Peace UCC in St. Louis discovers "A Golden Civilization"

Rev. Wendy Bruner invited George Kinder to spend the day at her church, Peace UCC in St. Louis, which is known for being progressive and having members that are very engaged in the community. George attended the early and late morning services, where Rev. Bruner connected the concept of a Golden Civilization into her sermons. During the adult learning session that took place between the two services, George spoke about his latest book and led a brief mindfulness exercise. After the 11:00am service, members enjoyed refreshments and George facilitated a Golden Civilization Conversation with the help of his good friend Lesley Wellman. See the pictures below for the results of their conversation. George will be returning to Peace UCC on Sunday, October 20 to lead a follow-up Golden Civilization Conversation.


Seeking a Golden Civilization - by Andy Coote

On the 1st of July this year we welcomed George Kinder to the Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth for a Golden Civilization conversation. This event was made possible by Jeremy Squibb of Serenity FP, a student of George and a follower of his Life Planning approach.

Unlike our approach to Life Conversations, which as I explained last week is agenda free, George has an Agenda for his conversations. He is asking groups to explore what, to them, a Golden Civilization might look like, what obstacles exist to achieving that and what we, individually and as a group, can do to move in that direction.

After framing the conversation, George moved on to asking about our vision for that Civilization. What actions, behaviours, values and emotions might drive that. We soon had a flip chart full of those visions and elements of vision. 

George switched our focus to the obstacles that we foresaw to moving in the direction of the vision. Obstacles can be large, complex to resolve and long term, small, simple to fix and short term and all shapes and sizes between. Knowing what the obstacle is, allows thinking and planning to overcome it. For the small obstacles, that may be a personal change process. For more complex problems, there may need to be an active movement, with others cooperating to ensure that change is being facilitated piece by piece.

That leads into actions. Small steps that we, as individuals or groups, can take that will move us towards the ideal outcome.  The smallest changes can make a big difference. Larger changes will consist of many smaller steps. With actions (what could be done) come committments (what WILL be done, by who and by when).

The process that LifeMOT undertook to continue with Serenity and with support from George and his organisation is to develop themes and begin the process of change. To do that, we will follow the vision, barriers, action model at some future Life Conversations around themes from the July 1st conversation. 

An initial review suggests we can look at macro issues such as peace, understanding, equality and sustainability and group and personal issues such as communication, openness, transparency and compassion. We’ll have the flip charts from the original session with us on Wednesday afternoon (and images are in the header, above) plus additional paper for notes, doodles and insights. We'll first decide our starting point and then move with the group dynamic. The only ground rule will be to be positive and progressive in our contributions.

If you want to change the world, if you want to change your community, if you want to change you, the first step is to define where you are going and what your passion may be.

Come and join us and take steps in a positive direction.

-Andy Coote


Client Appreciation: Life Planning Clients Look at Civilization


When Indresh Malik heard that George Kinder would be visiting Mumbai, he jumped at the chance to do whatever he could to make George’s time in the city easy. After all, it’s not every day that he gets to spend time with his mentor, who lives on the other side of the world.

Indresh attended a keynote speech that George gave at the 4th India Wealth Management Conference hosted by the CFA Society India. He agreed to speak on two panels about his experience using George Kinder’s Life Planning process with clients.

Thinking about the clients, Indresh suggested that George meet the group of accomplished professionals, who he has led through Life Planning process. George thought this was a great idea and offered to make the experience even more impactful for Indresh and his clients by facilitating a Golden Civilization Conversation with them.

The dozen leaders, entrepreneurs, and artists gathered in a boardroom at the Taj Lands End, Mumbai and met the “Father of Life Planning,” who led them through the Life Planning process again but this time thinking about civilization. Indresh’s wife Nidhi captured the group’s vision on the whiteboard along with perceived obstacles to the vision and action steps that should be taken. The group finished with each making personal commitments for how they would affect civilization in a positive way immediately.

Indresh committed to keeping the conversation going with his clients. For a impromptu client appreciation event, there is much to appreciate in this new group of conversation leaders.


Connecting and Moving Towards a Curriculum for Wisdom, 6-96!


