The Minor Gesture, by Erin Manning - Meeting #6- Chapter 6 (Carrying the Feeling) Continued & Chapter 7 (In the Act)

event
minor-gesture

(Douglas Duff) #1

Audio Recording:


Erin Manning is a friend and colleague who lives in Montreal and heads up the SenseLab at Concordia University. Her book Relationscapes - Movement, Art, Philosophy profoundly influenced my own work at the intersection between the sciences and the arts. When I met her in the fall of 2014, she urged me to extend my readings in Deleuze, W. James and J.J. Gibson to include A.N. Whitehead, and during the winter of 2015, I took part in the class she taught on Whitehead’s Process and Reality. The Minor Gesture could be viewed, in many ways, as a natural sequel to Relationscapes, and is strongly informed by her insightful readings of Whitehead as well as the philosophy of William James. When my colleague Cora McLaren at Ryerson University in Toronto, through whose work as a Ph.D. student I was introduced to Relationscapes, indicated she had a yearning to read The Minor Gesture, I took this as a sign and a portent - time to provoke the world (or a small part of it) into engaging with me in a reading-dancing again into Erin’s wonderful rhythms of thought.

  • Wednesday, June 27, 2018, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. MDT – Chapter 6, continued and Chapter 7

  • Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. MDT – Chapter 8 and Postscript

Note that although reading The Minor Gesture requires an effort to understand the philosophical concepts on display, one of the strengths of Erin’s writing is that she is as preoccupied with matters of practice as she is with matters of theory. The reading therefore provides not just insight into the latter, but it can be used to guide how one engages in practice. Herself a dancer, installation artist and fashion designer, she draws on these and other artistic sensitivities to illustrate and draw out her ideas. Here is an excerpt from an excellent review by Ben Simmons about The Minor Gesture :

"Eric Manning’s The Minor Gesture is the latest release in the Thought in the Act book series, published by Duke University Press, which explores how research and creation can be transformed by philosophy. In The Minor Gesture, Manning draws heavily from Deleuze and Guattari’s schizoanalysis and Whitehead’s speculative pragmatism to explore what is dubbed ‘the minor gesture’. The minor gesture is a subversive concept that refers to the fringes of perception and thought before its parsing into cultural intelligibility. The minor gesture is a force that challenges received wisdom and common sense (the ‘major’) by offering potentially unlimited experiential variations that suggest alternative forms of being, knowing and doing. In The Minor Gesture, Manning destabilises neurotypical accounts of perception and agency, and in doing so paves the way for a celebration of neurodiverse experience – particularly ‘autistic perception’. " - Ben Simmons

Zoom Link : https://zoom.us/j/740164668

Note that the sessions will be recorded and posted online.


(Marco V Morelli) #2

On p. 176, Erin mentions a film to illustrate how…

Shifting in and out of autistic perception, language comes in fits and starts, in a time all its own.

And how important bodily movement is to finding the “shape of enthusiasm” that leads to articulation.

Chammi [featured in the film] types [an example of ‘autie-type’]: “Killingly hard to figure out, the pattern of movement I need to type my thoughts.”

Which I feel could easily be something a poet says, which I find really interesting: the alliance Manning is delineating between autistic perception and artmaking.

Just a heads up: For my intro to Ch. 7 tomorrow, I’m going to ask that we move our bodies in some way in an attempt to say the unsayable (for us, individually…or perhaps, as ‘group-subjectivity’?).

I don’t know exactly how it will work…but if Chammi can do it, so we can we (try)!


