Principles for harvesting transformation from conversation

Autumn harvest

This post is dedicated to men and women everywhere who hunger for the new while feeling entombed in the old. It is was inspired by a recent 2-day inquiry among 30-odd practitioners of participatory leadership at the European Commission on how to effectively harvest the fruits of the collective conversations we host in our very structured, hierarchical and non-participatory context.

As I was writing this piece, I found I couldn’t let it go out into the world without  placing it in a context that just keeps gets broader each time I revisit it. This document has been open on my laptop for a few weeks, sharing the screen with a stream of news about worsening chaos and fear in Europe. My view from inside the EU institutions shows me a very large collection of gifted, well-educated and well-intentioned men and women at a complete loss to know what to do to make things better.

The EU’s deepest calling at this time in history is to lay the foundations for a global society that works for all humans and all life. As Simon Anholt put it in a recent keynote address at the European Parliament, simply ‘reforming’ our multilateral institutions would be tinkering at the edges. If we were to design them now, from scratch, they would be so radically different that the idea of reform seems ludicrous. To start with, they wouldn’t be institutions. “It wouldn’t be large rooms full of fat bald old men in suits arguing about national sovereign interests.” It wouldn’t be just governments – it would be all stakeholders, including religions, including corporations. It would be a network, peer-to-peer (not top-down)… But how on earth could such a phenomenon emerge from the belly of the bureaucratic, hierarchical dinosaur that the European institutions have always been?

And yet, it seems to me that I am witnessing exactly the embryonic beginnings of the kind of thinking and doing that might spawn the new world order. They are sprouting out of the practices of participatory leadership grounded in the hosting of meaningful conversations among stakeholders. These practices are starting to spread like an algal bloom into different policy areas, DGs and even institutions. But the movement is still fragile, and it is struggling for breath in the fundamentally hostile environment that is a command-and-control hierarchical political structure that has lost its way.

Harvesting together

To return to our collective inquiry about how to build on these hope-giving conversations, one of the outcomes I most wanted (having hungered for this focused inquiry for quite a few years already) was an articulation of some of the underlying principles from which intelligent and effective follow-on would arise as a natural consequence. The question I was holding was:

What are the principles which, if practiced, will naturally lead from meaningful conversation to wise action?

We ended up working on this question in different ways over the two days (Appreciative Inquiry in triads, group clustering in plenary, collective meaning-making in a smaller group, then conversation in an Open Space session, and finally allowing even more to emerge through illuminating that harvest during a convergence café). The inquiry continues, and here is where we are so far.

Inescapably, this offering bears my stamp. That is because I was the one who felt called to champion the question, at our gathering and beyond. And because I am the one who feels called to voice these principles on behalf of the whole. I am also aware that my illumination of these principles is voiced for people who are called to function inside a hierarchical context, where the unconscious ‘parent-child’ dynamic is so strongly prevalent.

Open Space Agenda

One thing that surprises me is that none of these principles is overtly about ‘harvesting’ – at least, not about the surface-level activity of capturing the fruits of our conversations. To me, they read more like a sort of manifesto for freeing up our minds to serve our hearts… I notice, too, that all these principles are interconnected – facets of the same story. And so I trust that they resonate with a deeper truth that is serving us in our longing to bring healing to our organisation and enable it to move into true leadership on behalf of the whole at this time rich with challenge and opportunity for true renewal.

We act on real need, we invite real meaning, we acknowledge (only) real constraints, we serve deep intention

In the traditional, hierarchical way of doing things, it is very easy to be lured into going through the motions, staying with the forms and procedures, playing office. Even when calling in participatory processes, there is a tendency to skim the surface and shy away from probing into the deeper malaise that lies beneath our frantic busyness and pretences at professionalism and ‘realism’. Failure to connect with deeper meaning and invite people to get real with each other leaves us frustrated, dissatisfied and disheartened, wondering whether we are wasting our time.

This principle invites us to dig in our heels and do the real work. To sit together with the callers in the organisation, whoever they may be, and open up to what is real, and what is underneath. To identify what it is we need to help us stay grounded in the face of what scares us, and to go for what brings us the deepest YES! And, if there is no will in the calling field to go to that place, we need the courage to say No to a hosting request that will do nothing but cheapen our work and undermine our credibility as hosts of healthy transformation.

We practice right timing: if it’s not easy, it’s not now – or it’s not ours to do.

