“There is a crack in everything and that is how the light gets in” Leonard Cohen
The second week of November 2016 will be a week that I will always remember- a week (and in fact a year!) that the tectonic plates of humanity’s consciousness visibly shifted before our eyes. Sometimes I find it hard to imagine what might emerge and when – however I do sense that a light is shining into these cracks and is wanting to amplify a new story for humanity. As Allan Frater wrote in his recent blog, “A new story has not yet been established, but it is on the way. And this offers an opportunity for psychosynthesis”.
The second week of November was also important to me personally as it was the week that I joined the Psychosynthesis Trust as Executive Director. One of my main roles at the Trust will be to lead a collaborative process which will sense into: “How can the Trust build on its existing core work in order to develop new programmes that reach more people and in different ways?” Given the shifts in the world, I feel the timing for exploring this question couldn’t be more poignant.
I am motivated by this potentiality as well as the chance to share my knowledge and know how of catalysing change in the world. I am fascinated by human consciousness, evolution and learning. Much of my life’s work has been about finding ways to shift mindsets, values and behaviours in order to address the root causes of some our biggest environmental and social challenges. For the past 15 years I have been working in the charity sector and with social entrepreneurs. Whilst at WWF-UK (World Wide Fund for Nature) I set up an organisation called The Finance Innovation Lab. The Lab’s purpose is to create a more fair, democratic and responsible financial system. Some of the strategies and practices that I co- developed focussed on helping leaders to understand their higher purpose, cultivating experiential learning and using artful forms of accessing imagination such through visioning, music and time in nature. Having recently completed the Essentials course, I really resonate with the practices and processes of psychosynthesis -they feel very natural to me.
In my experience as a leader catalysing change in the world – I’ve observed there are three very important approaches to consider –I will be paying attention to these areas as we grow The Trust.
New paradigm organisations and their communities realise their interconnectivity in the world and seek to fulfil a higher purpose. I’ve learnt that the clearer an organisation is about its purpose, and making sure its actions and behaviours are aligned to that higher purpose, the more coherence there is between its teams, community and the people it serves. And the more coherence, the more effectively that organisation can flow into its fullest expression and enable great things in the world. I love Fredric Laloux’s recent book ‘Reinventing Organisations’, which is inspired by Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory and spiral dynamics. Laloux makes the analogy of the new paradigm organisation being a ‘living organism with a higher purpose’. So if we were to see the Psychosynthesis Trust as a living organism I am intrigued by the questions: “What does it mean to sense into what the Trust and its community wants to become? What are talents, skills and capacities within the Trusts’ ecosystem that want to be expressed in the world?”
Aligned and Collaborative Community
Given the complexity of our times, no one organisation or no one person can act alone to enable scaled change in the world. So because of this, I feel that it is critical that we design processes and practices that help to foster collaboration and cooperation – and embrace complexity. Thus, making the most of the collective and diverse talents, skills, assets and energy. And I have learnt, (through much experimentation!) that collaboration really flourishes when there is a sense of alignment within that community. Alignment around vision, purpose, goals and practice for example. However achieving alignment takes time – time to work through and appreciate different perspectives and ways of seeing the world. It is complex and messy – however I feel it is worth it given the massive need for humanity to practice new ways of relating to each other that brings out human potential. So some of the questions I am holding for the Trust are: “What is our collective Vision for the Trust’s future? What are the new ways we can collaborate with each other to enable people’s ideas, projects and practices to grow? Who are the other people and organisations we might want to collaborate with to grow psychosynthesis as a ‘body of work?’
I believe that long term effective change – whether it be personal, organisational or social - comes about through practice and experiential learning. Over the years, I have been honing my skills as an action research practitioner. I really value an iterative process of inquiry, action, reflection, sense making and ongoing action. I look forward to hosting our new programme development process through cycles of action learning whereby we embrace curiosity and experimentation. I am imagining different ways of involving the community in this process over time such as through dialogue interviews, co-creation workshops and project prototyping. In recent conversations with some of the Trusts community members we pondered: “ Who are the groups of people who really need Psychosynthesis’s work – prisoners, disadvantaged communities, politicians, clergy or bankers for example? What are the new ways that we can engage people in the work – such as online courses, public events or leadership training courses? And how can we learn and evaluate our work as an organisation – what impact are we having in the world and where are the inspiring stories of change?”
I feel very excited to join the unfolding story of The Psychosynthesis Trust at this very important time in humanity’s evolution. I also feel honoured to be joining a talented, experienced and conscious community. And finally, I feel very respectful of the high quality of professional practice that has been developed over the years. One of the greatest keys of success in growth will be to continue to serve and honour the existing work – the powerful core from which more light can be shared with the world.
Over the next few months we’ll be letting you know about ways you can feed into the new programme development process. In the meantime, if you have any reflections or questions please do get in touch. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
With light and love,