Why we collectively create results that nobody wants… and how it’s down to all of us to change it!

As children we discover that behaving in certain ways helps us to maintain connection with the people we depend upon. Emphasis of some behaviours and the disowning of others, reduces the chances of repeating circumstances where we experience pain, suffering or separation.

We identify with strategic ways of being that somehow seem to serve us, and yet there is a catch, because interestingly, later on these same strategies now bring about exactly the kind of situations that they were originally designed to avoid!

From one perspective it seems like a cruel cosmic joke. For example, a person identified with taking care of the needs of others, attracts people who thrive on being taken care of, or a person identified with doing, attracts others who carry the contrasting energy of being.

Opposites both attract, and repel, and when two polarised worlds collide without compromise then this leads to relational dynamics that seem to reinforce the motivation of their respective actors to maintain their opposite positions.

We call these attractions judgements and a judgement can be either positive or negative, aimed at ourselves (inner critic / self-aggrandising) or aimed at others.

We have all adopted strategies during our development that at some point were a best effort to get some basic needs met. The perpetuation of these strategies is aimed at helping us to avoid feeling our vulnerability, and spares us a reminder of some echo of a past experience of discomfort, or of still open wounds.

However, as the years pass and we move (hopefully) towards our greater independence, the universe it seems is committed to bringing us home to more of our-selves. In the absence of a willingness to embrace our wholeness, instead we meet ourselves through the things and those people that we attract and are attracted towards instead.  I mean attracted to in the broadest sense, including those behaviours that preoccupy us with the negative repulsion that we feel towards them, as much as those we fall head over heels in love with!

A statement like “I disowned that behaviour for a good reason”, makes a lot of sense relative to certain contexts in our lives. We don’t wish to behave like those who we saw suffering as a consequence of their strategies, nor sometimes to become like those who we experienced as contributing in some way towards our own or another’s suffering.

However, there is a problem with this cut and chop method of psychic amputation and adaptation. Our personal opinion of what constitutes acceptable behaviour falls far short of some universally definitive guidebook of values and good practice for determining what should and should not be tolerated.

The full palate of human expression encompasses a very broad spectrum. Different people opt for entirely opposite points of view, and in the absence of concluding that some people are simply wrong and others all right, which of course, we have all done on at least one occasion, then we are instead invited to assume a wider point of view!

Consider that this dualistic conundrum contains within it the springboard for a transformation of consciousness. What if the dualistic mindscape is encapsulated within a broader dimension of experience? What if there is a positive essence at the heart of all expressions of behaviour and that we are constantly being invited to expand our perspective to embrace a more triune (at least) world view?

One argument suggests that our perspective has simply become distorted and if only we re-orientate our worldview, then all will be fine. It’s just a case of reading the right books, or taking the right course, or doing the right coaching. I prefer to take the position that our perspective is limited and to leave it at that. Whether this has always been the case or not is immaterial in arriving at the conclusion that it’s only through an evolution of consciousness that we can come to realise the constraining nature of an earlier, less expanded world view!

At the heart of most human concern and endeavour lays a wish to feel well and to have needs met. We’re all vulnerable, to – illness – love – change – being touched by a glorious sunrise – loss – death! In light of this fact, it’s a little curious that there is a widespread cultural resistance to feeling vulnerable.

Often the word vulnerable is used in association with feelings of pain, weakness, trauma, suffering. Yet in essence there is no valuative position to be taken regarding the topic. That I can be touched by your presence or action, or that I can feel you deeply, or express my outrage intimately, these are gifts that require me to be connected to vulnerability if I am to enjoy them.

Whilst we are vulnerable to being impacted and touched, on the flip side we are also potent creators with the capacity to cause effect. We are power-full and as we grow towards adulthood we increasingly cause impact, touch and change things.

Why is it, if these inseparable partners of vulnerability and power are simply two sides of the same coin, that there is a cultural bias towards celebrating power and towards disowning vulnerability?

Could it be that those that came before us inherited a generalised understanding of vulnerability, ball parking it as some kind of weakness associated with the likelihood of painful or frightening experiences?  Did our predecessors base their action on the premise that being vulnerable is really not recommended, and that some experiences are just better avoided or at least, forgotten?

In terms of our evolutionary development, such a strategy makes sense when the primary concern is that core needs for survival, nourishment and shelter will not be met. In an environment where situations like being eaten by lions, killed by each other, or being overcome by mysterious illnesses is a likely daily potential, then of course, we want to be focused on acting in ways that increase the likelihood for our survival. But for those human beings who are fortunate enough to be living their lives in environments where such risks are less likely, why is it that vulnerability is often still seen as the least favoured commodity to be connected to as we grow towards adulthood?

Parents (and I am one), influence their children by example, modelling preferred ways of being and further instilling values and rules by the injunctions they impose. Such endeavours to socialise and condition can be obvious and explicit, yet also subtle and implicit. The bottom line message, “follow these rules and strategies and I, and perhaps you, (but not necessarily) will feel fine!”

If a young child experiences the people around them remaining connected and centred as they navigate the variety of emotional states and expressions of needs arising on a daily basis, then they’ll internalise such flexibility into their own systems. Such easy absorption is by design and helps a child to grow and adapt to the demands of an ever changing environment, except that the child will internalise just about any strategy they’re exposed to.

This phenomena of internalising the behaviour of others, leads to what can be termed the introjected parent. We literally internalise the strategies of those around us, and the beliefs and rules that go with them.

This developmental phase sustains until a level of cognition is reached that is adequate to determine that needs may be better served by an alternative means. At this point, if a child recognises that strategies of those around them result in core needs being unmet, then they may simply polarise and begin to express opposite behaviours instead.

Such is the intelligence of a system to right itself and to become whole that our children literally begin to express that which has been disowned. Unfortunately, in the absence of appreciating this fact and of looking at how to integrate wisdom emerging through a child into the wider family system, then he or she may be persecuted in some way for expressing these unfamiliar traits, inevitably leading to experiences of disconnection and feelings of pain, fear and sorrow. Alternatively children are championed and showered with positive projections that reinforce identification with these ways of being and that implicitly preclude an alternative.

By disowning vulnerability due to an inherited belief that to experience this exquisite openness to life will be to risk harm, we pass the vulnerable baby around, so to speak, to be lived out by our children, or partners, colleagues, enemies, friends. So a child can serve as a portal for disowned energies to enter the system, in which case she or he is also met by reactivity from others that either enforces an impossibly high standard, or that is critical. Either way this triggers connection with vulnerability.