(Marco V Morelli) #3

(Douglas Duff) #4

Wanted to share a personal response to Johnny’s “transgressive” comments last week, which also ties in elements of my first experiences with autistic and other neurodiversity, and with the “wretches and jabberers” theme…

After moving to Frankfort and, as I needed a Master’s degree as entry into most employment offered in the area, within my field of study, I took employment at a factory-style habilitation center for mentally and physically disabled individuals. It was close enough to my grandmother’s farmhouse that I could ride my bike, so I was satisfied even if low pay and not directly going to “advance” my career goals. When I first began working in this dark and strange building, grimy as if a scene from an industrial horror movie, I too felt a strong separation from the individuals in this setting. Similar to a daycare, there are certain odors that create an aura of distaste. Certain mentalities held these atypical individuals as other, as repulsive, even a bit frightening. As wretches and jabberers. Some workers, I noticed, kept this otherness at bay with a sort of militant style of managing the clients, crashing in on their emotions in order to gain power over the frequently fluctuating situations. Others, like me, proceeded with care and interest, attempting to morph into this world, as a stranger in a strange land.

A different frame of mind, an alternate frame of time. This world, this realm of the strangely human and not -human, of the distant and disabled, microcosmed into my personal microcosm. Mutual understanding arrived unexpectedly. Some individuals occupied machines that required repetitive tasks. One deaf autistic, cross-eyed, beastly brown and unshaven, speaking in flagrant sign-language, performed faster than the neurotypical factory workers at the main factory on the other side of town. His system was flawless: like a character in a video game proceeding through the challenges non-stop, he would compress metal ‘spikes’ with his machine, placing them in the slot to be compressed with dexterity and accuracy, pushing the compressor with his foot, sweeping out the excess metal with one hand while systematically organizing the metal spikes in perfect rows with the other, never needing to weigh the finished batch for he kept count of the 500 spikes per container. I could not speak but 20-30 signed words with him (his deafness another internal world within the autistics already internal world) but I knew that he knew, I felt that he felt, even without direct eye contact. There are handfuls of other individuals that I grew to love and call friends. One boy with cerebral palsy I consider my best friend here in KY. We still continue to go bowling near weekly and participate in Special Olympic events together.

The neurotypical world within this neurodiverse world, the supervisors and co-workers, became a distant dream. I related only to those that were willing to diversify, communicated with those unconcerned about the latest misbehavior, the last strange encounter with these others, joking and complaining about these others. It was then that I became an advocate for neurodiversity. It was then that I realized more than ever my love of neurodiversity and a certain form of hatred towards the despicable typicals and their lack of understanding.

I was fired from this job, for I am passive aggressive that performs undercover transgressions and skepticisms against the regressive rules & regulations. It can become depressive to see such regressive regulations, oppressing expression, restricting alternative interpretations. Since reading this book, my transgressions continue. I was written up last month at my job for questioning the state’s rules (it still riles me up to think about the situation!) and the oblivions minions to the system, oppressing individuals in need. I consider myself a respectful breaker of rules, but one does need a certain level of power to be able to follow through on one’s buckings of the system, or the system bites back.


Edit: nice find, Marco. Reminds me of certain Steven King novels when he uses various disabled characters to express the supernatural. I connected to Douglas (nicknamed Duddits) in the novel Dreamcatcher. I felt I could read minds, especially when younger. @johnnydavis54 helped me realize in our conversation today that perhaps I read time and not minds Never saw the movie, but here’s a good scene:


And thank you for the reference to Brian Rotman @p.mckeever (and, of course, Johnny identified the book as read :slightly_smiling_face:)…Becoming Beside Ourselves is one to check out.

Aura

It was as if everything she thought, felt, remembered, had an aura; behind the briefest eye-blink, least flicker of touch, a shadow, a kind of ghost presence. This aura wasn’t part of her, nor was it in any sense that she could fathom produced by her, nor did it seem answerable to her, even though — of this she was certain — only she was aware of it. Neither did it seem to precede her and her business: it wasn’t there before — couldn’t be anywhere — before she felt what she was able to feel, before she perceived what she — her body — decided she could perceive. And yet there it was, ghost of things present, faint pulsation of the real; at times like the glow on the surface of the universe, at others the dark outline of a world dazzled by there being nothing in it but its own presence. Often it was neither light, nor dark, nor anything visible, but just a presence — simply there — clinging to the motion of her being in space — like the field of a magnet, or radiation from the earth’s rocks. Of late it had occurred to her: perhaps it was the aura that was real, felt things, had a body, sat and moved through space and perceived the countless pulsations of light and energy in the universe, and that she was the shadow clinging to it, following it around, copying its business before it had time to look around and be aware of who she was and how her very presence was no more than a confirmation of the aura’s desparate need for something — anything — to keep it company.

