2 Social conversations were part of the glue that kept the group together There

2 social conversations were part of the glue that

This preview shows page 88 - 90 out of 188 pages.

2. Social conversations were part of the glue that kept the group together. There was a beauty to it, and there emerged—quite naturally—a sort of jazzlike dialogue and exchange that created a harmonic resonance. 3. Instead of serving as interrupters, the expressions of personal issues were part of the natural flow, and the needs were addressed organically. They were an integrated part of the whole. 4. It rarely happened that one participant would directly confront another, but when it did happen, it looked different than the system I’m used to of offering direct feedback or being confronted myself on my own behavior. Instead, participants made suggestions, offered input, and invited inquiry. Within this context, the women communicated a lot to one another and learned from one another as well. 5. The women were unabashed in establishing a sort of natural support system. Women took care of each other and of the whole, with little fanfare, and yet with great heart. 6. Women expressed their feelings very naturally, and when they did, there was a sense of ease about it and caring from the group. There was little drama; the women seemed to naturally know what to do in response. This was a tribe, very different than the tribe I was used to or the one in which I grew up. I was raised in a male tribe, where agendas were set, where we tightly controlled outcomes, and where the alpha male got his way. Hierarchies were natural in my tribe, and focus and direct communications the norm. In my uninitiated mind, I found the behavior of this different tribe all quite draining at first. It did not produce direct and immediate outcomes. It did not match the way I understood learning to happen. And it certainly didn’t follow the design of the workshop. Every bit of me wanted to shout, “Stop it!” or “Stay focused, d*&^% it!” Thankfully,
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wisdom got the better of me. Rather than try to control the process and the outcome, I kept my frustration rather quiet, and I kept observing. Instead of expecting the women to act like I would (and thus finding them failing at their task), by valuing the difference between us I grew fascinated by the cultural norms that emerged before me. I watched and listened. I thus began to honor this process, so foreign to my male mind. As the event unfolded, I could see the participants learn. It certainly wasn’t at my pace or in the way I was used to, but it happened nonetheless. At the conclusion, I could not clearly identify many moments of direct learning (at least the predefined learning that we had designed to take place). To my surprise, the participants reported that it was a rich and welcome learning experience. It was as though magically the learning happened in the white spaces between conversations. What seemed blank to me was rich with meaning, even the spaces part of the patchwork whole.
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