I began this project in September 2017: when my research proposal for an MSc in Organisational Development was accepted and I took part in a nine month period of personal and collaborative inquiry into what is embodied knowing. As part of this process I was required to synthesise my work into core themes and these emerged as follows;
- Theme 1 – Authenticity – Being in touch with who we are
- Theme 2 – Listening Deeply – Receptivity to openness
- Theme 3 – Letting Go – Embracing the continuous flow of experience
- Theme 4 – Interconnectedness – Grounding self and the other in an ecological context
Once the MSc had been submitted I thought that was the end of that but I was very much mistaken. The seeds of inquiry had firmly taken root and after a couple of months of hiatus I began to gain an awareness that this work was not yet complete and there was much more to unfold. This knowing was just patiently waiting for me to pick up the threads and reach out beyond my own inner and outer boundaries.
Immersing myself in a process of self-inquiry I noticed that the original themes had evolved and appeared to contain an energetic response all of their own. I became aware of a rich constellation forming around the human qualities of relationship, authenticity, uniqueness, love and the creativity of our being grounded in a deeper awareness of a shared ecological experience.
Taking the time to listen and accept this invitation I decided to set up a collaborative writing, audio and artistic project that I have titled, ‘Feeling and Knowing.’ With the intention to explore more fully the hidden potentialities contained within our unique experience of feeling and knowing. In particular I want to explore how this untapped embodied energy could support others (leaders, change agents, sustainability practitioners) in the cultivation of conversations and actions that enable generative change and restorative actions within our places of work.
Informed by my interactions and coaching people in a wide variety of organisational contexts I advocate that there is an urgency and value to this inquiry. As there are many leaders and managers who are walking the corridors of power and are actively cultivating a better more generative way of working, but all too often these good intentions fall short of the mark. Turning into energy draining and soul-crunching bureaucratic patterns of reductive economic exchange. In which value is solely measured through an the increase in consumer growth, return on investment and individual performance. Which collectively is rooted in a global cultural methodology of take, make and waste.
In our hearts we known that this world of unrelenting consumption and economic self-interest will not change unless we face our inner most fears and consciously choose to change our ways by turning towards life sustaining business practices. Now is the time when we each need to take responsibility for the work places we co-create. We need to wake up and stop denying that our old ways of working will suffice. If we stop for a moment and listen then we can hear how the time we are living in is urging us to become radically alive and achieve our fullest potential. This requires a courageous participation that is centred in purposeful collaboration that reaches beyond individual self interest. Catalysing inclusive not divisive behaviour which starts with us intentionally giving our full attention to acts of openness not judgement and kindness not criticism.
In the words of Andres Weber, in his book Matter and Nature; ”It could be that the planet is presently not actually suffering from either an environmental or economic crisis. Instead, it could be that the Earth is suffering from a shortage of love.”
What if we each just took a deep breath and stepped out from the shadows and into the richness contained within the collective vulnerability of our not knowing? Here we might discover that trying to manage the future is counterproductive and could be perceived as the root cause of much of our distress and unwarranted concerns. Instead what if we allowed the future to form by intentionally letting go to our fixed ideals and objectives and chose to start from a position of truly wanting to understand the other? Choosing to meet one another exactly where we are, without expectation or shame. But all too often we remain fearful and to compensate we strive for higher and higher levels of perfection. Are not most of us afraid to be fully seen? What does it take to create the conditions in our work places that enable us to show up in all our glorious imperfection? Perpetually locked into the myth of personal scarcity we find ourselves unable to become the change we wish to see.
We have been conditioned to hide behind words and yet we rarely say what we mean. It is easier to avoid the risky and difficult work of speaking our truth whilst also leaving room to ensure we understand one another. What would it take for us to put down our mobile devices and truly come into contact with each other, to listen or ask for a helping hand? What will it take for us to breakthrough our increasing sense of disconnection that is amplified through our ever present absence? As we continue to rush forwards in our increasingly busy lives we are forever losing touch with the source of our innate creativity and deeper intuitive knowing. We have stopped stretching into the potentialities of our humanness and have forgotten our genetic disposition to become our fullest adult selves.
From this perspective, the ‘on feeling and knowing’ project is a tiny gesture to explore a different way of seeing, which will invite you to consider asking different questions of yourself and those with whom you work. To inquire into what is your deepest most heartfelt purpose for the world? What are your common threads of connection? What makes you feel truly alive? And, how can you facilitate life affirming conversations? Real everyday conversations that will enable you and those with whom you work to take small generative and authentic acts of love of your own.