From his Wordpress site:


(Heather Fester) #5

My apologies for missing today. I didn’t sufficiently track the change in date for the call (and am up to my elbows in papers to read on a deadline for program assessment), but I look forward to the video! (Even with my deadline, I will be on the writer’s group call tonight.)


(Geoffrey Edwards) #6

Sorry Heather, I should have checked that you were aware of the change. We had an interesting discussion, but you were missed, as you will see when the video goes up.

For the Quantum Poetics conversation, I am still working through your many references, and looking for time to try your exercises, which intrigue me. There is a lot to assimilate! I know the same is true for you as well; I have been « generous » with my sharings.

I also found my highly experimental text, « Fonction d’onde » and took the time to translate it into English (Wave Equation). I may post it, as it will give you a better feel of my experience with experimental writing, although to be honest, with the distance that time affords, plus a great deal more experience writing since, I find it kind of peters out at the end. It needs to be freshened up, and improved, and then it might be publisheble.


(Heather Fester) #7

Hi, @Geoffrey_Edwards, yes please post the experimental text. I look forward to seeing it. I’m not too far behind on readings!


(Geoffrey Edwards) #8

Although I am not yet ready to discuss in more detail the quantum poetics issues (I still feel I need more time to assimilate the diverse readings you have provided, @hfester ), I looked at the Gebser Society website and the conference details, and believe it may be useful to have a short conversation focussed more specifically on that opportunity. I posted elsewhere here that I have dipped into the first 100 pages of The Ever-Present Origin, which I finally truly understand why it is such an extraordinary text, in order to fill out the Gebserian field with a view to submitting something. I have come up with a title, but I feel it would be more appropriate for it to be a co-authored paper if you were open. I am not sure what your constraints are as a co-organizer - can you submit a paper (I think you mentioned you were planning something related to the Holocaust), more than one, etc.? And would you be interested in collating our nascent ideas into a coherent paper?

The tentative title I have is “Quantum Poetics and the Aperspectival in Writing Fiction and Poetry - Crosswinds”, but it’s just a suggestion. I noticed the secondary theme of the conference is an Asian focus - I thought the Crosswinds might include some reflections on Asian source materials. The ones I know a bit about are Taoism, and possibly something about Australian aboriginal themes (I did extensive research on this last year while on sabbatical in Sydney), but I haven’t thought much beyond that. It’s just that with only four weeks before the deadline, I thought it would be good to get some ducks lined up. If you’re not comfortable with this, I will dream up a different title and try something more solitary - I’d prefer to do the Quantum Poetics in tandem, or not at all at this point.


(Heather Fester) #9

That topic is shaping up beautifully, @Geoffrey_Edwards. Happy to have a conversation about it soon if you want. Excited to know that it might be a real possibility for you to submit and present at it! Now, I just have to finish some (slightly unpleasant) planning tasks to make sure the space is there for us. Something will be, but it’s a bit of a stretch to get cooperation at Naropa sometimes.


(Heather Fester) #10

I listened to this call during my drive to Missouri. And, I was very moved by the “chunking down” moment that @johnnydavis54 initiated and the conversation that followed. What that reminded me of was my experience in my Somatic Writing class at Naropa. The teacher had no experience facilitating embodied practice. (BTW, this is not meant as an implicit comparison–I see @madrush as a fully skilled facilitator of the gestures of conscious transformation if not particularly asana-oriented. :slight_smile:) That teacher, wonderful as she was in other ways, did not have any idea that trauma can be especially triggered in the somatic practice space. She kept pushing, and I had to sit out a few of the practices. One student who had a lot of prior trauma and a series of embodiment questions compounding at that point (gender, size, sexuality, …) dropped the class after two weeks.

