Russ Volckmann

How can we not think about transitions at this time of year? We have just gone through the transitions of the Mayan calendar to a new era. And we have transitioned into the beginning of a new year according to the Gregorian calendar. In a week from writing this we have a full moon in the United States, foreshadowing the entry into a new lunar cycle. According to the Hijri or Muslim calendar, the new year began in 2012 on November 15, 2012. Then the next will be November 4, 2013. So I missed that transition. Nevertheless, I like this graphic representing the lunar cycle for the 2013 Muslim New Year. Well, the point is… transitions.

Muslim New-Year Poster

Muslim New Year Poster

I remember when I attended a Bill Bridges workshop on “the journey.” He was transitioning out of his role as English professor at Mills College in the years before publishing his best selling book, Transitions. The highlight of the workshop was at the end. We rubbed each others feet with salt. This is apparently a tradition in the Middle East when a traveler arrives in your home.

Some transitions are full of hope and others feel like someone is rubbing salt into our wounds. When we get a new job that we wanted or start on a new educational program or a new relationship, we experience transitions that are usually full of hope for the future while we celebrate the joy of the present. Other transitions can induce fear as we feel we are about to step into a dark room with little assurance that there is a floor there. Too many people have these experiences when others seem to be in control of their destinies. Still other transitions can be filled with pain: a separation, an illness, a death.

Stanley Kellerman, the somatic therapist in Berkeley, California, wrote about little deaths in his wonderfully insightful book, Living Your Dying. It has been years since I have read it, but it has served to remind me that every transition involves a little death. We give up something in order to take on something new. We get lots of practice for dealing with “big” deaths.

My life has been full of little deaths. As I have gotten older I have felt the loss of grandparents, parents, friends, classmates, favorite entertainers, authors, even politicians, who have entered the big deaths. They are missed. Still, as I reflect on my life, the little deaths overwhelm the big ones in numbers and often in impact on how I realize my self and my life.

2012 and 2013 involve an important transition for Integral Leadership Review and for me. As we enter the 14th year of publishing, Mark McCaslin is moving into the role of Editor. While I will continue to play an active role for the foreseeable future as Executive Editor, I am having to let go, to experience some little deaths in relation to this publication that started as an opportunity to share my early thinking about integral leadership.

I welcome many of these little deaths, because they free me to focus my attention on other projects that are important to me. These other projects include aspects of publishing Integral Leadership Review. For example, in service of continuing to have ILR be free to all readers, I need to find some additional sponsors. I have issued pleas for gifts to ILR by the readers and their inclusion in “Friends of ILR”. Some have responded very generously and some have given modest amounts that I value as highly. Every gift is a message that what we are doing is important and worthwhile. If you are part of an organization that would be willing to help us finance this publication, we would welcome sponsorship and/or ads on our welcome page and in ILRPartices. If you are willing to give a gift to ILR you can do so on the Welcome page: “Support ILR”.

But this is not intended to be a fund raising plea. It is about transitions. While there are little deaths associated with passing a lot of responsibility over to Mark McCaslin, this is a transition that is also filled with joy for me. I am so grateful to Mark for bringing his knowledge, skill and wisdom to the task of perpetuating and growing the value of ILR and with being willing to put up with me in the little dying processes of the transition. Mark is an individual for whom I have huge respect. If you have been reading any of his material in the pages of ILR, you no doubt share this respect.

This transition is also filled with excitement. Mark has a solid understanding of integral and transdisciplinary. He is an academic, a researcher, an original thinker. He has a deep appreciation for the hard work and energy it takes to implement and address challenges in communities, organizations and in life. You will learn much more about him in the issues coming down the road.

For now, I am not quite ready for my feet to be rubbed with salt. But the time is coming. And I do hope you all find great value in ILR as it unfolds in the months and years to come.

Russ Volckmann

Russ Volckmann


  1. Rev. Alia Aurami on January 24, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Oh Russ, transitions indeed. Your vision of this journal now has a robust and thriving embodiment, and in the world of space-time, there are other ways you will continue to bring more benefit to this world than you can imagine! I wish you COULD sense how your initiative and nurturing have uplifted this world. It would knocka you offa you feet!!
    Live long and prosper!
    Love and the greatest appreciation and admiration,

    • Russ Volckmann on February 13, 2013 at 10:44 am

      Thanks you, Om. As I hope you know, the appreciation is mutual.
      And I am not going away, yet. Mark and I will be working closely as a team for a while. He is a great mind and friend to work with.

      • Rev. Alia Aurami on February 27, 2013 at 10:57 pm

        Gorsh. Thanks, Russ. Hug hug!!