Executive Coaching: A Unique Approach
Most change experts encourage you to make changes incrementally. What this approach fails to deliver is the massive energy boost that comes with making sweeping change all at once, whether you're an individual or a team. You may have attempted this type of reboot by going on a spiritual or company retreat, attending a convention, or specialized training. You may take the inspirational tack, hire a keynote speaker, or a change-agent such as a counselor, organizational consultant, or team-builder. Unfortunately, when all is said and done, we have to swim against the tide of our inbuilt homeostatic mechanism that is designed to maintain the status quo. This "snap-back" has caused countless upgrade attempts to fail. Overcoming these conditions requires sensitivity and a comprehensive approach. This is our specialty at The Continuity Group.
The Continuity Group
Shortly after the state of California granted me my license, I realized that the context of psychotherapy presents inherent limitations that I would have to transcend. The Continuity Group has grown out of my sense that a truly expansive context, combined with a “full court press” approach affords the needed leverage to have maximum positive impact with clients. A loosely structured professional alliance dedicated to this work, The Continuity Group focuses on professional development that helps the major movers and shakers increase overall productivity, get the job done, and experience more enjoyment in the process. We work with you to make a radical departure from the "same old same old" and move in a new direction that is so compelling, so fun, it overrides the homeostatic mechanism that keeps you stuck.
JUNGLE JEAN: The paradoxical life of the explorer who proved that human nature can work perfectly
An overview and film treatment for:
JUNGLE JEAN: the Paradoxical Life of the explorer who proved that human nature can work perfectly
a biography by Geralyn Gendreau
1951. Few people had even heard of a rainforest much less visited one when 20-year old Jean left Paris and traveled to Venezuala to join a diamond hunting expedition. She and her companions canoed up the Cavari River into the most primitive regions of the jungle where they encountered a tribe of Stone Age Indians. On a second expedition, again with her Italian comrades, Jean lost all interest in diamonds. She had discovered a different kind of treasure: the natural harmony among the aboriginals. By then an experienced explorer and beloved “doctor” to the Indians, she led three more expeditions herself, spending the better part of five years among these primitive and yet highly intelligent people. After the fifth expedition, she wrote THE CONTINUUM CONCEPT, which has since become a childrearing classic. Parents the world over have said, “I read Jean’s book and threw all the other parenting manuals away.”
Jean Liedloff grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Blue-blood born and bred, she dropped out of Cornell, boarded a passenger ship and crossed the Atlantic. With letters of introduction from her New York connections, she completed the European tour then took a few modeling assignments for Vogue Paris. She became fluent in French, Italian, and Spanish, without formal language studies.
At the time, the high-society world was buzzing over “the party of the century.” Crowned heads of state, movie stars, dignitaries, writers, artists, and everybody who was anybody was invited to The Palazzo Labia for a masquerade ball hosted by a flamboyant millionaire. This is where Miss Liedloff crossed paths with two Italian diamond hunters who opened the door to the South American jungle.
After five expeditions, including one in which she was held captive by the Indians, Jean returned to her native New York. She was introduced to George Plimpton, editor of the Paris Review, and began to hobnob with the high-brow literati of the day. She became friends with Henry Miller, Jonas Salk, George Leonard, artist Andrew Wyeth.
Imagine the intrigue that followed her everywhere. It was the early 60s, years before hippies, Flower Power, the Summer of Love. America was still under the influence of Puritan values. Jack Kennedy was President, and America’s involvement in Vietnam was escalating.
Jean enjoyed her growing celebrity and the opportunity to share her jungle experiences. The more she shared her insights and ideas, the more they coalesced into a surprising new view of human nature.
Aside from the obvious differences in our way of life and that of the Indians, Jean had noticed that these primitive people totally trusted human nature. They expected the inbuilt, instinctive intelligence of their kind to work perfectly—and it did, exquisitely so. Infants never cried, babies displayed none of the fussiness of their Western counterparts, the terrible twos did not exist. Parents were never seen power struggling with toddler-tyrants, teens did not rebel, and every child grew up confident and competent. Children always cooperated, eager to learn what their tribe expected of them. Youngsters shared in everyday tasks—from cooking to building a new hut—without the least bit of prompting. These observations percolated through Jean’s awareness until she extrapolated and articulated previously unidentified principles of optimal childrearing. Really quite obvious once revealed, these simple principles, when heeded, afford members of our species full development of their true nature with none of the neurosis we view as normal.
Margaret Meade, the famous anthropologist, summoned Jean to Washington. Meade made no secret of her disapproval of this unlettered upstart and dismissed Jean, saying: “You really must stop bothering important people.”
Shortly afterward, Jean appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (with her pet anteater), and her provocative ideas caught the attention of Barbara Walters.
It didn’t take long for a publisher to offer her a book deal, expecting a “blonde goes up the Amazon” adventure story. Instead, Jean delivered THE CONTINUUM CONCEPT, a treatise on human nature that dramatically altered childrearing for an entire generation.
Jean’s insight and original thinking moved readers across the globe, including John Lennon who found in her book deeply comforting "home truths.”
Liedloff’s seminal work, THE CONTINUUM CONCEPT has since become a childrearing classic. A radical departure from our modern views, the book highlights the many fallacies that have governed conventional childrearing for hundreds of years. Translated into twelve languages, the book’s influence spread as Jean began her life’s work: offering mothers and fathers simple, practical solutions to the challenges of parenthood.
Yet her personal life presented a tense and puzzling dichotomy. Despite the popularity of her ideas, despite the recognition she received from around the globe, Jean suffered in her personal life. She struggled with loneliness and a frustrating pattern of failed friendships. How could a woman—a savant when it came to seeing and articulating the structures of deep connection—so habitually alienate others? How could someone whose positive impact touched families around the world fail to form an inner circle that stayed by her side until the end?
A self-proclaimed spinster who lived alone with an Abyssinian cat named Tulip, Jean was keenly aware that she repelled others. Again and again, she found herself—in her words—“pushing people away.” She would alert new friends that she might unintentionally tread on their toes in some way she was unaware of and could not see. She was known to ask people not to go away, to instead, “just tell me what it is that I do.” Again and again, she expressed regret over ruining her friendship with Gloria Steinem with this mystifying, god-awful conduct. But the pattern continued, causing her to feel doomed, isolated, subject to an “oppressive eternity of hopeless loneliness.” Not until very near the end of her life did she finally see and gain some understanding of this pesky blindspot.
In 2010, Jean asked me to be her biographer and shared her life story while carrying out a conscious decision to die rather than live “bedpan to bedpan.” From her deathbed on White Elephant, her houseboat in Sausalito, we revisit her many adventures, her appearance on Johnny Carson, her sit-down with Gloria Steinem, the thrill she felt when Mothering Magazine had named her a “Living Treasure.”
This is the true saga of Jungle Jean: her brilliance, her triumphs, her private memories and pains, her rocky relationships, her inquiry into the nettlesome habit that kept her from having a sense of family, and the iron will that led her to welcome death on her own terms.