By contrast, when a yoga teacher guest taught the course, I was able to do all of the activities without the slightly difficulty. Same when we had a visiting embodiment/dance teacher from Naropa’s full-time faculty teach one of our classes with the regular teacher in the room. I’ve done enough asana practice at this point to recognize that my own “tapas” and edges (of my consciousness, functioning, neuroavailablity) come up most poignantly through movement. Right after listening to that call, I had my iPad on random and a Richard Freeman (Matrix of Yoga) audio recording about “tapas” (the heat generated by practice that leads to the alchemical transformations) came on. I will try to share it here if I get the chance in case it resonates for others.

For me, this has been a long-term question. In the transition through various healing phases (and what Chris Dierkes called “Searching for Centaur” –Dierkes Chris Final Paper.pdf (361.8 KB) and the mind-body integration that is essential as a foundation for later consciousness work), I have struggled to keep up with others–sometimes without realizing my own pace was different–others who excel at getting into their bodies and grounding their awareness. I got a lot of flak for my challenges (my own schizoid sensitivities and dissociative tendencies included) when I started in my administrator role at CIIS from the students I was supervising and training in the writing center–they had a pro-experiential/body orientation, and I came in as a more transpersonally-oriented, cosmocentric facilitator (from my Wilber/Gafni days). They kept pushing (and having process conversations) until I started figuring out better how to meet them and facilitate in a way they liked. And, I think that was all part of my centauric integration (per Dierkes’s paper above–also on Gebser and Wilber distinctions, @Geoffrey_Edwards). After that, I had far less freezing in my psyche (which had plagued me particularly around writing–perhaps a frustrated passageway in the transit between soul, words, and the page, which Derrida wrote about in his book on the “aporia”–“without passage” in etymological terms). I don’t know how I would have responded on the call.

My own blindspot may be that I trust Marco’s facilitation enough that I wouldn’t have had my resistance or tapas come up with so much force like I did with my Somatic Writing teacher. One of us is always holding a missing piece or something that needs to be expressed in the field, however, and Johnny expressed this well.

I was angry at my writing teacher’s inability to see the soma-psyche-trauma link–and wrote lengthy feedback at the end of the course about working with a somatic psychologist on faculty the next time she taught the course for advice and/or reading up on some yoga and trauma connections in the various books available on the topic. I understand that it was not a bad experience for others, and it is not her fault that she mediated that particular expression for me or that I brought certain attachment/security/early childhood traumas to the work, but, as with the felt sense. Embodiment is such an important question in my life that it factors quite centrally in everything from how my day unfolds to how I do my job and teach my class to how I negotiate with my body in relationship to time and health or even how to facilitate space with awareness for others (such as in my classes). One technique that I’ve found works is giving an “out” for any embodied practice that will generate tapas from the start for some people (or any practice for that matter–after teaching at CIIS–they all generate some tapas) and asking participants to check in with their own sense of the practice and to honor that. This is something good yoga (asana) teachers teach directly–listening to the yoga your body needs to perform and honoring that knowing. My trauma starts on the preverbal level, so it is particularly acute in situations where trust and control are issues. Sometimes when a yoga teacher (or that writing teacher) can’t hold space for the embodied processes in the room, I will get violently ill in the middle of the class (maybe group-tapas unrelated to by the teacher).

