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Posted by Philip on 8 May 2014, 1:36 pm in , , , , , , , ,

Soul work

flower eyeYesterday I ran a session on diversity with a group of facilitators. My aim was to work with them around their understanding of diversity but also to highlight the power of facilitation to elicit diversity.

I described the session in this way:

Diversity beyond labels

The session will allow participants to reframe and expand their understanding of and attitudes towards diversity. They will explore and deconstruct current notions of categorisation, labeling and representation. They will identify what creates misunderstandings and misinterpretations of diversity; and how these work against inclusion. Finally participants will learn how to overcome these barriers and experience the practice of mindful, open facilitation, in itself, as a catalyst for the expression of diversity and inclusion.

The group had been working together for five sessions over ten weeks so had a high level of trust and rapport. As a result the conversation was rich and deep, and, as was my hope, I felt that the session did indeed demonstrate how powerful open facilitation is in expressing diversity. 

Arriving home, I felt tired but strangely buoyed by the two hours I had just spent with these wonderfully candid people. It felt like a shared experience of inquiry, curiosity, honesty, vulnerability and generosity. Not just for them, for me too.

The thought came to me: This is my soul work.

I've read a lot about callings, being in flow, soul purpose etc, but yesterday was the first time I have tangibly felt this sense of doing what I really love doing, what feels meaningful and purposeful, and what, if I could, I would happily do unpaid. In fact, I've made that my goal — to be able to work in this way for free and for that to be financially sustainable.

I feel incredibly grateful to the people I worked with yesterday. It's given me a renewed faith in humanity — god knows, with the NZ elections looming and international conflict and the precarious economy and climate weirding, I've been feeling more despondent than usual about our future path.

But as I said in closing yesterday, I feel deeply that we are at a significant point in human evolution that requires a fundamental shift in how we think about and relate to one another. That change is what will change the way we treat the planet, manage the world's resources and end social, national and international conflict.

When we stop wishing to harm each other through shame and blame. When we realise that, as someone said yesterday, diversity is life and life is diversity. When we realise there's nothing to fear and everything to love.

That's when change will happen. That's everybody's soul work.

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