LSOW - Containers
Friday, May 15, 2009
- Containers of Scale
- What container holds the question: How do we thrive?
- Container as metaphor…what are we trying to contain, why not let it go?
- Container: way to bound the space - inside and outside…space within which to work: intention.
- Container as skeleton for possibility
- Are containers limiting at times or helpful?
- Container used for discussion of relationships
- Structure and containers are essential and can be destructive - where is the balance
- How do we do that artfully such that they are healthy, adaptable, and emergent?
Large group size. Containers for different intentions. Three phases of discussion:
- What would we use containers for in the context of self organizing?
- What are the required properties?
- What are the limitations of containers?
Stuart Coffman's work on the nature of self-organization. At cellular level the container is co-created and emerges as a process. It must be semi-permeable. Therefore a bit nervous about "building" containers.
Phase 1: Variety of Intentions for using containers to propose self-organizing processes?
- Express momentum toward a shared purpose or intention
- Increase quality
- Keep conversation going
- Healing - offer structure when none exists - safety, consistency, and trust
- Accomplishing something, moving forward, outcomes
- Creating a frame within which the energy can take place
- Self starters in the workplace
- Ritual transformative space - church, structures, spaces that tap into unconscious processes and bring them into conscious utility
- Festivals within community - Bahamas - festivals as transformative containers
- More collaborative and joyful about the process
- Growth and masters of design emerge
- Shack taken over for festival purpose but the container is for the ritual of personal and group transformation
- Open a Space for any intention - to allow for any kind of emergence
- Create a context for exploration of self in the context of the subject matter
- To enable truth telling and being compassionate for the fears of containers
- Making the invisible visible.
- Create a sense of family, tribe, village of care, magic
- Enable emergent leadership in systems that don't value that
- Form for holding that is open and spacious
- When in my own center, I am contained and held, self-generative containerhood "contextual intelligence"
- Fit - having a container that fits or is appropriate
PAHSE 2: SMALLER GROUPS TO DISCUSS INTENT:
- Containers for Transformation -
- Containers for Creating community or belonging
- Containers for Producing Outcomes - generating intent and movement to do something - manifestation
CONTAINERS FOR TRANSFORMATION
Must be continually moving –structure – direction. Need for change. Change is not transformation – re-arranging parts versus different reality. It’s like the “red pill” in the movie the Matrix. Once you transform you can’t go back. Requires a commitment to stay, invite discomfort, be present to the discomfort, witnessing sensation as resistance; welcome the unknown – consent not to know. Life is a ceremony, a journey, and entry. Something ends, something begins.
We are containers (individuated). When people begin to see themselves as part of a larger system that’s when things shift. Being in “form” allows for action, allows for blessing, The right kind of containment allows us to bless the uncontained.
Paradox of the container is that it is one and many. Oscillation back and forth is what allows movement up the spirit – the spiral to lift. It’s messy energy management (rat in the punch bowl). An expanded soul (bowl) makes it easier to contain disturbances.
Humans are portals for transforming energy. Portals and containers are different. Portals are what brings life energy into manifestation. We can design our portals to focus on specific things. Direct intention can transform, like holding space so you don’t take on the pain of others (e.g., therapy). The “we” as a container separates some from the whole while the “we” as a portal connects everyone to the whole. If the container is a question seeking an answer it has limited power. If it’s a question that will accept whatever the universe says it’s much more powerful. “Holding the whole” has to be a portal.
One function of a portal/container is a purifier of toxins.
There is a sacredness of form beyond witnessing.
There is power in making distinctions.
Containers give content meaning.
Is it really about healing self before you heal the world or healing self while you heal the world?
Power & Transformation: being compassionate about the fears that underlie the resistance to transformation. We are tethered by our bodies and communities and each time we think about breaking our addictions it feels like we can’t survive but when we do we do survive. It’s really about letting go of fear.
Thinking the unthinkable: making the intention to be empowered by horrific experiences. Finding the benefits in the disadvantages by shifting the context/container.
In order to help a lower vibration/fear energy rise to a higher vibration someone has to manifest that higher vibrational space and hold it for the other.
Maybe the tightness of a container is conditioned by the level of consciousness of the group, the cultural agility of the group.
CONTAINERS - COMMUNITY AND BELONGING
- Community forms out of need. We bond in that moment. Revealed need explores vulnerability and offers opportunity for contribution.
- The willingness to go into debt with another created the bond.
- The more powerful and self contained the less you belong
- Offering a need creates the space for a person to step into their power and give. Being willing to receive is a gift.
- Need breaks down acculturation of individualism and the isolation that accompanies it.
- Once people come together, regardless of the reason, keeping people together is the challenge. Building on the togetherness is the challenge. Need to go deep and expose what we THINK we know and be willing to learn new things.
- Finding the fundamental glue: unconditional love. Be like the serpent and the dove, tough minded and tender hearted. Built significant moral authority and power that can be wielded for a purpose. (El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle)
- Belonging - why do people come together? Individualism doesn't work.
- Purpose matters for holding people together.
