1 October 2014 at 22:18 #1540
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to watch NSS 2014 via webstreaming. I thought I’d open a space for the reflections and observations of those (like myself) who are tuning into the NSS 2014 via live/taped web streaming. It is a unique perspective we share, much like a fishbowl exercise. We have the benefit of some emotional distance yet at the same time a sense of having shared the experience quite intimately.
So my question to those tuning in via webcast is:
What have you experienced and observed while watching and processing the webcast that may be of service to future NSS’s or to the emergence of the global New Story in general?
I look forward to your comments and reflections.
Awake with you!
- This topic was modified 7 years, 2 months ago by Mark Rowatt Anderson.
2 October 2014 at 16:44 #1549
good description, still taking it all in.
7 October 2014 at 14:57 #1573
I opened this thread mid-conference, when the discomfort and “storming” stage of the group’s process was at its height. I haven’t yet viewed all the “after” sessions, but was so heartened to see what came through the other side of the centrifuge – love, community, compassion, deeper listening, heart-based wisdom, hope, a glimpse at the wholeness of the New Story.
I am left with a burning question, Is it necessary to go through the chaos to get to the calm? Is there another way to emerge with this heart-based bond, one that doesn’t involve participation in further wounding? I feel that there is, but am wondering, does anyone join me there in Rumi’s field? (“Beyond rightness and wrongness there is a field. I will meet you there.” – Rumi)
I have come to think of the process of transition between stories as a practice ground, and we are all in various stages along our own sacred paths. All stages contribute to the forward momentum as long as we are all moving along our own continuum rather than stuck in old patterns.
What I witnessed at the summit were some who came to the conference wanting to LIVE the change, feeling into it through ceremony, song, dance, silence, meditation, immersion in nature. Some came wanting to begin DOing the change out into the world – making some kind of collective plans to make more visible the New Story. Some wanted to SEE a collective vision emerge, to sense a kind of emerging wholeness. And some came wanting to find their tribe, to be seen and accepted in that tribe, for it is a lonely and confusing world out there. I believe ALL four are necessary; all three can learn from and enrich the others. How many of these expectations came to the summit with you? I think I had a little of each. Quite a tall order, but I do believe each of these were quickened by the NS Summit. And that is a worthy contribution.
For future conferences, how can the diversity/unity dance be made even more graceful? Each time we practice, we become more adept, so simply gathering is the answer, perhaps. Like an athlete who is training, we translate intention into action with more accuracy, skill and mind/body memory the more we repeat an action. Might we further trust that when we are given choice and freedom to follow our inner promptings through Open Space, we will naturally express the evolutionary flow of the universe in all its diversity and unity? Might we not fight against ourselves or others for needing to express a different part or stage of that flow, but trust the puzzle to assemble itself in the end? What is trust if not letting go of fear?
To be continued…..
7 October 2014 at 16:23 #1575
Interesting points you make Laurie. A useful summary of the four positions, and I like ‘transition between stories as a practice ground’.
14 October 2014 at 15:26 #1800
Thank you, David.
9 October 2014 at 16:16 #1698
I liked Laurie observations very much. 7 October 2014 at 14:57; The part of Rumi, the parts on the participants expectations, and the part of our learnings..
Very well phrased. Happy to be close or in contact with these kind of kindred spirits and souls,
Compliments to the Findhorn team of making this happen,
10 October 2014 at 11:01 #1727
Mark Rowatt AndersonKeymaster
Thank you for your observations Laurie – I like your notion of people who want to live/do/see/connect. I’m not sure that everyone fits neatly into one category (personally I feel part of all of them), but there was definitely a tension between some of those modes.
I wonder, though, could or even should it happen more gracefully? For all the discomfort which comes from the tension, isn’t that a natural consequence of bringing together an incredible group of diverse people?
Of course, being here in the middle of it and part of the connections and conversations outside of the sessions is very different from viewing just the sessions over the web… perhaps the tension left a stronger impression for people not able to participate in the ‘backchat’ and feel the mood and energy of the event minute by minute.
14 October 2014 at 15:24 #1798
Thank you, Mark.
