On a hot, humid afternoon, a small dog-like creature nibbles on grapes suspended above a lush fern-covered ground. The thick jungle forest is bursting with sound, as this is a time when mammal life explodes with innovative evolutionary options. Nearby, our earliest ancestor, also small, moves past, vying for the same sweet fruit. For a moment the two lock eyes. Fifty-six-million years later, in the very same place that is now Wyoming, their descendants will be working together in perfect harmony, human and horse, to move a herd of cattle off a northern slope into a grassy valley.
As the horse gallops up a ridgeline, suddenly the topography changes, and the herd of cattle makes an abrupt shift. In response, the horse effortlessly executes what is known as a flying lead change – a gravity-defying maneuver that allows him to change balance and respond to the changing scenario without losing momentum or unseating his rider. It’s not only a masterfully effective response, it is joyful. Like this, the horse has been our perfect companion in successfully navigating change, for thousands of years.
We now find ourselves at an evolutionary brink, inside frighteningly complex and rapidly changing times—a radical shift of topography. As people invested in the future, we need to be uncommonly skilled in order to respond, and assist those who we care about to respond also, in order that we may joyfully thrive. Increasingly more people feel a sense of calling to step into their true vocation, to make a difference inside the turbulence. Such service requires mastery in wisdom, awareness, intuition, mindfulness, and attunement. Yet these elusive capacities cannot easily be acquired through conventional means. We need a physics-defying solution, a masterful mid-flight switch in how we lead our lives and organizations.
Flying Lead Change – 56 Million Years of Wisdom for Leading and Living is a guidebook for that switch of lead, bringing in the principles behind creating a just, joyful and sustainable world, informed by the ancient tutelage and modeling of nature-based wisdom. It is written for those who feel a sense of collective responsibility and seek sound guidance from a deeply trustworthy source that resonates with their intrinsic values of wholeness and connection.
The contents couple two nature-based influences: Horses, and Indigenous teachings directly instructed and shared with the author through her relationship to several key First Nations teachers, colleagues and friends. Science and contemplative principles weave these two influences together in a way that importantly grounds both into material that is relevant, practical and evidence-based. One of the author’s key teachers is an Australian Aboriginal Elder named Uncle Bob Randall, the Listed Custodial Elder of Uluru in Central Australia, and their private conversations feature largely in Flying Lead Change.