To everything there is a season.
These last few years of COVID has interestingly been the season for Syntropy.
Some historical context
I was introduced to the work of R.Buckminster Fuller when I was 26.
I studied his work in-depth with 100 others over 7 intense days in early 1992.
I am a visionary pioneer and fringe dweller, a nerd, fascinated by large scale systems.
I have refused to define my life by niche and specialisation, preferring to be a comprehensivist.
As a single mother who worked for herself, I was in a constant conversation around my own value, money flow (or lack), living on the edge of uncertainty for most of my life. This lead me to a deep dive into the subject of money, currency, finance, economics, wealth, inequality, and justice.
I have always been a rebel around business-as-usual. Richard Branson’s book, ‘Screw Business as Usual’ (SBAU) was the original source idea for what has become Syntropic World. In 2013 I had the opportunity to pitch Sir Richard in person about taking SBAU to the world through education, events and such. You can download the pitch document here.
Big Blue Sky – a local event I co-created on the Gold Coast – was inspired by the Source Idea to not be the person sitting on the couch complaining. But what could I do? Convene a multi-stakeholder event in my community to explore how best to co-create our future. (Download the Big Blue Sky 2015 overview here.)
The precession of Big Blue Sky was the Syntropic Trust Manifesto (download here) and the Synergistic Audit.
Another precession of Big Blue Sky PLUS a convergence of events had me go through a very dark night of the soul. To die before dying is an incredibly liberating experience, one I would not recommend as the pathway.
On taking a deliberate step back into the world I was clear about a few things;
One: I was going to turn to the more beautiful world we can make. This meant I was no longer going to try to fix the existing systems. Rather I was going to spend my time, love, energy, joy and focus on creating new models that make the existing obsolete.
Two: I was not going to compromise or apologise for my life choices. Love, beauty, care, joy, integrity, wellbeing, mutual respect, zero exploitation, clean communication…no longer optional. Foundational to my everything. No burning rubber and eroding health to achieve some ‘X’ point. Enough quality sleep, playtime, contemplation, loving.
Wisdom shows us that every step to here is what has us arrive exactly here. In the middle of a profound breakdown taking place over a decade, it is so hard to see what becomes so obvious in hindsight. Even harder still to point to possibility when the darkness is all we see and feel.
The confluence of events in early 2019 had me both birth Syntropic World and meet the love of my life. My rock, my best friend, my playmate, my sounding board, my recalibration, Tony, and our relationship plus Syntropic World as a result of all of the decades before spent in the crucible. Learning, breaking down, violating, being violated, moving from self-centred to compassionate…several billion small choices, shaped by the flame of Bucky speaking that integrity is the essence.
I have thrived through the times of COVID. I recognise that many others have not. Many others have found it hard, isolating, challenging. Given I have spent a lifetime living on the edge of emergence, emergence and uncertainty are where I am trained to live. It is easy for me. So easy in fact, that I find not working with emergence – having too much structure – too much predictability – the stress.
I do have structure. My home. My morning routine. The core people in my life – dependable. My own self-trust. These things are enough to stabilise the system of my life.
The Synergistic Audit is based on Bucky Fullers 12 Degrees of Freedom. How to stabilise any system. The purpose behind the audit is to account for all forms of value and contribution, to enable wholeness and synergy. To end the domination of one form of value – money – as the arbiter of worth and access.
– note this audit does not separate work and life as I have never seen them as separate and I am privileged to be able to live with them being so intertwined.
What we have in Syntropic World over 2021 – generated and received.
In the domain of matter
This year I acquired a new computer and iPad to support my work. Given I have only ever used a laptop, and it goes with me everywhere, this is an essential piece of equipment. I do not have twin screens, and I work from the kitchen bench, most often in bare feet.
Tony and I became fan’s of van life, travelling as much as we are able on weekends to recalibrate life and love. Tony’s investment in Van #2, a long-wheelbase VW transporter has been perfect for us. He did the majority of the fit-out, I painted and installed insulation. I lead a session of the Syntropic Immersion Class from Cresent Head in NSW with the van as the backdrop for my flip chart. I write Beauty of Beginnings from where ever I am, including the headland at Point Plummer so I could get an internet signal.
