Tools and Practices That Support Inner Transition
It is a remarkable feature of our time that at exactly the moment in history when we need a diverse range of tools to understand and transform our inner worlds there is a vast array of methods that offer exactly that. From meditation techniques and personal exploration of the psyche to ways of exploring highly charged issues with groups of several hundred the range is enormous.
In Totnes we are very fortunate to have many people who are already competent both in personal practices and in leading workshops and training others and many of these people are already engaged in Transition in some way.
What follows is a summary of some of the tools that are available, and how they might be used to meet the issues and challenges outline above.
Workshops on Change
Workshops on embracing change are held in many settings (schools, local groups and organisations, workplaces and people’s homes). These help people to move through their reactions to change in healthy ways, and to find the positive side of what’s happening.
Modelled on the women’s movement, peace movement, and a host of self-facilitated support groups, home groups were launched in Totnes in 2007, based on the understanding that there will not be the resources – funded or voluntary – to provide a support “service” to everyone needing it in times of change. With a basic resource pack including carbon saving and group facilitation ideas a group sets its own agreements for having meetings and gatherings, follows its own interest – practical, emotional, intellectual in any mix.
The Work That Reconnects
Originally called Despair and Empowerment work this was developed in response to the threat of nuclear war and destruction by Joanna Macy, and adapted with others to work with our relationship to the natural world, and particularly its destruction or degradation. Some of the key elements are:
- We need to come together to open our eyes to what is happening to our planet and our society. Together what seems overwhelming can become manageable
- When we express our own feelings and hear those of others something in us can come back to life, as if our emotions are a way of telling and hearing truth.
- If we can truly express how we feel and hear others we reconnect with our true nature, our love of life, the will to act, and with others around us, unleashing a great energy for compassionate action
Outdoor activities, reconnecting with nature
Much of our lives are lived separate from the natural world, reinforcing the illusion that humans are separate from nature. To go outside and reconnect with the living breathing environment of which we are part can be deeply nourishing, healing and transformative. Again there are many practices that use this, from business leadership training in wild places to deep ecology.
Woven through the whole Transition process, storytelling is a powerful tool for looking at what is hard, frightening or monstrous; for inspiring ourselves with courage, love and wisdom; for opening and exploring what is and what could be. Telling stories round a fire, sharing with the children, hearing about how things used to be when humans lived well with far less energy, and visioning a healthy future world are all ways that story telling have been used already in Transition.
Celebrations and ceremonies
“Transition should be more like a party than a protest march”.
It is vital that we remember to celebrate our successes, to honour and appreciate those who have given a lot and to have fun!
Constellations – exploring our place in the systems we belong to
Using the work of Bert Hellinger and others to explore relationships, including within our family, ecosystem and community.
Changing the Dream workshop
Originated by the Pachamama alliance through their work with indigenous Ecuadorean people, these workshops offer a wake up call to the plight of our natural world and a call to change the way we see our place in the world.
Body / movement work
Dancing for joy, peace, expressing through our body, using the wisdom of the body to connect with earth and life.
This could also include yoga and gentle martial arts – Tai Chi, Chi Gung which include physical movements that keep the body healthy with meditative and spiritual aspects.
World Work, “Fishbowls” and other ways of holding discussions and meetings
Meetings for discussing issues, dilemmas and challenges (e.g. inequalities, how to share resources, death, disabilities etc,) can take many different forms. These can help to enquire into different aspects of complex issues rather than trying to get to the “right” answer; can encourage different viewpoints to be heard and encourage cooperation rather than competition. There are also very useful methods for going into (rather than avoiding) charged issues – bringing peace and resolution rather than stalemate or continuing conflict.
Communication Skills and Conflict Resolution
Non-violent communication, mediation and conflict resolution will all be useful skills to help us deal with difficult issues and conflicting perceptions or needs – skills that can be learnt and practised, and used in personal as well as professional settings.
One to one and facilitated group counselling has been widely used both to support people through change – such as loss of work or relationship, or traumatic events. This could be provided through job centres, social services, doctor’s surgeries as well as privately or voluntarily.
Co-counselling is another form where two people work together taking it in turns to be speaker and listener, avoiding the need for professional training or payment.
Heart and Soul’s Mentoring service is one example already in place where qualified people are offering support and supervision for those who give a lot to the Transition Movement, often voluntarily.
It is widely recognised that trauma work is invaluable for those who have experienced severely disturbing events – as victims or witnesses. This may be a vital part the response where climate events cause displacement, or other shocks to our system leave people scarred.
“It takes a village to raise a child” is a well know phrase from the Dagara people of West Africa – and many parents trying to do the job on their own might well agree.
Faith Groups and Interfaith practices
Many faith groups are already actively engaging their members in thinking about environmental issues as well as how to support those in crisis or need. Finding ways to cooperate through coalitions and finding our common ground to meet the challenges ahead is already being modelled by many in established religions.
Taking the space to “be” rather than “do”, to listen within and to sit – alone, with others or in nature – is known to be deeply relaxing and beneficial to health. Many types of meditation are practised and taught in the area.
Prayer, Worship and Contemplation
Each religious or spiritual tradition has its own method and words to describe the process of invoking or contemplating the divine, or what is beyond the human.
One comment on “Tools and Practices That Support Inner Transition”
Leave a comment
If you wish to comment on a particular paragraph
and quote the relevant number in your comment.