III. The Power of Wholeness: Living Undivided

Teal for Startups
May 29, 2017 · 5 min read

Article 3 of a 7 Part Series Authored by Mieke Byerley: Full work originally published on Biomimetic Clockworx.

This Labour of Love emerged as a consequence of the seeds planted in the original primary deliverable of a Teal for Startups’ White Paper initiative. It was formed by a Collaborative Community Question Harvesting exercise back in 2015. It was then carefully incubated by dedicated community members across Seven Work Streams, and is incrementally emerging in the form of Blog Series for the benefit of the Teal for Startup Community Members with the acknowledgment of the time and effort many have invested.

If you missed them, here are Article 1 & Article 2 of the 7 part “The Power of Wholeness” series

The Courage to Live Undivided

Courage To Live Undivided by Parker J. Palmer from Center for Courage & Renewal

Our Language

Wholeness, or lack thereof, is often hidden in the language we use, our words often betraying our world view without our conscious awareness. Our language also shapes and reinforces our behaviors, so one of the ways to shift our relationship to wholeness is to consciously change and guard our language, pertaining to it. There is a subtle shift in language which packs a substantially significant alteration in the fabric of our perception. It changes our view from Transcend and Ignore to Transcend and Include (beautifully described in this article). It is as simple as changing any sentence where you would be tempted to use Either/Or with And, the implications of this singularly small change has far reaching consequences and will challenge you and everything that you believe, as the below following paragraphs will hopefully start to highlight.

Implicit/Explicit Nature

There is a wholeness of existence that embraces things we don’t normally think of as whole — such as fragmentation, decomposition, disintegration — which undeniably have a place in the Whole Picture, but which we also have a legitimate desire to fix or heal.

  • Essential (Implicit) wholeness: also known as Fundamental wholeness, is the wholeness that exists no matter what we think about it; it is something we either see or we don’t, but our failure to see it doesn’t change the fact that it IS. Implicit wholeness is something to come to terms with and live within. It provides a transcendent understanding that helps us avoid the booby-traps of absolutism and ideology.
  • Dynamic (Explicit) wholeness: also know as Practical wholeness, is wholeness that we can heal, we can integrate, we can make more whole. Although things may be fundamentally whole, they may be broken, ill, fragmented, incomplete, etc., such that we can heal or fix them.

Both are needed to hold a healthy sense of harmony and order, and to invoke the fact that wholeness exists everywhere around us, ready to help us fill the cracks we see in the world.


Explicit wholeness has two variants;

  • Natural: All things move from fragmentation to wholeness or greater wholeness, leveraging Synchronicity and Serendipity. The underlying principle of natural Regeneration and Equilibrium.
  • Intentional: Consciously creating the conditions, environments and even careful introduction of helper agents, through Congruence and Solidarity. The underlying principles of Gardening and Medicine.


We can pro-actively increase our awareness of our fundamental unity, diversity, relationship, uniqueness, context, interiority and wholeness. Our awareness of ‘What Is’ can make all the difference in the world, transforming what we do in the world and how we feel about it, and giving us the power of alignment with the world, so that we feel we are swimming with the current of life rather than against it. In other words, being in flow.

The Dynamics of Wholeness by Tom Atlee from The Co-Intelligence Institute

Six Facets

Each of the following six facets of wholeness has implicit and explicit dimensions

  • Unity: We are One, but we can be more united in our Values, more coherent in our efforts.
  • Diversity: Diversity exists fundamentally in all living systems and, but we can increase the diversity of our groups and communities, to the benefit of all.
  • Relationship: We are all interconnected, whether we like it (or know it) or not, but we can increase and improve our explicit relationships.
  • Uniqueness: We are all unique, but we can enhance our special gifts to recognize our uniqueness and to become “more” unique, more our own special selves.
  • Context: Everything always has a context, yet things can be in or out of context, or in contexts that enhance (or hinder) other forms of Wholeness like health, relationship, harmony, etc.
  • Interiority: We and all things have an interior dimension, but we can develop our interiority and connect with each other centre-to-centre.

Four Dynamics

  • Inclusion focuses on the presence of more (or all) parts.
  • Creative process focuses on the unfolding patterns of wholeness.
  • Participation focuses on the role of the parts in the whole.
  • Holescence focuses on how a part embodies the whole or wholeness, itself.

From The Co-Intelligence Institute: Wholeness

“All relationships are a reflection of our relationship with our own heart.” — Sheva Carr

Next Article 4 of the 7 part “The Power of Wholeness” series: In Relationship


Each Article is accompanied with a curated selection of resources, provided to further stimulate conversation, formation, research and real life practical application for you and the community.

Inquiry Exercise

  1. What challenges exist in the larger system? What are the blockages?
  2. What initiative, if implemented, would have the greatest impact? For the system as a whole?


  1. Filmmaker Joe York answers the question “What is Zingerman’s?’ in this lively and thoughtful short film.


If you liked this, click the💚 below so other people will see this here on Medium and it may help the team feature more series like this.

Thank You
Special thanks to Malek who is the co-initiator and founder of T4S and founder of FLOW, and Steph who is the founder of Ikigai and co-creator for T4S for taking the time to review the Full Series of articles. Also to all fellow collaborators of the Culture & Values Stream Team for all the support, feedback and reviews during the bulk of the writing.

I would like to recognize that this work would never have materialized if it was not for the amazing contributions of the following communities doing amazing work in their own right. So it is with a very humble heart and a great sense of appreciation that I introduce them here below:
Teal for Startups Community: https://medium.com/teal-for-startups
Frederic Laloux, and the Reinventing Organizations Community: http://www.reinventingorganizations.com/
Otto Scharmer, and the U.Lab Community: https://www.presencing.com/
Marjolein and Lani, and the Map of Meaning CoP: http://www.holisticdevelopment.org.nz/
Tom Atlee and the Co-Intelligence Institute: http://www.co-intelligence.org/index.html
Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal: http://www.couragerenewal.org/

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