Monday, March 7, 2016

Can we slow down?

Image result for drops of waterOur culture trains us not to follow the subtle sensations that eventually amplify themselves into “reality.” 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Thank you Rumi.

I'm happy that wise Rumi came up with this quote.  It sounds a bit crazy but I'd like to believe it's true.  Not that I'm trying to break my heart but I can allow it to be broken, so I can learn empathy and compassion.

During the Intensive I was in touch with my own brokenness.  This can only make me a better facilitator.  I hope.

If our suffering has meaning it is easier to bear.  If our suffering opens us up to the suffering of others, we can serve the world.  With awareness and openness to our grief, we can heal and be healed.   

Friday, March 4, 2016

Will training employees work if we ignore differences in rank?

Yesterday I did my first live training session since the intensive.  I worked with a group of managers in the morning and a group of their employees in the afternoon.  The managers were eager, fun, and thoughtful.  We discussed and role-played ways to have quality conversations with their teams.  This included talking about team member goals, and offering feedback on the efforts and progress of their employees.

In the afternoon I was contracted to help team members explore how they react when receiving feedback from their managers.  The workshop included lots of ideas on emotional intelligence and our triggers.  The goal was to learn to be more open and less reactive when receiving feedback.  I was the hired facilitator but someone else had sold the client on this class.  Had they considered the impact of this decision on the group?  Would this work?  Sure enough, the afternoon group pushed back.  They said they didn’t have any trouble accepting feedback when it was credible and came from a reliable source.  “If my manager isn’t a dick, I’m happy to receive feedback from him.”
Unless corporations address rank (power) issues in the workplace, money spent on training may (will often, always?) miss the mark.  What if yesterday’s company had given their managers a class on how to receive feedback from their employees?  Why are power structures (process workers call these issues of “rank”) so rarely addressed? 

I listened to the afternoon class, working to hear their perspective.  Then I continued to try to offer the material on emotional intelligence I’d be asked to present.  It wasn’t fair to ask only one group at work to get better at managing their emotions, but in the end practicing EI is always helpful.  The afternoon group did agree that they could always benefit from such practice. 

If I am to continue working in corporate training, I will need to bring forward issues of rank at work.  That’s scary. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Awareness leads to better outcomes.

Process work helps groups increase their awareness.  Then groups can act with more intelligence and integrity and not get hijacked by their secondary process (see below).

Excerpt from this article. 
"In the Processwork view, groups like individuals, are seen as having specific/ identifiable communication forms or patterns, both intended and unintended. 

Groups are seen to have primary (foreground) and secondary (background ) processes.

 Primary processes are those that the group predominantly identifies with – usually the intended behaviours, espoused purpose, beliefs, identity, etc.  

Secondary processes are reflected in unintended behaviour, unconscious norms or beliefs (culture), repressed or marginalized energies which express themselves in indirect ways. For example, those who speak most tend to be identified with the identified primary processes, the more silent ones, with the secondary processes often not identified. 

Repressed, marginalized or disavowed aspects of the group tend to show up in the secondary processes or become projected on to other groups in the field."

Thanks to for the use of these photos!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Reading dreams while awake

One purpose of this blog is to document my encounters with process work.  My five-week training (the Winter Intensive) ended two weeks ago.  I’m now starting to transcribe my longhand notes and continue to unravel my deep inner experiences.  While I’ve long appreciated Arnold Mindell’s books that detail his discoveries and theories, I didn’t really grasp his concepts until this immersion.  Now, re-reading my notes, I’m getting more insights.

It’s seven weeks later and as I look at my notes, they seem foreign.  Who was this woman?  I don’t remember writing this.  As I read these stream of consciousness scribblings, they suddenly took on new significance.  On the first day I wrote about how no one was sitting next to me on one side.  My mind wouldn’t let go of this observation -- I was the only one with an empty chair next to me.  My mind circled round and round the image.  Why couldn’t I let this go?  Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I can see that my inner obsessions were already pointing to major themes that would surface.  Throughout the Intensive my hunger for connection and anguished feelings of rejection would be repeated over and over.   A process worker might have been able to read this signal (my inner preoccupation) and understand what was unfolding in my psyche. 

Equally mysterious, several of my nighttime dreams spoke of “taking up space.”  I worked in private sessions on these dreams.  Meanwhile, without my full awareness, during our fourth week I started to sit alone on an upper “perch” I created for myself.  I had moved from fixating about not having someone next to me, to choosing to be alone.  I was taking up more space.  Now I wonder:  will I need to be alone to do my work effectively?  I will watch my dreams and daytime signals for confirmation.  When in groups I can feel bad about being alone.  But maybe that is part of my path. 

I remember another time when dream-like signals foretold what was coming.  One member of the group, J, was working with our facilitator.  They were preparing to film their work together and J waved to the camera and made a joke, saying, “Hi Mom.”  I murmured softly, “Ah, there is a ghost in the room.”  And sure enough, J’s work ended with themes of his mother.  But J was completely unconscious of this “double signal.”   

Process work is about becoming more aware of thoughts, movements, feelings, or images that are in the room or “field.”  These signals (whether they come in night time dreams or daytime symptoms) can provide us with vital knowledge about what is trying to emerge.  If we follow the flow of these signals we can heal ourselves, our groups, even our societies.