Harvesting hand

We instinctively know when the time is not right. When our work will flop like a failed soufflé if we go for it now. And yet the culture of our organisation (and most big organisations) is blind to anything but its own all-consuming agenda.

Often we are called to rustle up a process in too short a time, with no thought for follow-up and no space to dig for the real purpose. Worse still, the hierarchical caller wishes only to delegate preparation to the hosting team and is not prepared to make him/herself available for preparation meetings. In this context, it takes courage to say ‘No’, but the same applies as for the previous point. This work needs spaciousness. It needs time to get to the core of things.

Meanwhile, there is always preparatory work to do for when the right time comes – and all our work can and should be seen in this context: as preparation for GO! Building trust, clarifying purpose, taking those small, invisible actions that transform culture and bring us one step closer to liberating the (inner and outer) structures that are holding us back.

We support each other’s authenticity, trust our instincts and go where there’s joy

Working as core teams brings trust and courage

Whenever we are working in mainstream society, we are working within a system of indoctrination and acculturation that supports ‘the way things are done around here’. That makes a pretty powerful – albeit unconscious – field. To make any headway in such a field, we need to be creating pockets of coherence that are held in a strong enough container that we don’t implode under the pressure of systemic inertia that we are operating in.

That means working as core teams, building the intimacy, trust and safety that enables us to tap into our individual and collective power and inspiration in the face of incomprehension, fear and resistance.

We dare to be as curious as the cat

What do we really have to lose? … actually, we stand to lose everything if we don’t dare do things differently!

What’s the worst thing that could happen if we follow our hearts and act on our deepest YES? Can we just try it and see? Where can we harvest the courage to experiment without asking for permission? Perhaps we should stop taking ourselves so seriously? What happens when we think the unthinkable? When we challenge all our assumptions about what is possible?

We work on behalf of the whole

Raw materials for this post

Sometimes it’s not participatory leadership that’s needed, but something else. What happens when we expand our vision to embrace a larger context? Paradoxically (in relation to the previous principle), what would happen if we started to take ourselves more seriously, daring to speak for the broadest perspective? How do we put our arms around the whole system, not just the parts that agree with us? How can we open up to ever greater vistas of wholeness.

We make the implicit explicit

Just as there are always deeper layers of purpose to unearth, so our disappointments and frustrations can reveal unexamined assumptions, help us to clarify roles, accountabilities and boundaries. This requires us to be willing to sit with our tensions for long enough to articulate what they are pointing to. It also requires us to step up and speak what we have learned in contexts that might not be expecting it. Sometimes it means calling out that the Emperor is naked.

We work with the power of “us” – we don’t focus on “them”.

Principles of Open Space

This principle is connected with the wonderful principles of Open Space Technology: whoever shows up are the right people and whatever happens is the only thing that could have – given also the timing and the context we are working with.

So much energy is wasted on the “it’s not us that’s the problem, it’s them” and “somebody should…” conversations. When you make a snowman, you don’t start with the snow on the other side of the field. You start with what’s at your feet. When we start change – even systemic change – we start with whoever is in the room. If the next step needs a decision from someone who is not in the room, then let’s invite that person in. What will it take for that person to become one of ‘us’? And if we tell ourselves it’s not us who have to change, but some ‘other’, then we might as well all go home.

In a hierarchical organisation, this can feel very tricky, because the disempowering ‘parent/child’ mechanism creeps in so easily. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with hierarchy – it’s everywhere to be found in nature. But healthy hierarchy is about different levels of scope and reach, not dominance. The higher up you are, the further ahead and around you can see and think (in theory) and the more resources you have to allocate; the lower you are, the closer you are to the power to actually change things, make things happen on the ground. Bring the two perspectives into a circle together and we have both.

We work to liberate structures: there is no BOX!!

No box

We are so often encouraged to “think outside of the box”, to be creative and think thoughts that have not been thought before, to come up with world-saving insights that will get us out of our collective stuckness. But in reality, the liberating realisation is that there is no box.

Part of our work in hosting meaningful conversations is to create a space where everything can be questioned. Where the assumptions held by the Mind can be tested and validated – or discarded – by the Heart. Where deeper truths can be unearthed, examined, espoused by the Will that then guides our steps to do work that makes sense, unhindered by the strictures of rules and procedures.

We have reached a place in our collective human history where we need to wake up. It’s time to change the game we’ve been playing for centuries – or, quite literally, die.

