IC-Live: Clean Space Experiment with John Davis and MVM

@johnnydavis54 leads @madrush through a ‘Clean Space’ experiment, which has Marco speaking from different locations in his studio while exploring the metadynamics of embodied space. Following the exercise, the two discuss questions and possibilities related to space, place, location, time, emergence, and ‘action plans.’


John Davis
Marco V Morelli

Recorded: 7/18/2017



Guidelines for Facilitating Clean Space Process

The aim of the process is:
For the client to model a network of relationships between the spaces, rather than to just develop the information contained within the spaces.
The general format for the process is:

  • The client starts by placing their desired outcome statement and locating Position 1.
  • They are facilitated to use the Locating, Knowing and Returning routines iteratively.
  • The client completes the process by returning to Position 1.

Make minimal interventions:

  • Remember you are facilitating the client to self-model.
  • Change occurs as a result of the client’s system self-reorganizing, not from your interventions.
  • Allow the client’s process to unfold organically, in its own way and at its own pace.
  • Incorporate the client’s exact words into your questions and directions, using as few of your own words as possible.
  • Do not comment in any way on what is happening.
  • Only ask one question at a time, and leave plenty of response-inviting pauses.
  • The more psychoactive the space becomes the more the space will be your co-facilitator, and the less you will need to do.

Iterate, Iterate, Iterate
Repeatedly return the client to Position 1 and to ‘Sweet Spots’ (spaces where there is a lot of new knowing).
Keep the process moving
Only spend a short time in each space. You can use Clean Language to briefly develop the client’s metaphors, but keep the process moving by inviting the client to move to new spaces or to revisit existing spaces.
Direct each question to
a particular space or group of spaces and make your gaze and gestures congruent with the location of the client’s spaces.
Use Clean Logic:

  • Notice the spaces the client refers to implicitly, and invite them to move there.
  • If the client seems to be talking from a different space than the one they are occupying, move them to that space.
  • Clients indicate a higher-level knowing when they name a group of spaces, a relationship between spaces, or a metaphor for a configuration of spaces (lines, shapes, angles, edges, etc.). Use the client’s word(s) for the grouping of spaces to refer to them as a whole.

Be sure the client completes the process in Position 1. This is their ‘control position’ from which they can notice any changes that have occurred during the session. It is from here that they leave to continue their lives.


Thanks for the notes, John. It’s good to see the method behind the experience.

I found the exercise was particularly useful for visualizing how the various positions I occupy (and move between) in my creative process relate to each other, and noticing how I might get stuck or fixated (or avoidant) with respect to one position or another.

The image of a lemniscate felt like an appropriate way of tying together the different positions and describing the ideal flow between them.

I was amused to find finally myself in a position of outside observer, feeling rather relaxed about the whole back and forth, inwards/outwards perpetual energy machine I seem to have forged in my little space.

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Thanks for your participation, Marco, and I am open to further experiments as the occasion arises.

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Death and Rebirth.

It starts now with a high-pitched vocalization, which is made with my vocal apparatus, much like the chorus leader, sounding the home key. It is subtle and pleasant and sort of sets the tone for what is to follow.

In the liminal zone, between sleep and awake, I contemplate the nature of the Klein bottle. The triune brain (neo cortex, mammalian and sensory motor) is a like a Klein bottle and the brain is arranged in bundles and stacked upon each other and the ego serves a different function in each area and in between each area. ‘I’ am self-aware as dimensionless point that goes nowhere. I review the feeling of the twist in the Mobius strip, in the heart area, and touch the indeterminacy of self and other and ponder the impossible.

Vibrations. I feel a distinct shift from noise to signal. I am in my mother’s house. She is in the room and I am in my bedroom sleeping, aware of her moving around. My brothers Craig and Jeff are in their room, my younger brother, Tracy hasn’t been born. I wake up in my childhood home and then return to sleep but it is a lucid sleep, a sleep aware of itself. Sparks of light play in a dark back ground.
I am in a Village and people are flocking to get into a cathedral where an event of some kind is happening. On the street, in front of the cathedral doors, I bump into a young man who has been through a traumatic experience.

I embrace him, he is stressed by touch, almost overwhelmed but I touch him gently and feel the most intense tenderness for him. The touch between us is very subtle, he feels like a vibration/image rather than any kind of matter and has a powerful presence.We try to get a peek into the Cathedral but the crowds overflow and I lose track of him.

I go to another part of this community, there are rows and rows of seating that go to an infinite depth and an infinite height and groups of musicians have gathered with instruments and I am especially aware of the glow of the brass instruments.

I view this with amazement and I walk around outdoors and see an orange colored wolf but fluffy looking and dreamy, as if the animal is in a trance and it gazes upon a tree, immersed. The landscape is full of autumnal colors.