This stuff is mystifying and wonder-ful (I mean that word in the original way that “wonder” can be an alienating and/or powerful experience, much like “awe”), and I loved the way the call unfolded after. That’s the deeper listening that Vid’s course explores. I loved Johnny’s course correction question, too, in the second half, which shows his skill as a sensitive facilitator… to give voice to the felt-unheard (to let the room/field speak and reorganize–to invite agencement) and let the group-subject facilitate… and his willingness to abandon his plans after the order was changed. I appreciated Geoffrey’s expression of his own resistance to that question as well. And, I loved Marco’s response to Johnny’s share around 30 minutes in. Such a rich call on the whole. The ability to drop into a space like this and find our way through is beautiful, such a model of what I wish we could gift the world with…

It was harder to track notes on the call conversation while driving, but I also so appreciate Pat’s comments and contributions (and her general way of being with the group on the whole). I don’t know if she is online in this forum, but I’m glad she has joined us here (and maybe will again).


(Geoffrey Edwards) #11

Beautifully said, @hfester. I agree, although the session posed certain challenges, everyone came away feeling empowered. It was a learning experience for all concerned, and especially a listening practice. It’s funny, I know more than many the issues embodied practice can raise, as I have my own bodily reactions, but even so I don’t consider myself well qualified to lead somatic exercises the way both you and @johnnydavis54 do. I have so much respect for both your sensitivity in this area.


(Marco V Morelli) #12

Hear, hear. It’s been almost a couple weeks, but I remember all that week I was working on (neuro-obsessing over) a part of a poem-in-progress which you’ve heard and commented on. I was down to the last word or two in a line which I’d previously felt was okay, but was really a ‘placeholder’ until I could bring more intense focus to bear. I think sometimes my creative mind has to convince itself that something is ‘good enough’ in order to move on. But in a later phase (which it knows deep down), it has to come back to discover the embodied feeling where the place was being held by the inferior text, and figure out what really wants to be said there, which will truly ‘carry the feeling’.

Learning about the ‘wretches and jabberers’ and the beauty of ‘facilitated communication’ I suddenly felt how precious it was to have a context of touch in the process of saying what one feels one must say. And I’m really curious about how a collective can facilitate its own communication. It seems there is something about bringing our individual tapas into a context of collective listening that that allows for transparency to occur. It is on the spectrum of telepathy, perhaps, the touching of minds, how this occurs.


And @Douggins, I just want to give you a big gassho bow for your testimony…

…though I can see where you might run into muggle troubles, given your subversive intent. It sounds to me a lot like whistleblower ethics, which @ZacharyFeder wrote about in his piece on the human singularity. You would want to pick your battles, I imagine, get strategic, and get out of the way before important parts of your anatomy get bit off. But I agree that empowerment is important. What would it mean for you to have the power to follow through as a neurodiversity advocate?


(john davis) #13

And I want to explore disabled but in a way that is chunked appropriately. Much of our trauma is based upon scale. If it happened when we were younger it seems too big for us to deal with so we freeze, fight or flee.

This is a great topic and I do have a way of working with this that doesn’t re-traumatize a person. You have a great instinct, Marco, and having received my objections I wonder if the subject of the group can hold this kind of intensity?

We want to experience a certain kind of intensity or we are probably just repeating what we already know. The panic of too much intensity, too fast, can cause us to retreat into stale third person objective vocabularies. We turn on the concept machine. Dissociate, stay in our heads. We are trained to do this.

Staying open to the field while paying attention to what the other is paying attention to, opens us up to a subtle range of affective zones that are just above our heads and just below our bellies. Each of us tunes into a different wave and we can hold these differences when we have prepared properly and chunked down.

Maybe we can discuss further at the next meeting? Thanks to all for a fascinating experience.


(john davis) #14

This is a big challenge in our on line communities. Our technology is not good at allowing us access to aspects of the field that would be freely available in a face to face encounter in real time. In real time, we share the same weather, the same temperature, the scents in the air, the quality of the light, the texture of the furniture, and all of this shared background can stabilize the group subject. Background and foreground are obvious.

Without that advantage, the typing in the little boxes and the shapes of the face on the flat screen and the different locations of each person from around the planet, contribute to a false sense of security. And sometimes the face disappears, the voice quality is poor and we dont get everything that is said. These kinds of distortions can derail a person if they are in melt down mode due to the unintended rushing of affective materials coming up in a session. The experiential when not properly coordinated and thought about carefully, can create havoc really fast. Our technology has a vast shadow.