The less than fortunate benefactor of such a challenging inheritance is usually caught in a sticky double bind! On the one hand she or he seeks to implement the vulnerability avoiding behaviour learned from those around them, or to impliment the opposite behaviours adopted in polarity to those. Whilst on the other hand, these very behaviours lead to the likelihood of feeling more vulnerable. The resulting experience is at best very confusing and at worst, impossible to integrate. The messages contradict. “You have the vulnerability”, and at the same time, “don’t dare be vulnerable”!

I can share a clear example based on my own story. As a boy I identified with pleasing and taking care of others. As long as I behaved in this way within my family environment then I stood a good chance of keeping connection and being loved – feeling safe – welcomed – nourished.

However, there was a price because in order to uphold this positive impression, I disowned the parts of me that were aligned with putting myself first, of feeling vulnerability and of knowing what my needs were. This disowning was reinforced by the fact that if I behaved in such self-centric ways then I would regularly receive the injunction that I was selfish and inconsiderate.

The withdrawal of connection in these moments encouraging me to push down my own needs and the vulnerability that lay beneath them, into the shadows of my unconscious. I literally disowned these parts of myself. Then the only available relationship I could have to such ways of being was at the fringes of my consciousness and in the selfish, insensitive people I saw around me, who by contrast helped me to further identify with my sense of being a better self!

Later on, when I’d left the environment where this strategy had served me, I found that I began to attract more and more people who held the opposite ways of being. It’s as if we had a contract. I’ll give and you receive! I’ll sacrifice and you take!

Simply put, I drew people into my field of experience whose survival strategy (in the context of giving and receiving) was in polarity to mine. People for whom the opposite way of behaving proved the most effective route to getting their early needs met.

So in one respect we were each other’s teacher! Only I couldn’t embrace what they held for me because the very resonance of their expression of behaviour triggered memories of my wounds associated with the moments when I’d expressed the same.

Therefore, in the absence of understanding that together we represented some kind of systemic whole, instead we would both keep trying to transform the other into what we’d become. And whilst it may often begin “in love”, and from a platform of well meaning, such endeavours usually end in disappointment, judgement and polarisation – at some point at least.

The same was true for me, at least until I began to realise that I’d disowned a significant part of my inner family of resources! I discovered that whilst I was attracting expressions of behaviour into my life that I had no intention of replicating, still, at the essence of each of these expressions was a quality, perspective, way of engaging with the world, that was positive and of essential value to me in my life.

I was relieved to realise that I need not exercise some distorted expression of these opposites.

 I faced the fact that by having disowned these parts in the past it meant that in the moments when my usual strategies failed, there was a likelihood that some demonic monsters (the disowned and now distorted selves) would emerge from the closet of my unconscious. Hungry and ready to devour something, even if discretely by way of an inner critic that feasted on my sense of self-worth.

We hear the stories! “He was such a quiet, and pleasant young man, I just cannot believe that he burned down the whole street that day!” Or “generally she’s so sensitive and composed, I couldn’t believe it when I saw her at the office party after a few glasses of wine! Shocking!”

We have our own stories!

I relaxed into the fact that by getting to know and appreciate some of my well-meaning inner selves, who despite the best of intentions were inadequate to meet all of my needs, I naturally began to connect more consciously with the vulnerability that they so faithfully sought to protect.

Pleasing others, or oneself, or working hard, or relaxing, or choosing a spiritual path, or embracing and celebrating physicality and instinctual energy, or being more introvert, or extrovert, adaptable or fixed, or any other myriad of polarised ways of being, all have their essential value. However, when we identify into one or other position in an endeavour to avoid experiencing vulnerability, then we begin to lose connection with our deeper self, and reduce the potential of connecting in life serving ways with others.

It’s akin to hearing a baby crying and implementing every possible strategy towards changing their behaviour, except for simply picking up the baby, breathing with them as they cry and giving them the experience of being met by someone who can fully embrace the moment and remain connected and centred.

The primary parts we identify with go to elaborate lengths in their endeavour to protect this child – build a fortress around him  – silence her – distract him – shame her – heal him – feed her – get someone else to look after him – kill her even! Every conceivable strategy, except to simply accept and embrace!

When we consciously embrace the inner child, the faithful old guard can relax. Those parts of us whose expression we previously associated with resulting in some kind of painful experience, become less of a threat and the forces that stood in the way of their expression loosen resistance. We begin to discover that we’ve been psychologically standing on one leg and that there is now a possibility to try out the other one too!

As we integrate parts that we’d previously disowned, so we attract less the people who carry the distorted expression of these essentially life serving qualities. I needn’t attract selfish, lazy, ignorant or insensitive behaviour, when I’ve integrated self-care, being, not knowing and impersonal energy into my life.

At the energetic level it like mathematics because there is an inevitability to the way in which energy dances and that polarised parts interact with each other. This is true at every level, systemically, interpersonally and intra-psychically.

Realising this, we discover an interpretive lens, like a prism, that when looked through reveals a multi-dimensional perspective for viewing life and for understanding everything there is to know about human experience within the dualistic matrix. We realise why attractions and judgements arise. We discover how life is constantly bringing to us that which we’ve disowned. We understand that all relationships have the potential to serve as a teacher, guiding us home to ourselves.

And like the Wizard of Oz who turned out to be a banker with levers and a glamorised reputation that concealed an incongruent, pathetic character seeking to deceive his audience, so we start to see the deeper mechanisms of the social machine. It’s revealed how varying levels of appreciation for this predictable science of duality can be utilised to manipulate and engineer individuals and social groups in ways that sustain polarisation within and between people.

Understanding this underlying energy field and how it functions at the level of duality can help us to appreciate what is necessary in order to transform our current predicaments, both personally and collectively.

As one example, we can appreciate practically what is necessary in order to alleviate the horrid burden of distorted power that a so called one percent faithfully carry on behalf of a disempowered majority. For the majority it is easier to demonise and blame this minority group than to recognise that a large part of accountability for this phenomena sustaining is that this majority continue to collude with their own perpetual infantilism and identification with victimhood. Yes, I mean all of us, at least some of the time!

Petitioning powers that shouldn’t be, is no solution. We simply project more power onto those already overburdened individuals who mirror and live out the potential to influence and to cause effect. To take the courageous step to listen in to our vulnerability, acknowledge what is and what is not acceptable to us, and to unite with others in standing for that which is life serving, and therefore self-serving but perhaps in more sustainable ways, is the route towards a more lasting liberation.

