The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts


Such a large subject and a just as vast emotion.

Last Thursday I drove across Europe to meet friends and colleagues. We all had taken the opportunity to meet in Spain to attend an experiential workshop with Richard Erskine and Amaia Mauriz-Etxabe. It has been the third workshop with Richard I attended. All of them during the last year and all in a different country. With participants coming from 10 different countries this workshop has again been a culturally diverse experience but even so a very different experience from the previous ones. The influence of the local culture on our work being quite visible.

We worked on childhood development, discovering how the experiences growing up lead to decisions impacting adult life. It doesn’t matter if there is already the ability to make cognitive decisions, once the survival instinct appears it leads to decisions we make. The ability to impact others and the need to impact others to survive lead to actions and reactions which in turn lead to learning and experience. The search for impact and the inability to achieve the desired impact leads to situations the child experiences as a trauma and will continuously keep in mind as a source of danger. The quest to solve that situation leads to a habit of being attentive to that perceived danger and using the best-known solution. The more it is repeated the less conscious we become of our ability to react to that type of situation and the more difficult it becomes to change the reaction and adapt it to the current situation. Until it has become the way we are.

Learning from one another and sharing with others became an endless stream of new information and opportunities to give meaning to behavior. It opened new doors to see the way people act and react in a different light. In essence, a huge part of the way we act and see the world is based on the effort to protect ourselves in one way or another. And yet, it takes time to see it appear as such.

Having had the chance to see Richard work with groups in three different types of environment I also studied how the way to learn to handle life is shaped depending on the environment we grow up. History is a common experience that transforms itself into a culture and a different way to pay attention to the given events.

Both, the learning and the experience, reinforced my understanding of how paying attention to the dynamic in a group helps the group achieve its objective. The work we saw unfold was based on exploring the dynamic and seeking to connect with its source. Creating a space allowing to observe the experience in a non-judgmental way enabled the participants to reassess their reactions. Thus creating the possibility to decide on their usefulness.

The above is a very technical way of describing the gratefulness that grew during and since the workshop. It can only be a summary of the many impactful moments, the small and big moments, the continuity of the experience as well as the appearance of new experiences.

Gratefulness appeared as much as it was a state.

It all comes down to the relationships we could establish during that time and what we’ll be keeping as memories. What we can build from them is a different chapter. One that will lead to more moments of gratitude if we want to.



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