In the domain of Currency
Our biggest costs are the software tools needed to enliven a virtual education platform.
Note; the link may be an affiliate link, which means Syntropic World might get a small percentage of the purchase fee, at no extra cost to you if you sign up for any of the software.
AccessAlly – started and created by a team of women, I love this platform.$1790.91
ConvertKit – our CRM $1306.90
Vimeo – because I like to pay and not be the product and I really dislike the ad’s on YouTube $316.80
Zoom – $228
Divi – web site building software $100
Canva of course…wonderful Aussie company $226
Circle – the architecture to hold Syntropia, our digital house. I spoke with the founder before we made the decision to go with them. $878
Descript – we searched for transcription software and found Descript, which enables video and audio transcription and text editing. $292.37
HelloAudio $159.30 – because I wanted people to be able to listen to replays of Masterclasses and community calls through a private audio. Again another young team.
Paperbell $330.50 – a coaching package platform
VA – Alicia – $596.80
Web Hosting $765
Addevent $424 – a calendar and events app that converts multiple time zones and is not google. I love their support and human contact.
We took a stand very early on that access will never be denied for those who do not have the ability to pay in money. People are invited to nominate what they can bring that honours the contribution made by Syntropic World and me.
The Syntropic Blue Community of Practice has the following requirements to become an active member;
- Complete the Syntropic Enterprise Masterclass either live or on-demand
- Complete the Synergetic Audit for Syntropic World
- Sign the Trust Manifesto for Syntropic World
Choose to make a financial contribution or not. We decided not to do the membership payment ongoing, as it was more aligned with our principles to offer people to nominate a contribution that was aligned to their own capacity. This is a deeply trusting process. At the same time, I am clear that exploitation and extraction of anyone within the community will not be tolerated. To date this has not been an issue.
Contributions made to support Syntropic World $3170.43. This includes members of the Syntropic Blue Community, plus people from the field of support.
Masterclasses, including Syntropic Immersion, Synergistic Accounting classes $29,522
- Synergistic Accounting class, 15 participants, 2 of which we gifted for zero $
- Syntropic Enterprise Masterclass On-demand (new) 4 gifted for zero $ (exchange happened) + 1 paid
- Syntropic Enterprise Masterclass Live 53 participants paying in four $currencies, 23 return graduates, 23 gifted for $zero
- Syntropic Immersion 12 participants paying various amounts in various currencies, 3 of these gifted for $zero.
Mentoring Client fees $21,000
Job Keeper $6000 -thank you to the Australian Government for their support during COVID, making all the hard work at the front end of Syntropic possible.
Christine’s contribution of $5000 in 2021
As you can see this is not yet a large income producer. My focus has been on steadily and thoroughly building the foundations for exponential growth, which we anticipate.
We have not used the currency of time to bend ourselves out of shape as we build the foundations. Our ‘being the model’ includes having time out, weekends, weeks off. We remain tuned to Kairos time, knowing there will likely be a time when we need to speed things up. In the next year or so we anticipate enacting a four day week for all staff as we bring them on board.
One of our Masterclass grads and community members, Kate, has been cleaning up our books in preparation for the legal code implementation in 2022. This has included a clean, transparent representation of the investment I have made in money, time, knowledge, technology, warm data towards what is now Syntropic World. As an older woman, and a lifelong single mother, my assets are small. I am confident of ensuring my elder years are not spent in scarcity and lack and that as we move into legal code implementation I will be remunerated for 3 decades of work towards Syntropic World. I do intend to keep working until I draw my last breath, as I cannot image stopping. My family live very long lives generally. I am, for the first time in my life, in full acknowledgement of my own lifelong investment and its value.
I have been paying down debts very gradually over time. This year I discharged three major debts. The money for those payments has now been directed to other debts to bring those to zero as rapidly as possible. And then from here, the same money will be directed to superannuation.