- The WAY of being together: Who doesn't feel like they belong? What does it take to create a space in which you can disagree and yet still belong and keep welcoming each other into the space "gracious space"? Make it explicit. Some people need to be requested and then there needs to be enough safety and love and a purpose to hold them together. These are essential.
- WE - what is hidden? There are people who take responsibility for holding the purpose and rituals of the group. There is a holding environment that can form itself, but when I move on it doesn't always hold. Was it held by a personality only?
- Who offers the generative space? Why do you leave?
- Twin mentality is the experience of community from the womb. Multiples can bring that experience without even trying.
- Festival study: Christmas Carnival is really more African in Bahamas.
- Costume design
- Music (new songs specific to the moment)
- Shacks taken over to secretly design and build costumes, dances, songs, etc. Community based. (How do you define community?) Outsiders visiting get one view. Each offering is a new vision. Being inside the shack itself can be described as a womb, cocoon, and community. Biological systems and sociological systems. People are paid to do good work but don't overcome barriers to connect outside work. Many don't work within their passion, so they don't share connection. They leave work looking exhausted. When they reach the shack, their enthusiasm revives them. People have nicknames that are playful.
- Science, agri, management background…then met anthropologist who is involved in festival - it's about a ritual of community building, celebration, etc. Festival is much more than what is obvious on the surface. All have the same connection to each other and the wider group. They feel they are contributing to something. It taps their passion.
- They come in as kids and become masters of design. You can teach anything through anything. Intuitively they knew that everyone had something to offer and the value of the special human connection that forms through this process.
- The organization uses self-organization where the structure comes from within. Most festival groups have found a way to offer value to those who do not find it at work. They learn something that adds value to what they can offer.
- How do we support the exploration and maintenance of passion?
- The festival itself is the shared intention. One quality of so-sytems is the recognition of a shared goal. Core committee sets the theme, the rituals help create the container.
- Creating resilience means finding the theme that is alive in the community. People will find their own ways of giving their offering. In community organizing, set intention and find buy-in. Festivals are containers for that intention. Festival mobilizes energy in time.
- 95% of the festival groups meet their deadlines even in a culture that does not necessarily honor time deadlines.
- Groups vary from 500 to 2000 and learn to parallel produce for two events with great quality. The theme is visualized. Some groups are more inclusive.
- Gaia University works with students in their passions - that is the container we create, it is constantly evolving.
- The value of principles to build containers: Building occupied determined that unconditional love had to be elaborated and created 12 Principles of integration with the group that are evolving over time. Transition Towns and Gaia University use Permaculture principles. The point is that the principles add structure to the container. They are the recipe.
CONTAINERS FOR PRODUCING OUTCOMES
You need an intent. Clarity of intention is critical. What is the nature of the invitation? Is it one where people choose to be there or are required to be there? In either case must start with the seed of individual passion. People’s self interest has to be consciously connected to the intent.
You need to elevate the connections between people. By making conscious the things that connect people you a) build a sense of alliance and b) build a sense of possibility. There must be opportunities for each to voice what they care about. It can also help to identify shared pain.
Who is holding the intention? Who is hosting? That person must be able to stay present to whatever emerges, to be able to stay in the emergence, to be a non-anxious presence. They have to be genuinely open to what emerges so they have to hold the intention “lightly”. Need to be fully aware of the difference between ‘buy in” and “emergence”
There are important contextual issues to attend to in building containers. History. Who needs to be in the room? Cultural contexts. There need to be ground rule of intention.
There are many “convergence processes” that have been created – ways of taking what emerges and focusing them so people can take collective action outside the container. What’s our “first next steps”?
PHASE 3: GATHERING TOGETHER AFTER SMALL GROUPS:
- Generating intent and movement group
- Need to create clear intent. Whose and where does it come from? How do you identify the self-interest? The nature of the invitation and how it is made.
- Need to be genuinely open to whatever emerges is great. Diff between doing something for Buy-in vs. emergence.
- Have to find what connects us - it will create the sense of opportunity and shared need. Nature of individual holding the container and the ability to be present with whatever is. "Non-action presence."
- How is the cultural context?
- Issues around convergence process. Once you have agreement, how do you shift into action?
- OST process.
- What's happening now in this group?
- Tension between compassion to stay open to what is happening and constriction.
- Rich experience then seemed like the new-comer had a difficult time integrating until he held the same shape as those in the group.
- Essential that shared "something" a generative shared clarity - so that when tension happens, the questions can help cycle back to the generative shared clarity the group holds.
- Is this the healing group? Presensing deep subconscious connection. What is happening right now? Knowing in the NOW. The "now" contained in the "knowing." Strong physical sensations of electrical energy at the cellular level combined with deep level of trust.
- Another had to step out of her comfort zone to join the group - wanted to deal with the now. Felt extremely connected by the end. The space allowed it to happen. Glad she took the risk. Magic. Is available all the time. What is the scientific explanation for this? Science is becoming able to begin the discussion of a "social synapse," morphogenic fields, quantum physics, and the exploration of perception and what we ALLOW ourselves to experience.
- Who sets and holds the container and how does that shift?
- What is the nature of containers?
- What is the living container we are in right now?
Reading suggestion: Peter Block’s Community – The Structure of Belonging.