Gaye Donaldson, Facilitator, Trainer, Coach & Consultant at Kindred Constellations will be taking part in our Harmony in Food and Farming Conference on the 10th and 11th July 2017. Along with Nick Mayhew of Integral Change Consulting, they will explore how to reconcile the underlying tensions that give rise to disharmony in the world.
Could you summarise in a few sentences the nature of the work that you are doing?
Our session will introduce a leading-edge methodology (and its underlying theory), which is being used increasingly by leaders and change-agents to open up radical new ways of enabling systemic change.
By this we mean change that takes into account, and impacts, the system as a whole – offering subtle insights into underlying causes of discord and ‘best possible’ movements towards harmony in all its component parts. The system in focus could be a bodily system, a family system, an organization or business system, or an ecosystem.
This work both recognises and responds to the fundamental reality of our inter-connectedness. It also involves alignment with natural laws that have been found to support harmony across all systems.
The session will interweave discussion, demonstration and experiential learning, as we face into places of discord and discover what is needed to return to harmony and flow. What is revealed by this process can be truly amazing and transformative!
Our conference is about harmony, yet you are working on reconciling systemic discord, what is the relationship between these two?
What we see through the lens of our work is that systemic discord often arises from the quite understandable tendency in us all to act from places of fierce loyalty to particular perspectives and interests – such that we only ‘see’ part of the picture and act on this basis.
For instance, most of us are deeply loyal in some way to the system of our family of origin – whether this is explicit or hidden – and this becomes an obstacle to a more expanded capacity, for example, in loving thy neighbour or acting more respectfully towards nature. Although unintended, this loyalty then often has tragic, big-system consequences…
Systemic methodologies, such as constellations, enable a loosening of these narrow loyalties. They also help component parts of the wider system – such as individuals, or institutions, or departments within them – to open up to an expanded perspective and find a more optimal place from which to act. In this way, actions become that more relationally ‘in tune’ and genuinely creative, rather than unconsciously destructive.
In other words, one major result of this work is often a lived, deeply touching, new-order experience of harmony. We hope to provide such an experience in our session – along with insights into how this work can also develop new human skills and capacities for serving such harmony.
Do you consider it to be inevitable that there will be disorder and discord in the world and what do you think the primary causes of this are?
Order and disorder would appear to be innate to life, always present in constant dialectical tension – necessary for life’s evolution. Discord would seem to be an inevitable corollary of this. However, our experience is that this systemic way of thinking and working can enable us all to become more skilled and mature in how we work with it.
As we’ve described above, discord arises from our deep loyalties to partial and skewed perceptions of the world, when we are distanced from reality and we stand above the natural orders that govern life – when we stand above nature.
But, when given the opportunity to face and work through the consequences of this, in a very respectful and caring way, we see time and again how people and institutions are able, not only to work through discord, but to realize higher order forms of functioning and beauty in the process. A harmony that is profoundly useful and valuable!
In families and organisations, disruptions and discord often occur. Is this inevitable and how does your approach help to reconcile these tensions?
Yes, we think these dynamics are inevitable, but there’s a great opportunity in them to realize the deeper truths that they are pointing to and to harness this energy in support of progressive change.
Our approach enables a ‘deeper seeing’ of the causes of discord, and a form of radical inclusion of these that ends up serving the greater good of the wider system. This is not merely a conceptual process – but involves developing new ‘organs’ of perception as part of our human potential. These seem to enable a profound body- and heart-knowing of optimal next steps.
Such radical seeing, opening and forward movement requires courage. This, in turn, requires a structured process that is deep and robust enough for individual and institutional clients to feel sufficiently held and supported, as their world-views and actual functioning become subtly rewired.
Our approach – standing on the shoulders of giants, growing out of the work of many other skilled practitioners around the world over more than 20 years – provides leaders and change-agents with a specific, grounded methodology capable of delivering such a process.
Fortunately, this process seems to have arrived precisely in time to enable the paradigm shift in thinking and acting that this world now so desperately requires!
Photograph: Sheila Miguez
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