The title brings many images and sensations to life I’m sure. I’d like to focus on the virtual and physical world at the present moment and share some discussion of the conundrum of authenticity. We often respond from learned patterns rather than authentic behavior, confusing emotion for mindfulness. In my seemingly quiet moments I’m usually checking my own, caught up in pedantic rantings. But before I share more I’d like to update the happenings that have caused a gap in postings here.
Of course the last posting was about a new website, www.PlanetaryCitizens.net, that presents a more inclusive view of the variety of concerns involved in moving a planetary civilization from separation to unity; harmony among people and planet. If a new world order is to emerge soon, I want to make a thoughtful and wise contribution. In addition, there is now an author’s page on Amazon that features my books – Author Page – which offers a bit about my history. The creative process is so inebriating.
Operating Be The Dream, LLC as a bridge for business and spiritual practices is sometimes a tough sell in a market that is driven by competition and profits. As we are in an election year in the States it also seemed appropriate to create a new campaign that reflects what we all want: to love and be loved. So please visit The Love Party Campaign and try the simple exercises for personal and planetary transformation. It would be great if you ‘liked’ it on Facebook, too.
Robin and I were talking this morning about how we see the gap between the virtual world, the internet, and the real world as face-to-face engagement. More importantly we ventured into the theme of bridging these worlds and what people are like in each that both promotes and inhibits this action. Our conversation brought up some interesting points that I’d like to bring to this blog. I love how our conversations bring us to question our current understanding and grow with the discovery of our ability to articulate as a result of the internal exploration.
Initially, the topic of ‘authenticity’ came up as we were discussing the challenges of internet persona and face-to-face engagement. In both worlds there are levels of authenticity that deserve a deeper look. We often were masks in both worlds. I’m not an expert in authenticity at all, but I do have some opinions. All of us have a sense of wanting to belong somewhere, but the fear of rejection often keeps us from revealing our honest thoughts and feelings regarding whatever topic may be in process of discovery or discussion. Some find it easier to be authentic on the web because of the anonymity the internet offers, especially when using a fictitious name or profile. The latter is incomplete in authenticity although one’s honest experience, opinion or thoughts may be expressed.
In the face-to-face world there is also a lack of authenticity due to the fear of rejection of one’s peers and/or employers who have a different agenda or are hiding their inner thoughts and feelings for the same reasons. Another stumbling block is we each have different dictionaries from which we draw meaning, so what another person says my trigger or soothe us and so some don’t risk being misunderstood. I’ve found that being misunderstood, if I can recognize the fact, gives me a chance to engage in a deeper and often more intimate level of conversation. Sometimes the pace of the environment doesn’t allow it, but I find slowing things down a bit has an overall beneficial effect.
We moved on to discussing best practices in facilitating groups during training sessions, given material and time constraints. We considered both viewpoints of facilitator and participant, knowing the we’ve experienced a variety of disconnects and frustrations in each role. We’ve facilitated classrooms, events and workshops over the years so we have some understanding of the challenges. Bridging worlds in this instance involves understanding that each person shows up with a different set of values, morals and ethics as well as a labyrinth of terms and phrases that may trigger or soothe.
Facilitators are strapped with agendas, maintaining decorum and timelines, that may not allow for everyone to have a voice if participants are allowed to ramble on (as they tend to do). Proactive discussion happens before launching into the material and norms are set so that nobody’s feelings are hurt if they are cut off so that others can speak. The flow of the conversation/meeting is important and master facilitators practice active listening, often gleaning the essence of the speaker’s message and clarifies quickly in order to manage the flow. We’ve learned that knowing your audience is tantamount to running successful events/groups/meetings and active listening is a critical component.
A participant has multiple reasons for being there including learning, mandatory attendance, agreement with and support of the theme, information gathering (pro & con… knowing your ‘enemy’ is important), to offer expertise, to garner attention, take an opportunistic advantage or simply to participate in some yet to be determined way. So that brought up the question of, “How am I being perceived by the facilitator/group?” In an environment where few folks really know each other, this is a major concern or needs to be. Some interact quickly while others wait and still others never say a word. One almost needs to be somewhat psychic just to read the room.
As we each consider how to promote and support our passions in life, myriad choices arise. Which ones are best? Do we really know? How does one determine that best choice or those best choices? In our experience we’ve noticed our attitudes affect not only our level of involvement, but the general atmosphere of whatever environment we engage. If you’ve been following any kind of conscious development or spiritual path you’ve no doubt come across the idea that your thoughts affect everything. How aware are you of not only what you are thinking, but HOW you are thinking? Do you find yourself in a critical or supportive role most often? What is that like?
To draw some kind of conclusion is our nemesis in most environments. Maintaining an open forum for discussion works wonders. We limit what can happen through our prejudice. That prejudice could be detrimental or supportive, but it still limits possibility. Sometimes we think that by voicing concerns or facts that we are being supportive, but the internal perspective actually diminishes the energy because of the words that are spoken. It may not seem so because we simply want to inform others, but what are we really informing them of and how will it affect the lives of others? Anything that distracts from a concerted effort or focus of attention on creating positive results is then suspect in the discovery of insidious and surreptitious thoughts.
How we think is at issue. Do we generally come from an optimistic place or are we looking to expose something we think everyone should know because it is the truth? Are we thinking of how to bridge worlds to create a better environment or are we engaged in conspiratorial information as a need-to-know? It is imperative to notice where we put our attention and emotion and our energy flows into that reservoir. Where do you want your attention? Are you following some belief system or are you creating an experience system through your ethic and intention?
Back to creating harmony from chaos… order. We don’t know what each person brings to the table in conversation or working groups. Making sense common is a prime objective of any facilitator. That ‘sense’ comes from developing rapport and building relationships with individuals and groups in order to achieve common goals, objectives and understanding. If we want to achieve our dreams, whatever they are, then beginning with an attitude of gratitude is probably a good place to start. The mere fact that one has the opportunity to be an example offers both challenge and change, from the chaotic possibilities of chance to the organized and strategic methods to achieve order that leads to success in any environment.