November 18, 2013

To write about what went on at the Alderlore Collective Insighting Symposion experiment cannot be properly described, and nevertheless I’ll do it because I want to share some of the insights that the collective has presented (multiple meaning intended in this word) to me, as they are very, very precious when I look at them. Tom Murray has done a wonderful job by constellating some of the statements made during the 3 day process, and reading those and Bonnitta Roys blogs alongside what I hope will come of this piece, may give you a deeper insight into the diversity at work.

The process that this symposion, this unprecedented experiment followed could be generally described as starting out in the polite and civilised sphere. It then moves to a more authentic self-expression which is also and paradoxically the sphere of chaos as it is full of “raising banners for my cause/camp/perspective”, even if it is regarded as “neutral” by its adherents. And on it goes to the Gate of Failure or Death to a Wefull Coherence as a fully embodied experience. One can also describe it as a U-process (term coined by Otto Scharmer) were you pass through the first two phases on the way down the lefthand side of the U to have all that anybody could possibly do to make the Wefull Coherence happen fade away and die at the bottom of the U to then emerge on the righthand side in a collectivity that holds the individual in a deep embrace and at the same time a real We comes into being that is experienced by all.

With such a great group of practitioners the first phase was not one that took us a long time to traverse. But then the Groan-zone opened up, authentic chaos and all its diverse forms sprung into action. Imagine an unruly, natural process that eventually reinvigorates woods and lands after a fire that burns away all of the underbrush leaving ashes full of nourishment for new growth. The groan zone where we stayed a very long time, ows its name to how you feel when the fire is burning bright and strong sometimes, lessening slightly when it goes underground for a while only to come back later with renewed vigor and more intense heat burning away all the stuff that we humans carry with us that separates us in the social, cultural and political sphere — meaning the matters that are important to us most of our lifes.

15 people in a room, of which most came from one or other “tradition” of exploring into what I personally have come to call “we-space”. The model that I used above comes from Scott Peck as he describes it in A Different Drum, and that I have elucidated and built upon in some of the terms I’m using here. I just mention this in passing as having a model for what went on is somewhat helpful in writing about it; but NOT in living through it. On the contrary. Having so many facilitators of similar processes (with different flavors developed according to the teachings of different traditions) in the room was actually adding embers to the fire, making it much hotter than I ever witnessed this phase to be before when I facilitated this process. Why? Because we went through it unfacilitated. An outrageous experiment in the sense that when the going gets tough and noone has the lead then potential leaders try to help along the process… which, as long as not everybody wants to go along with it leads to tensions, tensions that in the usual practice of a facilitator/arbiter can help solve easily… for him or her. Now, no more distance to the process, the need to or wish to “help the process along” became the very stuff that needed to be looked at and worked on. An elephant was made visible in the room: the power mechanics of facilitation and the power of structuring and presumed or existing invisible intransparent structures.

Everything was open for inspections or alternatively up for grabs, everything became an object for processing and transformation. Ruthlessly so. Hardly any stone was left unturned. Those that put themselves online and tried to direct the process to be more comfortable, easy and productive by that very trying-to turned it into something more difficult for all to work on.  When remarks like, “If we all would just come from Source more,” which in and of themselves are true where not embodied 100% or only seemed to not be coming from the place they pointed to, instead of enticing the desired outcome they reignited the fires that may have seemed  to be dying just a moment before. Or to use another example from the large spectrum of “proposed ways out” of our fire, the admonishment to “be and stay in the causal”, was not taken up in the way it was meant, because following that suggestion would have taken away the possibility to process much of the material that now was worked through.

You may notice that I write “seemed to” or “may have” in some of what I said before. And I do that because obviously all of what I write here is no statement about reality but about how I saw what was happening, and moreover of me picking up tiny little pieces of a happening that took 3 days of which we spent most time in the fire of transformative process of “stuff”, the matter our social and cultural intersubjective affairs, of how we show up with people and groups all of the time. To me a living metaphor for our society at this moment in time: Were good and great people offer solutions and good ideas and ways that are, most of all, DIFFERENT. Living in a polyverse of possible paths through life as person, kin, group, society we tend to want to “make it happen” even if the “it” we want to make happen can only come into being totally of its own accord, if this “it” is going to have real depth (the Circle Being, Wefull Space, Mutual Awareness etc.) .

And “it” did come into being quite spontaneously on the last half day we had together. Absolutely unexpectedly and very simple. A remark was made, a person moved through the room, a change of physical position, and there she was Her Wefull Majesty; beautiful, tender, friendly, open, clear, unencumbered by anything and unperturbed by any suggestion to “do this, that or the other.” Apart from basking in the pleasure that she brings I used the energetic “background” in her wings to calibrate my everyday practice, the way I relate to people and reality.

There is much more that I could write, trying to convey the rich insights that the collective presencing has brought up in me, and those I’ve heard of others so far. I could also go into what I think may follow from this experience on the level of initiatives, practices, projects. But it feels best to leave it here for the time being and see what arises in the fields this blog is posted on.

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