DDI Intensive 2017: Come Together! Convergence and Divergence in Today's World

Kyiv, Ukraine, September 22nd-October 1st

Join 100+ participants from all continents for our annual 10 day Deep Democracy Facilitation and Coaching Intensive Course. 

Deep Democracy, developed by Arnold Mindell, is a global, whole system approach to work with change for individuals, families, teams, organizations, and governments. Come learn/teach with us how to work with conflicts, polarizations, and community tensions to create self-realization and self discovery. Today, many tendencies converge towards creating more connectedness and a global village. At the same time, regions, nations, communities, and families experience diverging processes with strong local identities. Discover with us how to facilitate, coach, and lead - but more importantly, live (!) in this seemingly contradictory reality. 

Fee: 1450 Euro

Scholarships are available. For more information, write to:
ddi-intensive@deepdemocracyinstitute.org

Our Faculty

Dr. Ellen Schupbach, USA, Dr. Max Schupbach, USA, Dr. Ruth Weyermann, Switzerland, Dr. Josef Helbling, Switzerland, Anna Gabryjelska-Basiuk, Poland, Dr. Xenia Kuleshova, Switzerland + Russia

....and YOU !.... by applying our collaborative learning/teaching approach.

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Thursday, 23. February 2017 • DDI INTERNATIONAL BLOG0 comments

2015 Memories - A Kind of a DDI Newsletter - Part 7

Participant reflections on Round Table public event

Spain - central and marginal identities

DDI Intensive October 2015:  Power, love, war and miracles in Barcelona Spain 

150+ people attended the evening Round Table in the center of Barcelona, a free public event hosted by the global Deep Democracy Institute and local DDI team in Spain. The purpose: To come together, to learn about and engage with the complex issues here in Spain/Catalonia/Basque involving multiple stakeholders and perspectives.

First, panelists shared informative and moving perspectives representing various positions and tensions - the independence of Catalonia, the unity of Spain and the view from the EU as a platform for unification of Europe. We witnessed deep feelings of pride, of pain and sorrow from the wounds of history. 

After the presentations, in the questions and discussion space, the generosity of local people enabled us to learn, witness and feel into centuries of conflict the belief in another way, hope for a better, more related and diversity-friendly world. At one point, a woman shared personally the weight of unacknowledged pain from civil war that the world turned a blind eye to. Then a woman from a European country stepped forward and addressed her directly, acknowledging the personal and collective sorrow and pain caused, and owning it as a European. 

Over morning tea the next day, Xenia, facilitator and filmmaker, Roman leadership coach and facilitator, and Alexei, a psychologist discussed the impact of the Round table on them as Russians: 

Xenia:  People were discussing different points of view and being very generous to each other, listening to each other, offering each other space to speak. I am shocked in a good way. For me as a Russian I am not used to discussions like that. 

Alexei: We three felt a hesitation to speak up, and we felt this has something to do with our Russian identity. We tend to blame the government for manipulating how we think. Sometimes we feel we are in a hopeless mess. And even in the forum, part of me was thinking: ‘It is a mess, it is impossible to make changes’. We interiorize this style by censoring our own thinking and speaking without even realizing it, in our conversations and relationships even here!

Xenia: In our tradition we have ‘kitchen talks’. In a kitchen talk you speak and gossip in the kitchen to make meaning, rather than openly in the society. 

Roman: I felt good in this group of people talking openly with each other. I wanted to speak in that atmosphere, but feeling my Russian-ness in that moment, it was difficult for me to express my thoughts and feelings publicly. In Russia these days we have many discussions about whether Russia is part of Europe or not. The Round Table opened my eyes to another way of communicating within a society, and I am inspired to bring this back to my country. 

Arita from Latvia described a moment at the Round Table that had a powerful impact on her: 

One of the panel members said, ‘I am an earth citizen. I am happy as I am’. That exploded in my head. I suddenly saw and understood and felt how every human being needs to have a place for our identity to be expressed, to be seen and known. For some it is country, for some language, for others something else. I realized that by respecting the other person’s right to a self-defined identity, you empower the person to fly, to become more of a human being.