Waking up to the damage we’ve done, to the beauty that is already lost forever, isn’t going to be comfortable. I am curious as to whether the principles enunciated here can be helpful in keeping us on track when the going gets rough. Right now, for those of us privileged enough to recognise how privileged we are, there is still time to strengthen our community muscles before things start to get ugly. Will we use it wisely?

Photos by Dirk Stockmans

Posted in Aquarian practice, art of hosting, peer to peer, Storytelling | 6 Comments

Intimacy in complexity

In the context of some discussion around organisational transformation (… like, er, does it really ever happen?), someone over on the London Integral Circle list recently suggested that perhaps friendship is more ripe for transformation than organisations! He was referring to a recent interview with Bill Torbert, from which it transpires that “after a lifetime and career in personal and organisational development is he choosing to spend his latter years in small friendship communities of inquiry rather than trying to liberate the workplace”.

This preference resonates very strongly with me, too, and it got me to thinking about the power of friendship and intimacy, and what it can achieve that simple ‘collegiality’ cannot.

What I and my close colleagues are finding is that in the great complexities of today’s organisational life (which – at least in the case of the European Commission – is supposed to be dealing with the complexities of the real world), the normal standard of professional relationship just can’t hack it.

In order to navigate complexity with any kind of success, collective wisdom is needed (deep and accurate sensing from multiple perspectives). That means accessing aspects of being and knowing well beyond the cognitive capacities that are accepted and valued in traditional hard-nosed organisational contexts. And for that to be possible, TRUST is indispensable. So it is safe to say (and I see it every day, wherever I travel in this very large organisation full of highly educated, intelligent individuals of all European cultures) that without the capacity to nurture deep friendship with whoever you happen to have to work with, individuals will not be able to turn any part of their organisation into something that is truly effective in the world.

Holacracy gets around that problem in a number of connected ways – that’s not my focus for this post, but briefly, through having its governance/steering done through integrative decision-making, by double-linking its hierarchical circles, and by insisting that each circle, and each role within each circle, be self-governing – by some mysterious alchemy, the output of this cocktail is TRUST.

However, another interesting phenomenon arises when you step into deep friendship with colleagues. It soon becomes impossible to happily strive together to do things that don’t make any sense. Most of our organisations today are in the business of monetising aspects of life that people once used to be able to do for themselves – cooking, sewing, singing, making music, reading, writing, growing food, having relationships, rearing children, caring for aged parents, walking – thereby reducing the towering potential of humanity into ‘consumers’ on the one hand and ‘experts’ on the other, with no real need for community and ever less ability to relate to each other without the intercession of money and contracts.

There are times when my small team of close colleagues and I are reduced to stunned silence because, no matter how hard we try, we cannot find any satisfying sense or meaning in the work we are doing. At least, not the work we are paid to do. All of it is basically aiming at reducing humanity to conditioned slavery and mindless consumption, while turning our natural, spiritual, cultural and social capital into money, inevitably destined to flow into the hands of the richest – these days that means the banks and the heads of big corporations. It’s not what we thought we were signing up to when we joined the European institutions to serve the European ideal.

So where does that leave us? A nice paradox. It leaves me realising that my true work is exactly to learn how to restore authentic friendship in these impoverished professional environments, so that we can start to question whether we want to be engaged in these shatteringly meaningless passtimes, or whether we want to cultivate our collective wisdom and gradually steer ourselves away from the precipice, taking as many others as possible with us. Perhaps this is another germ of the revolution that is happening, now, among citizens in many different countries – Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Greece, Spain, Israel, India – just not wanting, any more, to blindly feed the mindlessly destructive mechanisms powering our civilisation.

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Transition Open Space – patterns of the future, part 4

Here comes the final episode of insights from the Transition Open Space festival I attended in July.

Presence of Spirit and Earth

May magic return to the world

At no time was any explicit mention made of spirituality, and yet both Earth and Spirit were very present at all levels throughout our time together. A lot of subtle energies were at play – we worked with systemic constellations around a number of topics (family and money, in particular), and many people could sense shifts in the energy of the place in response to what was happening with the people.

The riveting stories that Jeanne Hoogenboom shared with us of how she came to Kasteel Nieuwenhoven and the subtle work she has had to do with archetypal energies, forgiveness, the lifting of curses and the unblocking of ley lines, illustrate just how much of what shapes our ‘reality’ lies under the surface, in the invisible realms where our science cannot follow.

May we learn to love the magic in the world.

In our diversity we are whole

The last two days were dedicated to ‘harvesting’ what we had learned from this collective experiment, and preparing some initiatives that had been born during our time together to take their first next steps out into the world beyond.

