.
Videos of Great Creativity
Each of these is a testimony to the creative brilliance of us humans. As the world continues to darken, I increasingly find solace and delight in these and other videos that remind me the human spirit cannot be extinguished.
There is a light. U2 Live in London at Abbey Road
“There is a light we can’t always see
There is a world we can’t always be.
If there is a dark that we shouldn’t doubt.
There is a light, don’t let it go out.”
The world of plankton set to exquisite music, with song and vocals by Antony. From the documentary: Racing Extinction. This is one of the most beautiful videos I’ve ever seen—very moving, heart-opening and heart-breaking.
Illuminating the Empire State Building (2015)
Illuminating the Empire State Building to tell the story of coming extinctions. From the same documentary Racing Extinction—mind-blowing visuals displayed on the Empire State building set to the music of Sia singing One Candle.
Creativity at its best with mesmerizing results as the artist creates a dialogue between iron powder, color pigments, magnets and music.
Written and performed by Coco Love Alcorn. A stirring gospel style song about the indomitability of the human spirit. While you’re on her site, check out “The River” from this brilliant young singer.
When you need to chill out: music from Mali by Drapeau.
From Playing for Change, this performance is like a human heartbeat.
Videos That Encourage and Support Our Learning
“The blinders of inexplicable arrogance” is the title of an essay in Who Do We Choose To Be? that I felt necessary to write because of the incredible arrogance of scientists trying to understand the universe through our meager five sense organs, yet denying any other ways of knowing. As I wrote: “Scientists, based on their own experiments, have come face-to-face with great mystery. Modern scientific ways of understanding the Universe are proving insufficient to explain observable phenomena. While humility would seem to be the natural response, this encounter with not knowing has led to a heightened sense of ego among those who believe that modern science is the only valid lens.” p. 178
Here are two excellent conversations with modern day scientists where their world view and conclusions are brilliantly challenged by two spiritual teachers, one a Buddhist, the second a Hindu mystic.
The Nature of Reality: A Dialogue between a Buddhist Scholar and a Theoretical Physicist:
Scientist vs Mystic | A Conversation about Cosmos, Brain and Reality | David Eagleman and Sadhguru www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaCTs8oeAh8
Sadhguru In Conversation on Consciousness at Google | Layers of mind | Types of memory
This is the teacher who is having the most profound influence on me now. He’s a mystic as well as leader of humanitarian and ecological projects in India and beyond whose scale and reach challenge my imagination as to what is possible when we engage communities and individuals in taking control of their own minds and futures. see: www.ishafoundation.org
Vanessa Andreotti on Imagination and How Our Dreams Are Tamed
Vanessa’s work deals with so many of the issues we need to be contemplating: the role of imagination; the need to both hospice and midwife dying systems; the demand to go deep within ourselves; the evoking of indigenous wisdom as a path to the future.
Youth advocates who have organized as “a tribe of young activists, artists, and musicians from across the globe stepping up as leaders to co-create the future we know is possible.” In November 2017, Twenty-one Earth Guardians filed suit against the U.S. Government for failing to act on climate change and thus imperil their future. Their founder, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, an Aztec, has appeared on many TV shows and just published We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement That Restores The Planet
Is Justice Worth It? A typographic word art featuring Micah Bournes
In just two minutes, this brilliant use of voice and graphics says everything we need to know about why we work for justice. Exceptionally moving.
The Last Fry
A brilliant satire from Saturday Night Live on self-absorption. Says it all about increasing narcissism.
Interview with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama and Mount Madonna School
I love this interview with the Dalai Lama conducted by high school students from Mt Madonna School in California. It’s very intimate and the questions prepared by the students are also mine. So I listened with great attention to His Holiness’ answers.
The Intelligence of Ravens and Crows
The extraordinary capacities of Ravens and Crows are visible in this collection of five videos. You will be amazed!
10 Fascinating Facts About Ravens
These ten aspects of raven behavior were mostly new to me–watch the video of a raven taught to speak like a human, saying ‘never more.’ (For more raven wonders, see my book How Does Raven Know? )
Alive Inside: A Story Of Music & Memory
This is one of the most moving films I’ve ever seen–people reawakened from the dark, lost depths of Alzheimers by hearing the music they loved in their earlier years. A moving, inspiring tribute to the human spirit. This is the trailer, but you can also watched the full movie on YouTube.