13 October 2014 at 22:13 #1781
Good observations Laurie. I was with the American sound guy on day six who asked where was the anger. While I fully enjoyed much of the conference it did seem to have that modern streak where the anger was a slightly narcissistic internal group one where the facilitators became the source of rage rather than a shared solidarity. I was reading Naomi Klein’s new book today and she said that for many years many of us thought climate change and ecological problems would be the great leveller but actually it has turned out differently, those in the rich nations and within nations are taking more and more of the wealth and pulling up all drawbridges for the majority of people. I did not see quite enough social and economic reality to make me feel that the conference moved me forward – i can see that for participants doing the rituals this may have been different. I think it was more New Story than Whole or Evolving Story. I say again I did enjoy the conference but feel a bit of hole inside about it
14 October 2014 at 15:22 #1796
Eartheart, I remember your comment in that session and felt it was a brave statement to make. I am glad that you stood up. It really made me think. And I am wondering, was a place made at the conference for expressing anger and for bringing its value to the whole group? Can we see rage as sacred? I am very close with my sister who has been a climate activist for decades. She has struggled with anger not only towards the corporate offenders but also towards the passive populace who’d rather look the other way (or buy things) rather than to feel their own outrage and sadness. We need to keep talking about all of this, to keep expressing our own responses to the sad state of the world. And we need to keep listening to all that is being evoked in us as emotions and actions so we can find our way back to collective wholeness and to our own aliveness. Thank you for sharing.
- This reply was modified 7 years, 1 month ago by Laurie McCammon.
14 October 2014 at 15:09 #1792
How Do We Move from Open Space to Whole Space?
Tuning into the New Story Summit 2014 from afar, I am hovering in a sort of “fly on the wall” wonderment, simultaneously in awe of the magic, the spontaneity, the heart-centered expressions through music, dance, prayer and poetry, the skill of inspired speakers, but also feeling deeply thoughtful about the chaos and incoherence that goes into building a new world in a co-creative, inclusive way.
Watching Session 9, the space given to introduce two days of “Open space plus” on-the-fly sessions which are both led by and attended by conference goers, I see and feel a familiar initial excitement about the generosity and freedom of the process, followed by an energetic letdown as the inevitable push and pull of conflicting agendas and egos show up in the participants. My belief that human beings could come together to serve a larger collective vision is again relegated to a dream, and not a reality, even amongst the most awakened and motivated “New Storiers” in the world today. I must admit it made me feel a bit depressed.
I am particularly disappointed by my own initial reaction when a young woman violates the flow of the session towards the end by reading a poem at a time that was not allocated for this kind of sharing. First I felt frustrated by her intrustion, but then I began to notice that her words sang the same concern, asked for the same hope to be fulfilled that is pushing out from my own heart – “Can you trust, can you be generous, can you support another’s shine and not default to competition and self-protection?” In other words, can you let go of fear and ego and the need to be right to make yourself available to the emergence of wholeness and unity? Yes, available. Are we yet available to serve the New Story? What initially felt like a bold violation of “the rules” of the session by this courageous poet was instead a gift of light and love to a chaotic process that was on the brink of repeating the Old Story paradigm of competition, not because of the presenters which were thoughtful and skilled, but because of the default state of consciousness of humankind in the face of something so new and unbound.
What I am starting to understand as I process my own conflicted emotions as observer of the conference is that people come to conferences with very different expectations and needs, and that others’ needs are very different from mine. It is easy to forget that and to not make room for that in our own perception. This creates a kind of disjointed incoherence which tends to distract us from forming a vision or an experience of the wholeness. How many times will we need to repeat the chaos and the re-wounding before we break through to the grace of wholeness?