In the domain of Technology, Tools and Artefacts
In 2020 I invested the COVID lock downtime in learning to build an online learning platform. I enjoy projects like this very much as it is creative, nerdy, focused, adventurous, and a steep learning curve.
The software we used in 2020 was and is…
This year I did all the research on a community platform. Not slack, never Facebook, not Linkedin. I wanted a platform that would become a home. Plus we would own the data, and the ability to make it our own. You have to pay for this. If it is ‘free’ then we are the product. Free and it is very unlikely to be Syntropic – as free has a manipulative cost, usually unacknowledged upfront.
I went with Circle, particularly after speaking in person to one of the founders. I like a young highly committed company that places community at the centre of what they do.
I also wanted to enable our community to listen to the Masterclass and Community call replays, not just watch a video. I am a listen-to person myself, rarely watch the videos of anything..so it was a no-brainer for me. HelloAudio was the answer to this.
Addevent – I wanted a calendar that would do all the time zone conversations for people + was not google + was a beautiful people-centred company. I love this company. They were introduced to me via Seth Godin. I love getting support from real humans.
Descript – this took a lot of bandwidth to decide on. We needed transcription, but I found that with Descript, which I wish was more Apple Mac like and intuitive, was great because it allowed me to edit video and audio using the text script. It has enabled me to edit clips from video’s very simply.
The Syntropic Enterprise Masterclass – our foundation module
I spent a considerable amount of time this year getting the 100% Syntropic Masterclass On-demand up and running. I could not have done this without Henk Hedders, who volunteered to take the class and set up a spreadsheet with all the edits required. Once this was done I knew we had a product that would stand on its own. Henk has since become an important member of the Syntropic Blue community.
Our strategy as you know has always been to make the Masterclass accessible. The ON-demand version is super affordable. And we never say no to anyone – those who have limited funds can complete their own Synergistic Audit to be sure to offer value in exchange for the gift of the Masterclass.
In 2022 the Syntropic Masterclass increases significantly in fees. We are now setting up payment plans, and never limiting access to those committed to participating.
Masterclass grads continue to be invited to attend again at no extra fee as the new models and new mindsets take time to integrate.
We now have Masterclass graduates in 24 countries. We are aware that our current limitation is to English speaking participants. We naturally attracted slightly more women than men.
The Syntropic Masterclass Playbook – was created to support the Masterclass journey. 80 pages of models, tools and references.
Our Syntropic Badges
Camillo, our designer from Columbia, created the 6 badges used to designate graduation and participation.
Our CRM – Convertkit
We have 2395 subscribers to our list, and a 30.30% open rate. I have just completed a cleanup exercise to ensure the list is healthy.
I started writing Sunday Syntropy this year as the cornerstone of our storytelling marketing campaign. The idea was to write longer form articles that educate, provoke, inspire. One of our loved community members, Colleen Reichrath-Smith offered to become the Sunday Syntropy editor. Colleen is a career coach. You can subscribe to Sunday Syntropy here.
Beauty of Beginnings goes into its 5th year on January 1st 2022. 162 Subscribers by email, and others reading via Social Media including Medium. This number might be considered small. I do not write for the numbers. Subscribe here.
Using WordPress as the hosting platform the majority of our new visitors come via Linkedin, where I post Beauty of Beginnings each day, and they flip flop between Australia and the USA as the number one countries of origin.
How to Start a Syntropic Enterprise – the short ebook – was published as a gift for those curious visitors to the website. This was a collaboration of many of the community members, all listed in the credits of the ebook, which you can download here.
Speak the Truth -ebook – was re-edited. First written about 15 years ago, this 30-page ‘how-to’ ebook enables you to do the inner work in preparation to having a critical, important, scary conversation. It is practical and has real-life examples. It has saved marriages, partnerships, teams. Buy it here.
I managed a quick trip to Melbourne in between lockdowns to lead a strategy day with the wonderful team from Carbon8, three of them Masterclass Graduates.
