By Spring Cheng for Enlivening Edge Magazine
When my partner Joe Shirley and I started looking for board members for our newly-founded non-profit organization, Resonance Path Institute, we knew we were asking people to leap into a sizzling pool of the unknown.
The purpose of our Institute is to facilitate change on collective and individual levels. One of the fundamental principles underlying our work is to embrace the whole human experience of being alive, especially the parts suppressed, excluded, or judged by conventional social norms. It is most important for us to test our methods on ourselves and manage our organization in ways consistent with the institute’s philosophy.
Nan Huai Chin, a Chinese Zen master, says the model for the highest level of organization resides in the human bond formed through wholesome, authentic, and nourishing relationships. Instinctively, I sensed that the most powerful agent in guiding our Institute’s work will be the embodied, living partnerships formed between Joe and me, and with the Board of Directors members. As these relationships grow and mature, they will inform us of the operating guidelines and management principles fitting for the stage of development the institute calls for. In asking people to be on the Board, we were seeking a new way of “intimacy” with them!
Intimacy nourishes us and kindles the fire of creativity. Intimacy challenges us, surfacing the most painful wounds and the darkest parts of ourselves. Thus, intimacy embodies the deepest mysteries of our souls. Joe and I had been learning from our own co-creative partnership. Out of that, we had developed a process called Fieldtuning to invite the hidden forces in our psyche to shape our visions and guide our creative endeavor. (*See footnote for a brief introduction to Fieldtuning.) But to move forward, who would leap into this unknown with us?
We first turned to more experienced and senior colleagues. Our mind told us that their wealth of knowledge and connections would greatly benefit our institute. However, like dating, at the end of the day, it is the feeling in the gut that counts. As much as we respected these colleagues, we did not see them entering that level of intimacy with us to nurture our work at this stage.
We then turned to our younger colleagues who were the Millennials, and there were instant sparks between us. Their eyes lit up when we shared with them our ideas to manage the Institute. There was a healthy dose of doubt and hesitation too. But in their eyes, we saw a light of hunger, as if they had been waiting a long time for this, a stage on which they could show up with their whole being—a stage which welcomes their intellectual prowess, emotional creativity, and spiritual fire, all together, unbridled!
So that was how we got a startup Board of three young professionals in their early 30’s.
They are not only well-educated with cutting-edge knowledge about organizational development and social transformation, they are ready to experiment!
In our board meetings and work sessions, we routinely employ Fieldtuning as an essential tool to engage with mystery as a driving force to shape the next stage of the institute’s development.
Within this container, our Board members have been expressing their beautiful gifts and showering them on us. Jeff is a talented architect with an exquisite integration between his pragmatic and artistic minds. His highly-tuned sensitivity to the energetic architecture has made his awareness of the field surgically precise and has made the tuning mind-blowingly powerful.
Chris is an organizational consultant. Yet his heart sings and beats with the pulsation of mysteries. When he shows up in the field, he shows up with a Big Self, immense, poetic, and magical. This Big Self sees into the deep crevices of the unknown and expresses them through penetrating insights that illuminate the hidden paths.
Victoria is an alchemist who works with dimensions including nonprofit management, poetry, and ecology. She has been midwifing the birth of the institute from the very beginning. She is so tuned in with the fabric of the field that synchronistic connections commonly occur outside the container of Fieldtuning. Once I was working intensely on a piece of writing; Victoria showed up with a book that concisely summarized the topics I was investigating. She said nonchalantly, “I was at a book fair and suddenly thought about picking up a book for you. Out of the 3000 books, this was what I found.”
Over the short six months since we started working together, our Institute has developed into directions and opened up frontiers that we could not have predicted at the time we started, with a speed that would take linear strategies years to catch up to. And the waves of change are quietly spreading, rippling into each one of our lives. By allowing each one of us to show up fully and freely, letting go the need to control outcomes, together we are riding a current far more powerful than any one of us alone
I asked the Board what made them so ready to leap into the unknown and experiment with the power of mystery. They told me that they were standing on the shoulders of the previous generations who had dreamed them into being. The Baby Boomers and Gen X accumulated a wealth of intellectual knowledge and maps, to prepare these folks for the exploration in this territory.
They also watched how the previous generations had fallen when ambitious idealism clashed with a harsh reality. They learnt that taking “small” incremental steps from where people are, is actually the most effective way to change. And most of all, they are totally comfortable with having fun.
Instinctively they know that the highest productivity comes from a group of people who are thoroughly enjoying themselves and each other.
Our Board is still in its tender age. Like any growth, challenges are constant currents we paddle through. And yet the three Millennials have shown me that this new way of being and living, and of taking on the responsibilities of the planet, is no longer an abstract idea or a wistful dream. It is already here with us, treading lightly but steadily, breathing life into those who dare to leap into the unknown!
A brief introduction to Fieldtuning. We acknowledge that all our current intentions, attentions and actions form a field which connects us with the unknown forces of similar frequencies. We invite these forces as our co-creative partners, as we interact with the field by turning our sensing and intuiting faculties into our internal territory while suspending our rational processes.
We first identify the elements of the field shown through the current status of our creative efforts. Then we set up object representations of these elements in a physical space with their identities temporarily masked. Next we each take turns “visiting” the field, sensing and interacting with each element intuitively, kinesthetically and imaginatively, reporting what is being registered in our spontaneous stream of consciousness, free of the censor of the rational mind. Afterwards, we reveal the identity of those representations, and we shape visions and form strategies informed by the patterns and dynamics shown through the field. Read more at Courting our Future
Dr. Spring Cheng is the co-founder of Resonance Path Institute. She and her partner Joe Shirley have developed the framework of Resonance to facilitate graceful changes for individuals and organizations. Spring has extracted a code system from her practices of Chinese medicine, Taoism, and the oracle book I-Ching, by applying her skills of scientific inquiry honed through her experience as a molecular biologist and statistician. Her work leads people through a path of change on the enlivening edge between the east and west, the intuitive and rational, and the mystical and scientific.