I find my brother Tracy and sit with him briefly and we are in telepathic rapport, silent, no words needed.

Then I hear music. A giant orchestral ensemble has scattered member playing across great distances in this vast communal space which is composed of nature and architectural forms from human cultures. The music is played without a conductor. I stand up and dance.

Then as I am feeling the vibrations I have some third eye and third ear activations, kinesthetic, auditory, visual elements converge. I see an animal morph into a large insect, then into a great serpent moving in a dark slime, then silence and a black out.

Then a flicker of light. Light and spacious qualities as I move in a human form with many others in groups. I’m indoors in a pleasant place and a woman introduces me to a person I recognize as Beatrice, a dear friend, who died six months ago.

I shake hands with her, she is younger and shorter and appears adolescent. As Beatrice she was very tall and elderly, in her nineties.

" Beatrice!" I say with delight, and kiss her hand.

I’m told by the lady who is taking care of her, that the use of her old name might startle her. I ask her new name and tell her I’m John. I kiss her hand and feel overwhelmed by tenderness for her but wish not to open up any unpleasant memories.

She is shy but she twirls her body around a trellis playfully and I feel her personality resonate in her gesture and I’m charmed by her. I sense that she knows me as she did in the physical world, in an emotional way, without words. She gives me a walking tour of her new home, where she is in rehearsal for a new life.

I ask if she has a private room, she says she doesn’t. I sense that it is a great public space and there is no bedroom area because no one ever sleeps here, that is a human animal practice, that she no longer engages in. They are always awake. She says it is very nice here.

I can’t recall her name and the connection starts to fade and I notice some litter has appeared on the ground and I feel that I am intruding upon her some of the unpleasant memories of her earth world existence and her death are coming back and I must return to the physical world but feeling a great peace, knowing that my dearest friend is well taken care of and is practicing a new reality.

I feel we have completed our task together and with great satisfaction I rest in this peace and know that the difficulties of my current life adaptations will continue to unfold in field of infinite aesthetic possibilities.


That’s beautiful, John. Did you know my younger daughter’s name is Beatrice? We celebrated her 4th birthday last week (on the 4th). She is a puckish little Buddha and full of life. A good friend in England, whom I hadn’t spoken with in many years but reconnected with recently, also has a daughter named Beatrice. It is a beatific name from a universe of infinite aesthetic possibilities. And so the play goes on…

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Of tying together the different positions and describing the ideal flow…

And my vision of death and rebirth…and your Beatrice , your young daughter, full of light, and my Beatrice, who has utterly transcended, who has become fire and air. And what is in a name?.

With Bea’s transition, I have felt, with relief, that there are no relationships anymore, that require me to make sacrifices on their behalf. I have sacrificed too much for too many and those who give too much, often take too much.

I no longer feel that FB and Social Media are going anywhere that I want to follow and there is no longer a question of leading. There is no dance, no proportion kept.

I must confess that the rise and inevitable decline of Trump, which fascinates so many, has no interest for me anymore , though I shall give the topic a try, out of politeness, to other people’s noble efforts.

I don’t know that anyone has found the pulse of this mercurial beast, this ultimate Trickster figure, that has produced Trump and Obama, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, the Bushes, the Clintons.

So, without a head start in any direction, I am inclined to drift for a while, accepting my doubts, in the liminal zones, do a little bit less each day, sleep late, at least for a few weeks, searching for a topic of national interest.

I have taken up the habit of watching YouTube interviews with famous celebrities in their prime. I then do research on what happened after that brilliant interview, and discovered that they often had terrible diseases, flops, divorces, even suicided. I’m shocked to discover, that the celebrity, vanished into thin air, and that I did not know of their absence, that they had made the great bon voyage, without my knowing, somehow shocks me. And who keeps track of all of these comings and goings? Wikipedia.

About the relationships between the lemniscate, the twist in the Mobius strip and the ‘fourth dimension’ that arises out of those previous levels, as fully realized in the Klein Bottle,. I think that if we hold these visual analogues, proprioceptively, while we listen carefully to the sounds in our environment, we might find out who is in charge, of all of this sound and fury…signifying nothing?

Perhaps we will realize that we are Topo-dimensional Becomings, with staggering potential for morphing and the tracing of shadowy shapes, or maybe we are just turds floating around in hell.



Turdpocalypse. Klein bowel movements. So constipated, we could poop diamonds.

(I heard that in a dorky hip-hop song.) The rest is silence…till B wakes up.


The second clause of your compound statement is not a negation of the first. An “and” might be more fitting, rather than the contrastive “or”. In other words, it would be within our potential to morph into turds in hells of our own formation.