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Friday, 18. December 2015 • DDI INTERNATIONAL BLOG0 comments

2015 Memories - A Kind of a DDI Newsletter - Part 6

Post 6: Participant reflections on national identities

Spain, Catalonia, Basque… 

DDI Intensive October 2015: Power, love, war and miracles in Barcelona Spain 

On one occasion, the large group held the pot for Spanish-Catalonian-Basque friends to interact with each other about the current situation here in Spain, with the support of the day’s student facilitation team from Ukraine, Spain and USA. The recent elections for independence of Catalonia, the contradictions and tensions, and wounds of history weeping in the background came out. 

‘Does an overall national identity exist among us?’ 

‘Yes! You are part of us!’

‘No we are not!’

Feelings of pride for being recognized through the political process was followed by a voice of caution: 

‘I am afraid to feel national pride. I remember too well our history, the human cost of nationalism escalating out of control’. 

We heard stories of families torn apart - brother against brother, sister against sister. Some spoke of the tension having not one but multiple national and cultural identities. Painful memories of violence and killing surfaced. Voices of the dead appeared, encouraging a different way for a better world, appreciating difference, within Spain, and connected with the wider world. One of our teachers did the impossible and stepped into the figure of the one who caused the violence – the dictator, helpers and nations who stood by - the one that wants to rule:

 ‘Yes, I did it, we did it. I now face you. I feel it’. 

A small beginning of finding new ways to make amends.

We were touched beyond words, and grateful to our local hosts and friends for allowing us to witness and feel in an unforgettable way the dignity, the hopes, the ghosts of history, and the urge for a better world with more understanding for diversity, freedom and community. Many present from around the world felt this work was theirs also: 


Arita from Latvia reflects on the role of language in identity:

Despite years of inner work, I was shocked how the topic of language, brought me right back to my personal history in Latvia. During Soviet occupation in Latvia, at school, I had to learn Russian as my second language. In 1991 we got independence. ‘That’s it!’ I thought, ‘I don’t have to speak it anymore!’ Russian language, however beautiful, had become for me a symbol of oppression. Witnessing the Catalonians and Spanish people express the impact they had on each other, I realized I had been free now for a while, in touch with my Latvian identity, which also means that speaking any language becomes a choice. I remembered that I still understand Russian perfectly, even though I am shy to speak it. By not speaking Russian I am losing contact with the human beings who do and also deprive myself from enjoying, for example, a Russian literature and films. I felt my heart opening up. The next day I went to a peer from Moscow and asked: ‘Would you like to work with me during the next exercise? I came home, better understanding our Russian minority and the pain of history, right here in Latvia.

Boris is from Odessa, in Ukraine. He is a leader and coach in social and business communications in corporations, NGOs, government, municipal and state organisations:

Yesterday I witnessed a miracle in the group process about Spain and diverse identities. You could never achieve what happened there with a piece of paper and a group of very smart people trying to join it together. We heard and felt the difficulties of all the different people and nationalities and groups living together, the complex history that still is not resolved. Some are still living in history, some use history to justify actions today. Some want to go forward, and some want to move on and live in peace and harmony. 

 

 ‘I want my independence’, or ‘this is my opinion’, ‘I want the country to be united’. People were not just stating a point of view, they were actually building connections, without intending. The magic of it! Here, people who were fixed in one immoveable position and, found themselves moving a couple of steps forward. There were tears, there was honesty. People were asking forgiveness for their ancestors, and accepting the apology. 

I want to learn this mystery, this way of facilitating that creates atmosphere and space to make this possible. I wept, feeling our tough situation in Ukraine. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and I felt it is possible to find a solution. 