Here is what I most recall  from our lovely, stimulating and supportive conversation on 11 July as we shared and developed perspectives on all we were doing in the world to support improvement in our civilisation, and generated ideas on a curriculum for wisdom, 6-96:

  • Imagination:

    • Envisioning what could be- individually, collectively

    • Our torch

    • Guided and stimulated by what could be

  • Generosity of spirit:

    • ‘Warm showers’ – ‘Share a couch’

    • Giving without obligation – reciprocity – it stands out

    • Compassion, love, kindness – treat neighbours as self

  • Truth to power:

    • Antisemitism

    • Our own integrity

    • Showing up, knowing what we stand for, standing for truth

  • Stepping into engagement, agency and dialogue:

    • Dealing with aggression and judgment, ‘hail buffeting the window’, ‘putting on a Gor-tex coat to stand in the hail’

    • Stance and skill of inquiry – understanding, empathy, common ground

    • Contrast with ‘black and white’

  • Grounding ourselves, steadfastness, peace and joy:

    • Nature, gardens

    • ‘Il faut cultiver notre jardin’ (Voltaire)

    • Holding steadfast within the cacophony of ephemeral inner thoughts and voices

    • Connecting with wider consciousness, love, ‘flow’

    • Playfulness

  • Knowing ourselves, our essence, our sense of purpose

    • Meditation

    • Contemplation

    • Personal inquiry

And on the back of Lorraine’s closing comment – ‘I am not sure where else I would have this type of conversation’ – I conclude by repeating some gorgeous words that Jane sent from Parker Palmer’s ‘A Hidden Wholeness’ – about community, ‘a circle of trust’:

‘Like a wild animal, the soul is tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy and self-sufficient: it knows how to survive in hard places…..Yet despite its toughness the soul is also shy….It seeks safety in the dense underbrush, especially when other people are around (and), unfortunately, community in our culture too often means a group of people who go crashing through the woods together, scaring the soul away…. Under these conditions the intellect, emotions, will and ego may emerge, but not the soul: we scare off the soulful things, like respectful relationships, goodwill and hope. A circle of trust is a group of people who know how to sit quietly ‘in the woods’ with each other and wait for the shy soul to grow up.  The relationships in such a group are not pushy but patient; they are not confrontational but compassionate; they are filled not with expectations and demands but with abiding faith in the reality of the inner teacher and in each person’s capacity to learn from it.  The poet Rumi captures the essence of this way of being together:  ‘A circle of lovely, quiet people/becomes the ring on my finger’.

Go well all! Many thanks again and more on next steps soon.

Julian xxx

Golden Civilization Conversation: George Kinder and Louis Vollebregt

Louis Vollebregt joins George Kinder on Facebook Live to discuss a Golden Civilization. They share about their collaborative work in Life Planning and the early development of the Golden Civilization Conversations. George credits Louis for being the first person to encourage George to apply the EVOKE Life Planning process with civilization, and recalls him saying, “George, why don’t you life plan civilization. It works so well with people. Why don’t you do it with civilization?”

As a grandparent Louis feels the importance of delivering a “A Golden Civilization” so his grandchildren can thrive. “I want to make sure when I go I would leave a world that has at least as much potential for them as it has for me. At least.” They each reflect on the main themes that come up in Golden Civilization Conversations.


I can re-claim my own idealism and innocence, and it brings me the power!
— Joan Luzier

I was one of a group of 10 people who participated in a weekly conversation based on George Kinder’s latest book, A Golden Civilization and the Map of Mindfulness. Over the course of four weeks, we were lucky to have George Kinder himself facilitate a series of what he called “Golden Civilization Conversations.” The conversations posed questions to the group about what we each thought was needed to create a Golden Civilization, including “What do we want to see happen in the world to restore sustainability, equality, kindness, etc.?” Whatever any of us came up with was welcomed and added to a board divided in three vertical parts. The board captured answers to three main questions:

  • “What is important to creating a Golden Civilization?”

  • “What are the obstacles do we see?”

  • “What can we do about creating our vision?”

The discussions were wonderful! Each of us contributed ideas to all three questions. Getting to the action part was a wake-up call and a means of catharsis for everyone. The action could be as basic as being kinder or wishing to be kinder. Some of us came up with wonderful action ideas and plans that we could do in our homes, neighborhoods, cities, countries, and for our planet.

One of the best parts for me was George’s charge to live our vision of a Golden Civilization every day, every moment. This has shown me that there are many, many times in every day that life itself has many moments of a Golden Civilization if I look for it. I can also see that there are so many ways that my life and my world are very far from the Golden Civilization in the larger scale. I have much more clarity and empowerment to not accept the unacceptability—and to stand up to power. There is much to do, much to learn, and I know I don’t have to do this alone. George teaches freedom. I found my own sense of corruption in the sense of cynicism and exhaustion toward power. I can re-claim my own idealism and innocence, and it brings me the power!

 And it was really fun!!!

 Joan Luzier

Open University academics discuss A Golden Civilization with George Kinder

George Kinder sits down with Open University academics Jonquil Lowe, Senior Lecturer in Economics and Personal Finance, and Alan Shipman, Lecturer in Economics, along with host Karen Foley for a stimulating discussion on the topics raised in his latest book, A Golden Civilization and the Map of Mindfulness. The Student Hub Live interview dives into George’s background in financial advice and developing the Life Planning methodology and how he’s applied the theory behind Life Planning to revisioning civilization.

