I will survive

Healing yourself, loving the world

Transcend and include, the relief found in spiral dynamics

Spiral dynamics is a theory of social development, also mapping to our individual development, that provides a powerful perspective and roadmap for our growth.  It’s important for several reasons:

  1. Helps us see the hope when there’s such a variety of behavior in society
  2. Helps us grow individually
  3. Helps us see what’s needed to grow as a society

Spiral lays out eight levels of growth and development. If you search online, you’ll find an array of information, some of it a bit dense.  Rev. Dr. Jane Simmons, q-process co-creator and Unity minister, led a series of talks on the eight levels of spiral that are quite good at conveying the essence of each level with some actionable insights.  [Thanks to Rev. Sunday Coté for letting me know about them.]

First level of spiral: I survive

The first level is about survival and corresponds to our time as infants as well as prehistoric times of survival. If you want to listen to Dr. Simmons’ delightful overview of spiral dynamics and hear about the first level, the link is here.

  • Rev.Dr. Jane Simmons, “Paradigm Climb“, March 11, 2018, Unity of Spokane (25 minutes long)

Why it matters to us

People who are in survival mode just don’t care about the larger picture.  If a portion of our communities, our states, and world doesn’t know where the next meal will come from, they aren’t going to care about climate change or world peace.  We can’t judge or expect anyone in survival mode to have a larger perspective.

Likewise, when we experience personal trauma or crises, our values change.  Doing our work with tapping on any personal crises of survival helps us grow and change and in turn be available to lift up others.


This is the first in a series of posts on the subject of spiral dynamics.  Find the whole series here.

Photo by Anthony Cantin
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Deborah Donndelinger

Deborah Donndelinger

I'm writing from Maryland, but my heart goes out all over the world. I'm cheering you on as you tackle the hard stuff, embrace the easy, and show up to help others.