I started a conversation early in October, a place for unfettered talk via videoconference around self, climate, and our uncertain future: the Inner Climate Collective. It was to be a place where the internal and personal dimension was to be very welcome. I’d been exploring this in drop-in groups and one-on-ones conversations for years. Could we have a more committed group and learn from each other?
Some brave people said yes, we could. So we started.
Well, how did it go?
Speaking personally, it was messy. I ran into one of those inevitable blind spots, as you’ll see. The first calls felt strong positive high energy. I was very happy.
But then I went to the opposite place where I felt a lot of discomfort. Our numbers were small to start with but spread over nine time zones we had to split into two groups with different call times. My idea had been to have frequent ongoing contact to build trust and acceleration of our process. The reality was that people were split into two groups that wouldn’t even see each other. People were busy too and couldn’t come as often as I’d imagined. I felt I hadn’t delivered what I said. I felt anxious and angry, and personally triggered, about not doing it right. Nor did I feel I could talk about it because it was my job to do. I had to succeed and I didn’t want to look less than perfect.
I think I’ve busted that illusion.
The takeaway is that having the conversations that matter are perhaps inevitably going to involve making mistakes and hitting our blind spots. And that even not handling them very well is OK too.
The alternative to risking is staying safe within party lines. The commitment to staying within the lines ensures we’ll do the future like the past. Truth-in-the-moment is risky and it can be messy. I want to make that messiness more welcome and I know I’m not the only one. I have friends who look for exploration places where they don’t have to put on faces and pretend.They highly value the places where it’s safe enough to explore with others.
Those “deeper layers” and the messiness that connects into personal and collective trauma need to be welcome because messy personal and collective trauma are part of the human experience. It’s clearer today than ever that collective and individual trauma are woven into the climate predicament and working with them is part of the future.
Everything’s rising up to the surface for re-evaluation now. Every individual is going to be challenged in their own way and will find their own way.
I see people who are willing to go out to meet this as pioneers of a different conversation. It’s a conversation that will be much more exciting than Netflix or Facebook. It will change our lives vastly beyond what those can.
Can it be that that new conversations, not only in ICC but in thousands of places, are the next frontier? Against all odds I think they are and that they have the power to change the world. But it’s difficult to enter fully in because that greater thing is unknown and scary. It’s no wonder we’d want to stay safely on the familiar and known side of the border, as long as we do.
On the other hand, what a joy to cross over, to not have to pretend and to simply be with what’s present, whatever that looks like. Can we learn to do that? That’s what the Presencing practice, the core practice of the collective, helps with. But it’s not really the practice that’s important. It’s us and our willingness to show up, be with each other and trust the moment.