Featured

Generative Jobs for sustenance and wellbeing- Dismantling colonialism in the ‘Job Industry’

Few years back, I was doing a focussed group discussion on value alignment and a small part of this discussion was to understand what people’s jobs felt like. This was a metaphorical and imaging exercise to tap beyond language, unconscious and unsaid. Few patterns of thoughts that emerged caught my attention: there was always a wall, a chain, block, and many other ways in which people expressed their disempowerment through images. Some felt like they were driving a bus full of people and didn’t know where it was headed, some felt like everything looked ok on the surface but there one leg felt chained under the table. One person shared that every morning feels like they wake up and stare at a wall. This was not surprising, I guess we have all heard some of these expressions around coffee dispensers. Of course this was not a feeling all the time- there were also feelings of meaningful contribution, creativity etc., but there seemed to be something about the design of the mindset through which the jobs were designed that was holding the key to expanding the unmet potential needs of these people. I started to dream and realised that the mindset of ‘Human Resources for Organisation’ needed a paradigm shift to ‘Organisation resources for Humans’.

This framework of thought needs reflection as we have been conditioned with narratives of serving an organisation that then in-turn serves a bigger vision; however, the bigger vision is usually achieved by oppressing, marginalising and walking over several people who come to serve the organisation and when that organisation has no collective consciousness and understanding of sustainable ecosystems, it creates power structures that are oppressive. It creates pecking order, inauthentic insidious spaces which allow pockets of power, privilege and lack of responsibility in leadership.

This got me thinking, What makes a job energising? How can we create job descriptions as a generative container, where a person can feel growth? where people didn’t feel trapped, used or manipulated. How can spaces of generative conversations create emergence and magic.

Here is something I learnt from my work as an OD consultant for over a decade regarding what is important for people and what energises them. As per my observation, there are 3 energy components of a Job, I call them Triple anchor, The first two are creating the container for observance, awareness and alignment and the third is for emergence.

  1. Being: Who and what is the person supposed to be in this job? What metaphors or images come to mind when you think of this job? What is empowering and energising about this job? How can that be expanded and brought to the centre of this role while designing the Job?
  2. Personal Stand: What are the values that are crucial to this job and its mission? What personal values would support this role? Allow the role holder to create their own ‘stand’ for the job. Support Integration of the Role holder’s life story that bring the role holder to this place
    • The stand would include a personal commitment, vision and a body posture for somatic integration that allows stepping into the being the Role.
    • The Job description will have well being practices and creative ideas for stepping into the role.
  3. Doing: The doing part is the part that emerges when we can hold the first two. This is the action that has to be emergent, dynamic, and come from a co-creational space. This should not be defined concretely, as that can become the biggest energy block. Also this must continue to evolve based on internal and external feedback.

The Triple anchor job design requires self work on the part of the organisation, where there is a deeper understanding of what is the collective purpose of the organisation and how is it informed by Self, Collective and Ecological consciousness. Some people ask me what about jobs that are only transactional in nature what do we do about them? I say they should cease to exist, if they don’t energise, keeping such jobs alive will suck energy of people. The next generation jobs shouldn’t be just informed by the bottom line, they should be informed by ‘What it means to Grow and create sustainable future?’

Featured

Are you a ‘Systems’ conscious coach?

Coaching is often seen as a healing profession, however it is important to look at the systems and context in which coaching happens. Coaches need a very clear understanding of social justice and have the competency to hold cross- cultural, cross-racial humility, have clear understanding of power, privilege, rank dynamic and every coach training school needs to integrate this understanding. Coach trainers and mentors need to be socially and politically aware individuals who understand the design of the systems that influence their clients. (Refer to White fragility and Caste)

I believe impactful and authentic coaching can happen only by unraveling and dismantling the way coaches are trained and mentored. In this article, I have used inputs from work at LTW, book pages 266-267 of Coaching for Transformation and inputs from my friend and social justice facilitator Natasha Aruliah.

Malcom X said “You can’t teach what you don’t know and you can’t lead where you won’t go.”

