Each of us has our own life journey and experiences; and then, one day–sometimes after slowly building for years, sometimes completely out-of-the-blue–the urge to explore in another direction becomes overwhelming. How do you respond?
Sometimes it is an away from movement, other times an attraction towards; in our experience, it’s both, combined to create a gradient, that, as it gets steeper is futile to resist. We are ‘called‘ to go down another path.
“What calls to you, invites you and connects you with both your reverence and your responsibility?”
What calls to you in this time? How do you choose respond? How will you do that; alone, or with others?
Perhaps our journey can help inform and encourage you?
David and Neil had already spent time together in Australia and knew they had complimentary gifts in the business-as-usual world. They’d danced together in facilitation practices a few times, but hadn’t gone deep into collapse territory.
Anne had done a lot of deep reading around our polycrisis, and saw elements of what she sought in Neil’s pictures, poetry and diagrams (on Facebook!) and initial communications grew towards a collaborative project proposal (unsuccessful) and mutual attraction –
“There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe.“
— Pierre Teilhard De Chardin French philosopher and Jesuit priest 1881 – 1955
Our journey as the embryonic And Now What team was a long, slow, gestation in ‘business’ terms. Initial ideas were reframed as a global pandemic disrupted them, and we were not ready to leap into action. As our ideas around Courageous Conversations developed David liked where we were going, and joined us in regular Zoom sessions from Australia. We have spent time getting to know each other, progressively refining our shared vision, and discussing content and process in the face of a shared context of Collapse Awareness. We strongly believe in connection before content and have made the time to get to know each other, align around purpose and deeply integrate our offerings.
“The times are urgent; let us slow down. Slowing down is losing our way—not a human capacity or human capability. It is the invitations that are now in the world-at-large, inviting us to listen deeply, to be keen, to be fresh, to be quick with our heels, to follow the sights and sounds and smells of the world.”
Hopefully you can see this has been a journey beyond business-as-usual; in fact, everything about this challenges business-as-usual. We know others, possibly you, might be on a similar path – away from and towards.
Concentric Circles of Stewardship
Critical to our process has been a necessary honesty, vulnerability and centring around what we no longer wanted to do (away from), and what called us (towards) individually, and then finding increasing levels of coherence as we have aligned and learned together how to integrate our respective gifts in mutually assistive and respectful ways.
Our friend Michelle Holliday’s “Concentric Circles of Stewardship” had been a very useful frame for conversations with groups Neil was previously involved with. It also helped guide us on our exploration and co-development path.
The diagram is self-explanatory: Note the ellipses are nested, and the starting question is WHY? It can apply to you as an individual, or to a group, and the context you are in. It questions your love, and your logic.
The inner journey required to deeply assess your purpose, your WHY, can be very deep – it will likely involve a lot of reflection; on loves, losses, grief, and reasons – and, while most people probably go through this alone at some stage in their life, coaches and mentors can help, especially if, as Supertramp say:
“There are times when all the world’s asleep
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
Please tell me who I am.”
Supertramp, The Logical Song, Breakfast in America, 1979
The outer ellipse refers to HOW WELL your earlier choices align with outer (including emerging) reality. Your level of awareness of these outer elements, the systems context of your journey include:
- What terrain are you traveling?
- What barriers or warning signs can you see?
- What changes to your starting assumptions might influence where you want to go?
And the big ethical question here is framed in terms of ‘serving the whole system we are stewarding‘ – in our case, life.
Now it is apparent the ellipses are nested because they influence each other as systems do, in non-linear ways. The inner and outer can be aligned, refined, integrated and made more coherent only IF you pay attention to both, hold intentions lightly, challenge your own assumptions as new evidence comes to light, and adjust direction while retaining purpose.
In all And Now What’s work, our shared understandings of collapse frame our outer systems context, and our individual inner work is aligning us with post-doom responses internally consistent and coherent with accepting these outer realities. We expect our experience in going through and being in this process will be of benefit to others, either separately through our Coaching and Mentoring services, or collectively through our Systems Sensing and Facilitation or Whole Systems Design services.
We hope this little exploration of part of the process we went through might help you determine whether we can assist you on your own inner or outer journey (Courageous Conversations) or in the facilitation of broader group journeys.