Offerings, Gifts, and Invitations
Something to Stand On
There's a stack of books behind her, and I can tell it's evening in her part of the world. She's mid-thought. Gazing upward, she's shifting from side to side. I am waiting for her to answer my question.
It's morning here, and the sun is beginning to shine. My mind is foggy. I feel the gravitational pull of jet lag, telling me I have yet to fully land back home.
I redirect my focus toward the zoom window in front of me. She's still shifting from side to side. She must be at her standing desk, her range of movement is too large for her to be sitting.
I lean a little closer toward the laptop screen and wait for her to speak.
Then she steps forward, "The inner stance to with which to approach this is one of confidence. I lean in a little closer. You can be a bit argumentative," she said, smiling.
A wave of relief washes through my body. The fog begins to dissipate. It was at that moment that I realized I'd been searching for something to stand on, and I had found it.
She paused before continuing, "And when you're reading other literature, the stance is one of being a detective in a crime scene. Interrogate each piece, find the gaps and question everything."
She had a way of saying things that would reorient me whenever I felt lost. Inner stance. These two words she said gave me something to stand on. At that moment, I could feel the ground beneath my feet; this sensation gave the support I needed.
Reflecting on the past few weeks, I'd been sensitive to the rapid shifts between contexts. I moved between crowded streets in Bristol, to Zoom screens with people from around the world, to being with clients and returning back home to Portland.
Usually, I don't notice these shifts, but in the past weeks, my experience of moving from one space to another, virtual or otherwise, became heightened. Maybe I was noticing the things I tend to take for granted; the speed at which things can happen and the hyperconnected nature of reality, or perhaps my way of navigating through these different spaces was changing. Something within me was slowing down, and as it did, I felt that fog of uncertainty creeping in.
As I moved from being with a process work client in a curious and receptive state, to working on an academic paper, and questioning when I needed to sound authoritative verses tentative, I saw how each space asked different things of me. Noticing this led me to pause. I'd ask myself, how do I approach this space before me? How do I meet the task at hand?
I was reaching through the fog, hoping to connect with another resource I could draw upon or find a way to make sense of this situation.
Inner stance. The visceral sense of these two words showed me how in each moment, I could take a different stance depending on what the situation before me was asking of me. Even if I am one continuous presence moving from one context to another, I realized I could change my posture and stance, literally and symbolically, as I met and responded to different situations.
Knowing this gave me a sense of resilience; I could approach each task from a stance that aligned me with its purpose.
For weeks I'd been walking through a fog. I could hardly see my footing. I'd been in a fog before, but none felt this thick. I knew eventually, I'd arrive at a clearing where I'd have a better sense of the landscape I was moving through.
In all the moments I'd felt lost, I had been searching for something to stand on, for something visceral that I could grasp, a place within me from which I could engage with the world. Her words gave me ground to stand on and a metaphor I could carry forward.
Taking the next step from an inner stance, I felt the ground beneath me. I understood how to push off that ground in order to take the next step toward what I had been seeking.
Our stance determines how we meet the moment and engage with and respond to every situation. Knowing what stance to take allows us to claim our ground and to stand up for what we believe in. At the same time, stance is flexible. We can change our attitude, posture and attitude as we meet different situations.
This month's gifts section is going to be a little bit different because I have mostly been reading academic papers!
Here are a few I enjoyed:
Moore, L. and Koning, J. (2015) Intersubjective identity work and sense making of adult learners on a postgraduate coaching course: Finding the balance in a world of dynamic complexity. Management Learning [online]. 47 (1), pp. 28-44.
How does learning shift our sense of identity?
This article discusses how individuals make sense of their identities as they learn to enter a new profession. The authors focus on the dynamic complexity of this process, 'periods of heightened uncertainty caused by events for which individuals have little reference. They draw upon four narrative accounts of adult learners navigating 'multiple contexts including biographical, learning and industry' (p. 29). Each account highlights the nuance of moving between identities, from professional to student to coach, and how individuals made sense of this process.
The authors argue that relationality, reflexivity, and sense-enabling devices such as stories support individuals to make sense of identity as they 'offer a balance between acting and thinking' (p. 28). In essence, this implies the importance of relationships. The role of supervisors, writing assignments and client work are described as 'sense-enabling devices' that enhance reflexivity (p. 37).
Kociatkiewwicz, J., and Kostera, M. (2014) Into the Labyrinth: Tales of Organizational Nomadism. Organization Studies [online]. 36 (1), pp. 55-71.
What can we learn from labyrinths?
They slow us down, they embody a transitional space and are a fundamental part of our experience. Kociatkiewicz and Kostera (2016) study the significance of labyrinths as a 'sensemaking tool for understanding and explaining organisational complexity' (p.55). They highlight the fundamental labyrinthian structures play in our everyday life as we move through institutions and architectural spaces.
Challenging the fast pace of organisational life and the 'dogma of hyperrationality,' they present the labyrinth as a counterforce that invites actors to slow down, reflect, and be in uncertainty (p. 66). They share their experience of walking through labyrinthian such as university campuses and Ikea to describe how these spaces informed their sensemaking process.
Friday, June 2nd, 4:00-6:00pm PDT/ Saturday, June 3rd, 9:00-11:00 AEST
Saturday, June 3rd, 4:00-6:00pm PDT / Sunday, June 4th, 9:00-11:00 am AEST
This class will explore the therapeutic qualities of place and will offer insights for ourselves and our clients. We will look into the situated nature of our cognition, how our environment shapes our thinking and perception and how we can work with these facets of our awareness in supportive ways. We will also explore practices for creating a supportive space around us through the idea of altars. There are just 2 spots left!! Learn more here
A 90 min session focused on a live demo of unfolding a process in a co-learning format. Over the years, people have asked for more demonstrations, so I have created this offering.
Over the years, students have asked for more work's in the centre! They say it is a wonderful opportunity to see work happen and learn more about themselves in the process.
Together we will unfold the process through a holistic and process-oriented approach to surface more information and increase our awareness of what is present and emerging for that person.
We will then discuss the structure of the work and have time for questions and insights from the group about the work.
The flow of the session will be as follow:
Inner work to arrive and connect with a question
Discussion of themes that emerged
There is 1 spot left! Learn more here