Coaching is an intimate conversation that does not occur in a vacuum. Each person brings with them, albeit sometimes unconsciously, their histories, experiences, identities, the context and systems in which they are living and meeting in. Attending to and understanding these systems, is a crucial part of the coaching relationship. Coaching attempts to unleash an individual’s full potential, however it is based on the premise that the coach is a blank slate, a neutral being and they can overcome all barriers if they care for their clients; that individuals in relationship transcend the systemic. Coaches benefit from words like ‘self-work’ without really understanding it in the realm of power and privilege. Very few coach training schools bring the awareness of social justice lens in the coach training.

This focus on the individual with little or no awareness and attention to the systemic not only can prevent clients from benefiting from coaching, it can actual cause harm. For some individuals, addressing the systems in which they live is fundamental to successful coaching that meets their needs and desires. Exploring the systems they are in allows them to explore their full selves, what is denied because of the system, the ways they have been assimilated in etc. Given this, it is essential that coach trainers have skills and competence to address the interaction between individuals and the systems that impact them. If a coach is unable to include a systemic awareness lens, they undermine the ability to build trust, conscious agreements and spaciousness in the relationship to bring the -isms that exist. Additionally, in order to support clients and address the systems, coaches must know their own identity and systemic realities. They must examine where they reside in the systems and the impact of systems on them as well as on the client. In doing this crucial and deeper work, coaching could create possibilities that can have impact on the systems in which the conversation is taking place as well as impact on the individual. However, because the coaching profession was developed from a monocultural, Western-North American lens, this work has not been done. As a result the coaching profession is currently not diverse, coach professionals do not reflect the racial, religious, ethnic and cultural diversity in the countries and societies they live in and clients do not reflect that diversity. Many would argue that coaching has therefore become an elitist activity for the few and is not representative of the current and potential diversity of coaches, or clients and world views within the local and global community. Some would even argue that it is part of the systems and helps to maintain the inequities.

Paul Kivel says, “Whenever one group of people accumulates more power than another group, the more powerful group creates an environment that places its members at the cultural centre and other groups at the margins. People in the more powerful group (the “in-group”) are accepted as the norm, so if you are in that group it can be very hard for you to see the benefits you receive.” People belonging to the ‘in group’ are unable to notice how they are the beneficiaries of a system that marginalises other voices and marginalised bodies. This is a global phenomena, applicable to coaches all around the world.

It is easy for people of dominant white culture or higher caste to move through their daily routines without acknowledging their entitlement, power and privilege and this supremacist culture plagues most of the world today.

Maya Angelou said, “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”

Like I said before, the coaching profession historically comes from a White dominant culture and is filled with ideas from that culture. It has also stolen/ appropriated from ideas from other cultures without acknowledgement.

Coaching is designed to support the people of White culture, provides little or no help and even causes harm to minority communities. With this in mind, The Coaching and Philanthropy Project was created with partnership between BTW Informing Change, Compass Point Nonprofit Services, Grantmakers for Effective Organisations, and Leadership That Works. This work was made possible by the generous funding and support of W.K.Kellogg Foundation, The Harnisch Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Evelyn and Walter Hass Jr. Fund.

Leadership That Works had conversations with the Coaches of Color Consortium (C3), a group of non-profit professionals with deep roots in communities of color who were trained to become coaches through the CAP project. The C3 members shared that:

1.   Coaching models and frames are limited to the experiences and thoughts of mainstream society whose understandings and business model imperatives do not include the experiences of people from other backgrounds and heritages the world over.

2.   C3 found that many coach trainers are not grounded in life experiences of people of color, thus do not have a positive frame of reference about them and their communities.

3.   The coach trainers and coaches often come from deficit-based thinking and are not using culturally sensitive language.

C3 offered many recommendations to develop culturally, socially and politically aware professional coaches, I am sharing them below:

1.   Coach trainers must attend cultural competency, anti-bias, White privilege trainings and this should be part of the certification requirement.

2.   Unearth assumptions about how coaches’ backgrounds and experience influence how they see the world, and how those perspectives and paradigms further impact the kinds of questions they come up with (or what they become curious about).

3.   Introduce information about internalised, interpersonal and structural oppression and how they relate to our clients.