To elaborate in the context of this last example: imagine there are100 units of power and 100 units of vulnerability, and they are 2 sides of the same coin of totality. If one group of people disown one side of a polarity, then those whose behavioural strategy is more aligned towards the other will be inclined to express this opposite strategy instead! And because we each evolve different strategies for getting our basic needs met, so it will always be that different people will be attracted towards others and will polarise with them, until that is, a wider majority of us understand what is actually going on. For then we can begin to have real choice, rather than acting out of our adaptations.

Because this dance of selves within the dualistic domain has been the way of people in the world for some long time, so then the system has increasingly evolved to a point where now a small percentage of the population hold power on behalf of the many.

Such a phenomena is fractal and can be seen on the intra-psychic level too. I mean in the interior of our psyches. We see how the scope of consciousness of human beings often narrows through the developmental process, the specific path taken being influenced by cultural and familial norms and imperatives. A generification takes place where people become ever more rule bound and increasingly the diversity of expression is diminished, influenced through fear of some horrid consequence… death, abandonment / madness / pain / chaos… etc

The external manifestation reflects this inner state. Look around and you’ll see the adaptation of rule bound cultures, perpetuated across generations and then polarising one with another. The outer world is a mirror inviting us to awaken to the narrow scope of our expression, and to the limited perspective that we’ve identified with.

We might even see a powerful force that from a particular perspective appears to aspire to control everything. Like a cancer that devours its host. Yet most cancers only thrive in a system that has gone anaerobic and becomes acidic. A system where the flow of life ceases to penetrate the deeper recesses of the physical being because of exposure to imbalance throughout the physical, emotional, psychological and environmental domains. A self-perpetuating degeneration, if left unaddressed.

This almost mechanistic entity that threatens our very existence has become demonic and reflects a distorted expression of that which in essence is simply our collective power and will to create and to cause effect. This externalised imbalance reflects the internal state of many a person’s inner psyche!

Bound by fear we might police ourselves with an unreasonable inner critic, or disown this in favour of a vicious judge that condemns others as being wrong instead, because it’s just too painful to keep feeling so bad! Nourishing ourselves on a feast of righteousness, some poor substitute for a past that lacked adequate, loving, human contact and that initiated our rejecting half of ourselves to begin with.

And beneath this critical, righteous dance, people are simply fleeing their vulnerability. Exercising elaborate methods of denial to avoid somehow the child inside that feels everything without limitation and simply longs to be held.

The whole system becomes hardwired in unconsciousness to avoid feeling so deeply. It’s a tragedy because actually we are tailor made to embrace every experience we ever have. It’s simply the case that those who came before us believed the story of those who came before them! A story suggesting that some parts of our humanity are just plain wrong, and some experiences are simply beyond our capacity to embrace and therefore they should be eliminated.

Such convincing myths justify our perpetuation of self-rejection and in the absence of an awareness of the psychic prison we find ourselves in, we will remain forever ensnared in duality.

By intentionally embracing vulnerability (ours and others) in consciousness, and by learning to re-parent ourselves in ways that may have been inadequately modelled to us when needed, so we can nurture a deeper connect with ourselves.

We need not remain forever locked into a worldview of right and wrong, this or that thinking. We can reclaim our potency as creators and as unique expressions of loves longing for itself.

We have the option to free ourselves from a life of perpetual victimization, or of habitually persecuting or rescuing others. In so doing we also energise the potential for others to free themselves of the burden of living out distorted expressions of whatever parts of our-selves we’d previously rejected.

We contribute towards manifesting a life welcoming resonance that serves a greater likelihood for others to awaken to their own outworn strategic identifications so that they too may engage in a process of reintegration, claiming back for themselves whatever aspects have been unwittingly rejected in some earlier moment of being.

And for clarities sake, when I say power, I simply mean the capacity to cause effect – potent, creative action.

And vulnerability, the capacity to be affected – a state of exquisite openness to life – to being touched, to connect and to receive.

Sociocracy – Consensus decision making! What’s the difference?

10982447_1535925890020463_3931142038674361825_nRecently I came across the following.

“I am looking for (if possible) a short and clear explanation of how sociocracy is different from consensus.”

I was inspired to offer an answer:

Firstly to clarify that consensus is a decision making process. Sociocracy on the other hand is a system design and governance methodology, with a decision making process built in.

So, the short answer: Consensus deliberately seeks to establish an agreement that reflects what everybody wants to do in order to address the needs that inspired the decision being sought to start with.

Consent decision making deliberately seeks to establish if there are any objections to a proposal designed to address a need, from becoming policy.

Consensus is seeking to find the best decision for the purpose. Consent decision making is seeking to find a good enough decision that can then be tried out, tested, and improved over time.

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Consensus Decision Making places emphasis upon equivalence (giving people a voice in the decisions that affect them). Sociocracy places emphasis on striking a balance between equivalence and effectiveness. In complex environments, striking such a balance is essential and where there is the additional issue of limited time and resources, then consensus can be intolerably ineffective and can lead to frustration, in-equivalence,  despair even, and implosion or dissolution of an organisation!

It’s a bit like the difference between writing a 50 page business plan, or to write a one page business model canvas (as is the flavor these days). The reason the one pager is usually the better bet is because we mostly live in complexity. Environments are changing rapidly, both within and without, and they can be difficult to read accurately. In addition, the future is hard to predict. Therefore, good practice in organisational development, software development, facilitative parenting, intimate relationship, formulating opinions and all manner of other human activities, is leaning towards beginning with only a few assumptions, discovering through experience and adapting and evolving according to changing context, increased experience and actual need.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Well, it’s pretty much what life has been doing in its perpetual business of unfolding, for all time! Only life, it seems, does not fear it’s own emergence. Human beings however, fear many things, and especially the unknown future, and perhaps this speaks to the the essence of what drives human strategies of command and control.

So we rest in to various processes that we image will somehow guarantee our needs being met, and if we’ve been wounded sufficiently from engaging in the “fight”, “flight”, or “freeze” paradigm, which reflects a natural phase of human development, and have the privilege of living in an environment where our lives are not threatened, then we are probably ready for trying something a little more progressive. At this point it becomes clear that some form of collaborative process is the way to go and that tools like consensus decision making become appealing.

Longer answer: To take a slightly longer way around answering the question then I would say the following:

I like to suggest that there are more and less mature interpretations of consensus. A reductionist view sees seeking consensus as arrival at a decision that everyone is super happy with. This tends to be reliant upon a more ego-centric point of view whereby everyone feels like the decision reflects their preferred choice.

In actuality however, in groups, (even seemingly flat, egalitarian groups) there are issues of projection, rank, inequality and power / vulnerability dynamics, all of which tend to influence peoples willingness to speak up or to stay silent. This leads to the potential for all kinds of distortions in a consensus decision making process.