I have attended the United Nations Conference on the Status of Women as a presenter and as a delegate the last three years, experiencing these very same emotions and concerns again and again. I see that for many individual women, the first step in being able to meld into wholeness and unity is to dare to speak in her own voice. So here is the deep paradox: in order to get to unity, we must first delve deeply into individuation. It can look like going backwards into ego and self-service, but it isn’t. Why? How can we participate in forming a new collective territory without first announcing our individual liberation from the old? How can we become gracious enough to hear other voices if we have never made space to hear our own? It is a powerful step into self-love, self-trust and self-recognition to make that space. Out of self-love, self-trust and self-identity come the capacity for group love, group trust and group identity. And this is where we need to get to, in my opinion, if we are to actually move into a New Story. While the opening of a person to his or her own voice is beautiful, if we get stuck there, in individuation, we miss out on the larger potential we have to move into the New Story of “power with” and wholeness. The fear that rises in me is so often that very fear – that individuation is a bottomless pit and it will take a very long time to crawl our way out and be available for the collective task ahead, that the addictive patterns so rampant in our society will have us binging there for a long time. The egos of humanity have been so starved for eons, so deprived of real nourishment, particularly the essential kind called love. When it is offered in a New Story Space by loving hosts, a feeding frenzy can occur, one in which no one is yet available to nourish others. They are too busy imbibing the energetic space, the attention, the sense that “Yes, you matter and I hear you.” I must constantly remind myself that what may look like narcissism and ego on the surface may just be deep healing and inner movement. As they say, one must put on one’s oxygen mask before assisting others with theirs.
So what does this call on us to do?
If you have enough love, keep giving it.
If you do not need to be heard, deeply listen.
If others need something different than you do right now, be compassionate and let go of needing to have things go a certain way.
If you witness incoherence and chaos, bring the peace you have within.
If you are impatient to enact the New Story, have faith that it is on its way, even if it does not look or feel like it is.
This isn’t to say we cannot hone the process of moving from the Old Story to the New Story. I believe this is the purpose of these gatherings. The New Story Summit and the place in between paradigms is rich, loamy practice ground. What are we learning that can spare us the chaos, wounding and emotional hooks of this in between place?
Whenever we are entering brand new territory, I have found that it pays to be very specific and clear about what is new and different, and to make some time in the agenda not only to explain it, but also for participants to get more comfortable trying it. It is new behavior, for example, to create workshops on the fly, as in Open Space. It is new behavior to invite the audience to contribute their wisdom, gifts and talents to the program.
Along with the blending of participant and presenter roles within each attendee comes a brand new understanding of one’s responsibilities to other attendees. No longer here to simply warm a seat, many who have never done it before will find themselves presenting, teaching, public speaking, facilitating and performing. Most will not have the skill set or experience to do these things well. So everyone’s patience will be tested as we hold a space for ourselves and others to practice. So I’d like to suggest a new section in the marketing materials of a conference or gathering: a clause about the role and responsibility of participants, to include responsibility to be self-aware of the energy and expectations we bring with us. To illustrate why I believe it is a necessity to do so, I offer a reflection on three kinds of participants, each carrying a very different set of needs and expectations: the consumer, the builder and the collaborator.
The consumers: They are looking to be inspired, led, taught, validated or directed. The old model of a conference with keynote speakers is very agreeable to them, in fact, they prefer it. It is familiar. The problem is that the initial glow of being in the presence of wisdom and inspiration quickly fades as one leaves the venue to rejoin daily life. The conference may have inspired, but it did not empower. What has the conference actually accomplished?
The builders: The Builders come ready to demonstrate how they are doing the work of building the New World. Most doing New Story projects are vastly underpaid and under-recognized, squeezing the project in between family and paid work responsibilities, working out of our homes on less than a shoestring budget. They may feel under-appreciated and unseen. Some may have secured local support and funding but not enough to sustain their beloved project long-term. A common wish in attending a conference may be that their project will be seen by someone more powerful and wealthy and will be franchised throughout the world. For those attending as Builders, networking and marketing is the primary draw of the conference. They hope to be given the opportunity to speak about themselves and their project in one of the larger venues so an angel investor or potential customers will hear them. To come to a conference like this and not stand up to make one’s pitch would be failure, but the strong drive to do so may make it hard for the Builder to sense and fit his or her message into the subtle energy and flow of the conference. If the Builder is not tuned into the tone, they risk making enemies instead of allies when they speak. Some do make the contacts they wanted, but I have witnessed the vast majority who leave the conference deflated and depressed. Meanwhile, though a project or projects received some support, did the conference conveners get their vision of community and unity fulfilled? Isn’t it the Old Paradigm of separation and competition that got reinforced by this result, not the New?