And we have multiple ways of knowing and without a clear bass marking the rhythm the signs of rapid withdrawal from the group subject, often ensues. If you are empathic to a high degree you may indeed pick up on stuff that is not yours with disastrous results. I have left a bad call with paranoiac symptoms that lasts for days. This has happened recently on the Cafe and I have resisted showing up there, unfortunately, because I like the people a lot but I get confused by too many big chunked cognitive commitments.

I agree, Heather, and am pleased that we have a core group who have honed our skills over many of these online calls. I would love to expand upon the experiential portions of our calls to address more concretely the more theoretical flights . Head, heart, gut need to be exercised or we get in ruts. Consciousness loves contrasts. But all of this needs very careful co- facilitation.

Some of our calls are so good I have watched them several times to find the key phrases, the shifts in tempo, the languaging, the creative trance states, etc, that assisted each of us to come down right.

'Tis the gift to be simple
'Tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be
And when we find ourselves in the place just right
It will be in the valley of love and delight

How this happens is my passionate concern and no doubt I got a little obsessive in the call for our safety. It is very important in our intrusive times with so many of us hyper sensitive that we protect the space and keep it clear. This is, indeed, a great gift to the development of our social imaginations.

Thanks for your excellent feedback, Heather!


(Heather Fester) #15

Hi, @madrush, I wasn’t sure if this question was addressed to me (though the “muggle troubles” got a laugh). It’s a good question. One of the things I do is articulate as clearly as I can what I’m experiencing in the moment. That’s part of where anger came up in this class and why some of it was saved for the final course eval–the teacher didn’t create space for that and had a little of the “mean girls” thing that happens in some creative writing programs already organized around her (in other words, she will selectively befriend people and then those people are offered the “special” graces of seeing her with her guard down… transference is another thing unacknowledged in Naropa’s MFA… but also, she was my advisor and I’m also exaggerating things a bit here based on my own shadow too). At any rate, I did make a few comments in her class (we even read an Erin Manning piece on incipient motion), but I didn’t know much else about Erin’s work at the time. It was only during the final class period when we were presenting on topics of interest to us (and I presented on the felt sense, which I felt was entirely missing, and a few others who were yoga teachers presented on yoga and writing) that she realized she had completely left our areas of expertise out of the experience of shaping the course. She said on that day she should have brought all of our voices in sooner. I think she was well-intentioned (and she herself had done much of what she taught us to work with her own panic attacks, but it was still more in the tradition of dancers with some . So, maybe activism in this case means presencing the dynamics at play and speaking to them in the room, like @johnnydavis54 did.

I also have and medicate for ADHD, which places me in the tangle of these neurodiverse spectra, and I my processing has been creative and disorganized and empathy-driven, also placing me outside the standardized methods (but I was “fortunate” enough to be adaptable). There was an application for a summer teaching position at Naropa that asked us specifically if we have learning disabilities or a diagnosis of ADHD. I haven’t been officially diagnosed (family doctor doesn’t count as a mental health professional and no test was given), so I said no. Knowing the program I came from and the program leadership whom I had worked closely with for a year at that point, I thought it would be best not to disclose. But, that’s a missed chance for activism. There are real implications with being vulnerable enough to explain things based on our moment-to-moment perception. Neurotypicals are rewarded for jumping through hoops in an orderly fashion. I didn’t disclose on that application for another reason. I was told by one of those supervisors I should finish some tasks without ever being shown how to do them for an editing role I was in. She was on medical leave and didn’t have time or space to explain these things that she thought I could figure out. It led to some freezing for me, and I was already seeing an academic coach to help me break it down into tasks to learn what I needed to do. When I wrote to her about it, she took two months to reply and was not at all empathetic. I’m sure she thinks of it as “just another MFA student problem” that she encounters a lot (creatives with live management problems–no shortage of those). But, I didn’t assume that she was “just another administrator” with embodiment and health issues. I sent her resources for the issues she was dealing with that had worked for me. Anyway… rant over. No need to respond. But, the question of activism, for me, brings up the issue of conventional system functioning. I have loved the ways CIIS and Naropa’s functioning fell outside of conventional systems, but in each case, they wanted me there because of my experience with institutions and professional life so that they didn’t have to deal with more “dysfunctionality.” The writers on faculty are successful in the writing world instead of the consciousness world, and the difference that makes is definable… “Muggle troubles.”

