Executive Reads: Stan Gibson

Stan Gibson is the co-Founder and Executive Director at the Ecologos Institute. After working for 14 years in integrated community development, and owning and operating a consulting company, FSN Inc., dedicated to providing specialized services to museums, Stan co-founded the Ecologos Institute with his wife and life partner of 30 years, Mariam Qureshi, in 2000. Ecologos is a registered charity that engages the public in participatory educational experiences to raise awareness and action to protect the natural environment. One of their latest initiatives is the Water Docs International Film Festival (March 21-24 at the AGO’s Jackman Hall), which was created to help raise awareness on the water crisis. These are some of the pages that have inspired Stan’s career path…  

Bending History: The Collective Works of Joseph W. Matthews, Edited by John Epps.
From Joseph Wesley Mathews I learned that life is an open field. No matter how much it squeezes and bears down, I am not its victim. I always have the freedom to decide my own relationship to what’s going on and  how I am going to respond. I can always pick myself up and come back for more. In leadership of teams, this has given me a never-give-up, always-looking-for-solutions attitude.

Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein 
Charles Eisenstein confirmed my conviction that life is gift –sheer and total gift, utterly beyond our ability to understand or deserve. It is simply given, no strings attached. Everything about it is gift. The universe is a gift. Everything and everybody that happens is a gift. My life is a gift. From this I learned that the only fulfilment any of us can have is in giving our individual gifts back to the world. So, leadership is not about pushing people to reach objectives. It’s about creating spaces for them to give their gift.

The Great Work by Thomas Barry
Thomas Barry brought home that everything we do with our lives is within the context of the 14-billion-year unfolding of the universe and of human life and culture. This unfolding always has an edge to it. You can fight that edge, but it will win. So, jump on the edge and enjoy the ride. The trick is to discern what the edge really is, what is actually emerging, and then to grab hold and become an instrument of its unfolding. This is what Thomas Barry calls the Great Work which all of us are called to decide for ourselves in our particular time and place.

Despite my best efforts, I just had to add a fourth book that has been just as important for me…

The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts
Alan Watts made me realize that my culture sold me a story that I am a skin-encapsulated ego with some kind of command post in the head struggling away against an outside and often alien world. But Watts says this is the viewpoint of rats at the bottom of a well. He insists on a different story of who I am. I am in-separable from the totality of existence. At every moment of my life what I am is actually the whole universe happening at a particular time and place. Imagine teams grounded in a story of such incredible vision of who we are.