It would seem to me that being a “Topo-dimensional Becoming” brings with it a tremendous amount of responsibility.


Yes it is a both/and logic, Ed, and I appreciate the insight. A sense of responsibility is amplified, as we tune into the Topo-dimensional and we sometimes find our physical embodiment feels like a freak show, as we are in fragmented social worlds, where the most irresponsible people flourish. Off with their heads, says the Red Queen.

A sense of agency is hard to maintain, as the Trickster abhors structure. We may have privileged dynamism over structure. This can be irresponsible. We have yet to integrate diversity and innovation at rate that is sustainable.

As we are in the (w)hole of the Klein bottle, indeterminate, without a clear boundary, of an inside or an outside, ordinary language fails us, but metaphors are of great use. We move between the personal and the post personal and back to the personal every twenty four hours, sometimes within a few seconds. The ego most be strong to withstand this kind of destabilizing activity. We humans are a nervous animal. It is a bold experiment Nature has chosen for us.

I think the quality of our attention makes for good ethics and more responsible behavior. Don’t go back to sleep, Rumi warns us.


About Topo-dimensional Becoming. This is a cautionary tale, a’ true’ story, a rough experiment, engaging in a proprioceptive exercise, that comes directly out of the use of Clean Language and Clean Space. I risk the danger of becoming too self- referential because I am trying to capture the paradox at the Center of the Cyclone.

" Light is not about an objective thing that can be investigated as can an ordinary object. Light is not seen; it is the seeing." Arthur Young

Yesterday I slept late, too late, a good twelve hours. I was alarmed, that I had missed most of the day, and felt that I had lost the dynamic flow, and perhaps had gone too deep into the Astral, and was transpermeated across multiple dimensions

I felt the need to produce a structure, to do something that I hate doing, in penance for the laziness and carelessness of sleeping past noon.

So I did an onerous task, one that I have been putting off. I took the heavy, blue Tiffany box filled with coins, that I had gathered together, over a couple of years and rode my bike to the bank to cash them in.

On my way, dodging traffic, I hit a speed bump, the box opened up and lots of coins fell on the street. Embarrassed by this mishap, I stopped the bike, got on my knees and started to pick up hundreds of coins, at the busy corner of Thirteenth and Broadway, the pedestrians, I imagined, looking down at me, a poor slob grasping for coins, with utter contempt. I took a deep breath, relaxed my false pride, and put the scattered coins back in the box.

There I was on my knees, frantically retrieving my coins, the dirty nickels, dimes, quarters, and pennies, that had been in that box for years, gathering dust, scattered at random on the street. Here I was, trying to gather them up again, and with a strong feeling of being a total looser. This is not how I wanted it to be.

Then, as if a cloud of unknowing had descended from above, I was surrounded by half a dozen children, who were all helping me to pick up the coins. A mother was saying, “Go ahead and help the nice man-” The mother bent over, too, and gathered the coins.

Little children, between three and four, who had not learned, yet, what money is for, were giving me the dropped coins, with their tiny, exquisite hands, and their jewel like faces, having a very good time, and intrigued by the silver haired man.

" Thank you, sweetheart," I said, to each child, and offered to give them whatever they found, for their kindness.

“Oh, no,” the mother said," the money is yours." I didn’t want to offend by offering her kids a reward, in exchange for their kindness. Clearly, there was a deeper lesson occurring, beneath the surface. A grouchy man, feeling alone, forgotten, was being uplifted by the kindness of strangers. I thanked them, filled with gratitude, my self-pity vanished, and once again I am strong.

I feel the presence/absence of the Angel of Mercy, just out of the corner of my eye. I turn to catch him/her but she dashes around the corner.

At the bank, I cashed in $ 192.72! I went to the used bookstore and to buy a book, but changed my mind. Better save the money. I already have way too many books that I have yet to read. Structure and discipline, not more random book buying.

Then, I went to gym and in the men’s locker, after I’ve enjoyed the seam room and a cold shower and gotten dressed and shaved and feel resilient again when in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I feel the presence again. Someone is gazing at me.

I turn to find a very good looking, young, Afro-American man, who is checking me out. He obviously wants to start up a conversation, but for what reason I cannot fathom. In his twenties, very good looking and he is wanting to talk to me? That is actually rare. I can go through a whole day without talking to anybody. A city of strangers. Is he flirting with me? How absurd. But there is a look of yearning in his glance.

We start talking, shakily, as if we both needed practice. He was barely able to suppress his excitement. This young man started to tell me his secret desires, his unspecified dreams. He mentions growing up in New Orleans and we start talking about the Gulf Coast, creole culture, the recent hurricanes. He comes out of Creole culture and misses it. He asks me," Do you know anything about Creole culture?"