4.   Develop awareness of racism and its impacts today, and acknowledge it as a reality for the majority world.

5.   Develop case studies from non-profit sector.

6.   Sponsor think tanks, affinity groups and support structures for trainees who are in the non-profit sector.

7.   Commit to offering programs and resources for free or at reduced cost to increase impact and reach to marginalized communities.

(reference: Coaching For Transformation Pg 266-267)

To add to this list; I think it is imperative for all coach training to include a deeper understanding for training coaches and assessments for mentoring. Here are few considerations.

-Was the coach able to pick up the voice of internalized supremacy and inquire about it?

-Is the coach able to discern and narratives that come from the client’s Social Group Identity?

-Is the coach competent to pick internalised oppression, and inquire around that?

-Is the coach socially and politically aware of the system in which the client exists?

-Is the coach aware of the issues and problems that are ‘usual’ and ’unusual’ in various social group identities? E.g. If the client is from sexually targeted community and belongs to a heteropatriarchal, supremacist system then- What are the systemic and emotional barriers that may present themselves to my client?

– The coach has to be aware at all times that the client can do only so much internal work around a system that they are not able to influence. E.g. A POC female client cannot be made to work on her communication style and have goals around it in a White supremacist, patriarchal culture by her coach to get into a higher position without an inquiry around the system and her feelings around it- how the system plays her and uses her every day?

– The Ethics committee should make clear rules around what is ethical coaching when it comes to giving false promises to people around ‘What coaching really can or cannot do?”.

o  Coaching can empower the client to become curious about the system the client inhabits and interacts with.

o  Coaches should make it clear in an agreement with the client as to what can be shifted in coaching and what cannot be shifted in coaching, with awareness of the system the client co-habits.

o  Coaches need to have clear agreements with for profit and non-profit clients around cultural change initiatives that do not consider the marginalized voices of the most employees in the organisation.

o  Coaches who don’t understand the cultural, racial, political and social identity of the client, must find mentors and training programs to build these competencies.

o  Mentors and mentoring practices need to align with the guidelines that ICF develops for coach training with a social justice lens.

I just want to conclude this by saying that coaching should not be used without the understanding of systemic influences. In absence of this competence, coaching becomes an insidious tool of oppression for clients, especially those in marginalised communities.

Resilience for our collective future

-Tree wisdom for 2022

None of us would have thought in 2020, that we would be still in a pandemic in 2022, battling the third wave, and yet it has been inspiring to see so many of us adapting to great changes that this pandemic has brought. Changes in job, career, family, finances and worst of all dealing with the grief of isolation and death and many of us are at a breaking point having used all our tensile strength. People in economically and socially disadvantaged communities have suffered the most.

Resilience is a word that came up for me when I thought of 2022. Resilience is our ability to endure and bounce back from difficult situations.

As I had my own mental health struggles in 2021, I took time to deeply reconnect with the earth’s grounding energy, took many forest baths in isolation. I have found my connection to trees and soil very healing. Three lessons that I have been practicing and want to share with readers are:

  • Anchoring: Trees impart the wisdom to stand silently rooted in the most difficult weather.

Our values, our connection to our ancestors have the potential to become our strongest anchors. This especially for people who have been disadvantaged by systems of oppression, faced historical erasures and have internalised that oppression, thus cutting themselves from their roots and trying to fit into the dominant culture. Creating clarity around our deeper cultural values that sustained our ancestors through difficult times can help us make important, aligned and empowering decisions.

  • Connection: Trees keep in touch with the other trees and the fauna, creating a diverse ecosystem, in which everyone participates to nourish and grow.

To nourish the connection we have with our family, relatives and a diverse community can support us through toughest of times. People thrive when they know they are loved and cared for, and when they have someone to love and care for in return. A diverse community also allows for diverse and new perspectives which in turn provide nutrition for our collective growth.

  • Liberation: They work underground without having any need to be seen/ external validation and make are able to create shifts that change the entire forest landscape.

Learning to liberate ourselves from our pursuit of being seen and being significant is a paradigm shift in a system of beliefs about what is success, squeezes us for more and impacts our health and the wellbeing of our families and communities. Liberating ourselves is a practice in being able to sit with the discomfort of not doing. The pandemic became a tool for many of us the learn that lesson.

