top of page

Embracing Human Complexity

Complexity has become the norm.

It is not possible to promote healing throughout humanity within systems that dominate its inception.

Building resilient inclusive communities through compassionate leadership nourishes pathways forward.

Complexity has become the norm.

In today’s multiple pandemics of oppression, mass trauma, COVID-19, and climate change, we are living in sustained traumatic stress and anxiety, with corresponding opportunities to heal all around us. Historic, Collective and Intergenerational trauma have spread dis-ease throughout human nature. As a result humanity has experienced more and more fragmentation, collective violence and separation from self and others.

Separation is an illusion.

Embracing such losses and complexity requires letting go of certainty and known structures. It is a compassionate process and a willingness to step into the unknown together amidst differences. Effective compassion requires intercultural humility and attending to one’s own ethnocentrism, as well as being trauma-informed within one’s own context. Little credit has been given to the wisdom of diverse cultures and First People. For over thousands of years, through transitions, the human ability to interface with each other, nature and cultural foundational knowledge re-establishes balance and wholeness.

Community healing and wellbeing predicate the whole community as the source and course of healing and resilience. When considering each other, it is paramount to know the whole person including cultural teachers, cultural beliefs, families of origin, ecology of development, ancestors, lived experience, and social and spiritual networks.

All of this must be held in the context of a Relationship. The relationship is the healing factor behind it all. Without relationship, there is no family, no organization, no church, no society. In the science of resilience, the relationship is how we tip the scale from negative to positive outcomes. One healing relationship in a chaos of trauma can provide enough emotional strength for a child or adult to survive (Huxley, 2018).

21st Century compassionate leadership

Building resilient inclusive communities through compassionate leadership nourishes pathways forward. Such navigation widens the lens with a more expansive awareness of differences in finding places of mutuality.

Resolving violence, [racism] and terrorism requires every level of organization, from the individual to the United Nations, not only to tolerate, but also to understand the rage, hurt and need for transformation. The smaller arenas are as important as the World at large. ... The most fundamental forum is your own heart. Both as a facilitator and as a human being, you must learn to hear yourself there. Then you will know how to hear others when they are angry and hurt. The less we listen, the angrier people become, not only because of their enemies, but because of us (Mindell, 2014, pp. 94–95).

Sustaining and building relations through the ups and downs uncovers the deepest layers, where pain and resolution lie. Only through humility, mutual understanding, and this 21st-century compassion is it possible to recreate a sense of belonging. Therefore a bridge to belong appears for each to walk across in joining the collective ability to see wholeness in all that is surveyed.

Huxley, R. H. (2018, May 10). The “R’s” of trauma-informed care. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

Mindell, A. (1995). Sitting in the fire: Large group transformation using conflict and diversity. Deep Democracy Exchange.

St. Thomas, B., Sheffield, M. & Johnson, P. (2024). Collective Healing and Human Suffering: Energizing systemic change through collective healing action. Cognella:San Diego.

Check out our upcoming Compassionate Leadership weekend workshop

Buy our newly published book.


M and B.jpg

Bruce & Marie here...

For over 20 years we have supported intercultural children and families who experience the collective trauma of war, persecution and terrorism. For many years, the children have asked us to get our collective healing model out into the world. We continue to bring forth our experience, curriculum, research and writing in their honor.

Post Archive 


bottom of page