Some feedback on online calls

Some feedback on online calls

I spoke to a few of you who’ve been on live Zoom calls and learned more about what’s working and where we might go.

Here’s some of ​what I took away (special thanks to Betty, Laure, Andrea, Lynn):

You like it when we break out into small groups, to do “Presencing practice” or something else involving open-ended questions. You like to be able to meet one on one with others journeying in a similar way. We will definitely continue with this.

I also heard this: We each have a specific sensitivity and gift and it’s important for us to have this witnessed. This unique gift doesn’t belong only to people on our calls. Everyone has their own. But many people are primarily immersed in the consensus reality and so are less attuned to what’s uniquely true for them. When this is the case they’re less able to speak up about their specific sensitivity because not speaking up about it is the consensus reality. Most people in the mainstream are not deeply aware that we’re in a profound social shift or that that social shift is also an equally important personal shift for them. By engaging this shift with peers we help each other better navigate the landscape.

The personal journey is likely to be unprecedented for us in its depth and challenge. It’s deeper and more challenging than we expected. Childhood or adult challenges may be, and perhaps probably are, up for re-examination. People in this exploration space have more than likely experienced significant bumps that have partly moved them out of consensus reality already. They’re attracted to the group because a part of them realizes that the mainstream reality wasn’t answering their questions. The group doesn’t have answers either but we have a resonant “field” in which the answers show up if  the field of exploration is well nourished.

I’ll repeat that challenge and edge are inevitably part of the mix as we move past consensus reality into what’s emerging. Individuals in the group may see or understand things that their usual daily contacts don’t see or don’t resonate strongly with. For these reasons, it’s great to connect with others who are like us. These people tend to become natural allies or colleagues. The more we’re able to be transparent about what’s alive for us, the more others recognize us as their natural colleagues. Some group members will naturally want to make alliances with us, perhaps to do projects together when the time is right, or just as friends.  The new relationships between individuals and between the individual and the group zone itself can be life-changing.

Being ” transparent about what’s alive for us” can be as simple as sharing what  we’re curious about, what’s emerging. As we show up with each other more transparently in the group, there’s some transference to how we are showing up out there in the world. We help each other show up more genuinely.

And for a far-out thought, just for a moment. A conscious group is akin to a multi-limbed organism that is slowly becoming conscious of itself and its capabilities. The “I”s in the group also are aware that, without being diminished, they’re also a “We.” The more the group organism is conscious​, the more it’s able to move on its own, to find its own direction, to learn more about its nature. I truly believe we’ve barely scratched the surface of what is possible.

​Groups I host are part of an ecosystem of many conscious organismswaking up together to what’s possible together.

​​New times for regular calls

Every second Sunday at 1pm Eastern, 10 Pacific, 7pm CET.  No more calls on Thursday for now as it’s not a good time for many.  The next group will be December 29th, January 12th and 26th, etc. Subscribers will receive the link by email.

All are welcome. If ​you can ​”resonate” with the above, you’ll fit right in. There will be a less challenging  ​option of the Presencing practice available, for those who are new to it. Hope to see you!

Those inevitable and messy blind spots

Those inevitable and messy blind spots

I started a conversation early in October, a place for unfettered talk via videoconference around self, climate, and our uncertain future: the Inner Climate Collective. It was to be a place where the internal and personal dimension was to be very welcome. I’d been exploring this in drop-in groups and one-on-ones conversations for years. Could we have a more committed group and learn from each other?

Some brave people said yes, we could.  So we started.

Well, how did it go?  

Speaking personally, it was messy. I ran into one of those inevitable blind spots, as you’ll see. The first calls felt strong positive high energy. I was very happy.

But then I went to the opposite place where I felt a lot of discomfort. Our numbers were small to start with but spread over nine time zones we had to split into two groups with different call times. My idea had been to have frequent ongoing contact to build trust and acceleration of our process. The reality was that people were split into two groups that wouldn’t even see each other. People were busy too and couldn’t come as often as I’d imagined. I felt I hadn’t delivered what I said. I felt anxious and angry, and personally triggered, about not doing it right. Nor did I feel I could talk about it because it was my job to do. I had to succeed and I didn’t want to look less than perfect.

I think I’ve busted that illusion.  

The takeaway is that having the conversations that matter are perhaps inevitably going to involve making mistakes and hitting our blind spots. And that even not handling them very well is OK too.

The alternative to risking is staying safe within party lines. The commitment to staying within the lines ensures we’ll do the future like the past. Truth-in-the-moment is risky and it can be messy. I want to make that messiness more welcome and I know I’m not the only one. I have friends who look for exploration places where they don’t have to put on faces and pretend.They highly value the places where it’s safe enough to explore with others.

Those “deeper layers” and the messiness that connects  into personal and collective trauma need to be welcome because messy personal and collective trauma are part of the human experience. It’s clearer today than ever that collective and individual trauma are woven into the climate predicament and working with them is part of the future.