Anti-Oppression as a transformational Leadership Tool

Introduction

Oppression is an unjust practice where a dominant group uses their power and privilege to oppress marginalized identities. This happens at both Micro and Macro level. Both Micro and macro oppressions are inter-related and indicative of each other. E.g. You would see a behavioral dynamic of oppression in a team (Micro) that would be indication of larger organizational dynamic and ideology.

Anti-Oppression practice is a practice that focuses to dismantle oppressive practices at both Micro and Macro level in order to create interventions for a more equitable and just world.

Anti-oppression practice is self-governing tool for everyday relationships and awareness.

Organizations are paradoxical, everchanging, complex and multidimensional. Anti-oppression work is a work in progress and not a silver bullet. Organizations and people are whole and complete and are always moving towards a greater sense of completion when working on Anti-Oppressive practice.

As oppression is ever present in our systems, we need to continue to learn and grow our anti-oppression practice and to do that we use the points of entry as Knowing, Doing and Being.

What do you need to know to increase your awareness of Anti-oppression, what are you doing to that effect as a daily practice and Who are you being? Always being aware that we are not being oppressor to the oppressed.

There are various ways in which oppression manifests itself. Being aware of privileges and marginalization that exist in our systems and that they create similar dynamics in our day to day relationships and interactions will support us to come from pause and choice in those interactions. Self-work on our biases and prejudices helps us create a clean container for Anti-oppressive practices.

Anti-oppressive Practice should not be perceived as an abstract thought, but it must be concrete and noticeable to our daily practice relationships. There must be an proof in our practice relationship that we function within an anti-oppressive apparatus to prevent implicit or explicit oppressive attitudes. Those oppressive attitudes that undermine our transformational authority to create and maintain change (For example, how we speak can either inspire change or further marginalize and dehumanize).

If Anti-oppression practice is to be effective it should be seen on the impact it has on the people we relate with. It becomes ambiguous and counter intuitive  if we want to empower and help change the lives, impact our organisation and world while our thinking, attitude, and action continue to maintain the status quo. If we desire to see real change in our everyday practice relationships the transformational change first begins with ‘Self’.

Challenge to anti-oppression practice

The biggest challenge to anti-oppression practice is the cycle of oppression that continues to manifest itself implicitly and explicitly and can only be interrupted with awareness of Self and its impact on the relationships as well as systems it inhabits.

As the cycle of oppression is all pervasive it is important for anti-oppression practitioners to be aware of how organizational politics and relationships can continue to manifest the core of fear, confusion, ignorance and insecurity. The collective movement should be to intentionally move towards the core of self-love, self-esteem, balance, joy, support, security and have a spiritual base to this practice. If we can have that we can then create movement and action in the organization that is towards anti-oppression liberatory consciousness.

Realm of Self work

To create the core of self-love, self-esteem, balance, joy, support and security, self-work is imperative. Anti-oppression practice requires a commitment to growth mindset, celebrating resistance. AOP requires us to hold ourselves and look beyond to influence and transform. To hold ourselves with love and self-esteem beyond ego and create an inclusive anti-oppressive space for healing and growth. This work is not easy and requires understanding of triggers, reactions, intent and impact.

I suggest following tools for an anti-oppressive practice

  1. Witnessing self (Practice derived from Sakshibhaav in Hindu Yoga tradition).
  2. Iceberg of behavior and belief
  3. Neuro-biology of triggers and reactions
  4. Somatic work for internalized trauma
  5. Practice of pause and generative meaning making
  6. Practice of curiosity, humility and self-management

Witnessing self: This practice is literarily the practice of self- observation. Almost like you are witnessing you own thoughts and biases. This practice is constant and iterative, in which you build muscle to reflect as you act. Some also call it being in the balcony to watch yourself in a dance.

Iceberg of behavior and belief: When we can notice ourselves the first thing, we notice is our behavior and thought. We can use Freud’s iceberg model to look at what are the underlying factors for our behavior. This cannot be used to judge others behavior but only to work on self and understand our motivations a little bit better.