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Thursday, 17. December 2015 • DDI INTERNATIONAL BLOG0 comments

2015 Memories - A Kind of a DDI Newsletter - Part 5

Post 5: Participant reflections on how to lead in conflicted field

DDI Intensive October 2015:  Power, love, war and miracles in Barcelona Spain 

Ahmed, from Egypt is an organisational coach and facilitator. He works across the Middle East, Europe and also periodically in the USA:

"My training with DDI really helps me even on the family personal level in being able to unfold and see the dream behind the complaint. Beyond the anger, the emotions to the essence of what the others are trying to say. This for me is simply magic. Even in conflicts that have lasted for years and years ¬I am able to make good ground. It’s amazing how when people are seen at the essence level, the energy completely shifts. It is beyond culture, beyond nationality, it is a human thing. Amazing!"

Ahmed shares his new learning here on leadership, victims and oppressors with an example of a leadership tension in a corporation he works with:

Employees were continuously evaluating their bosses. The leaders were caught in the role of the oppressor. They were so busy evaluating how they could have done things differently. They were experienced as oppressors, and yet they felt they were the victims! I love what we learned today that whatever the corporation is doing to you, you are partially doing also, even if on a lesser scale.  You just don’t see it. 

Ahmed is describing the power in our time, of ‘we, the people’. When used without awareness, unbridled strength of the ones against the leader can unleash a force that also dehumanizes and hurts.  

Through a group process on this topic, we learned about the double bind of the leader/facilitator under attack. If you fight back, force your point and win, you can make enemies for life. Showing vulnerability in the moment of attack as a human being with a beating heart and feelings, can also be problematic. We saw in action the distinction between the powerful energy of a role, and the positional power of the leader. The energy can be occupied by anyone. Now may not be the moment to vacate the positional role and become a hurting person that the opponent needs to take of. Someone else will occupy the leadership energy and not necessarily with awareness for the good of the whole. 

In the large group processes, we witnessed and practiced different strategies for de-escalation, depending on context and the moment:

The leader/facilitator/participant facilitator can go over the other side and live into the opposite position congruently. 

The leader can challenge back and intensify the interaction - escalate to essence and allow the roles to switch that way. This is edgy, and necessary to learn to be able to sit in the fire of extreme conflict towards a deeper result. What makes this possible? Maybe it is fate, an initiation path of love, discipline, and knowing your team has your back through good times and bad.

Learning to challenge back as the leader/facilitator/participant facilitator - on either side - and to stay related - takes a special attitude. For some, this comes naturally. For others, it is a lifetime practice in getting more relaxed about making a mess, cleaning it up over and over again and finding beauty in the painful and horrible mess.

Leadership challenges can be terrifying. At the same time, being attacked and challenged as a leader can help the organisation learn, grow and change itself. Unexpectedly, when power, war and love see each other, a window to a new world opens up, like magic.

Nancy, an organisational coach and facilitator in the USA, reflects on her new relationship to conflict:

"Conflict is not to be avoided, rather, engaged in and embraced. It is messy, dangerous, scary work. Finding the deeper meanings behind conflict through genuine dialogue among all involved parties is the only way to true understanding, accord, progress and peace. How can I bring this possibility to my work with community leaders? How can I bring this to my personal life? How can I bring this to my world?"

Benjamin, from Germany reflects on the change in his approach to conflict, as an organisational trainer and facilitator:

"Rather than ignoring elephants in the room, I've developed a real curiosity for them! I also notice that I am much less willing to accept going around in cycles in a conflict, even in my close relationships. Of course I still find it hard to jump in at the deep end, and sometimes I even wonder if I have improved my awareness at all. In optimistic moments I appreciate my doubt as a sign that I am learning. "

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Wednesday, 16. December 2015 • DDI INTERNATIONAL BLOG0 comments

2015 Memories - A Kind of a DDI Newsletter - Part 4

Participant reflections on Deep Dempcracy approaches to polarization, tensions and conflicts 

DDI Intensive October 2015:  Power, love, war and miracles in Barcelona Spain 

We humans are typically at war with war. In learning an alternative, we took a deep dive into concepts, attitudes and methods for facilitating between warring/conflicting parties. War is. In the large group of 100+ people, we practiced Processwork’s Worldwork methodology as applied in a large group process. 

