Why the Holidays are Holy Days

(And it’s probably not why you think they are)

No matter whether we celebrate the Holidays at home gathered around a Christmas Tree, on a beach towel in the Caribbean, or skiing the slopes of Vail: most of us feel that the Holidays are a special season. This year, however, I realized why the Holidays really are Holy Days.

On January 2nd – the very first day of the year where most people are able to speak in straight sentences – we hosted a webinar for our Conscious Business Ambassador Program. Participants joined from all across the US and Europe – from London and Berlin, New York and San Francisco, San Luis Potosi and Phoenix. Curiously, though, no matter where they lived, they all joined with a mindset and energy that differed from all the previous webinars.

All of us, myself included, attended the webinar with an expanded mindset. It seemed that during the Holidays, we had all broken out of the ordinary routine and entered a different space, in which we contemplated about “bigger things”. This was different than any ordinary vacation. It was as though the participants and myself saw the world and our own lives from a higher perspective – not immersed in the daily grind, occupied by the next thing that needed to get done, but from a more peaceful, connected, and meaningful perspective, in which we felt harmony.

The Holidays allowed all of us to ascend to this higher level and connect to each other from that consciousness. Consequently, the quality and the experience of the webinar changed: we asked deeper questions, could be more vulnerable and real, and were able to truly grow. Even though it sounds strange: for me, connecting with the participants from that higher perspective made the entire webinar more Holy.

Last year, I had a chance to meet Rick Ridgeway from Patagonia – the first American to summit K2. He shared with me that – at Patagonia – they noticed the impact of similar “holy” connections. “Some of our conference rooms face the playground of our child care facility, while others are facing a different direction,” Ridgeway explained. “We are noticing that in those conference rooms where people hear children playing, meetings are very different. People are kinder to each other. They listen more. There’s less judgment and dominant behavior.”

It seems that people interact very differently when they are connected to something beyond themselves; whether it is their peer’s children playing in the yard or a higher perspective created by the Holidays.

What if we could maintain this higher perspective as the year matures, and maybe remember that every day can be a Holy Day?

We wish you many moments of meaningful connection for 2018.


Trump! Now What?

With Obama as the first black president in history, we thought we had made progress. Now, with a bullying Donald Trump elected into the world’s most powerful position, did we just go back a century in time?

I did not expect this could actually happen. But then, I didn’t think the British people would vote to leave the European Union, either.

For the past days, I have spoken to friends from around the world, retreated, to make sense of this outcome.

To my own surprise, I came to the conclusion that it might not make sense to fight the election of Donald Trump – or maybe even impeach him (although I’m sure it would be really exciting).


We are facing a much broader issue. Right-wing tendencies are growing all around the globe: in Turkey, Germany, France, The Netherlands, and the UK. The election of Donald Trump may be the most daunting and far-reaching, but ultimately it is yet another signal of the deeper issue we are facing.

What finally bubbles to the surface is that people are dissatisfied – angry. As a matter of fact: they are really pissed off with the existing status quo – with the existing political system, which seems unable to change the current status quo no matter who’s in office. If Hillary Clinton would have won the election, other people would march the streets.

Systemic Change

We have reached a point where voting for another party will not make the difference so many want to see. Dr. Adizes explains in his recent blog why this is the case: it occurs when organizations or countries have past their prime and are headed for destruction. He explains the point that – along the typical life cycle of organizations and countries – the United States are past their prime. At that particular stage, every leader is fought and rejected, whether their name is Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Bernie Sanders.

At this stage of America’s life cycle, exchanging figureheads at the top who then propose new policies or laws cannot anymore create the change so many of us hope for. At this stage, a systemic change in the way we govern our country and our organizations is required. To stop the progress towards increasing bureaucracy and destruction, and to go back to a healthy mode of innovation, creativity and actualization, requires an upgrade to a new operating system of governance – not just a modification of the existing one.

From Ego-Centric to Eco-Centric

Otto Scharmer argues in his recent Huffington Post article “On The Making Of Trump – The Blind Spot That Created Him” that this systemic change requires a shift from silo-thinking (ego-centric) to a collective-thinking (eco-centric): first and foremost a shift in consciousness.

Just consider for a moment how our governments, organizations, and personal lives would change if we could make the shift in below graphic.


This large-scale change usually doesn’t happen without friction or resistance. Existing “leaders” will do everything to keep their power, existing structures and thinking in place. However, as unpleasant as it is, Donald Trump might actually accelerate this transition. All across the US, people are awake – out of their comfort zone. Hit with a two-by-four, ready to come together and make a change. This is an opportunity we need to harness; not to get Trump out of office, but to initiate this more fundamental, systemic change.

Take Apple: when the company was going south under the leadership of Gil Amelio, it lost its innovative spirit, became bureaucratic, and mainstream. Apple slowly decayed – until Steve Jobs re-entered. He didn’t “do the same thing different”. He fundamentally changed the way Apple was governed.

What To Do

We are facing the same challenge: to come together and usher in a new paradigm – a new operating system – of how we govern our countries, our business, our educational systems, and even ourselves. To make this happen, every one of us will need to play their part and take the lead.

We have implemented this kind of system in business teams. We know it works. Now, it’s time for all of us to come together to upgrade the way we work, live, and decide. In the words of Buckminster Fuller: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Our World Is At A Crossroads

Which Path Do You Choose To Take?


When the British people voted to leave the European Union, they cast their vote for more than Britain’s independence. They voted to protect a status quo: a status quo, which – by the way – might not be so glorious to begin with, but which could be challenged if Britain stayed in the European Union.

However, Britain is not an isolated situation. All around the world we see similar events where nationalist agendas make the headlines: the upcoming elections in the United States with a strong right-wing sentiment, the National Party of Marine Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders’s party in the Netherlands, the right-wing Alternative for Germany, or the recent elections in Austria with an even-further right-wing presidential candidate, Norbert Hofer.

The New York Times writes: “The British campaign featured assertions and allegations tossed around with little regard to the facts. Both sides played to emotion, and the most common emotion played upon was fear.”

A similar dynamic plays out in all of the above examples: little regard to the facts, and fear as a basic driver. And with fear being the driver, there’s plenty to choose from in a changing world: terrorist attacks, migration issues, climate change, financial crises, or the growing inequality gap – skim through today’s paper and take your pick.

Fear or Love

As we cast our vote, however, we cannot forget that we are ultimately choosing the direction in which our world is headed. It does not matter whether we vote for Independence or not. What matters is whether we vote from a basic mindset that’s driven by fear – of separation and judgment – or whether we vote from a mindset of love – of love for our fellow humans, but also of love for ourselves. “Love” might be a word that has little place in politics or global issues. However, as humans, we ultimately only have these two options: to choose from a mindset of love, or to choose from a mindset of fear – in any situation: whether we are waltzing with our spouse into the sunset, or whether choose to eliminate terrorism.

With a rising complexity and uncertainty in our world, more and more people choose fear as their driver. It’s simply our conditioning as humans and the way most of us have learned it. Consequently, as humanity, we will create a world that’s driven by fear (and where some people usually gain a lot of power as a consequence of that fear). But ask yourself: is this really the direction you want humanity to take?

If not, stop for a moment and consider how you would choose if you would not choose from fear? Brexit or not – it doesn’t matter. What ultimately matters is whether we will live as humanity driven by love – by an understanding, appreciation and respect for each other – or by fear of each other.

Personally, I’ll do my best to do the former. Still practicing, though.