If the question wasn’t for me, it was still a good one. :slight_smile:


(Heather Fester) #16

Sometimes when I get into the mode of sharing personal experience like I do above (or conversely, outlining principles as I have in a few discussion threads on Facebook lately in areas where I “knew” something), I notice the outline of my shadows surfacing. I think a description for the aftertaste of these experiences is that I think I understand things better than I do or am trying to project an air of authority while still protecting the underbelly of my own internal defensive structures or lack of knowledge–not a conscious process. This might be an unfortunate side effect of my line of work or family of origin. However, I just wanted to presence this felt sense. I’m not suggesting we get in the habit of airing our dirty laundry all the time. However, this is one way I come to understand how to practice with a group… to state what I can’t fully see but perceive and ask for feedback or support. I think at this stage of my relationship with the group, I’m most interested in support with these shadowy places. However, in a one-on-one way with a person who cares and wants to practice or sponsor my understanding, I would also invite feedback. I’m not sure if I’m speaking this right now on my behalf as an individual or on behalf of the group subject or on behalf of the atman that is brahman within the field (so the interaction between the two?). I’m still trying to play with the atman that is brahman formulation (one of Gafni’s glosses for Unique Self that also came up in the Aurobindo group). (…) placeholder here for the things I’m projecting authority on that I don’t really know much about. Someone recently told me that “talent is not the same thing as mastery”–a reminder that I love. I also want to give voice to the emerging authorities of Others and their creative-core insights.

A thought that follows on the heels of what I’ve written above is that when I feel I have the power of authority (from my mind–which does sometimes contain a lot of contents that seem relevant if not pieced together with a deeper understanding or cogency), I can also see that as a type of enthusiasm and a desire to be where I am/learn more/engage the content with a fresh mind. There’s the challenge of wanting to be seen for what I can share/offer and have experienced and also the challenge of having to show up in my authentic ignorances. And, those are one rhythm of my own participation. This is another complexity brought up by the personal modality–the desire to reveal invites a desire to be received and remembered which leads to personal shadow (in my case) around mirroring/true self expression… and ways I haven’t been in the past. I have felt warmly received here by everyone I’ve had a chance to connect with more than once. And, I am trying not to bring that suitcase into the group, but it is “felt-there” anyway, so it seems the best I can do is name it in the field and stay on platform 9 3/4 waiting tensely (at times) for the train to arrive. I guess what I’m exploring as I write is how can I be real and confident in that creative reality without being frustrated? And, when I am frustrated, how can I be in relationship to it in such a way that I am an activist on behalf of something that “wants to happen” AND something in the “group’s interest.” They are usually the same thing–but they do sometimes transform the trajectory. We want to be part of A Theory of Everybody, and it means that an emergent and participatory world poses new facilitation challenges–some of which I will feel like I’d love to speak to (midwifing, for instance) and some which I won’t be able to (another thing to have to accept).