Everything’s rising up to the surface for re-evaluation now. Every individual is going to be challenged in their own way and will find their own way.

I see people who are willing to go out to meet this as pioneers of a different conversation. It’s a conversation that will be much more exciting than Netflix or Facebook. It will change our lives vastly beyond what those can.

Can it be that that new conversations, not only in ICC but in thousands of places, are the next frontier? Against all odds I think they are and that they have the power to change the world. But it’s difficult to enter fully in because that greater thing is unknown and scary. It’s no wonder we’d want to stay safely on the familiar and known side of the border, as long as we do. 

On the other hand, what a  joy to cross over, to not have to pretend and to simply be with what’s present, whatever that looks like. Can we learn to do that? That’s what the Presencing  practice, the core practice of the collective, helps with. But it’s not really the practice that’s important. It’s us and our willingness to show up, be with each other and trust the moment.

You in the Climate Change Ecosystem

You in the Climate Change Ecosystem

A reality I’ve been slow to see is that the social contract we grew up with is connected to vast pools of loneliness and isolation . . . and that these are central drivers of our climate predicament. This social isolation is particularly difficult to see because in order to see it, you (we/I) have to step outside of it, witness it. Only then can you see where we were, where we came from. Otherwise, like the oft-cited fish in the water, we can’t see or feel where we are. And where we are is in a social system that, to a great degree, is organized around tokens of worth and status, represented by money. And this underlying structure affects us deeply and intimately. Our lives easily become about fitting into it. The economic system and the social system are inseparable like the chicken and the egg, parts of each other. 

Here’s a chunk to digest, unless you’d rather spit it out because it’s not too tasty. Or maybe you know it already. It’s that we can’t meet the intense targets for CO2 reductions  without changing the economic system we have. And we can’t change the economic system without changing the social system because they’re really different views of the same thing. And further, we can’t change the social system without changing ourselves. Everything that’s made us us has come about within the structure of the society that is currently failing and that needs to change.

The economic system, the social system, and little ole us are all parts of the very same thing. As this slowly starts to come into focus for us, and even when snippets of it do, we more or less immediately start to gravitate toward a new way of being together. The ones who feel the same disenfranchisement / reinfranchisement start to drift together. They’re hearing the same music.

Of the three systems, economic, social and personal, the social system  is, perhaps the easiest to work with, the most amenable to change. For one thing it almost immediately makes demands on us as individuals to treat each other differently and in a way that’s often engaging and fun. The economic system is more deeply buried and so  it’s easier to ignore and keep it out of sight for a while. But it’s there. I’ve been going to a wonderful festival in the woods near where I live near Ottawa, Canada for almost 40 years (Blue Skies). Much of the festival could have been part of a fair from the middle-ages. It’s a wonderful fantasy. But you go down the laneway past the gate and scattered in the woods are fields of cars from all over the world and a great deal of money underwriting the freedom festivities.

So activism’s effectiveness is tied into an ecosystem that contains social, personal, and economic aspects, none of which can be left out. It seems to me that to the extent we don’t know that, then under pressure activism will tend to become reactive, which is basically where the revolutions of the past started and ended.

In short, if we’re to reach our CO2 reduction goals, which radically change the economic structure, we’ll also have to invest deeply, and perhaps personally in the social structure. That basically means paying attention to the aspirations and gifts of activists, their individuality, rather than assuming these will take care of themselves or  be nobly overridden for “the cause.”

And we can’t do all this en masse or all at once either, just the little part of it we have in front of us. And that we can do.

Your comments are a kind of love and are very welcome.

On not knowing what to do

On not knowing what to do

Well, there’s a nice image for you! Some of you might recognize it as two cards from the OH deck, a radically improvisational way of generating images. The deck has 88 “frames,” words, and 88 impressionistic images, many of them much less friendly than this one today is. It’s definitely not all sweetness and light. Using a device like this, or a poem, can be a writing prompt or deepener, as it was today for me. It can also be a way to start off a group because everyone will take a very different meaning from them. Reality is individually constituted. 

What I see today, as the writing’ll suggest is that there’s a world of pain out there. The Tower of Babble comes to mind.

Yes sometimes there’s a space inside in which communication happens. Is that true?

I have a story that we don’t yet know how to respond to these times. Sir David Attenborough made a speech today at the UN Climate Conference today about the condition we’re in. It came, and so far it seems it  will go without making much of a wave.

Why so little response?

It seems that it’s very hard for us to know now, how to respond to messages. We used to know, in an earlier time, in a seemingly easier world. We used to have our categories all neatly packaged. This goes here, that goes there.

But that’s no longer the case. Now we don’t know how to respond as we witness the world that doesn’t know how to respond either.

We’re like the fishes who don’t know they’re in the water. We’re learning to swim in a medium that we haven’t  recognized yet. Many people have pointed to it but it doesn’t have a name, at least one that’s stuck. (The evolutionary present?) If we’re over 50 or so, we can perhaps remember a time when we could feel that our small part was a part in a story that we understood, an agreed upon story. We were part of a bigger venture.