Neuro-biology of triggers and reactions: If we understand our triggers and can find a pathway to create a space for an empowering meaning, we can truly liberate ourselves from the fear, confusion and insecurity that is harbored in our limbic brain.

Somatic Body work for internalized trauma: It is important to understand that oppression and generations of oppression manifests itself not only in the brain but bodies of color and culture. Stretches, Running, Dancing, Yogasanas as well as trauma release practices can be effective in releasing trauma stored in the body.

Practice pause and generative meaning making: Amygdala hijack takes about six seconds to manifest. If we are able to pick up a trigger before it takes over, we can then create a space of pause by generative meaning making. In generative meaning making, we ask an empowering question to engage our rational brain and away from short circuiting to the limbic brain. The empowering question allows us to become curious about the situation and the trigger itself, thus creating a detached space of self-care. Some of the questions that we can ask are: What meaning am I making of this situation? How can I create an empowering meaning that supports the core of Self-love and Joy?

Trigger + Pause (Generative meaning making) = Empowered Response

Practice of curiosity, humility and self-management: Always practice coming from curiosity, humility and self-manage to create anti-oppressive space.

Mindset and beliefs for AOP

Anti-oppressive practice requires that each practitioner comes from a systemic lens and understanding of Power, Privilege, Rank, Race and Culture dynamic. This allows for the practitioner to see the systems and create shifts in policies, structures and contribute in creating deeper shifts in consciousness.

Where there is oppression three characteristics are present:

Systemic: It is systemic, organizational and societal. It is not just individuals with prejudiced beliefs and actions, but rather is embedded within the structure.

Power imbalance: It involves a dominant or more powerful group exploiting a less powerful group based on perceived differences between the groups. There is always a power imbalance at play.

Denial: The powerful group often denies that oppression exists or accepts it as being normal or right.

Oppression can manifest in different ways. It may be conscious or unconscious. Unconscious oppression is especially hard to tackle, because it is less visible and overt. However, both conscious and unconscious oppression can manifest in one’s attitudes and beliefs or in one’s behaviour. 

My beliefs for my Anti-Oppression practice:

All humans are equal and have a good intent

All human’s are parts of each other and manifest in each other’s life for self-learning and growth- (comes from Hindu religious philosophy in Geeta, Buddhism and also present in other religious philosophies)

Lust, greed and anger are a path to self-destruction

Celebrating resistance and challenge as an opportunity

Challenge has an exciting and pulsating energy and sometimes it can cause fear of the unknown, if we can look beyond fear and see challenge as an opportunity for our growth through disciplined effort, then we can move from the Unconscious competence of not knowing to the skilled application of Unconscious competence.

Anti-Oppressive practices and consciousness when used in leadership and organizational development can create ripples of transformation ranging from self, organization, society and our planet.

Anti-Oppression as a Transformational Leadership Tool

Rashmi Dixit

Introduction

Oppression is an unjust practice where a dominant group uses their power and privilege to oppress marginalized identities. This happens at both Micro and Macro level. Both Micro and macro oppressions are inter-related and indicative of each other. E.g. You would see a behavioral dynamic of oppression in a team (Micro) that would be indication of larger organizational dynamic and ideology.

Anti-Oppression practice is a practice that focuses to dismantle oppressive practices at both Micro and Macro level in order to create interventions for a more equitable and just world.

Anti-oppression practice is self-governing tool for everyday relationships and awareness.

Organizations are paradoxical, everchanging, complex and multidimensional. Anti-oppression work is a work in progress and not a silver bullet. Organizations and people are whole and complete and are always moving towards a greater sense of completion when working on Anti-Oppressive practice.

As oppression is ever present in our systems, we need to continue to learn and grow our anti-oppression practice and to do that we use the points of entry as Knowing, Doing and Being.

What do you need to know to increase your awareness of Anti-oppression, what are you doing to that effect as a daily practice and Who are you being? Always being aware that we are not being oppressor to the oppressed.

There are various ways in which oppression manifests itself. Being aware of privileges and marginalization that exist in our systems and that they create similar dynamics in our day to day relationships and interactions will support us to come from pause and choice in those interactions. Self-work on our biases and prejudices helps us create a clean container for Anti-oppressive practices.

