The First Turning

A worldwide climate of positive change and hope for the future.

From The “Hot-Shot” Writer to All of Us

1 Comment

On April 15, 2015, I walked into the emergency room with what I thought was a burst appendix.

I walked out with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. My world went on tilt.

Within the next three weeks, in a blur of emergency, a 15-centimeter tumor was removed from my stomach… the silent disease.

I went from being a “self-sufficient” I to a humbled “we.” I went from being a somebody to being everybody. Illness is the great leveler. No one asks what your credentials are when you’re lying on a gurney in an emergency room.

The ideas I write about on paper—empathy, love, courage—have hit home to me in a whole new, deeply personal way. And instead of me being the person to extend those ideas into the world, I was suddenly receiving those ideas in very real ways, incarnate in the prayers, meditations, acts of kindness… in the thousands of hands reaching out to me from around the world. I have used Facebook as never before. It has become my bridge to the hope of the future.

All I had to do was sit here and feel the world carry me when I could not walk alone.

I sit here at home in recovery from a life-changing trauma—this hot-shot educator and author of The First Turning… who on paper envisioned a kinder, more collaborative world to the real-life reality. What I see more clearly now than ever is that at the heart of every single one of us lies not war or violence, but empathy, love and humility.

I should know. I am living it.


Author: thefirstturning

This blog was created as a way to continue sharing the information and emotion behind The First Turning: A Vision of America and a World at Peace. I wanted a platform that could persist beyond the stories and anecdotes published in the book, where an active dialogue can be maintained about the global community as we seek to uncover a new, more peaceful world. My book builds off of the work of William Strauss and Neil Howe in The Fourth Turning, in which the authors identified a distinct generational pattern in American history that they further segmented into a four-fold cycle to describe the corresponding shifts in cultural mood, each one spanning approximately 20 years. Their research extended back to the 16th century and was consistent for over 400 years. The First Turning is a High—a post-crisis emergence of strong societal collectiveness. The Second Turning is an Awakening—an era in which public process is at its peak and people are eager to recapture personal authenticity. The Third Turning is an Unraveling—a time when individualism is flourishing but institutions are weak. The Fourth Turning is Crisis—a time when the nation’s survival seems threatened. Fascinated by their work after, I began to pay attention more closely to the national climate and discourse surrounding daily happenings. At the time, in 2009, we were deep in crisis. Economic collapse, war, natural disasters… I listened to and absorbed the chaos. While I was able to actively apply their findings and theory to the world around me, I noticed something different—something not fully accounted for in their work. I noticed on the one hand that it wasn’t just our nation in disrepair but, in many ways, the world. I noticed too that the dialogue surrounding these events was broad and diverse, not limited to our national citizenry. As my research deepened and expanded, it became clear to me that today’s technological globalization—only a distant vision when Strauss and Howe published their work in 1997—was creating both a domino effect among the economies and societies across the world, and that that same technology was also responsible for repairing the hardship. Technology today is animating our ability to reach beyond borders and barriers to inspire collaboration and affect change in every corner of the earth. As a result of this, it occurred to me that we as a civilization were nearing a First Turning much sooner than anticipated. Technology is actively influencing humankind’s evolution in the context of these generational tides. It is that evolution that I wanted to capture in The First Turning: A Vision of America and a World at Peace, and that I hope to continue with here.

One thought on “From The “Hot-Shot” Writer to All of Us

  1. I wish to say that I am so blessed to have you in my life. You have taught me bravery and to look at the world with the Latin saying: I came, I saw and I conquered. Yes, being in your classes have given me courage, to keep moving no matter how thick the mud may be. And most of all don’t give up.
    Thank you,
    Dr. Engler

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