Friday, January 8, 2010

The Passing of George Leonard

My friend, Pam Kramer, President of ITPI (Integral Transformative Practice International), sent this, which you may be interested in. George Leonard was a great contributor to the consciousness movement and to transformation in general. I had the privilege of seeing him at a pre-Christmas gathering here in Marin County, and am very grateful for that.

George Leonard, 1923 - 2010

As many of you may already know, ITPI co-founder and human potential pioneer George Leonard passed away early January 6th, with his wife, Annie, at his side. George had a profound effect on all of us through his vision, writing, teaching, and friendship. We celebrate him by carrying forward his extraordinary creation of ITPI through our practice, relationships, and service in the world.

We would like to share some highlights from George’s remarkable life, drawn from the article that appeared in the Marin Independent Journal. A past president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, he was the author of numerous books, essays and articles on human possibility and social change, and coined the term "human potential movement" in his book The Transformation.

A former senior editor of Look magazine, George won 11 national awards for education writing during his stint at the national publication, from 1953 to 1970. He helped Look win the first National Magazine Award in 1968 for his reporting on the civil rights movement. Called a "legendary editor and writer" by Psychology Today, George was one of the first journalists to recognize the youth movement that flowered in California in the 1960s, producing a special Look issue titled Youth of the Sixties: The Explosive Generation. Published in 1962, five years before San Francisco's Summer of Love, it foretold the social and political idealism and upheaval that was to come.

A president emeritus of Esalen Institute, he and Esalen founder Michael Murphy, a friend for 45 years, co-authored The Life We Are Given, chronicling a two-year experimental class in Integral Transformative Practice (ITP), which they created to realize the potential of body, mind, heart, and soul. ITP groups are now active in the United States and abroad.

A fifth-degree black belt in aikido, George co-founded Aikido of Tamalpais and wrote the The Ultimate Athlete in 1975, which helped shape the fitness boom. He also developed Leonard Energy Training, an aikido-inspired practice that teaches alternatives to dealing with everyday pressures and stress. The LET Manual, which includes numerous LET exercises, was published in 2008. American health magazine has called him "the poet philosopher
of American health in its broadest sense." During World War II, he served as a fighter pilot in the Southwest Pacific Theater and as an analytical intelligence officer during the Korean War. He moved to Marin County in 1980.

"He was one of America's great social observers, not only for his breadth, but for his depth. He was a prophetic journalist, a true warrior in the paradigm wars, a visionary philosopher and, finally, a creator of transformative practices, bringing it down to earth. You could say he was a Renaissance man."
—Michael Murphy