Add to this that life is diverse and complex and that efforts to establish a decision that everyone is always super happy with, is likely to mean that diversity has been sacrificed in favor of uniformity, and we can see how consensus can lead to decisions being made that have been crafted more in order to win favor, than specifically to address the need that was being sought to be met.

A more mature interpretation of consensus is to describe a decision being agreed to that reflects the collective intelligence of the group, and through navigating the processes of consensus decision making, one can arrive at the “holy grail” of proposals that everyone fully endorses.

Such an outcome can be wonderful, resilient and fit for purpose.

One of the key issues with consensus decision making, regardless of which way you interpret it, is that it tends to take quite a bit of time. Some people (half) jokingly call it “decision making by endurance”. I say “half” because often times it is no joke and people really suffer a lack of effectiveness in organisations using consensus, because more time is taken up (trying) to make decisions than in carrying out the actions that result from these decisions.

In order to understand Consent Decision Making, which is the type of decision making process that sociocracy endorses, it’s helpful to consider first some different types of decision making and their relationship to supremacy. Supremacy being “the concentration of power to one individual or group, to the exclusion of others”.

So in Autocratic decision making, supremacy goes to the individual or small group. Often very effective (in the short term at least because it doesn’t take long) but usually less than resilient in the long term. It’s an approach that maximizes the potential for organisation wide (and nation wide) disengagement over time.

In Majority decision making, supremacy goes to the majority, and often to the cost of the emergent wisdom that is coming through the minority voice. ~This is much like the typical case where a child brings new wisdom into a family system, yet can be shut down and shamed for acting outside of the norms of the family culture, behaving in ways that seem threatening either to themselves or to others. In-fact, this has happened for nearly all of us in some ways or other.

In consensus decision making, supremacy goes to…. the individual, in that they have the power to block a decision! If there is a lack of clarity regarding what specifically constitutes a valid block then we find that people can stop decisions being made to serve all kinds of motives, and regardless of whether or not there is a clear reason. So then, consensus can actually turn out to be just another form of potential autocracy, only in this case, nobody “wins”! Even in consensus with recourse, the recourse usually involves falling back to the majority, so we still lose the potential wisdom emerging through the minority!

In consent decision making however, supremacy is given to reason. Reason meaning, a valid objection results in a clear explanation that clarifies why doing what is being proposed stands in the way of our aim together, or the shared aims of the organisation. Or stands in the way of someone’s ability to fulfill a role that they have been appointed to, in order to serve the aim/s.

In sociocracy we DELIBERATELY seek objections. Objections are seen as gifts! I like to say that “(reasoned) objections conceal wisdom seeking emergence into the consciousness of the group”. I go further in suggesting that “within all perceived problems, challenges and difficulties, lies wisdom seeking emergence into consciousness”.

Sometimes of course, what convincingly seemed like an objection (through the objectors eyes at least) turns out to be arising not from a proposal that could harm the shared aims or my ability to contribute to those aims, but rather upon a misunderstanding of the proposal, or someone acting out of a fundamentalist mind-set, or simply a bit triggered because of an alternative preference etc.

Sometimes the wisdom seeking emergence is for the person who thought that they had an objection… in discovering a blind spot to their perspective for example, or in realizing that they had some personal belief about how things “should” be done, and that this was just one way of going about addressing the tension that had led to the issue being considered to begin with.

Sociocracy places a strong emphasis upon the principle of learning from experience. Therefore, all decisions are regularly reviewed and improved, whenever reason is discovered to do so. This means that we don’t need to write the world’s most perfect proposal and ”iron out all the creases” before giving it a go. We can check that there is no obvious reason not to do something and then try it out, evaluate it regularly, and improve the process as we go.

So we seek to make decisions that people can live with and that are fit to serve the purpose for which they were made to start with. As my dear friend and fellow sociocracy trainer Diana Leafe Christian says, we make policies that are “good enough for now” and “safe enough to try”.

It’s important to realize that Consent Decision Making is not a “free for all” where people can add whatever proposals they like, at any time, and in the absence of objections then everyone has to go along with it. We avoid making policies for policy’s sake, and instead, craft proposals when tensions arise that require some kind of agreement to be made in order to establish shared clarity and alignment on how to address it.

In order to support the creation of resilient policies, sociocracy has a built in “Proposal Forming Process” specifically designed to reveal the scope of an issue. Taking time to reflect on an issue from many angles, before jumping in and identifying possible solutions, makes a lot of sense because the more reflection points a group of people have to consider, the more the creativity is stimulated and the more comprehensive the variety of potential solutions will be.

The Proposal Forming Process can be used to support everyone affected by a decision in participating in forming a proposal, so that by the time it comes to actually checking to see if a proposal draft has objections, everyone is feeling a sense of ownership and interest in whether it is fit for purpose.

If people have a sense of equivalence (having a voice in decisions that affect them), and if they’ve contributed towards crafting and influencing the decisions that affect them, then they will be far more tolerant towards being guided by these decisions. This is one of the shared benefits of both successful consensus decision making and of consent decision making.

But decisions made by consensus are harder to change easily because then you potentially need to go through the whole process again. With consent decision making, regular retrospectives are an integral part of the process. People expect to regularly review decisions and it’s for this reason that they are more prepared to live with decisions, even if they  do not reflect always their first choice.

With the addition of the inclusive and collective intelligence tapping Proposal Forming Process, then members of a group invariably feel motivated to take an active role in reviewing and evaluating the consequences of the policies that they helped to create. Because of this they engage more actively in contributing towards improving policies over time, as the inner and outer environment changes.

Conclusion: travel light, improve continuously, dynamically steer and treat tensions and objections as the portals through which life’s wisdom is knocking at your door! Be prepared to let go and to step beyond the comfort zone. It’s usually a third way that represents the most resilient and holistically valuable path, but in order to discover it, we have to learn to embrace the tension of opposites, lest we all become instead a generic version of uniformity, where the creative potential lying between seemingly polarized points of view, becomes lost forever to obscurity.

In the end, whichever methodology we opt for, what’s probably most important is to be clear exactly what it is that we wish to achieve and why, and to decide how much of our short, precious lifetime we wish to spend discussing how to go about doing things, verses how much time we wish to spend actually doing them.

If you’re preference is more towards effectiveness and getting things done, but you still wish to ensure that you’ve checked in with collective intelligence, that everyone affected is on-board, and that your decisions are robust and fit for purpose, then consent decision making is probably going to be “good enough for now” and “safe enough to try”.

The great thing about knowing that you can say “no” tomorrow, is that it makes it much easier to say “yes” for today!