We walked together through Wilber’s 4 quadrants, placing our various experiences in these different perspectives and understanding also how ‘transition’ can mean moving from one preferred quadrant into another that is less familiar. There, too, we saw that while the individuals might have a partial coverage of the quadrants, every quadrant and every possible permutation of transition among them was present in the group as a whole. We saw that our diversity is our wealth, as without it we are less whole.

May we learn to honour our diversity as our wholeness.

Be yourself!

Be yourself, everyone else is taken!

The individuals, too, saw that their own beliefs and sense-making patterns were simply their own, not more right or wrong than anyone else’s. It was spoken again and again, into the circle, that all that is needed in order to create heaven on earth is simply for each of us to learn to be fully ourselves, and to live our lives as an expression of who we deeply are. Throughout our time together, we witnessed each member of the community – people of all ages and developmental stages – stepping more fully into their own skins, encouraged, mirrored, accommodated and appreciated by the community as a whole.

My own 15-year-old daughter was also present throughout, and I was constantly in awe of how beautifully this sensitive and authentic young woman blossomed in the light of the community’s appreciation and what an impact she in turn had on what took place.

May we all be so blessed.

Living the future we choose, together

As I witnessed all of this unfolding, in all of its complexity, at all those different levels, I felt as if we were living a future in which society is able to heal itself and stitch itself back together into a nourishing, self-transcending whole, embedded in a relationship with nature, where we observe and honour her natural patterns, that allow us to live in abundance.

Making seitan together

This is by no means the first time such an experiment has been conducted. Each time something of this kind happens, it is easier than last time, and it makes it easier for the next time – even if none of the same people are involved and the experiments don’t know about each other. Rupert Sheldrake’s morphogenetic fields spring to mind.

Many new connections are made, and small projects shoot off in all directions, as people begin to work together in new ways. The social fabric is slowly but surely restored as new interconnections are made and people understand what is possible when we work and play together.

As our civilisation as a whole hurtles inexorably towards the extreme of pathological separation and enclosure of even our intangible commonwealth, there is no point waiting to see what the future will bring. Beneath the surface, instinctively, what we were doing during this week was reclaiming parts of our lives from folly of rational self-interest that is homo economicus

May this movement continue.

Staying local

Part of what made this such a powerful and hopeful happening was simply that we were grounded in a place, in a natural bio-region, and the focus of attention was on how we live together in our families and our local communities – where the rubber hits the road. Because this was a regional event, the resources didn’t fly in from all over the world, and didn’t then all fly out so far and wide into the world again afterwards – it is possible to go on working together, supporting each other and nurturing the seeds that have been sown.

May it be so.

Posted in Aquarian practice, art of hosting, transition | 3 Comments

Transition Open Space – patterns of the future, part 3

After a bit of a break, more insights from the Transition Open Space festival I attended in July.

Intentionally spreading seeds of possibility

Taco expounding on permaculture...

As it happens, this place is where I learned the basics of permaculture myself (from Taco), and fate brought me to purchase a homestead only 20km away from Nieuwenhoven where Ria, Chrisje and I are taking our learning and practice of permaculture and natural building to its next level. Ria and I took a group of people over there one afternoon to show them the place – I was able to tell them the story of Nina, my colleague in Brussels who has been so inspired by my stories of our adventures in permaculture that she has started creatively growing fruit and vegetables in her small city garden. This is the way ‘transition’ travels, spreading through viral inspiration at whatever scale is possible, moment by moment.

At the root, the future can be born from the potential that we hold in our conscious intention, but we can never know how it will manifest: you can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed.

May many seeds bear fruit.

Healing the relationship between the masculine and the feminine

As spontaneous offerings from the community, one evening there was a men’s circle around the camp fire, while the women took care of the children. The next night, the women did a full-moon ceremony and women’s circle while the men did the babysitting. I was quite struck by the way the men stood much more strongly in both power and service after their circle.

Every evening at the close of the ‘programme’, we danced the Elm Dance (as propagated by Joanna Macy) – it was one of the highlights of every day, and gave  towards the end we experimented also with different permutations that could shed light on how the masculine and the feminine could interact and play different functions in society. Particularly ‘hair-raising’ for me was the experience that the women could stand on the perimeter, shielding the men from disturbance as they met in circle to bond as brothers.

Elm dance

Things happened in the circle that felt healing for a lot of old trauma for both the masculine and the feminine.