A group process is a way of getting a deeper feeling-understanding of the many diverse sides underneath a polarized issue, and allowing the tension between different opposed views to show their own solution. Physicists agree there is polarization in the universe, yet, new discoveries are showing how particles change identity and that within dark matter there is no polarization. Applied in the social sphere, the worldwork method helps deepen and intensify the interaction between positions by following carefully the sensory and feeling signals on each side of the conflict, and notice signs of a natural role switch until the interaction drops into essence beyond polarization, even for the slightest of moments. By slowing down at moments, and allowing opinions, tensions, and feelings to come out into the open, we can paradoxically speed up the cycling phase of conflict. 

Each morning, a different learning triad practiced facilitation skills in the round. The facilitators assisted the group to generate topics, gain group consensus on choosing a topic to go into, facilitate the unfolding and intensification of the polarization within the topic, notice and frame mood shifts, and appreciate the atmosphere when a feeling of commonalty pulls us together at the essence level beneath the polarization. The presence and interventions of the facilitators helped us open up to moments of temporary relief as a first step in a pattern change, and resist the temptation to recycle the conflict. 

The world work collaboration methodology uses awareness to bring out the polarizations in a conflict and allow identities to change. 

Arita from Latvia reflects on the role of conflict:

I witnessed how sometimes you have to escalate conflicts to reach peace. Saying ‘yes’ to power and conflict, allows the process to start and healing to begin. Linear ways of solving conflicts might help temporarily, but they do not get to the root of the problem. Voices get louder because no one is listening.  Start the conflict to avoid the war is counter-intuitive. By saying ‘Yes’ to escalation, I am not meaning raising voices. I mean getting to the essential meaning within the problem. With conflicting groups, even if the relief is temporary, it is a stimulus for personal growth and that has an affect. 

On one occasion, the DDI advanced student facilitation team from Ukraine facilitated our process on the polarization: Sitting in the fire of conflict versus escaping.

The social activist viewpoint insisted on constant focus on the goal, and fear of losing it, while the 'escapee' role expressed the oppressive feeling of being judged by the social activist insisting on her way of making change. In this group process, we learned there are many ways to sit in the fire of conflict and tolerate the heat, including living with the death of love ones.

On another occasion, one in the large group challenged the idea that a role switch is always possible in an extreme conflict. In a demonstration that followed, we heard a person occupying the land of another people, convinced of her right to live on someone else's land voice the position: 'I will never change'. Max, our teacher-facilitator noticed the stated position, and came right over to her side - feeling and naming centuries of oppression, that resulted in this position. He encouraged her to intensify her own position, and escalate it to its very essence. It took time talking back and forth gently. Nothing big was happening. Then the facilitator noticed and caught a subtle mood shift, a faltering, a tone change, and framed out loud the little shift in perspective. He noted: ‘This is not yet a big outer political success, but indeed a success - a relationship entry point to build on’. We witnessed in action how rigid positions are not necessarily solid positions. We only need to look around at political and financial systems that fall apart overnight to notice how rigidity and solidity are not the same thing.

Rather than trying to de-escalate and harmonise conflict, with the help of our faculty and student facilitators thought the Intensive, we did the opposite - each side intensifying and escalating its position to its essence, until a natural shift in feeling, mood and atmosphere occurred. Many felt it and were moved by it.  

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Tuesday, 15. December 2015 • DDI INTERNATIONAL BLOG0 comments

2015 Memories - A Kind of a DDI Newsletter - Part 3

Lifemyth, the timeless spirit in us that organizes our change and growth. 

Participant reflections on essence, love and changing the world - DDI Intensive October 2015: Power, love, war and miracles in Barcelona, Spain

The life myth, we learned, from the work of transpersonal pioneer, C. G Jung, and from Mindell, is a mythical essence weaving in our own lives as a guiding force. Changing the world is a mythic process – utilizing a recurring pattern present in our earliest childhood dream and in different ways throughout life as a dependable resource. 