Anti-oppressive Practice should not be perceived as an abstract thought, but it must be concrete and noticeable to our daily practice relationships. There must be an proof in our practice relationship that we function within an anti-oppressive apparatus to prevent implicit or explicit oppressive attitudes. Those oppressive attitudes that undermine our transformational authority to create and maintain change (For example, how we speak can either inspire change or further marginalize and dehumanize).

If Anti-oppression practice is to be effective it should be seen on the impact it has on the people we relate with. It becomes ambiguous and counter intuitive  if we want to empower and help change the lives, impact our organisation and world while our thinking, attitude, and action continue to maintain the status quo. If we desire to see real change in our everyday practice relationships the transformational change first begins with ‘Self’.

Challenge to anti-oppression practice

The biggest challenge to anti-oppression practice is the cycle of oppression that continues to manifest itself implicitly and explicitly and can only be interrupted with awareness of Self and its impact on the relationships as well as systems it inhabits.

As the cycle of oppression is all pervasive it is important for anti-oppression practitioners to be aware of how organizational politics and relationships can continue to manifest the core of fear, confusion, ignorance and insecurity. The collective movement should be to intentionally move towards the core of self-love, self-esteem, balance, joy, support, security and have a spiritual base to this practice. If we can have that we can then create movement and action in the organization that is towards anti-oppression liberatory consciousness.

Realm of Self work

To create the core of self-love, self-esteem, balance, joy, support and security, self-work is imperative. Anti-oppression practice requires a commitment to growth mindset, celebrating resistance. AOP requires us to hold ourselves and look beyond to influence and transform. To hold ourselves with love and self-esteem beyond ego and create an inclusive anti-oppressive space for healing and growth. This work is not easy and requires understanding of triggers, reactions, intent and impact.

I suggest following tools for an anti-oppressive practice

  1. Witnessing self (Practice derived from Sakshibhaav in Hindu Yoga tradition).
  2. Iceberg of behavior and belief
  3. Neuro-biology of triggers and reactions
  4. Somatic work for internalized trauma
  5. Practice of pause and generative meaning making
  6. Practice of curiosity, humility and self-management

Witnessing self: This practice is literarily the practice of self- observation. Almost like you are witnessing you own thoughts and biases. This practice is constant and iterative, in which you build muscle to reflect as you act. Some also call it being in the balcony to watch yourself in a dance.

Iceberg of behavior and belief: When we can notice ourselves the first thing, we notice is our behavior and thought. We can use Freud’s iceberg model to look at what are the underlying factors for our behavior. This cannot be used to judge others behavior but only to work on self and understand our motivations a little bit better.

Neuro-biology of triggers and reactions: If we understand our triggers and can find a pathway to create a space for an empowering meaning, we can truly liberate ourselves from the fear, confusion and insecurity that is harbored in our limbic brain.

Somatic Body work for internalized trauma: It is important to understand that oppression and generations of oppression manifests itself not only in the brain but bodies of color and culture. Stretches, Running, Dancing, Yogasanas as well as trauma release practices can be effective in releasing trauma stored in the body.

Practice pause and generative meaning making: Amygdala hijack takes about six seconds to manifest. If we are able to pick up a trigger before it takes over, we can then create a space of pause by generative meaning making. In generative meaning making, we ask an empowering question to engage our rational brain and away from short circuiting to the limbic brain. The empowering question allows us to become curious about the situation and the trigger itself, thus creating a detached space of self-care. Some of the questions that we can ask are: What meaning am I making of this situation? How can I create an empowering meaning that supports the core of Self-love and Joy?

Trigger + Pause (Generative meaning making) = Empowered Response

Practice of curiosity, humility and self-management: Always practice coming from curiosity, humility and self-manage to create anti-oppressive space.

Mindset and beliefs for AOP

Anti-oppressive practice requires that each practitioner comes from a systemic lens and understanding of Power, Privilege, Rank, Race and Culture dynamic. This allows for the practitioner to see the systems and create shifts in policies, structures and contribute in creating deeper shifts in consciousness.

