It’s the third day of the Integral European Conference 2016 in Hungary. My workshop starts. I stand with both feet barefoot on the carpet. I’m grounded. I am in my strength. I start my presentation, happy that Robert Macleod, who talked before I did, about hacking the school system, provided a wonderful bridge with one slide which showed two ways of going Teal: hacking the system from the inside or shifting the system as a whole, to Teal.
This is what my presentation is about: bringing the public school system to the level of evolutionary purpose. It is about taking responsibility, self-organizing, decision-making and wholeness. And while writing this today, it becomes increasingly clear what my concept is about and what I’m doing in my work. To put it in one sentence: I’m meshing the Teal breakthroughs of responsibility, wholeness, and evolutionary purpose in order to bring a self-managing organism into life.
From the very start of the change process all stakeholders are involved and engaged in shaping their daily work in a conscious way so it makes sense to them.
Link the evolutionary purpose to wholeness. Define the evolutionary purpose by going into deep personal wholeness: “What do I really want for myself and for others?” This question links the individual whole to broader perspectives and invites principals and teachers to take responsibility for what they want to give the world. They answer the purpose question: What is, according to our deepest potential, the evolutionary purpose of our school and our contribution to the world?
Organize self-management. The headmaster hands over responsibility in order to let the staff work in self-organised units. Build structures and processes which enable teamwork and self-managed work. Teachers working in professional learning communities experience an environment in which they can grow by learning from each other.
Deepen the process with wholeness. Every activity is in alignment with the evolutionary purpose. Teachers learn to work in a process-oriented way and discover their self-empowerment and their ability to shape their school. A process of taking yourself seriously unfolds and integrates the individual into a group of professionals, enabling integration of all perspectives to find an integral shape for the whole system.
I am in the flow. I am thrilled. Enthusiasm is in the room. There is a common ground of being a human being as whole as possible, on which we all stand.
During my speech people are taking photographs. I am pleasantly surprised when I later discover that Kateryna Yasko from the Ukraine (she represented the Ukraine in the IEC constellation process) made a post about my workshop on Facebook. That’s new! People are really interested in my work! They are spreading it and it reaches new shores. Riina Raudne from Estonia is one person who sees the post, gives me a buzz after the conference, we have a Skype call, and I get involved in a European project which is called: Wholesum: a whole-school Approach to reducing substance use among Youth in Europe.
Nina R. Kledal from Denmark is the third person in our block of presentations on Friday morning “Integral Education in Schools.” She deepens the process by sharing her work with soul portraits of children.
The three of us were so different in our approaches and yet, in the final round of whole-group discussion of all three presentations, there was so much in common. One common thread emerged, the connection between organizational systems and personal commitment.
After the workshop Zoe Nicholson from England asks me if I can help introduce purpose orientation and self-organization in the health sector in Brighton. The multiprofessional team of the Brighton & Hove Integrated Care Service wants to radically transform health care systems, so that every personal interaction moves from “what’s the matter” to “what matters to you”. A planned workshop will be about diving deeper into wholeness and creating livelier self-management structures in order to take over responsibility in alignment with their evolutionary purpose.
Back home in Switzerland, I pick up the threads with those colleagues and find that I still feel connected with all of them. Since my return, I have met new people, talked to people about IEC and about my work, started projects, been asked to present at other conferences, written articles, and four integrally inspired colleagues, who are engaged in school and teachers development will meet to plan a conference about reinventing schools in Switzerland!
There are many new people, a still-growing number, whom I now hold in my heart. It is unusual for me to say something like this: to talk about love. Is this the power of connection so strong from the conference?
My “heart harvest“ is in the loving and caring atmosphere I feel growing in myself and in my surroundings. I can see both clearly: the unconnected-and absent-reality which brings pain and suffering, and the healing power of connection, compassion and presence.
My momentum comes from the following questions, and from answers sparked when asking them:
What attracts me to my work? What do I want more of? In what structures and in what sort of atmosphere do I want to live and work? What kind of leaders are needed to make organizations more human and soulful yet successful?
These are the questions with me every day, and I can now answer that I want to live in a loving and caring atmosphere. I want to have more of these inner and outer connections: mind, heart and soul—inspiration, care, and joy at work.
This approach includes structures which encourage and enable growth. It also includes stagnation, not-knowing and depression. It includes leaders who are aware of their ego and leaders who take responsibility for the power they have. It includes joy, fun and non-sense. It includes all there is about being a human being. It includes taking in all the shit that happens and breathing it out and letting it go. Let your fears come up. I ask you: What is your deepest fear?
I feel the energy, the engagement, and the loving care throughout our session and throughout the conference. I feel I am part of and involved in this lively community of presence and am connected to a new source of power. People encouraged me to continue with my work, and made me aware of the importance and the meaning of it.
Did somebody mention that the integral movement is sexy? Yes it is, and it feels good to be part of this community! I know that there are people out there, friends connected over time and space, all working and trying to make the world a safer, healthier and livelier place.