Alan Shipman says that A Golden Civilization and the Map of Mindfulness is "a rather innovative approach" to looking at the world from both an individual perspective and as a whole "and how action taken by individuals can actually produce the world we want."

Video credit: Open University and Student Hub Live

Why activism at any age is commendable


Condorcet on Voltaire. ‘He seemed to recognise only one glory, that of avenging humanity, and rescuing victims of oppression.


Greta Thunberg started her climate campaign whilst in her teens. Some great contributors to humanity took much longer to start their activism. One fascinating case in point is the French literary lion and perceived leader of the enlightenment Voltaire. He was not a perfect man by any means but his contribution to the collective good must be admired.

Voltaire took an assumed named in his 20’s. His father was a successful lawyer who sent him to one of the best schools in France and wanted his son to follow in his footsteps but Voltaire had a literary calling and rebelled. Initially his rebellion cost him dear as he was cut off from family funds and temporarily disinherited. He experienced real poverty for many years including some time in London.  In his 30s he had some lucky business ventures and inherited family money. He used his money well and became fabulously wealthy. He consorted with Kings especially those of Prussia and France. He hated the system of France with its tyrannical approach to law and morality and found that the ‘Ancien Regime’ and the Catholic Church had too much arbitrary power over people’s lives. In those days torture of the cruellest kinds was used to extract ‘evidence’, which he and others realised was no such thing.

He was prone to a few literary anti-establishment  ‘digs’ here and there but he was also capable of great sycophancy to the powers that be when it suited his interests  and he would often deny authorship of critical texts. In his 50s he developed an interest in injustices of the law and became effectively a campaigner for reform and restorative justice. Any of the one in there American black males likely to end up in the US prison system would love to have had and would benefit from an advocate with Voltaire’s  incisive ability to reveal absurdities and to focus on fairness. However, his real advocacy for poor people’s quality of life came later when he became a feudal landlord and developed a keen interest in the health and lives of those on his estates, some of whom where refugees. He lived into his 80’s and in the last 20 years of his life was revered by many previously poor people for the work that he had done to help them learn new skills,  get decent jobs, justice, better housing and better food. He enjoyed doing it and he teaches us that no matter where you re on the age scale you can be an advocate for a kinder world and a golden civilisation. 

The quotes below show Voltaire at his most humane:

‘Prejudices are what fools use for reason.’ 

‘To be free and to be loved, is something that the kings of the earth do not have.’ 

‘I really hate a country where the sanctimonious hypocrites can lock up a philosopher.’ 

‘I do not have a sceptre, but I do have a pen.’ 

‘To have pleasure, you need a bit of passion, a great and interesting purpose, a determined desire to learn, which occupies the soul continuously. It is difficult to find, and does not come without effort.’ 

‘How I love people who say what they think! People who only half-think are only half alive.’ 

‘...perish the infamous prejudices which dishonour and brutalise human nature, long live reason.’ 

Listening is at the heart of a Golden Civilization for these 5-Day grads

2019-05-07 5-Day Ashland.jpg

Participants of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning’s 5-Day training welcomed George Kinder for an afternoon program. He presented his latest work by describing the “Map of Mindfulness,” key points of his latest book, A Golden Civilization and the Map of Mindfulness, and the structure for Golden Civilization Conversations. The group of Life Planning trainers and students then created their own vision of “A Golden Civilization.” Perhaps it is no surprise to those familiar with the Life Planning training, but listening was a key element to the group’s conversation and the commitments that came out of the conversation.


Open University holds a couch conversation with George Kinder

10th June #StudentHubLive Trailer:

“Inequality, wars, climate change, democracy, and chaos-- the world we live in today seems completely out of balance. And we all agree that something has to change. But can a whole nation, let alone a whole planet, find the will to put right some of today's ills?

On the tenth of June, I'll be interviewing George Kinder, and from The OU, Alan Shipman and Paul-Francois Tremlett, who specialises in the interface between religion, politics, and social change.

Kinder, sometimes called the father of life planning, is renowned in the world of finance for pioneering a different, more professional way for financial advisors to work, using listening skills to help clients envisage the future they really want and then work on removing obstacles to achieving it. In his new book, A Golden Civilization, Kinder turns this method towards the much bigger challenge of moving society as a whole to a whole new economic, social, and political order that he claims will deliver greater equality, peace, sustainability, and what Kinder calls freedom for all. In this live interview, we'll be discussing Kinder's ideas about how democracy, the media, markets, leadership, and even ourselves need to change if we are to share a vision of, and achieve, a golden civilization. This wide ranging topic will be of interest to many, particularly those studying economics, finance, business studies, social policy, philosophy, and religious studies. Join us online and take part in the live chat on the tenth of June.”