The first Syntropic Immersion program – for Masterclass Graduates keen on diving deeper into the material was commenced in March. With 12 participants participating over 12 weeks, this was a test for me as I taught new material, including the maths behind Bucky’s demonstration of Syntropy being a greater force than entropy. This glorious class will be taught again in March 2022.
In the domain of knowledge
I learn every day from Masterclass participants. I love the questions they ask me. I love how questions make me better. That is one of the most amazing gifts from this work. The awesome people who show up wholeheartedly. Their offering of vulnerability, insight, generosity, sharing, deep reflection and thoughtful questions creates a context for all of us to be better. Great questions are my edge.
Bucky said that he never prepared a speech in advance. He would sit down to begin, look upwards for the words and the moment, and then speak. A great question evokes something from within that I often did not know was there until it was spoken.
This is also my experience in writing Beauty of Beginnings. I will hear a sentence, read something, see an example of something, and then write to explore it. The writing is often my own inquiry emerging.
I have learned and continue to learn every single day to trust the process of Syntropy that we teach. It works when I hold the integrity of it – being the model, vs teaching the model.
I have also learned to slow down in my responses. When I respond from reflex it is usually an entropic response.
Syntropic responses most often require consideration, incubation, feeling into the edges.
The more I trust this, the better the outcome.
This includes pacing for the next step. I do regularly ask myself if I am holding back, not moving fast enough, not going big enough. So far the answer has been a clear no, however I can feel the pulse quickening.
Learning to surf has been an incredible metaphor. (As has learning to be a better lover.) Slow everything down. Feel. Feel the waves, the board, the water. Bring everything down to one place. Feel. Not think. This has been so hard for me, as thinking has been my go-to place. Feel with, not just feel. Feel with the waves, the board, the flow.
I am learning in a hyper reactive world filled with intensely polarised opinions and beliefs to take all the diversity of opinions in. To notice my own charge and reactivity, to realise this is my work, and until I am ‘clean’ of charge, to not respond. It is clear we do not need a single extra atom of reactivity right now. There must be a better way to build bridges and heal division. Applying the Syntropic principles, particularly those crafted from the Dare to Care program (being re-released after a 15 year hiatus in 2022) – like Clean Communication, Conversation for Understanding, managing expectations, the 7 Step Process for Speaking the Truth (Ebook available here), has been crucial to my own synergistic (whole systems) response. Again, BE the Model as the central tenant.
I have learned that when I see hypocrisy, which is everywhere, to explore my own universe of hypocrisy, for surely I have it too. To have my own Integrity Council, and the Syntropic Community members, call me out whenever they experience me speaking with a hypocritical lens.
I am learning the incredible and only just-begun-to-be-realised-power of the Synergetic Audit. The group currently taking the Synergistic Accounting Class (at this time only available for Masterclass Graduates) have blown my mind and heart. To be fully witnessed by others in your wholeness is so rare, so honouring, so beautiful. Create the right context and people bring their best selves. I am also learning to use the Synergistic Audit more consistently in my own work processes. Like this audit – the first – and in future destined to be a multimedia Audit. Plus in my negotiation with people seeking Syntropic Mentorship. One of our principles is to never prohibit someone from participating because they do not have the financial ability to pay. At the same time, we hold our values of zero exploitation, zero extraction, zero colonisation as sacred. For me to agree to bring my decades-of-accumulated-experience, and hard-won-wisdom as a mentor without reciprocity is to violate our own principles. We do not use the word FREE regularly in Syntropic World, for the moment we do we devalue that which we speak. The sunlight is not free. The shade of the tree is not free. Can we honour the gift in the receiving?
I have learned to use software tools, mostly by necessity as our budget doesn’t yet allow paying others. Building websites, email campaigns, an online learning platform, vimeo, zoom..it has all been a wonderful learning platform.
Books read and loved
I finally read Dune. I am currently reading the entire 15 books of Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time. I rarely read novels but every now and then the mental part of my brain needs a break.
II was impacted highly by Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer is an exquisite model of Syntropy
Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown speaks to Syntropic flow.