With the help of a partner we led each other through a personal development activity 'love in action’. We accessed the wondrous ineffable energy of our first ever experience of love to grasp a mythic pattern guiding our life. The point of the exercise was to use this awareness to channel the creative force within the pattern into a vision for a practical project we want to bring into our world, to affect change.

Arita from Latvia is an executive coach, working with business organizations and teams:

One of the methods I especially liked was the one we used to discover our essential life myth, exploring a first love experience. I discovered in the ‘here and now’ a dance between my eternal self my external self. Being in touch with your own myth and essence, gives way to creativity and fulfillment and bringing our gifts to other people. Bring it on!

It also worked wonderfully with the leaders in a business environment. I said to CEO, you have been telling me the manager you want me to coach has the knowledge and skills to do the work technically, but her team is unhappy. You want me to work with her in developing her social skills. But I have to warn you, if we explore the question: ‘Am I at home in this job, and how can I be at home in this job?’ it might turn out that her inner myth is not connected to this job and she might decide to leave. Is that ok with you? And this CEO responded, ‘Yes please! I want her to get in touch with her life mission because we want people here who are in touch with themselves, and here because they feel at home, and not just because of the payroll’. 

On another occasion, we applied the personal life myth idea to a collective situation or project. We discovered the mythic essence in our organisation/team/project, as a navigation tool to get connected with what makes it tick? 

Alyona from Russia is a snowboarding coach and a human resources executive. She reflected on the life myth idea in the coffee break after the inner work:

We humans have a life myth that we embodying throughout life. The earth too has a myth, showing up in different issues, like global warming. It is a huge help for me when I am working on an issue, to inwardly interact with the earth.  At the essence level me, you and the world are one, so when I connect the earth’s essence-like energy and use it, it enables something to happen more easily, lightly. I can really have an affect on things.  

Anastasia from Ukraine is involved in the design of police reforms in her country and she made a connection between life myth idea and her work: 

I sometimes feel really hopeless because the task feels huge and bottomless. Knowing a little bit about the role structure within tensions as we are learning here, really helps me be with tension, and not fall into the hopelessness of the situation, for instance when people are ready to walk out of negotiations. 

I discovered today that for me it is all about love. How does love fit into governmental institutions like the police? In Ukraine, we are expecting so much of the police. How little we are ready to do ourselves! For example, alcohol abuse contributes to a lot of crime, and takes up police energy and resources. As a society we love police, but to practice love we need to help them spend less time on things like alcohol abuse.  Working on the life myth of the police in Ukraine, I discovered how the police reforms I am involved in are all about love – love for my country, love for our future, and for the people I work with. 

The laws of physics and quantum mechanics we learned, are the universe’s language for how things work. Social systems and human psychology are part of existence, and so they too function according to these laws. Processwork as a collaboration approach is founded on these same laws that evidence the way life actually works. For instance, the law of non-locality in physics, shows how events and observer are strangely connected, even if physically or psychologically far away from each other. Linear causality does not explain or solve the volatility and unpredictably of life on this planet today. From a Processwork perspective, the facilitator or leader is affecting and affected by the field of interaction he or she is within. Anastasia is excited by the relevance of these ideas in her work:

We heard today how somebody just got a Nobel prize for discovering how the tiniest particles [neutrinos] are moving through us all the time, changing identity and the nature of matter. Today’s work on discovering our life pattern through an early love experience, was about the spirit of love that can go through anything. It is inspiring for me to realise how love, government reforms and the structure of the universe are all connected

Imagine how discoveries about the working of the universe can influence methods of collaboration into the future!

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Monday, 14. December 2015 • DDI INTERNATIONAL BLOG, EAST AFRICA BLOG, EUROPEAN BLOG0 comments

2015 Memories - A Kind of a DDI Newsletter - Part 2

DDI Intensive October 2015: A diverse flora - but one garden to grow in!

Voices from participants of Power, Love, War and Miracles in Barcelona, Spain, October 2015

We are excited to share with you a flavor of the reactions of people from various facilitation methodologies and traditions. 