I am startled by the question, for I actually do. A cacophony of voices, southern voices, swirls of soft patois, floating around my head, with fleeting figures of faces, and towns, along the Gulf, Biloxi, Baton Rouge, Mobile, and gravel roads, and pit stops, and chicken fried steak, mustard greens with bacon, Cajun jumbalaya…

I selected a memory to share with him but decided against it, for it made me feel too raw, too vulnerable. I remembered the Creole cook who worked for my mother, a weary woman, with grandchildren, I used to play with. Black and white, when you are a child, doesn’t make much sense. And being a kid, going to the creek, with another little boy, who was Creole, and we walked without shame, hand and hand, in telepathic rapport. The day was hot and bright, the thick air full of dragon flies, and there was an older girl with us, in close proximity. Was she his older sister? or perhaps another unseen presence?

We had a pail and fishing rods, we were sent down to the creek, to catch crawdads, for the creole cook, this boy’s grandmother. Relationships in those days were kind of a blur but I knew when someone liked me. This boy liked me very much. The goodness of his heart, flowed ecstatically, into my own.

We dropped the twitching, squirming crawdads into the pail and took them back to the house.I’m not sure where my mother was. I think she was a bookkeeper or a secretary, and she worked downtown and was gone all day. I had been left here, to be watched after. It is kind of fuzzy.

But I didn’t speak of this episode. Instead, I recalled New Orleans, the French Quarter, before the big storm, where I got a freighter, that took me, with my friend, Charles, across the great Atlantic, to Europe. We had so many adventures. Charles died decades ago.

I didn’t speak about these memories but I felt the presence/absence of many beings, I caught glimpses of disconnected bits of undigested bits of information, moving around in a vast warehouse of knowledge, of body knowledge, the smells, the tastes, the touches of real people, in the world, doing real things.

Our small talk was starting to take on a sense of significance, as I started to get into a political tirade, and with a touch of woundedness about the racism I had witnessed, in the Deep South, and why I hated it, why I felt that I was a member of the Great Southern Diaspora. I, also, mentioned that as a gay man I was harassed constantly by bigots. I mentioned being gay, in the men’s locker, to this young man, feeling a bit wobbly. Other men were listening to us.

“I’m in the same boat,” he said, with gentleness," but I have white people in my family, and know that they say things they don’t always mean. Let me show you a picture of my fiancé.” This handsome young man, showed me a picture of himself, in a bar, embracing, a very handsome white guy, with chiseled features, obviously, the two young men are in love. He told me they were getting married next year. And he discussed his marriage plans, how his fiancé lives abroad, and will join him soon, in New York, to start their married lives together. His fiancé is twenty-one, he is twenty-five. He is starting to glow with that radiant look of a young Romeo, in love with being in love, unaware of betrayals or false witnesses, or the ravages of time.

It was now a time to bless. I am old enough to be his grandfather, and I take his hand and tell him about the time, when I was his age, and I had an interracial relationship and how we had been spat upon on the street, my landlady had tried to evict us.

Back then I said, when discrimination against gays was legal, when sodomy laws were used to destroy gay people’s lives, we had to live like rats, in the dark, underground.

He listened with respect. “And it is good for me to know,” I said, with his hand in mine,” that the world has changed in good ways. Thanks for sharing with me. I’m glad for you, really proud of you.”

All my lost loves, flooded my mind, all the lost young men, the tormented relationships I had endured, the intimidation, the loss of career, the fights with landlords, the hiding and lying, the relationships that could not flourish, for they had no structure, and that nagging sense of injustice, all of those bitter memories flooded my mind. All of that unfinished business, that unrealized life.

Now I grow old, in a youth culture, with nothing but this faded glory, this feeling of being a loser, for I did not find the love I wanted, and yet…and yet…something fuzzy just beyond my horizon…

I notice that other men, in the locker room, are overhearing our conversation, listening to my praise of this young man and his fiancé, guessing perhaps the presence/absence of my tragic generation, and all of that grief, still floating around in my perceptual space, I carry that history with me always.

And I realize that no gay man had ever talked to me about his fiancé, before, and never in the men’s locker room. I felt at ease again, in my own flesh, in the topological magnificence, of my own flesh.

The gratitude I felt, was in tandem with the sorrow and the pity, and feeling relieved of a great burden, that I had carried for a long time, without really knowing how toxic that heavy burden had become.

I felt, something glowing, again in my heart, and felt that it was okay to become old and foolish, and to even imagine, loving someone again, to take that chance, to come out of the deep freeze again, knowing what I know. I said goodbye to my new friend, and suddenly, with wings on my heels I fly down the street in a trance-