“A Sense of Place”

Going to another “place” to create a new relationship when there is a history of conflict is one aspect that is sometimes overlooked in understanding and letting go of conflict.
I believe we have forgotten or perhaps not even realised how important “place” is.

After books were written and published and humans learnt from the written word that is now recorded in different places globally, we have gradually lost a “present consciousness of place”, the energy in it and the memories.

I learnt this the hard way but a very memorable way! In my early days as a Consultant I facilitated a session with Directors across a large organisation. I facilitated multiple sessions over separate days with a week’s break each time. In the first session I led the Directors in a meditative process where they became present to how they perceived themselves as Directors and the culture within which they worked in the present. I then asked them to draw an image representing themselves now. In silence they drew images and then when they were finished they were posted on to the wall which became a mural of the present reality of the values, beliefs and actions inherent in their present identity and the culture of the organisation.
I then invited the Directors to walk across the room imagining they were walking into their future and as they walked to bring into their full sensory awareness how they would see themselves, what they would feel, how they would be talked about, what they would hear themselves saying in the future and to be that and feel that now. I then invited them to sit in their future, which they felt now and draw images to represent what they felt, saw and heard. These were then stuck on the wall and another mural emerged.
The first mural had images of lone rangers with masks on, people holding up shields to stop the bullets being fired at them, people with knives in their backs, and more.
The picture of how they saw themselves in the future was very different, there were images of people in teams holding up trophies and awards, smiling faces, hands clapping, cheers for success, pride and shaking hands and arms over shoulders.

We then discussed the images of the present state first. People were confronted by the images that they had drawn of themselves and the current reality of the culture in which they worked and contributed to creating. One person attacked me, saying that somehow I had planted these images in the sub-conscious of the Directors and this is why they had surfaced. Another Director had the wherewithal to say, no, the images came from the minds and hearts of the group right here and now and drawing had enabled the images to surface that would possibly have been to be difficult to bring up via conversation at first.
We did work through the current state and people realised that if that was how they felt now but what they aspired were two different things, that they could take responsibility for creating the future they wanted in the second set of images.
We left that day, reflective and feeling that it would be a challenge but the Directors could do something about the current state of the culture of the organisation.
We came back the following week to continue. I wanted to create some continuity from the previous session so I set up the room in exactly the same format as the last week, including posting all the images back on the wall. This was good on the one hand, bad on the other. It was a new day, a new week, what I know now is that if I had just posted the images of the future state we would have started that day very differently. As I had posted up the images of all of the negativity in the first set of images the group immediately went back to that negative emotional state and we had to work through that again.
In a long winded way I am saying don’t underestimate the energy and memory of the way things have been residing in a room and in an office that has been set up in a certain way, where people always come to the table and sit down, perhaps even in the same seats and speak. Even changing the structural aspects of a room and seating arrangements can assist facilitate new energy, new relationship and new memories when there is conflict amongst individuals and teams within an organisation or a family.
I have even had a harpist play music in a room to clear the energy from a room and create a new tone in the room! These are some of the non-rational aspects of relationship and organisational culture that I have specialised in over my life which are gradually being recognised.
I have much more to say about conflict and relationship but I think that is enough for today!!! Let’s keep up the good work of seeing, confirming and integrating rational and intuitive forms of information into knowledge and then make choices and take actions that can lead us to wisdom.