Sociocracy – Insights into my Personal Journey – Part 1


Earth-RisingShock and horror!

From a young age I was both perplexed and concerned by the lack of equivalence I observe between people and how so few have an effective voice in influencing decisions affecting them. I witnessed, and continue to witness abuse of power and an apathetic majority surrendering to circumstances that are at best undesirable and at worst, deadly! I’ve felt so sad at times, and at others, horrified, overwhelmed!

Like a vast majority of people in the world, including those who at first glance might be perceived, and act, as perpetrators and power-mongers, I tend to “wounds” resulting from being on a receiving end in “hierarchical”, “power-over” environments – situations where my objection and protest carried little weight but to secure further chastisement, pain or exclusion.

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Nurturing Holistic Organisational Development, spreading the word about relational energetics (the subtle yet predictable energetic dance underlying our daily experience) and teaching people about sociocracy – a whole system governance method with innovative decision making process and feedback loops (evaluation protocol built in) – has been a passion of mine for well over a decade.

The last years I’ve committed myself to working full time, developing resources, teaching and consulting organisations, networks and groups about how to organise and govern themselves more effectively. I feel gratitude for being able to contribute to the changes I wish to see in the world – energised, so alive!

I have a policy, I mean, an agreement with myself – “share passion and service in the places I’m invited”.

In the past I learned painfully, and observed with some sorrow that regardless of whether ideas have value or not, until others are ready and wishing to listen, dispensing my point of view constitutes a violent act!

As the years of my life accrue so I’m increasingly aware of the perfection of life’s timing. This said, I observe how determinedly people can resist change due to fear, and perpetuate behaviors and actions that fail to serve them until way past expiry date.

Perhaps pace is a choice, and so to, to some extent at least, the degree of joy or misery experienced.

 

Why I like it!

Discovering sociocracy (more about that in part 2), learning about re-configuring organisational structure and how to apply the principle of consent in decision making, has contributed towards my growing sense of informed hope for the future.

Sociocracy takes a “reflexive” approach to navigating life, which basically means learning from experience by remaining conscious throughout the process and apply learning to future action. This “awake” attitude towards engaging life serves to rekindle people’s attention and invites greater accountability for what might happen, is happening, and did happen.

Alongside such a dynamic way of steering, I’ve grown to appreciate how meetings can flow smoothly, be enjoyably productive, and that both facilitation and participation can be practiced artfully!

The “hopefulness” that continues to ignite my passion is fueled by an experiential knowledge that positive transformation is possible. The tools required to take an evolutionary leap in how we organise together and engage with the world around us, are here and available. What happens next it seems, is simply down to us.

 

Consequences

I’ve discovered that sociocracy offers a way to guarantee the potential for equivalence, transparency and effectiveness in organisations. I’m struck by how leadership (with informed consent) can serve a useful purpose, how circular functional hierarchy has value and how some structures can paradoxically support greater freedom.

I’ve realised how my “knee jerk” reaction to previous experiences of abuse has influenced me and how at times, in defense, I’ve “thrown a few babies out with the bath water”!

In the spirit of “both/and” thinking, sociocracy flattens out the policy making to the point that “leaders” and “those who answer to them”, participate with equal power in making policy.  Everyone is honored as a leader in their own right and those affected by decisions have an equivalent voice in making them.

 

Collective intelligence?

I’m impressed by how sociocratic processes facilitate the gathering of wisdom, insight and creativity at every turn, and how the elements harvested can be synthesised to formulate innovative strategies with greater integrity and resilience than those that may have been authored by any one individual alone.

Through sociocracy’s proposal forming and decision making processes, an underlying intelligence reveals itself. Once tapped, this resource supports groups to meet the emerging future more effectively – in harmony with their purpose and congruent with the needs and requirements of those in roles and with accountabilities to serve them.

 

Growing interest

Over these last two years in particular I’ve witnessed demand for sociocracy flourishing in all arenas – business, intentional communities, non-profits, social movements. There’s an explosion of interest, due perhaps to both timing and the fact that organisational agility and dynamic governance are hot topics!

In combination with the fact that applying sociocratic practices inspires engagement, fosters accountability and allows for lean, dynamic steering, it’s a no brainer option for people tired of cumbersome, stagnating, micromanaged organisations.

Yet worn out, traditional, centralised structures are not the only source of frustration for people. sociocracy provides a viable solution for an opposite scenario where people have polarised and formed radically egalitarian groups where leadership is rejected at every turn and few dare to speak out, yet alone lead, for fear of being labelled as a perpetrator of some kind of violent act upon humanity.

Such “flat” organisations rarely work at scale and power emerges from within the shadows, seeping through paths of least resistance and venting in distorted ways.

Sociocracy makes positions of leadership explicit, including defining the scope of authority. People leading may only do so with the informed consent of those that answer to them.  No-one can remain in a position of leadership if acting without integrity or when failing to honor accountabilities associated with their role.

Regular evaluation and feedback offers everyone within an organisation the opportunity to learn and improve.

If only my family of origin had had such policy in place when I was a child!

 

Spreading the word

Thirteen years ago, I knew of two people in the English speaking world that had heard of Sociocracy. Of course, I’ve since discovered that there were many more besides, but the point is that no international networks had yet formed. There were barely 5-10 references written in the English language on the Web.

At the time of writing this post, there are approximately 35,000 references to sociocracy in total (43,700 for sociocratie). This is a positive sign and although relatively small compared to say “consensus decision making”, clocking in around 18,700,000, none the less, a critical mass is building.

 

Insights into my journey with sociocracy – Part 2… coming soon.

Thank you for taking the time to share my thoughts.

 

If you’ve enjoyed reading this and other articles that I’ve posted then please take a moment to share them with others.

Together we can contribute to a more conscious and empowered humanity!

Sociocracy – If Not the Word “Aim”, then What?

150103 aimDuring the last several years I’ve lost count of the number of hours I’ve spent privy to conversations discussing the misleading nature of the word “Aim” and seeking to find a suitable alternative that describes more accurately what we mean by the word… erm… “Aim”… in sociocracy!

Tonight the following question crossed my screen and it prompted this brief post…

I’ve been asked this question so many times, and never been able to give a clear answer. Does anyone know why in sociocracy we use the term “Aims” instead of “Objectives”?

My answer as follows:

Both “yes” and “no”!

The thing is, the word “Aim” in itself is misleading!

What we’re really taking about when using the word “Aim” is “Products” / “Services” / “Raw Materials” / “Experiences” / “Transformations”. (I’m ever grateful to my friend Nathaniel Whitestone for this definition)

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As well as the fact that an “Aim” can be both physical or non-physical, it’s also the case that “Aims” are both inwards looking (to the organisation itself) and outwards looking (to the customer, member, resident etc).