The Collaborators: Collaborators come to a conference to be part of a larger arising, to glimpse a bigger whole, to feel the oneness of what is arising in the consciousness of humanity. They come to be completely moved by the beauty and enormity of the passion each holds to make the world a better place, and to join them there in a feeling of colleagueship. They come in a mode of allowing, of receiving, of sensing from a deeper place of quiet awareness, what is arising to be done together. How do we share our strengths in a mutually beneficial way? They come to a conference to glimpse the whole up front and to meld into it, to feel its tender shoots respond to the nourishment of community. What they receive is an inner awareness and perspective of how what they are and what they do contributes to the realization of a collective New Story. They receive companionship for the lonely times and confirmation that their little piece of the puzzle is enough because others are also contributing their enough.
I hear Sateesh Kumar’s phrase echo in my head, “Because you are, therefore I am.” I believe the young woman poet who “interrupted the flow” was what I call here “a Collaborator,” sensing the danger of losing the fragile wholeness in that moment of the conference, shining a light on the tender shoots of oneness, and begging for them to not be trampled upon by the clumsy steps of the Old Story of separation, competition and mistrust. However, those who attend “wanting to get things done” may perceive collaborators as “living in la la land,” not practical enough, not engaged enough in urgent issues such as climate change. Collaborators work on the subtle and experiential planes and it isn’t always easy to see what they are trying to do or how. They, however, are working at the level of underlying story, which I believe is what this conference is about.
I create these three labels not because I believe anyone fits neatly into these categories (they certainly don’t) but to highlight how diverse the expectations we bring with us to a conference are. I also suggest that making these expectations visible may help us to frame our conferences and our promotional materials so the outcome is more coherence, clarity and patience. Maybe we want to welcome many expectations, but maybe we can make it more explicit when in the program we are and are not going to meet them.
For those of us who come to a conference to have an opportunity to live it through direct experience with others who vibrate similarly, it can be utterly heartbreaking to attend most conferences where incoherence and ego create such painful turbulence. We leave with the knowledge that the vast majority of humanity, even those attracted to this new paradigm work, are not yet ready to enact the New Story. The generosity of heart, the letting go, the trust have not reached a critical mass even in a small, self-selected group such as this. And again we are confronted with the need for patience and perseverance, acceptance of the imperfection of the human condition – lessons we seem to need to keep learning again and again. The perfecting of this new field of practice can be excruciating as the density of this 3D plane is deeply felt over and over again.
What can we do? Somehow, it doesn’t seem enough to abandon the old model of gathering, the keynote/expert model where participants simply warm seats. Open Space is an innovation, a vast improvement, and succeeds in inviting participation and co-creation. But it will take practice to do it well. Practice, patience and skilled encouragement. I am thinking that something may be yet incomplete about the Open Space model – a clear understanding about what participation in Open Space is really asking of us as participants. What is the ultimate aim of these sessions? If it is to share information and interests, fine. This would serve the Builders and maybe the Consumers. But what if it is to live into the New Story by practicing it as a collective? Does Open Space bring us all the way there? I think I need to let go of the notion that one aim is better than the other. Perhaps the point is to invite all of it. Whatever happens is what is supposed to happen, right?
In practical terms, what I am asking is how might Open Space move into Whole Space more gracefully? One suggestion is to become explicit about the role of the participants who volunteer as “session conveners,” perhaps through a mini training or guide of some kind for them. What is the responsibility, the intention, the purpose of the role itself? Are you there to gather people around your presentation, to share a technology/practice that serves others in their projects or lives (a healing modality, ceremony, practice), or to have an open conversation to co-create something related to the New Story (a facilitated conversation with lots of deep listening)? It is great that all the above are welcome. This is certainly a way to serve a broader spectrum of people. But if this is not the aim of the conference, I do not think it is a violation of good practice to place some brackets on what is being invited to emerge and grow. In my graduate school days, one of my professors encouraged me to plan backwards using the question, “What would success look like?” I always thought that was good advice, though I sometimes forget to follow it! So I ask the Summit Conveners, what does success look like to you? What was your intention?
I am also open to the possibility that everything I am asking for did take place at the conference, and that I just am not able to witness it fully because my participation is by webcast. I’ve always thought that most of the magic happens between sessions. If this is the case, I will be so excited.
I have taken so much from this conference. I can’t help but be full to the brim with gratitude. It truly is the best $US 17.00 I have ever spent in my entire life. I thank you for creating it with such love, intricate care, wisdom and intentionality. All of that shines through loud and clear.
Awake with you in the New Story,
Laurie McCammon, MS
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