Where there is oppression three characteristics are present:

Systemic: It is systemic, organizational and societal. It is not just individuals with prejudiced beliefs and actions, but rather is embedded within the structure.

Power imbalance: It involves a dominant or more powerful group exploiting a less powerful group based on perceived differences between the groups. There is always a power imbalance at play.

Denial: The powerful group often denies that oppression exists or accepts it as being normal or right.

Oppression can manifest in different ways. It may be conscious or unconscious. Unconscious oppression is especially hard to tackle, because it is less visible and overt. However, both conscious and unconscious oppression can manifest in one’s attitudes and beliefs or in one’s behaviour. 

My beliefs for my Anti-Oppression practice:

All humans are equal and have a good intent

All human’s are parts of each other and manifest in each other’s life for self-learning and growth, one human’s growth is part of collective growth (comes from my Hindu and Buddhist philosophy)

All souls are immortal and eternal, they are never born and will never die- (comes from philosophy in Geeta)

Lust, greed and anger are a path to self-destruction- (comes from philosophy in Geeta)

Celebrating resistance and challenge as an opportunity

Challenge has an exciting and pulsating energy and sometimes it can cause fear of the unknown, if we can look beyond fear and see challenge as an opportunity for our growth through disciplined effort, then we can move from the Unconscious competence of not knowing to the skilled application of Unconscious competence.

Anti-Oppressive practices and consciousness when used in leadership and organizational development can create ripples of transformation ranging from self, organization, society and our planet.

——-

Gifts of 2020- Year end integration

This workbook is my gift of love to you


“Your task is not seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

rumi

2020 has been a special year for all of us and the night has been long and dark. To me, it feels like we are in the woods, waiting for that smoke to clear and the fire to be put out. This waiting is familiar, being in the woods without any direction is familiar to many of us.

2020 has become a portal to integrate all that we have learnt in our life’s journey. It created a crucible to test our decisions that we have made in life, a crucible to see the systems in which we exist and how we have played by its rules to survive. As we come on the other side of this portal, let us take time to create a pause within the pause of 2020, that has brought to forefront of: What is really important for us as individuals and as humanity?

Here I have created a short year end workbook for integration, healing and moving forward. Hope you find it useful. These exercises can be done individually or in a small trusted group setting.

Remember, What you seek is seeking you

rumi
  1. What is an image or metaphor that comes to your mind when you think of this year? (No words needed allow your right brain processing to happen and think of only images, colors and metaphors, go ahead a draw, paint or use free hand and allow your pen, colors to free flow)
  2. Look at the colors and images- see what stands out most for you, make a note.
  3. Find a safe and clear space and do this somatic practice: Stand with your legs shoulder apart and hands hung loose from your shoulders, palms facing forward. Close your eyes and notice your breathing, feel your finger tips as you breath and notice the rise and fall of your chest-belly as you breath. Become fully present to it. As you become more and more present, notice the movement waiting to emerge in your body and allow the movement to happen, that movement will lead to another and another, allow for the movements to flow through your body. There might be a sound wanting to emerge and let it emerge organically. Allow for this to happen until your body wants to stop. Lie down on your back and rest. Allow deep listening and emergence to happen. This would help your body to align with your breath and energise you.
  4. Find a relaxed position and sit with a notebook and pen. Close your eyes and listen to all the messages 2020 has tried to bring to you, write down, doodle as you listen.
  5. Give your self permission to be relaxed, calm and in silence. Be in complete curiosity and do not allow any judgement or critique of what is emerging for you, just be in observance.
  6. Think of a time and share a story of how 2020 empowered you, made you aware of something more than you already knew and how are you integrating that wisdom as you are stepping into 2021.
  7. What have you learnt about yourself in 2020 that has expanded your understanding of ‘Who you are?’ and your gifts?
  8. Take few minutes to look at all that you have noted in this workbook. Sit with it. Notice what you see waiting to emerging for you in 2021.