New community patterns and permutations of relating and interacting are emerging for men and women as we move into the future.

May the healing continue.

Witnessing and reflection as practices that birth collective wisdom

Sometimes a child...

All of the above emerged from the complexity of the interactions in the community. In many cases, meanings and insights were picked up and illuminated by one or other of the ‘elders’ of the community (sometimes a child!) so that the whole group could relate to the issue in a more conscious way.

It was this practice of witnessing – never once explicitly spoken of in the full circle of our community – that allowed our diversity to be present without exploding the container.

Witnessing will be a core capability in the future we were seeking to prototype together during this week. Here is what the Cosmic Family has to say about it:

“There is no end to that which can be witnessed, but it is necessary to start small. Witnessing is what makes it possible for an individual, when invited, to step seamlessly into a functioning collective, and what allows a collective to seamlessly embrace a new member and be transformed by the embracing. With each embrace, the old collective dies and the new is born. The witnessing is of everything – the inner and outer, the individual and the collective. Part of the practice is to speak that which is witnessed, and to witness that which is spoken. Part of the practice is to speak what is witnessed as it is experienced – in joy or in rage, in sorrow or fear or indifference. The emotional charge is part of the meal, to be metabolised by the collective body. The more the collective body can metabolise, the broader the range of its responses to that which transpires in the greater whole.”

May we witness the miracle unfolding.

Posted in Aquarian practice, healing, Permaculture, Storytelling, Women | Leave a comment

Transition Open Space – patterns of the future, part 1

As promised, here come some of my insights from the Transition Open Space festival I attended in July.

Core teams

The event was conceived and designed by a small group of friends with different skills and predilections. Their intention was to invite a collective, co-created, experiential inquiry into ‘transition’ (deliberately left rather vaguely defined, but basically inspired by the transition towns response to peak oil and climate change).

This group then began working with another group – people living and/or working together at Kasteel Nieuwenhoven, an old abbey/stately home set in 20 hectares of land with natural water features (ponds and streams), woodland, meadow (with alpaca and horses) and a permaculture garden which is hosting a community supported agriculture (CSA) scheme for the surrounding district. The place offered itself as the location of the gathering and a core team formed to explore what might happen at such an event.

The pattern of the ‘core team’ is appearing in many different places. A small group of people follow their passion and take responsibility for starting an inquiry around a question that calls to them deeply from some invisible realm of potential outside space and time. Their role is not necessarily to make things happen, but could simply be to hold the perimeter of the ‘field of inquiry’, to allow new potential to manifest around their question.

May we never have to work alone

Containers for self-organising and diversity

The whole gathering was held within a very light structure, using Open Space Technology, World Café and similar processes, which are intentionally designed to allow for maximum emergence and self-organisation.

The children officially opened the closing ceremony

Some 60 people showed up over all, in a number of waves, each new wave being integrated into the community without any need for intervention by the organisers. There were many generations present: grandparents, parents, children – elders, young adults, toddlers and babies. There were people from all backgrounds and educational levels, from urban and rural contexts. And yet, the culture was rather cohesive, because all those present spoke Dutch – so folk from the Netherlands and Flanders, mostly. The children brought in as much depth and learning as the elders, and were treated with equal respect.

At the same time, there was a great deal of diversity, partly because of the inter-generational nature of the gathering, and partly because the whole spiral of human development was present. Although the theme of development was not explicitly introduced in the proceedings, the hosts were very aware of the dynamics and challenges of all the developmental differences at play, and chose to allow all of this to be held in the container of the processes and simple principles that set the stage for Open Space self-organisation:

  • Nothing needs to be fixed or solved – opinions and tensions are aired, witnessed and allowed to be present in the space and transform in their own way, in their own time.
  • Individuals are invited to take responsibility for their own expectations and experiences, and to take what action they deem appropriate, without waiting to be told what to do by the ‘organisers’.
  • The law of two feet – all those present were invited to follow this principle: if at any time you find yourself in a situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, let your two feet take you somewhere else where you can.

May we learn to trust our ability to self-organise

Coming next: Alternative currencies and learning to live from the land

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Transition Open Space – patterns of the future, part 2

Here continue my musings on the Transition Open Space festival I attended in July…

Alternative currency as a means to surface the shadow of money

Trudo - bridge between the money economy and the gift economy

For four days we experimented with an alternative currency, named the ‘Trudo’ – after St Trudo, a 7th century saint of the area – as a sort of bridge between the money economy and the gift economy. The intention behind the introduction of this ingredient into the mix was to ‘help the community flourish’ by encouraging many more exchanges, of more different types, among those present than there might otherwise be.