So, whereas an “Aim” in an organisation may be “administration” or “management” or “building maintenance”, an “Aim” of an organisation may be a “software application”, or a “shared laundry”, or a “legal advice walk-in center”.

At the highest level the organisation itself is an “Aim”!  Equally, every Circle (department / domain), by nature of its existence has at its centre a unique “Aim” or “Aims”.

When I lead a workshop, the workshop is an “Aim” that I deliver to my “customers”. So too are the Hand-outs, the follow-up emails, the Flip Chart Photographs, etc.

It’s vital that Circles know what their “Aim/s” are. One, because an aimless circle is impossible to imagine – although it’s not so difficult to imagine groups of people who haven’t clarified the aim they’re gathered around! – and two, because all “policy proposals” relate to a Circles “Aim/s” and are developed when a Circle runs into an issue or challenge that requires an innovative strategy and that until now they’ve not established agreement around, regarding how to approach it.

In consent decision making, we raise “Objections” to policy or policy proposals in light of discovering a reason why continuing as proposed may harm the “Aim” of the circle, the shared “Aims” of the organisation, or someones ability to contribute to that “Aim”.

So you see, the word “Objective” is not entirely accurate either, and the word “Aim” is completely misleading because it commonly implies “target” or “the point we’re heading for”!

We can say “Purpose”, yet “purpose” can also be interpreted to imply a wider scope that includes Vision and Mission as well.

So, what to do?

My all-time favourite term until now is “Unique Value Provision” (UVProvision).

 It’s a bit of a mouthful… none the less, I’ll shortly be adding it to my literature. I like “UVProvision” because in Business Development we refer to the “Unique Value Proposition” or UVP and among this audience at least, people immediately get what I’m talking about.

The term “Unique Value Provision” also points to the fact that organisations distribute leadership and decision making authority across semi-autonomous teams, defined on the basis of the different “Aims” / “UVProvisions” that they serve and maintain.

I think that the word “Deliverable” also turns the light on for many people, only it’s a less favorable term within communities and many social transformation groups because of it’s easy association with sales and commercial services.

Perhaps you have some suggestions that you consider noteworthy. If so, please use the contact form if you’re be willing to share your inspiration. For sure, an alternative to the word “Aim” is long overdue!

What Makes your Heart Sing? – Random Questions for the Soul

unlock-your-potential1Randomly one morning I discovered a contact request in Skype. It was from a young woman called Lauren who upon my further inquiry, explained:

i got ure name from the directory here on skype cuz i was bored and lookin for new people to talk to. lol”…

I’m pretty strict with my contacts and my time… yet, in that moment I found myself with several questions coming to mind, so I took a moment to capture them.

I sent them to Lauren, and until now at least have not had a reply!

I realised on reflection that these questions were as relevant to me as they may well be to Lauren.

I thought that rather than just leave them to a singular thread of conversation with a stranger I’ll likely never meet, that I would post them.

Perhaps they somehow speak to you too.

In Joy!

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Dear Lauren,

What makes your heart sing?

What is it that you long for and that your soul yearns to be addressed before you leave this life?

How is it that after all of these years of life on this extraordinary planet, you find yourself in a situation where you would randomly reach out to someone you’ve never met and with no explanation invite that they connect with you? I have no value judgement on this… I’m just curious!

Why are you here? What meaning do you ascribe to your existence and in light of this, how do you wish to show up to life? In what ways and to what ends?

If every one of us has a unique gift to offer to the world (at least one) then what is yours and how do you intend to go about sharing it, and by when, and with whom, or with what?

Where is your community and to whom do you turn to in those moments when you find yourself longing for connection, consolation, the compassionate embrace of another as you seek to embrace the diversity of life’s experience, bombarding your consciousness on a daily basis?

How do you experience yourself in those moments when you find yourself most alone? Are you your own best friend and do you love yourself enough to consider questions like these that I ask?

If there is one thing that you would do today, that most demonstrated the fact that in essence you are a child of Love’s expression, and through the conduct of your action, the world would discover the same, then what would that be? And how might your experience be different today and for every other day that you’re alive, if you were to ask yourself this question regularly and then act in harmonious resonance with your answer?

How will you most nourish the child in you that cries?

How will you most celebrate your joy?

and…

What would love do now?

Sociocracy – Discovering the Gifts in Objection

Separating observation from evaluationObjections-wisdom-circle-of-flowers

Have you ever noticed how in human communication, considerable time and energy can be consumed when arguing for supremacy of a subjective interpretation, rather than investing in inquiry to clarify the meaning another sought to convey?

Considering the complete unreasonableness of such behavior it’s surprising to see how regularly these disconnected transmissions occur, and how easily a flow of a communication can break down.

Understandably people sometimes feel vulnerable to speak up, especially if they are less than comfortable about what they or another has to say. Yet throwing the baby with the bath water is most unfortunate as often concealed within tensions arising in interactions, new insight and wisdom awaits discovery.

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Language, whilst easily charged by subjectivity, is essentially a medium to convey meaning. By practicing basic communication skills such as reflecting, paraphrasing and asking clarifying questions, a listener can quickly fathom with reasonable confidence, an intended message.

Beneath the surface of someone’s expression may lay several layers of meaning, including points of view that even they have overlooked! Reflecting back to the other that which we imagined we heard them say, can help everyone to get clearer.

Applying filters to unveil the positive essence contained within dialogue, alters one’s world view in ways that fosters greater compassion and insight. Establishing understanding and acknowledging needs, supports potential for qualitative connection, regardless of how charged or disconnected an initial communication may be.

Deliberately seeking objection

Besides masterly communication skills, including a finely tuned capacity to read between lines, what practices can be applied in decision making to empower others, whilst navigating complexity and making decisions effectively? How can we make power explicit and ensure it is applied in ways where everyone is accountable for their actions – or inaction?

In Consensus decision making a proposal forming can grind to a halt when people get into arguing for a “best idea”. Exploring all options can be arduous, the more vocal tend to dominate and often times the process could be accurately defined as decision making by endurance!

What possible solution could ensure equivalence whilst maintaining effectiveness you may ask?

In sociocracy, the transformational ingredient for more effective decision making is the act of deliberately seeking objections. Objections are seen as gifts!

The word objection was chosen as a translation from Dutch and is intended to mean “strong felt sense in the body”. Whilst sometimes obvious, an objection may at first glance be difficult to define.  By remaining vigilant to tensions and taking time to acknowledge and explore them, groups can discover together whether some previously overlooked information is seeking emergence… or not!