Anke, from Holland is founder of a network organisation and new to Processwork. She works with groups in conflict, with young people and families, in restorative justice, family group conferencing and healthcare systems change:

I love to learn how to make what is happening in the situation more visible and here I and here I am learning the fine art of facilitation. What does a facilitator do in this case, or in another case? I am learning how to notice what are we missing here and how to bring hidden aspects out? I like that. I am not used to that. This is really useful. 

Benjamin, from Germany, combines his Processwork studies with DDI with a variety of methodologies in his work as a facilitator, including "Presencing" and the "Art of Hosting":

I am gaining a deeper understanding of how these methodologies are connected and have roots in a new paradigm of appreciating the potentiality of our world. I am discovering my own personal style as a facilitator, which in turn helps others recognize better what my contribution to their work might be. 

Ulrike is an organisational consultant, leadership coach and facilitator in Germany. She is a psychologist working in coaching, and facilitation in schools and larger corporations, through art and nature, for instance sculpture and landscape installations:

I like being here with people from different parts of the world and building a global network. We meet, work on these ideas and get seeds take back to our countries and plant in our special earth and grow around the world. I am touched by the idea that conflict isn’t only bad; I am used to the feeling it is terrible and I have to get away from it. I am impressed by this open space where it is possible to bring in everything you are thinking, and then go right over to the opinion on the other side. 

Barbara from Spain is an organisational facilitator:

My experience was the feeling of being at home inside of the diversity. I felt something very deep moved inside of me. Still remembering the love we shared.

Karin from Denmark, is a psychologist, and studies Process Work with DDI. She is a leader in a mental health facility:

I use Process Work in my organisation. It is helpful to me in group interactions to know about roles and rank. The group process on the topic of refugees was vey real and relevant. I have inner conflicts to deal with in our institution where many refugees come for treatment. If I want to do anything in the world, I have to do my own inner work first. This approach is useful for my inner work and bodywork. I gain access to my core purpose working on my childhood dream and I love that. It’s funny that whatever is happening in the Intensive, I find: Oh, this is just what I need at this time! Very fruitful.

Conchi Piñeiro from Madrid, Spain is an environmental scientist. She facilitates in a variety of settings – human rights, gender quality, co-operatives and environmental education:

For me this has been an empowering experience and an invitation to connect deeply with myself and at the same time, with others. We were a diverse group guided through powerful exercises and group processes, where participants practiced group facilitation on real topics, with great learning support from the trainers. I gained new perspectives on power and rank and how to use my rank well!  

I experienced my first public Open Forum [on the topic of Migration, Borders and Refugees], (covered in a later post) and it was amazing to hear in the same room such different experiences relating to each other as invisible threads. This deepened my understanding and feeling. 

Key words I take away: Stay in the role to step out, manifest conflict and love, experience trust, allow yourself to detach!

Jeni from Sheffield, UK is a cross-cultural facilitator is excited to find a resonance here in Spain with the cross-cultural concerns she is grappling with:

I am writing a Community Cohesion strategy with diverse people across Sheffield society as to how we can envision a city where everybody is accepted for who they are and what they have to offer. Being here in Barcelona is a real reminder of how the world is changing. I am hearing a lot of things from people who live here about huge issues affecting this city, and they are many of the same issues that are affecting our cities in the UK. Barcelona has an issue with the price of property going up, so that tourists can stay here, and the local people are getting pushed out. We have similar issues in the UK. This creates tensions here as it does with us, between the people who want to live here, and the people who want to work here, and the people who want to visit here. I am learning what an international phenomenon this is. 

Inigo from Bilbao, in the Basque Country reflects on the experience:

I think it is great we came to Barcelona, with all the diversity and noise around. Some things are triggering me a lot. Like, ‘welcome to Spain’ and ‘all the Spanish are welcoming you’ and considering me [from the Basque country] Spanish! So I think we are heating up and I am really looking forward to it!

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Sunday, 13. December 2015 • DDI INTERNATIONAL BLOG0 comments

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