On Immunity by Eula Biss had me deeply rethink vaccination after being a soft anti-vaxer since my teens. (Written in 2014, well before COVID) She presented the case for public health in such a beautiful way without imposing her stand, enabling the reader to think for themselves and reach their own conclusion.
Humankind by Rutger Bregman reminded me of what I knew – that we live in a world where people would rather be kind than nasty.
The Book of Life by Peter Kingsley challenged me over and over. (He wrote one of my favourite books, A Story Waiting to Pierce You)
The Web of Meaning by Jeremy Lent continues the journey of his remarkable The Patterning Instinct (one of my most favourite books)
Mission Economy by Mariana Mazzucato continues her work of tilting the axis around the conversation of value.
Cassandra Speaks by Elizabeth Lesser reminds me of the challenges of being a Cassandra.
Manifesto for a Moral Revolution by Jacqueline Novogratz invites an experience of what we in Syntropic World call the Trust Manifesto.
The work of Daniel Schmachtenberger and The Consilience Project continues to inspire and evoke deeper questions of sense-making.
Seth Godin always makes me a better human.
The Juice Media rocks the world out of its trance with wicked satire. I love them and contribute as a patron.
In the domain of warm data
My relationships are the ground of my existence. I am not a social person. Yet I love to teach, mentor, coach and support others in their Syntropic application. After years of resistance I have acknowledged that teaching is a skill I have. I watch my energy go up when I teach. Lucky me, the people who are attracted to Syntropic World are all people I would invite to my home for a BBQ. Amazing people. Wholehearted. Integrous. Super smart. Brave. Diverse. A community now in 24 countries.
I love that there is enough safety and permission in the community for a member to tell me to stop stepping on her hose. (She was right!) That another challenges a foundational model of the Masterclass and I rethink how we can present it.
Where the community spends two community calls providing feedback in support of the work of Syntropic World as part of a branding and marketing campaign.
I am so lucky to be doing work I love, with people I love, on projects that support a world with a future for all.
Our current Synergistic Accounting Class is an example of something incredibly beautiful happening in the world. 7 strangers from 4 countries gathered to share their Synergistic Audit each week. Tears. Kindness. Being witnessed. Love. Last night more magic. One of the class participants, Dorothy Oger, a poet, wrote a poem in 2016 the day after the Brussels bombing, where she lost a friend. That poem, We Stand For Love, has now been translated into 70 languages and has been read by many around the world. I recommend you watch the illustrated version, read by Dorothy, here, and then watch Gillian Anderson, the actor, read it at the memorial service of Jo Cox, the British MP who was assassinated. (Here, at minute 38.44) It speaks to everything we care about in Syntropic World.
The Syntropic Blue Community of Practice is a wonderful community of very dedicated entrepreneurs and business owners. We meet every week on a Wednesday Australia/Euro time, and three times a month for Australia and the Americas. The calls are a mixture of application of the Syntropic Principles, space for anyone to make a Daring Ask, a request for the Threshing Floor – a space where someone brings an idea or project that seeks to be spoken while being held by others to thresh and sort; space for people to be lost and confused, the need to be held kindly, space for celebration. And always space for learning from each other. We held our final session last week, and as is now customary and part of our ritual, Benny led us in the Seaweed Dance. The Syntropic Blue Community is synergy in practice.
My relationship with Tony has only strengthened, if that is possible. A long time ago I heard someone who had been in a very long term relationship say that each year the respect they had for each other grew. I wanted that for myself. I wanted a partner who I respected more every single day, month, year. Tony is that person. His kindness, care, consideration, generosity, principles, values, makes me a better person just by being around him. Every day I feel blessed.
Gratitude is a daily moment by moment practice. When you come to love so late in life I do not take a single second for granted. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? At the beginning of our relationship I was scared that illness or accident might rob us of our time. But to live in the shadow of fear of that definitely created a discolouration to everything. Being grateful and in awe as a practice, every day, every moment, is what I do now.
The support I feel from the Syntropic Community is breathtaking. That support keeps me honest, keeps me inspired, keeps me being bold. And definitely ensures I live the work I am teaching.