Now . . . not so much.

And this is terribly painful for many of us. We feel the underlying malaise and we see its effects on the people we love who cope bravely with it. And we don’t know what to do. Perhaps this dimension has always been there and we’re just waking up to something like a universal compassion for each other, caught in this fractured existence. It could be that a natural Boddhisatva-like impulse of witnessing this, wanting to gather the others in and work together, is rising, rising everywhere but only seen by some. We don’t have a way to note it and signal it yet. Seeing this may be part of seeing that we’re caught up in a deep – or high – “Tower of Babel. “Not just that they are so caught up, the George H. Bushs a and the Justin Trudeaus but that we are too.

In that sense our illusion might be instructive.

But sitting here this morning I’m also noticing that I’ve been talking about things. Talking about my experience rather than from it.

What’s happening right here as I sit on my ergonomically ruinous couch, pen in hand? There’s the sound of the too-loud fridge and I hear too  what I think is the hot water for the radiators, gurgling as it circulates in the bowels of the small building. My stomach is full and my body still, at peace for now with this unknowing.

I was just in touch with the daughter of one of my oldest friends, and he’s in my mind as I sit here. This Nameless Friend is an almost-recluse who’s been living in the woods up north most of his life, estranged from almost everyone. No one in his original family has seen him in a long time and neither have I. His daughter and he are out of touch. He’s in my mind now,  part of my story and I want to see him.

But right now he could be a metaphor for how we all are, alone and speaking a language only we fully understand. Not sure exactly how the twists of fate, providence and free will brought us to here.

So I’m sitting with a feeling or an imagination that I often have, that there’s something important that we’re each looking for, or if not looking for, intuiting, that we usually can’t touch together. We feel part of it in our highest, and often in our darkest hours too, but usually we forget it, caught up as we are in the minutiae of living.

Caught up in making ourselves understood in the modern Tower of Babble – a full time job that many of us do as we continue with everything else. If there’s a saving grace, it’s that we recognize sometimes we’re in this together.

If you enjoyed, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below and tell us about it.

If you want to explore in depth with others, join a committed group starting soon. I think of it as a Soul Camino . . . a three-month personal exploration you”ll undertake with a committed group of others.

I’ll be hosting at least two drop-in groups throughout December  to practice Presence.  I think this process has a lot to commend it as a way to gain insight and relief from the effects the modern Tower of Babble. Come try it out. The times and links are on the page.

Let me know if I can help you with my guiding practice, which largely consists of deep listening so that what you’re wanting can come more to the surface. You can also choose a free discovery session for 30 minutes, or the time you want. Longer times are offered on a Gift basis. Please let me know the amount of time you’re interested in when you book.


What I learned today – 1

What I learned today – 1

Sometimes in waiting for the grand idea to share I forget to say some of what did happen today, small things, the work as it’s unfolding learning to be present to the time. As things go, they’re  connected with a theme, much of which today happens to  be around Visibility.

Early in the morning, sitting with myself, I noticed that visibility is different from vulnerability. I often experience vulnerability as a fear of visibility. Visibility requires a courage, a courage to connect to what we love without looking back, without caring how it’s received. To love what we love and do what we do just because. Vulnerability as I experience it, is often about trying to make excuses for myself. It’s practicing the subtle arts of self-protection. Paradoxically, that kind of vulnerability leaves me aloof and alone while visibility really does risk something but feels exhilarating. In the willingness to be visible we show ourselves willing. I’m often interested in how other people show themselves in an unguarded way and I think it’s part of how truth comes into the world.

Later in the morning, I was talking with my friend Vihra (Dincheva) with whom I host an online call 2nd and 4th Thursdays. We get together before hand and see what’s alive for us before each call and today what came was this: we thought this Thursday’s call could invite the question, “how do you feel about expressing differences you imagine you have with others, and what do you do with that?”  How do you navigate visibility in other words. I find that having a question that is alive for us helps us be genuinely curious about what will happen, rather than trying to stage something.  Then it’s OK for things to go where they will. You can read about Thursday’s call here. Here is the link:

Around supper  time, I spoke to a participant in my Hello Climate Change! pilot project and she introduced the idea that climate change brings up cognitive dissonance in her. (Cognitive dissonance is the mental state of holding two contradictory ideas . . . or in the case of climate change, two  different worldviews, one with climate change in it and the world’s normal view where it isn’t, not really.) While it’s not pleasant, she was willing to experience that and identify it and do something with it.  There are huge gulfs in our world and the ability to navigate them fearlessly is a central skill for today. I also learned and liked to hear, that the group was challenging and not avoiding of the issue, but also invited more. Thank you you-know-who-you-are, for the feedback and the feedforward.

Lastly, I felt, remembered, learned again, through simple meditation,  that the foundation for work on oneself, and for we-spaces, is an inner practice in which we feel the nameless force that’s active in the world and in us.

Your comments, reflections and murmurings help posts live and are always welcome!