Let us step into the new with awareness and with your eyes a little more open

“We all may have come on different ships, but we all are in the same boat now.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Anatomy of Power

Power is a malleable, invisible, infectious and multifaceted energy component that has a life cycle. Power generates a quantum field, which has the ability to grow or reduce ideas depending on the DNA (Dominant Narrative Association*). Power has the capacity to energise and de-energise at the same time. Human beings have a special connection with ‘Power’. Power can be both internal and external, it can be manifest and hidden. Power is one word can can mean several things at a time that can be both articulate and confusing. It is one word that can cause wars and deep human transformation. Power is evident and is felt like the heat of summer and the winter chill, you can sense its presence. If we name it, it may give power or take away from it, so there is always a negotiation happening with power. It keeps our heart beating, keeps us alive and it can also kill us. Every interaction with self or the other has power present. People can be born into power and thus may have unearned privilege and access to power. Sometimes people born in oppression and disempowerment can rise to have power. People who remain in power for too long can have power blindness that narrows their levels of empathy and perspective.

As a coach, leader, human, your insight into your relationship to Power is of extreme importance and has moral, ethical value to it.

Symbols of Power:

-Body type, Language, Race, Rank, Economic status, Type of car you drive, Clothes you wear, Brands you use, People you associate with, Spaces/Geographies you have easy access to etc.

Interaction with Power:

Humans and many animals since birth learn to associate and strategise their relationship to Power for survival. In initial years it means access to resources like food and security where the power is seen to lie with the parent. As the child grows the child is able to re-negotiate the terms and access to resources and comfort and may have shared power. However movement is always towards access to power. All this intuiting, sharing, understanding the dynamic of power is constantly learned and unlearned as the child grows into adulthood and happens through a process of ‘meaning making’. Symbols of power are introduced at an early age by social narratives and underpinnings of- what is felt, what is said, what is unsaid and what meaning is derived about the dynamic that co-exists. Usually the goal is for the child to have power as the child comes into adulthood. All behaviours and relating is learnt with respect to power.

Impact of ‘Power’ and its lasting relationship to ‘Self’:

Our relationship to external power dictates our relationship to our internal power that sources ‘Self’. Power has the capacity to both inspire and harm ‘Self’, E.g. You may get inspired by a leader and thus perceive them to have more power and in the process start seeking their validation that ends up disempowering you. The understanding of corrupt power, oppression and its manifestations helps us learn more about who we are as an oppressor and as an oppressed. It helps us learn about our agreements with Power. Also when we see power we could give away our power. E.g. Someone entering their CEO’s cabin with jelly knees.

Our agreements with Power are complex, fluid and depend on our experiences, personal symbols and continual meaning making:

-I want power, I will do anything to be in power, I will be compliant to power, I will rebel where I see power, I will negotiate with power, I will always associate with power and move towards it, I can see toxic power and I will rebel against it, I have enough ‘self’ power that helps me stand against any corrupt power, my ‘self’ power depends on the type of power present etc.

Remaining in observation of power, its interaction with self, its ability to influence, its ability to inspire and corrupt are all important for creating a systemic understanding of Power and thus helps us come from a space of awareness and sometimes a space of choice.

*Dominant Narrative Association: The association that we have with the dynamic dominant narratives running in the society, that can be seen in the collective unconscious as themes and symbols. E.g. When you see a picture of a wife serving a man on table, or an advertisement with many women wanting one man, there are gender biases being created in our mind about who has the power.

Crystal Clear

What is this obsession with clarity?

Who is clear and who is not?

Fuzzy visions, fuzzy ideas

Whose lens are we using to seek clarity?

I am in love with your ideas

I am in love with your thoughts

Then who is this begging for clarity?

Bring your vision to play and cheer

Let’s energize and make life easy to bear

What is this obsession with clarity?

If you have clarity, bring it on

Take charge, I shall follow you

Whose lens are we using to seek clarity?

Mind trap

Whose story? Whose Fatigue?

My life my intrigue

I am in a trap

Is it mine or is it yours

Whose story? Whose Fatigue?

The cycle has to stop

Generations of hopelessness

The cycle has to stop

Who is oppressed? Who is the oppressor?

Is it me for me or you for me or me for you?

Such a mind trap?

Whose story? Whose Fatigue?