Written June 20, 2013
Have you ever tried explaining a complex issue or idea using a dog?
This is one of many fun models and tools that we learned about over the past two days during our Inner Transition Training with Sophie Banks from Totnes, UK, and Sally Ludwig from Guelph, ON.
It wasn’t all dogs and peanut butter jars, though. We discussed the different quadrants of a healthy system and how human psychology produces the outer, external environment; we acknowledged components of a safe, welcoming space to encourage inclusion; we acted out scenarios of shifting states, for example: depleted –> resourced, alone –> community, powerless –> empowered, and picked out common themes.
Have you ever thought about when you felt empowered and what and/or who you were surrounded by when it happened?
Have you ever felt immobilized or gone through trauma? We opened up these rather deep areas of thought to allow for the development of our own understanding on how to acknowledge these feelings and how to create a space that was safe to discuss them. The Work That Reconnects provided some insight. Every day harm is done, whether it is climate change causing life-devastating droughts or personal sorrow due to loss of a loved one. It could be said that feeling pain is also showing gratitude to what brings us joy in life. Is it possible to honour that pain by recognizing it and allowing it to come to the surface. It carries value with it, showing that what happens outside has an effect internally. This expression and creation of vulnerability is a powerful opener for community space. You are definitely not alone in this pain. There might exist radical interconnections between others in your community that share your gratitude and with these ‘new eyes’ going forth becomes a bit easier.
If we can create environments that are open to vulnerability and humility perhaps we allow others to really feel their pain and then move forward in transition.
At the end of the first day we created a Truth Mandala. Everyone sat down forming a circle, forming a space. This space contained 6 areas: the floor represented hope, the middle was freedom, one-quarter of the circle had a stone, which represented fear, another quarter held a stick for anger, the third quarter had dried leaves for sorrow, and the last section an empty bowl for open-ness/space. We opened the space and an invitation was laid for anyone to enter and express themselves in any and/or all of the areas. It was extremely powerful. I felt connected to some people as if I was them, as if I was them speaking. It was a very intense/anxious/scary moment in my life, but after entering the mandala and sharing my pain I was so supported and loved. I have felt a levity that I have never experienced before. We closed the space after everyone was settled. This was a very powerful moment and it is such an amazing activity to build trust within your community.
“It is not apathy that stops people from taking action. It is whether there is a space that allows them to take part”
We then charted a course to discover how change happens. We dipped in the Doopelt 5D’s Model, which includes Disinterest, Discovery, Deliberation, Design, and Doing. Does it take a disaster, a wake-up call, or an invitation to get people to become interested? Do we invite people into a situation that is going to shake up their entire world? Perhaps. Or maybe, small steps to align new pieces of our life (ex. relationships, transportation, habits) to our new values is the way to go. Once we are ready to ‘Design’ we start to consciously make decisions on how we are going to live and act. Then get out there and do it
The majority of change happens internally and this is something that needs to be acknowledged and supported within movements.
I’ll leave you with a couple of points that really resonated with me (instead of a whole book):
Can we serve the whole and not let our individual decisions get in the way? Leave our logos and egos at the door and put the issue at the forefront.
Create space for those that may need to be heard but may not always speak.
Paint a picture of fun. Show others what Transition Towns are all about.
Gift circles: get in the habit of just giving and receiving without payment.
“Meeting ppl where they are at and pushing them a bit beyond their boundaries”-Angie
“I assume that they care” – Joanna Macy (Through Sophie Banks) in response to talking with “mainstream” groups about new, important, inner topics, such as forming space at work where people can express their pain.
“It’s not apathy that stops people, it’s whether there is a space for them to take part”
“When you are following what you need to do, energy will flow” – Lorenna
Thank you for reading and good luck with your Inner Transition. Thank you to everyone that contributed to this amazing workshop.