Deliberately seeking objection is a concept that might take a little getting used to, especially if coming from a background of experience where objection equaled obstruction, and was symptomatic of explicit or underlying battles for power.

However, once over this hurdle, it makes sense to acknowledge potential objections, after all, why would anyone wish to do anything that may harm their aims? This is why in sociocracy, potential objections are owned by the whole group.

Holding a group to ransom without reason is avoided because an objection must (at some point) be clarified by an argument that clearly explains why a particular proposal could harm the aim of the group, or stand in the way of someone’s ability to fulfill a role contributing to that aim.

Many people have negative associations with the word argument – memories of conflict – violent interactions – obstruction etc. From a scientific point of view however, an argument can be understood to mean a conclusive statement, proving or disproving a hypothesis. In decision making we’re forever testing hypothesis.

“Good enough for now” and “Safe enough to try”

The degree of time spent on clarifying objections can be balanced against actual time available for the process. Sometimes we need to act and asking if a proposal is safe enough to try helps to determine the validity of objections. There is often a tension between equivalence and effectiveness.

In sociocracy the focus shifts from seeking a “best idea” towards establishing a proposal that is “good enough for now”. As in natural processes where nature is constantly refining itself, transforming that which is no longer effective, so in sociocracy, processes can be tested, changed and developed over time, as objections to their current form arise.

Seeking objection is a deliberate invitation for emergent wisdom to reveal itself to a group.

Whilst some may take issue with encouraging objection and argument, such points of view are built upon a mistaken premise that doing so bypasses positive inquiry. By applying the lens of a solution orientated focus, the value of raising objections becomes obvious, as they serve as a springboard from which our creativity can arise.

Deliberately inviting objections helps to illicit conversations that otherwise may be avoided.  Those who feel most vulnerable to contribute feel safer to raise their voice, and those who are well practiced at speaking out, are compelled to present with clarity the reasoning behind their arguments.

Of course, the world is full of people who on occasion get into battles on the basis of false premise– including my good self! There are those who may regularly identify with being obstructive, arguing, judging – including you perhaps! Often those most vocal, and those least, have both experienced situations in life that have been somehow abusive, violent, disrespectful.

Bifocal vision – building trust and rapport

Regardless the degree of respect, compassion or lack thereof that someone demonstrates in their communication, focusing inquiry towards seeking the wisdom concealed within what’s being expressed, improves potential for deepening connection and mutual understanding, even if the wisdom revealed indicates that the founding premise upon which the argument was constructed is false.

When we remain open to consider another’s point of view, and take time to reflect on the possible reasons for their objection, our meeting becomes more tangible. We offer one another the experience of being taken seriously, of having needs acknowledged and unique points of view respected.

If we walk our talk, own our feelings, separate our observations from our evaluations, communicate needs clearly, and remain open to the fact that our opinion is but one of many, then by example we model to others how they might do the same.

Encouraging effective ways of sharing what’s alive within, regardless the quality of presentation or actual validity of an argument, demonstrates our interest in one another as human beings and helps to foster trust and rapport.

Seeking the positive essence in another’s communication may sometimes require some discipline, yet the rewards are numerous. Engagement, inquiry and clarification increase groups potential for effective decision making and for collaborative innovation. The benefits of such practice can far exceed any personal effort required in taking a breath, trusting the process and applying the filter of reasonableness as a foundational guide.

Sociocracy – Freeing Potential, Harvesting Value

Love is the Essence of Life 02I spent earlier moments in life perplexed at how relationships that began in so much love could so easily deteriorate towards separation and disconnection. This phenomenon seemed to contradict the perspective of my younger self, a growing cognitive dissonance between longings for love, joy, peace and a world I began to discover, emerging from my cocoon of innocence, where fear, violence and separation also thrived.

Alongside a thousand discoveries I’m so grateful for since these earlier times of self-perpetuated suffering, one that I particularly treasure is the realisation that to meet another in disagreement can be deeply intimate and enriching for our relationships – PROVIDED that I can stay in contact with the other and conscious of the fact that the behaviour is not the whole person but rather, just an expression, in a moment, and from a particular point of view.

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As one who spent childhood in an environment where anger was a crime, the discovery that it concealed a deeper need was lost on me until much later. It’s been a long journey, requiring considerable inner re-parenting and self-reassurance to arrive at a point where I feel comfortable to connect with this expression of vital life force and to welcome it in the other too.

In Sociocracy we say to separate the person from a role that they fulfil, and to evaluate people for their actions in fulfilling that role. To share appreciations as well as to offer improvement suggestions (a feedback sandwich). This is one of the many parallels I see between adopting a Sociocratic point of view and practicing non-violent ways of communication (NVC). To separate a person from the behaviour that they are momentarily identified with, to invite a conscious enquiry into this behaviour in order to establish the deeper reasons for acting this out and to understand the need that is being served.

When I look upon these behaviours as being roles that I act out to take care of a deeper need, I discover a positive side to the intention behind the action. If this is not honoured then likely the identification with this way of being deepens, rather than relaxes – or I collapse under the burden of self-criticism.

Sometimes in Sociocracy we discover that a person is carrying out a role exactly as the role description suggests but that their actions do not serve the need. In such a situation there is value in amending a role description to guide the person to practice a different set of actions. On a personal level, it’s sometimes the case that behaviours don’t serve a need, but that an individual is simply following a policy created by those who came before. Other times it can be that for some reason a person discovers that they have misinterpreted a role, that the essential expression of the role is just fine and with some amendments they are able to realign behaviours in a way that is far more fitting the situation. Whichever, fundamental to both is that there is an openness to explore what is actually happening, to look at all sides and to embrace the moment of review as an opportunity to improve, to grow and to learn.

Sociocracy is inviting a both/and perspective. There is an opportunity to hear all sides and to draw out the wisdom that is seeking emergence from every point of view – whilst remaining effective!

To practice separating the stories that temporarily fuel my sense of righteousness from the conclusions I make about the other, and to reach instead beneath the belief system that charges my outrage… I discover the vulnerable child within me and find that all of these behaviours are simply a repeat of those strategies I adopted at an earlier time. My best effort in those moments to stay safe, loved, alive and in the absence of being conscious of any more suitable alternative.

I smile sometimes, if not crying with the pain of it, to discover how those strategies adopted as a child, that in some way once helped me to avoid experiencing more pain, separation, discomfort, become the very behaviours that now lead to me manifesting these things that I so wanted to avoid.

