By Edith Friesen for Enlivening Edge
With a touch on the computer key, the feel-good strains of “Time to Smile” by Xavier Rudd fill the conference room.
It’s the end of a long afternoon at the Integral European Conference in May, and we’ve been sitting all day, exercising our Teal brains.
Without forethought, I amble to the middle of the semi-circle, wearing my cowgirl boots, and begin dancing. Others join me, and soon we are getting into our bodies, and filling the room with enlivened energy.
So begins my workshop, Taking Writing Teal: Finessing the Learning Curve of the Teal Writing Dance.
This is something I have cared about deeply for more than 15 years. It has often struck me that many people who embody Teal consciousness or work in Teal organizations, haven’t learned how to express themselves in ways that sound Teal. When a Teal organization doesn’t act, look, and also sound Teal, that communicates a lack of coherence. But, it’s hard to get past the way writing has been drummed into us, which for sure doesn’t reflect or embody a Teal stage of consciousness.
On a personal level, many of us bear the soul-numbing wound of being taught to write with the head. We’ve had our writing slashed with the red pen. We’ve learned to use our writing as a means to an end. Sure, we’ve become more personal in how we share our ideas and selves online. But, when it comes to the workplace, we often feel straightjacketed by rule-bound, academic, or corporate ways of writing.
What makes writing sound Teal?
So, what makes writing Teal? This is a question I’m often asked. Until Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organizations, my answer was somewhat abstract and often elicited blank looks. Now, I say: it’s about writing with wholeness, evolutionary purpose and self-management. And that’s what my writing workshop is about. Wrapping it in the dance metaphor helps me bring it alive.
I only have an hour, so I need to make every minute count. First off, we do a heart breathing practice.
This helps us all get out of heads, relax, and deepen. Three breaths. The first breath, into the front heart. The second, into the middle heart. And the third breath, into the back heart. We will do this practice before each of the three five-minute writing activities.
We begin with writing from wholeness.
Here we invite our inner dance partners—head, heart, energy, and soul—to join us in the writing dance. Also our masculine and feminine energies.
After a brief intro, I ask if anyone has a tension around writing from wholeness. The first person with a hand up joins me in the middle of the semi-circle. We do a few dance moves together, and then focus on the tension.
As a writing mentor, I love this part; this is what I do best. Even though we are at the front of the room, with about 25 people watching us, it feels very intimate. After we identify the tension, I ask if anyone else has this tension. A few hands go up. “How do you work with this tension?” I ask. The wisdom in the room shines forth. I love it when it’s not all up to me. I add some suggestions from my own experience.
Then we get into the first writing activity. After the heart-breathing practice, I ask everyone to think of something that energized them today. Then to free-write the first few paragraphs of a blog about that. I invite them to pour their whole self onto the page.
When the five minutes are up, pens and pencils are still moving. It’s hard to get them to stop.
Next up, writing with evolutionary purpose.
This is about the organizational dance, about sensing the organization’s purpose and dovetailing with our calling.
We follow the same process as in the first section. Only, this time, we free-write the first few paragraphs of a new work-related bio blurb, one which arises from our passion. And we write it in the first-person!
We end with self-management.
That’s about how we negotiate the four quarters of the dance floor: self, audience, composition, and media. It’s about how we move mindfully, organically, flexibly, and in our unique ways so we cover the whole floor.
This time, we free-write a quick email to yours truly, about some something we’re curious about when it comes to the writing dance.
As we close, I invite anyone who longs for a Teal-inspired global writing community to contact me.
By the time the workshop ends, I am feeling more relaxed and energized than when I started! This is, hands down, the best writing workshop I have ever facilitated. I feel ecstatic. It’s a confirmation that, since I am more kinesthetically-oriented, this mode works best for me. It also helps me get out of my head, a life-long challenge.
People come up to me and say they loved it. Later that evening and even the next day, more people say they loved it. I am both surprised and delighted. And I feel as though I have found my groove. I don’t need a script, or to stand up in the front of the room. All I have to do is move with the energy pulsing through me. This is how I write, by sensing and responding to energy. To do this in a workshop is new for me.
George Pór suggests that I do an expanded version of this workshop in London, in November. I’m in!
Writing is something we do every day. By putting on our Teal-writing dancing shoes, we anchor ourselves in Teal energy and consciousness. We also generate greater coherence in our organizations. And we feed the ecosystem of next-stage organizations. There’s a ripple effect. If even one person in my workshop got that, then it is time to smile.
Edith Friesen energizes the role of Writing Mentor at Enlivening Edge. As a lifelong writer, she has worked in diverse organizations and coached writers. Her passion is to inspire writing that drops the mask and comes from the whole self. Send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org, about joining the Teal-inspired global writing community.