@Geoffrey_Edwards and others on the call in response to Johnny’s question expressed a desire to do more with the text, close reading. I think there is real value in staying true to the group’s intention and not derailing into side practices sometimes. I say this as someone who facilitated a similar reading group for a few months where we did not find our stride and took a diversion into practice concerns that hijacked conversations/calls about texts we had read. So, even as I open this vein of practicing with shadow, I want to be sensitive to the fact that this might not be the space for it. That taking such a turn, as someone mentioned on the call doesn’t happen in these groups often, may be Pandora’s box of unintended consequences for the larger field being cultivated. There can be other spaces carved out for such things. And, it feels like negotiating this middle ground is part of the loosening of control that percolates as fear in some of our hearts, but which can arise as trust in the group’s intelligence. And, then, there’s our technology’s shadow, as @johnnydavis54 mention. I hear him saying that he wants to expand on the experiential portions of calls. Having spent time trying to manage at CIIS, I also love that and feel fear about the complex processing that accompanies it. But, more than anything, I hear @johnnydavis54 saying that consciousness loves contrasts and that that requires careful co-facilitation. I also hear that for empaths, we may be picking up things from others in the field. Boy, do I know that experience well.

Various indigenous traditions remove their shoes at the door out of a desire to not track mud through the sacred interior of the home. This was explained to me as a metaphor for shadow work too. I do think containment (as opposed to compartmentalization) has its place in communities like this one… at times. Which times?

But, I feel that one take away I have from writing about this today is a.) a felt perception that I rely on myself/pressure myself too much to have to know things. And, b.) I sometimes (because of neurodiversity, but also…) don’t take enough care with my descriptions or articulations. I also hear c.) a need for more self-compassion and a relaxing of some of this perfectionism maybe. It’s ok not to know things. This is a good place and good company, I believe anyway, in which I can “not know so much” and learn. And, while I may not always be careful about what I say or how I say it, I can come into relationship with that.

As Rilke writes, “There is no place that does not see you. You must change your life.” That’s what it feels like I’m present to in a.) & b.) above. I wonder what c.) would say to that quote. These residues flavor my participation. This is one face of practice, albeit a subtle one. And, it is a way also of saying “hello.” But if what I wrote here doesn’t make a lot of sense, I hope that is ok as well. If you want to ask me to clarify anything, I will try to do that!

Looking forward to our call tomorrow.


(john davis) #17

And love that and feel fear…

And sticking to the intentions of the group and focused on the text…

And when we relax and open to the field, as we pay attention to what the other actually wants, we can do both at the same time…

And I sense that we are bringing our self-reflexive capacities forward as the group-subject emerges.

Integral, according to Brian Massumi, is thinking -feeling at the same time. When our carrying capacity for the ambiguities latent in the group subject are too much noise, and not enough signal, we might let that be known and hold that difficulty. Which is what I tried to do. It was like running from a tornado! I didnt get too conceptual but I was working at the edge of concept, percept, becoming metaphor in the moment…and received support.

Hopefully, affective and cognitive ranges can be mates, standing side by side, rather than above and below, using the old Freudian hydraulics metaphor.

Each of us will have an invisible architecture. We also have an invisible architecture for the relational fields. Making even a little of this invisible architecture explicit is a powerful shift. The ‘I’ becomes ‘we’.

Making the explicit is very delicate and not to be done too glibly, but as you may have noticed, Heather, we had four metaphors, in our quartet, and illicited with just a simple question. For this to be useful, that’s useful like what? And it took about ten minutes. This gives what follows a shape that is often entirely absent after hours of processing with a lonely logic that is not able to hold the diversity.

A man I know who worked with violent criminals, invited them to hold the anger as if it were a baby. That is a good metaphor and he claimed it worked for a few of them. And I imagine it would work for a little while. My experience is that metaphors that another person came up with to solve your problem have a very mild effect, especially with strong, raw emotions, that are driven by paradoxes of the Self.

Metaphors that are self-generated are of a different order entirely. Sharing self-generated metaphors, I imagine, could put many of us in the God Realms, especially when we are ill suited to the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on cancer.

When we have a sense of the metaphor the other is working with we can drop our culturally derived default metaphor, which is war. As I have seen many organizations crash and burn, I am alert to these paradoxes when ignored and wish that we could get a little bit more versatile with our relationscapes.