Author: Ali Wooding

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The evocative work of Equality

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Generative Work.Space co-hosted the Quaker and Business conference on Embodying Equality in work on 9 November at Friends House in London. This heartfelt project offered a space for participants to hear about extraordinary work in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and to move from insight into action.

Inclusion is at the heart of systemic work. It is based on an understanding that all living systems have a collective memory and that we all have an equal right to belong, whether on a temporary or permanent basis. Evolution created this mechanism to ensure the survival of the whole, not the few. It is an intelligence of living systems that creates feelings of belonging, wellbeing and safety.

In experiential terms, we have an emotional connection and a felt sense of the whole. There is a recognition of ‘all of us’ though this is usually unconscious. What this means therefore is that we also register exclusion, even if that fact is largely being ignored because we may be choosing to look away or feel too overwhelmed to deal with it. If any person, people or group are being marginalised, ignored, abused or even killed, we deal with the effects of this on everyone. We see this everyday in the interconnectedness of world affairs.

This systemic understanding means that we all matter and we all have a place, a value and a role to play in the life of the system at different levels: familial, social, organisational, and so on. Part of the beauty of next week’s conference is that we are undertaking a journey of different dimensions, with:

  • self-awareness – what parts of myself do I exclude?
  • work system-awareness – to which intitiatives can I contribute in my work/organisation and where do I fit in the many different identity groups?
  • societal system-awareness – what impact is our vision, our initiatives & our being having on wider society and the ecosystem?
In the context of Brexit and the rise of Trump in the U.S. we know that the question of growing divisions and polarisation between different groups needs addressing. As we grapple with the reality of a global world, of living together as multi-cultural communities and a changing sense of identity, what will make a difference? As leaders of business, used to connecting people for mutual benefit, can we step forward and play a vital role in the deeper service of social integration and inclusion?
Please come along and join the co-hosts and our amazing speakers – Michael Lassman, Marcus Alldrick, Rehena Harilall and Satish Kumar. Booking details here
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A whole new paradigm for business

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The edge of business practice and leadership is moving us in a very interesting direction. It is bringing the human need for meaning and purposeful contribution to the forefront and it offers tremendous potential for innovation. New organisational forms and cultures reflect a growing movement towards Conscious Business that is transforming our vision for work and a deep sense of self. Alison places this phenomenon in historical context and describes the emergent new business paradigm in this LinkedIn post.

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Embodied knowing

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We are used to operating by using our head knowledge to navigate reality. Our minds carry a repository of stored information  built up from childhood that has been internally classified based on past experiences. For example, when we see a boat, we bring up in awareness the idea of boats and everything we logged about them, both factual and emotional.

In other words, we locate every thing within the realm of what we have already met or discovered – which is very stabilising in terms of creating feelings of familiarity in the world. It’s also a useful evolutionary device for surviving if we happen to meet a tiger!

However, this mind-oriented way of knowing is less useful in the realms of growth, creativity and innovation. Referencing our inner library index (consciously or unconsciously) can paralyse us when we want to find out something entirely new about a given situation, or give space to new possibilities. To do this, we need to be centred in the present moment and open up to other sources of awareness and inspiration.

We truly can meet the ‘here and now’ without running it through pre-existing filters. We have a powerful and fuller way of ‘knowing’ reality that uses sensing, deep listening and bodily data. It is intrinsically a whole person knowing, that focuses attention via a live question and also opens us up to wider spheres – that is, to other sources of consciousness that lie beyond individual experience.

Embodied knowing is an excellent means of keeping our attention in the present. And importantly, rather than distancing us from what we are examining, we are knowing it directly and staying in true relationship to its reality, now. This is especially true of human relationships where we tend to relate to people as we think/believe they are, rather than as they are right in this moment.

Embodied knowing also gives us the ability to be present with emerging data on all levels – with our mind, our felt bodily sense and our emotions. The key is to resist the natural urge to collapse the knowing field down in habitual and reactive ways based on ideas we hold and past experiences – and of course, this shuts down the potential of every living momentAs practitioners, we often need to discover areas of reactivity in ourselves in order to remain clear and present.

There is increasing amount of work being published about knowing and consciousness. A few key ideas you can explore within the fields of Psychology, Physics and Neuroscience are: morphic fieldscollective unconscious and second brain (or ‘gut brain’).