In the domain of Wellbeing
Our first offspring
Syntropic Studio was born through a thread of conversations between Benny and Steve, Murray, Sarah and Robyn. Taking the Synergistic Audit and converting it into an exquisite 90-minute process that connects strangers or workmates previously operating together without genuine connection. The Thread Sessions and Seeing You at Source enables people from any walk of life or area to be brought into the Syntropic Conversation without even knowing they are, with exquisite kindness and deep honouring of their multi-dimensional skills and character. Do check out Syntropic Studio.
Our second offspring
Not yet manifested from idea to form, yet held in deep intention, the Syntropic Community are planning to convene a 24 hour “Follow The Sun” event – a Syntropic Open House – in 2022. (Possible date, March 30th)The Steward of this Source Idea is our beautiful Manuela Damant, based in the Netherlands. Manuela attended the live Masterclass in London when COVID was just taking hold.
Part of the Source Idea of Syntropic World was to see Syntropic Enterprises being born and also Syntropic offspring being brought into the world to ensure greater opportunity and access to all things Syntropic.
I am thrilled to see these two offspring spontaneously arise from within the community. It affirms we are on path.
Events held and run by Community members
We welcome and promote community engagement and development of Syntropic Tools and services and will support their propagation into the world as much as we are able.
Awaken the Weird – a 90-minute exploration into the parts of us that are weird, run by Benny Wallington and inspired by a quote from Kevin Kelly.
Conversations Matter – lead by our incredible online facilitator Colleen Reichrath-Smith
Seeing You at Source – held twice so far, for the Syntropic Community and their guests
I am continuing my surfing adventure. The ocean humbles me every time. I did experience my first fin chop on my left ankle which had me out of everything for 6 weeks. 7 stitches. Ouch. (April May)
I continue my morning routine of hard physical exercise by the ocean, sunrise shots, Beauty of Beginnings, coffee and conversation with Tony. And to ensure I am well rested and nourished, as the vessel of bringing this work alive. Being a little kinder to my older body is a work in progress, especially during heat. More respect and atunement required. This is hard for someone used to a body that has endurance and high pain tolerance as normal.
We did road trips to Emerald Beach, Cresent Head, Point Plummer, Stanthorpe (where we conquered our fear and climbed a large granite boulder), Noosa, and North Stradbroke Island, plus many excursions to Northern NSW until border closures ended that. Tony and his boys learned to dive and I did my refresher. Tony and I dived with the sharks on North Stradbroke Island.
At Syntropic World we do not set goals. We hold intentions. They are different. Intentions marry Kairos time and emergence. Intention adapts to changing circumstances.
Key 2022 intentions
Lead the Dare to Care – how to speak the radical truth with compassion program after a 15-year hiatus. This program has been delivered to thousands of people around the world and was deployed as the ‘performance management’ training program for a major bank in Australia and New Zealand.
Legal Code of Syntropic World
It may seem strange but we have yet to put in place the legal code of Syntropic World. We are aiming to create a steward owned enterprise, allowing community members to have voting rights, to keep the voting rights and the equity rights separated to avoid contamination and misaligned incentives, to ensure the Pattern Integrity of the Source Idea is never violated, to enable an investment/capital fund, and much more.
Working with Purpose Economy Lawyer and Masterclass Graduate, Anna, we are excited to finally become a ‘grown up’ entity.
Begin to work on Synergistic Accounting Software
This is a big project and is likely to require our first bite of investment money. Fortunately we now have a wonderful CTO as a graduate and community member.
Get the Syntropic Story out to many more people
We know there are many who would love this work if they knew of it. A deeply considered marketing strategy is part of our intention for 2022.
Do many more speaking gigs – speaking on Syntropy. If you know anyone looking for a speaker (paid) let me know.
Create enough income to be sure we can pay Syntropic Community members for their contribution – such as the work we need on branding and website design and copy.
Get our first large Syntropic Implementation project where a team of us work with a company to implement some or all of the Syntropic Principles. Interested? Let me know.