The experiment was introduced at the start of the mid-week section of the festival, after an initial two days of introduction to the place, the land, the community and the concept of ‘transition’. It stirred up all sorts of interesting reactions and turbulence, which was most revealing about many aspects of our individual and collective shadow around money.

Alain and Anna manning the Trudo bank

Because the community ‘container’ was already in place, these disturbing elements could be illuminated and worked with further. The experiment was introduced as a game – participation was optional – and it was interesting to see how quickly many people forgot that and felt it as an imposition. Power was projected onto the ‘organisers’ who had invented the rules and the ‘bank’ that issued the currency to the participants.

It was also interesting to see that the children took to the system really well and had no compunctions about being creative with the currency and asking some really challenging questions – like “how come you can use this toy money to buy ‘real’ things like ice creams and pancakes? Won’t Johannes (at the café) lose out?” Some of the adults refused to engage with the experiment at all. Erwin, who was constantly giving away Trudos in exchange for work in the permaculture garden, ended up with more of them than he knew what to do with…

Because this experiment with alternative currency was just that – an experiment – part of the transaction involved writing on the back of the Trudo note (i) the name of the person who first put the note into circulation, and (ii) the transaction for which it changed hands each time. At the end of the four-day experiment, all Trudos in circulation were returned to the ‘bank’, which is now in possession of the story of all the relationships fostered by this experiment.

It is hoped that the currency will continue to develop and function after the gathering.

May we liberate our lives from the slavery of money logic.

Learning to live together with the land

About half the group camped on the land and self-organised in a field kitchen, harvesting from the land and preparing food together. That turned out to be a whole learning process for those who took part – again the challenge of different meaning-making systems rubbing each other up the wrong way. Not everybody was happy with what happened, but that was also allowed to be there without losing energy on trying to fix it.

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A lot of collective work was done – building firepits and clay ovens, planting seedlings, harvesting food, gathering seed, learning about herbs and edible food in the wild, making seitan. Taco and Erwin, who live at the Kasteel, are steeped in the practices of permaculture. It was thanks to their labour that there was so much abundance on the land, ready to be picked and eaten: plums, early apples, blackberries and raspberries, courgettes, beets, salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, eggs… these two men were constantly surrounded by children and adults, soaking up their knowledge and connecting back into nature for life-changing inspiration.

Making seitan

Engaging together with food – growing, gathering, harvesting, preparing, eating – grounds the spirit in the body and creates community. Community feeds the soul while much of our current consumer lifestyle starves it.

May we remember our love of the land.

Posted in Aquarian practice, economics, Nature, Permaculture, Storytelling, transition | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Transition Open Space – the future will be together

The future will be together

At the beginning of July, I attended an eight-day Transition Open Space festival in Flanders. Here is an excerpt from the invitation that gives a flavour of what the gathering was about:

“Many people find that we must do things ‘differently’, but don’t know how. Some people feel that they are personally ‘in transition’, while others are seeking to change course in their professional lives … Many are searching, experimenting, learning and taking a first step. But what’s next? We see many beautiful mushrooms: permaculture, local transition initiatives, transition arenas, the Art of Hosting, systems thinking, sustainability, participation, local economy, etc. But who has noticed that there is an underground, invisible system – the mycelium – that connects all these visible mushrooms? What is possible if we see this together, experience this together, and take our next step from there?”

What I experienced and observed during our week together nicely illustrates some of the recurring patterns I am witnessing in the cultural shift beginning to peek through the cracks in mainstream civilization:

  • The core team
  • Containers for self-organising and diversity
  • Alternative currency as a means to surface the shadow of money
  • Learning to live together with the land
  • Intentionally spreading the seeds of possibility
  • Healing the relationship between the masculine and feminine
  • Witnessing & reflection as practices that birth collective wisdom
  • Omnipresence of Spirit and Earth
  • Understanding diversity as wholeness
  • Be yourself!
  • Staying local to support the trans-local.

I’ll be sharing more of the story, together with my thoughts and observations about these patterns over the coming days/weeks – in the meantime, here’s a lovely short video by Berto Aussems with photos and film taken during the last two days of the festival.

Posted in Aquarian practice, healing, moving the edge, Nature, Storytelling, transition | Tagged , | 1 Comment