COVID-19 Crisis and Opportunity – Caterpillar’s Last Stand, and How We Connect the Emerging “Imaginal Cells”

Aired 26 May 2020 – 5:00 PM EDT

An Interview with Author and Activist Shariff Abdullah

“Compared to downheaval, upheaval is the lesser of two heavals.” — Swami Beyondananda



As more of us have come to recognize, fear – and the fight or flight response – puts us in our hindbrain, where we are hard-wired for survival. This is essential for the short term, but what about the bigger picture?

Transformative ideas and evolutionary solutions, and out-of-the-box creativity come from our forebrain. In times of crisis and upheaval, the urgency of the shituation gets our attention. And … it’s the creative part of ourselves that must give us the INTENTION.

Our guest this week, Shariff Abdullah, has cultivated the ability to hold two ideas simultaneously – the ideal and the real deal – and use the dynamic tension between the two to help us get from the urgent crisis to the emergent opportunity. He uses the same analogy Bruce Lipton and I use in Spontaneous Evolution – the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly – to characterize our current predicament.

More intriguing – maybe trying to get from “here to there” keeps us crawling like a caterpillar along the same linear pathways that got us where we are. Instead says Shariff, we need to work backward from “butterfly” so that we figure out how to get from THERE to HERE.

Shariff Abdullah, J.D., is a consultant, speaker, author and advocate for societal transformation. His mission is to bring currently dysfunctional systems and structures into alignment with our common human and spiritual values, to create a world that works for all living things. Shariff consults with people and organizations on the leading edge of change, including government agencies, businesses and social service organizations.

As Director of Commonway Institute, he has visited over 43 countries and over 100 distinct cultures, giving him a unique perspective on our global human and spiritual issues, and a vision that spans culture and class.  He has proven experience in working with all peoples and in many different situations, bringing harmony in conditions of actual or potential conflict and discord.

His books on leadership and societal change include the award-winning Creating a World That Works for All, and Seven Seeds for a New Society. He also will be talking about his latest work, The Chronicles of the Upheavals, a fictional book that does indeed track us back from there to here.

If you’re ready to shift your perspective from fear-based emergency to love-based “emerge ‘n see”, please join us.

To find out more about Shariff Abdullah and the Commonway Institute, please go here: