Thanks for the invitation and I hope to offer something useful in my brief comments here.
In giving feedback ( which is not the same as criticism) I follow these guidelines.
- What I like___________
- What I didnt like_____________
- What I want more of________________
What I have wanted to happen has happened. I have found a public forum that is open and tolerant of diversity, without falling into mayhem. Enough regulars appeared consistently, who were paying attention, so that it became a pleasure rather than a duty.
But there is also a sense of duty. I am compelled to show up and deliver something that I believe is of value. A group identity starts to emerge. Is it safe? How deep can I go? Is this group in the shallow end of the pool? I have found most of the conversations have lots of depth and humor and I enjoy them a lot. I want to protect and cultivate this initiative and ask questions that bring out the best in others.
This is my practice. I prefer participating in the video conferences, to study the video carefully after it has appeared on YouTube, search for the patterns that connect, and feedback those observations, in written form between calls, always respecting the aesthetics of the relationships.
I was able to do some workshop like presentations and have a keen interest in continuing in that direction. My interest is in research and development of consciousness and discourse events. This is a sort of vague area, and undeveloped, and since I am outside of academia, it is a challenge to recruit participants. I have been richly rewarded here and have found my colleagues willing to share their attention with me, and to allow me to develop an experiential approach.
I have also published two works of fiction in the Journal and received excellent editorial support. I want to do my writing projects, projects that emerge out of the research I have been conducting, and to put it into some kind of meaningful form that I can share. This is very tricky. I dont want to step on anyone’s toes. I am an observer but I am not an objective observer. I am aware that other participants have their agendas too and I hope we can make explicit what is usually unsaid and out of awareness.
As we stabilize around the ongoing participation of the few, who consistently show up, there will be others who will show up when they can, and there will be those who may be invisible, who are watching and thinking about our struggles to make sense of our complex social worlds. I expect that this will be the trend.
When new voices emerge, I have noticed that there is a courtesy extended, that I find encouraging. I believe we can balance stability with the airing of differences and take pleasure in the paradoxes we all bring with us to this infinite conversation. I expect that we can handle perturbations and become more resilient.
I am a bit overwhelmed by the information overload and do have a challenge figuring out the when and the where and the why. I try to have read the chapter and am prepared. I am pleased that I have found a high level of scholarship among us and learn much from other’s expertise in areas where I am unsure.
Since we now have a background history that many of us share, we can look backward and forward, in ways that balance theory and practice. I applaud the work that is being done here and appreciate the sponsorship of Marco and Carolyn and the regulars who are attending the conference calls and writing in the forums.
The ongoing challenge for me personally is how to create momentum in a world of asynchronous communications. I post something and if I dont get a response in a few days I delete. If someone doesn’t respond quickly enough, it is like watching paint dry and I usually do something else. I worry that a movement wont happen without a prompt response and a sense of urgency. I live in the New York City minute, you move fast here or get hit by the bus. Others are in more leisurely mode and have a different tempo. Of course some people are busy and have other things to do. So we can fragment even further without a disciplined flow. I try to respond promptly to a post if it interests me so that the other knows there is something happening. It is like prisoners, in isolated cells, scratching a coded message, through a chink in the wall.
I am grateful to have met some of you face to face and this greatly grounds the sense of presence that happens on the conference calls. It is about showing up. Quality emerges out of quantity. If you show up often enough, rehearse ideas, take an occasional risk, step a little bit outside your comfort zone, you can learn a lot here. I have been met with courtesy and kindness consistently, even when I was baffled and confused. This to me is a sign of health.