I discover that at the essence of what I judge are those parts of myself that I most need to re-embrace in order to realise a more whole expression of my potential. That judgement is a symptom of coming into contact with a part of myself that I disowned because I was somehow judged for expressing this myself at some point, and by the people who I wanted to be in connection with, safe at least, and who I wanted to accept me. I mean a part of me, naturally arising, that they judged because of some previous experience that instilled in them the idea that such a way of expressing was fundamentally “wrong”!

It’s an inheritance, a perpetuation of the Ancestral mythology, only the story was incomplete and the fear that goes with not believing it as real contains within it the accumulation of every moment of vulnerability that those who followed were somehow unable to embrace. It’s quite some inheritance this ancestral deficit of unfelt feeling and unrealised needs.

I’ve been amazed and relieved to discover that at the essence of every behaviour and perspective that I have learned to judge another for (and sometimes felt so righteous about), lies a positive essence that is vital for my greater wellbeing. Also, that the degree to which I invite a distorted expression of these opposites into my life through the vehicle of another is a mathematically precise indicator of the degree to which I’ve disowned it in myself.

Key identifications that I’ve awakened to in my journey have included imperatives that I must:

  • please others, thereby disowning connection to the part of me that could please itself
  • take care of and give to others, yet disowning the part of me that can be held by another and can receive as well as give
  • be perfect, disowning the part of me that flourishes in a world of infinite possibilities
  • know everything, thereby separating myself from the potentiality that lies in not knowing – the student, the one who wonders at the miracle of life’s vast expression, the one who is open to learn more through the realisation of how little he knows
  • work so hard and always be doing something, disowning the part that is simply be-ing… and so on.

Whilst Sociocracy offers tools to make decisions effectively together, harvest collective intelligence, improve effectiveness and give everyone a voice in the decisions that affect them (and includes mechanisms to scale across complex organisational systems without losing soul)  on a deeper level it’s also inviting us to step into a place of accountability for ourselves, our choices and actions. We have the opportunity to take ownership of our potential as creators and to become more responsible (response-able) to meet each moment and to navigate the complexity of changing environments and shifting needs.

Sociocratic practice facilitates a transformational process, not only within groups and organisations that utilise it, but also within each of us. It serves as a stepping stone into a way of perceiving life that lies beyond the forever polarised ideology of “right” and “wrong” doing. To embrace instead a more triune world view where we discover that every perceived problem, challenge, difficulty, conceals life’s wisdom seeking emergence into conscious.

On Trust

trustPeople often suggest to me that an important element in a healthy organisation is that people trust each other. Whilst it’s obvious that an environment of trust-full-ness will support greater effectiveness and more harmonious organisation, I’m inclined to look upon the principle of trust itself as being a process that ebbs & flows in our relationships to others and to life and the various situations we find ourselves within. Depending upon how vulnerable one feels, or how confident, to a large degree then influences how much one is uncertain or reassured. ​

There’s a big difference in my not trusting someone on the basis that they may behave in a way that’s hurtful for me and my trusting that a person is doing their best, yet may behave in ways I find painful. In most cases there is one thing that can be almost guaranteed, and that is that at some point in any sustained relationship there will be moments when we’ll behave in a way that is painful for the other.

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In my exploration of relationship over the past several years, I’ve been particularly drawn to explore ways for decision making & relating within myself and with others that transcend the whole notion of right and wrong doing. My focus has shifted from a world of rules to follow, towards guidelines & tools for communication, decision making & collaboration, that in & of themselves, support those using them to engage & respond to life with increasing integrity & accountability.

I’ve evolved a significant trust in the integrity of the tools I use & am also confident of my own humanity & potential to make mistakes. One of the many transformational discoveries I’ve made during my lifetime has been my humility & developing the capacity for acceptance and forgiveness; such a relief; as too has been the discovery of reliable tools that time & again prove to nurture trust & connection between myself & the people around me.

It’s these gems that others have so kindly thought about, developed with such a commitment & generously offered into the world, that I now spend my days sharing with anyone interested enough to listen.”

Beyond Duality and Towards Integrity

beyond dualityFor longer than you or I, humanity has danced en-mass in a dualistic domain of light and dark, good and bad. Groups have congregated together and polarised with their brothers and sisters. Standing opposed one another on the basis of differing opinion and ideology. We’ve been imprisoned in a nightmare of our own separation. Longing for completion whilst severing ourselves.

Look out upon the landscape, the result of a thousands year war. A war, not just around us, but within the very depths of our being. Divided inside, and that which was blessed us, that we may be whole, cast out, aside, and on to the other, demonised and distorted, whilst we seek to express our fullness with only half our resource.

How could this have been, this great separation? That from the moment of birthing into this world, we’ve sought alignment with what seemingly serves, whilst severing that which we believe serves us not. Influenced and cagouled by those who came before and by the same measure. Feeding one, unto the other, the delusion of a separate self; a fundamental right and wrong.

The measure of our okay-ness being the reaction of those who surround us. The determining factor of unfolding, the approval or rejection of those who also have rejected themselves.

All courage lost, to a beast of disapproval, we fool ourselves with the belief that we know – truth. That those who stand with us, our allies, and those opposed, misguided, mistaken…

A matrix surrounds us, a manifestation of our collective division. Disconnection from body, disconnection from earth. Divided and polarised, our creative life force, spent in the effort to resist our wholeness, and that little that remains, invested in seeking allies and imagining, repelling, an imagined enemy!

We are a family divided. We have committed the greatest of errors, the mistaken projection of ourselves to beyond.

It’s time for a transformation. A moment for discovery that the notion of duality as absolute, is itself but an infantile stage in the perception of ourselves. A remembering, that we transcend all division, exceed our furthest expectations. We have defined ourselves by what we believe we are not, rather than face the epic task of realising ourselves as all.

Wake up, sisters, brothers, for I am but you, come to remind yourself the way home. And you, I, the same.

That niggling subtle sense, of something not quite right, a final hurdle on a crossing from darkness into light, fueling the candle flame of consciousness. Realisation, that there is no wrong but that which arises as a consequence of this most misguided amputation. That that which is projected outwards is placed upon another to live on our behalf. And that no man was made to live more that his wholeness, no woman to express more than all she may be.

We limit ourselves in fear of an anticipated hell, a misery that exists, only because we fear it is so. A projection of godhead outwards and the delusion that there is an ultimate truth, contrasted by that which then must be false.

We miss that we are both the creators and creation of our own perception and that it is the illusion of self that imprisons us in this perpetual hell.

Yes, realise duality’s gifts, whilst please,  awaken to its addictive charms. We may enjoy all things by contrast to that which appears other, but to reject one for another is perhaps our greatest folly, with costs too high to afford.