Ursula LeGuin: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
Ursula K. Le Guin who’s written many books of fiction, mainly science fiction that is truly magical, from a deep spirituality, accepts the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 65th National Book Awards on November 19, 2014. .She identifies that the writer’s task is to withstand the pressures of corporate sales and marketing greed, and instead to bring their readers to a remembrance of freedom. “The name of our beautiful reward (as writers) is not profit. Its name is freedom.” Her work can be found here: www.ursulakleguin.com
Here’s a short quote from one of her books:
Ursula Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.
It is from a collection of short stories entitled The Wind’s Twelve Quarters.
The people of Omelas know that their happiness is achieved at the expense of the immense suffering of a single child. This, they are told, is part of a greater plan and they should feel no guilt. The suffering of the child, which makes the perfect life in Omelas possible, is the “terrible justice of reality”.
There are some, however, who go to see the child and do not go home again. They keep on walking, out of the city of happiness, through the fields and away from Omelas.
View a video of Ursula Le Guin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et9Nf-rsALk
I Will Be a Hummingbird
A 2 minute tale narrated by Wangari Maathai (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for the Greenbelt Movement that planted 40 million trees in east Africa. (see my article about her, What is Our Role in Creating Change? (PDF)
A Late 20th Century Folk Tale
Possibly the most inspiring video here; watch it whenever you need a hearty dose of inspiration. The decades of work led by Rajendra Singh in Rajastan India to bring water back to villages using ancient ways, community spirit and sound ecology. Over 28 years, 7 entire river systems, previously dried up for 80 years, were revived. Over 10,000 Johads (small earthen dams) were built by the villagers at strategic places. Underground aquifers were recharged, rivers began to flow again and food supplies were secured helping those villages to become thriving communities again. Now the project is being replicated across India. This is a visually beautiful film as well; the story embodies Berkana’s approach to working with the wisdom, wealth and environment of local communities. (The work described here was not part of Berkana, just an outstanding example of our core approach.) There are several videos on this site; click on A Late 20th Century Folk Tale.
How Wolves Change Rivers
I know of no better example of how ecosystems work with their great chains of interdependencies. This video (a BBC production) explores the remarkable changes in Yellowstone National Park, including the return of streams, because of the reintroduction of wolves.
First Taste of Chocolate
This video is startling, as it brings into our awareness that the people who work in the cocoa bean fields in the Ivory Coast have never tasted chocolate. They are delighted by the experience; I was appalled that they had never tasted the fruits of their labors.
The Danger of a Single Story
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. I also heartily recommend her novel Americanah for the most perceptive, funny and direct exploration of what it means to be black in America (and life in current day Nigeria also).
We Need to Talk About TED
A brilliant and brave critique of how the form of TED talks is reducing important information to an entertaining presentation. Science, philosophy, technology, and descriptions of experience are now run on the model of American Idol, entertaining yes, descriptive of the complexities, no. What’s brave about this critique is that he presents it as a TED talk.
(I understand the irony of listing this video right below a recommended TED talk.)
The Collapse of Complex Societies
Dr. Joseph Tainter, Anthropologist, Sociologist. Dr. Tainter has done the seminal research on the pattern of collapse in complex civilizations. The pattern of their rise and fall is the same throughout human history independent of culture or place. I have the greatest respect for his scholarship and personally have found it a relief to see the pattern laid out so clearly. I have used Tainter’s work in my new book Who Do We Choose To Be?
Schooling the World
This movie accurately portrays how white colonialists, then and now, have used schooling to train children from various cultures to be like white people. It’s devastating but historically accurate; and still going on with Native American and Australian Aboriginal children. A phrase that was used is: “Kill the Indian. Save the Child.”
The Most Astounding Fact (Neil deGrasse Tyson)
Just to keep things in perspective. Astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked by a reader of TIME magazine, “What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?” This is his answer.
Learning Journey to Detroit
Enjoy these two excellent videos by Filiz Telek, which emerged from the October 2012 Detroit Learning Journey.
Warriors Without Weapons
This moving video is about “Warriors Without Weapons,” an initiative begun in Brazil that has now travelled to other countries. The Berkana Institute has partnered with its creators, and participated in the event filmed here. We continue to explore the places and people who would benefit from this playful, purposeful approach to creating physical changes in communities devastated by poverty and neglect. Go to http://walkoutwalkon.net/brazil/ for more info.