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EMERGING DOMAIN OF WE-PRACTICE
FACILITATION

WE SPACES AND THE HIGHER WE – PART 1

THOMAS
STEININGER

ELIZABETH
DEBOLD

VINZENZ
LUPS

For over twenty years, philosopher Thomas Steininger and developmental psychologist Elizabeth Debold have been exploring the potentials of We-Space. In this introductory interview with Vinzenz Lüps, they speak about how they became involved with We-Space work and how it offers uniquely promising answers to questions of cultural development. Explaining that the “We” is present any time that human beings are together, they differentiate between We-Spaces that are rooted primarily in the sphere of interpersonal relationship and those rooted in the field awareness of intersubjective relatedness. They also speak about the further development that is needed from individuals to skillfully hold and work with intersubjective awareness, which they call “transindividuation.” At the end, they touch on the role of We -Space experiments in cultural development and speak about their global dialogue work, One World in Dialogue, and their current project, One World Bearing Witness.

THE EMERGE DIALOGUE PROCESS – PART 2

THOMAS
STEININGER

ELIZABETH
DEBOLD

VINZENZ
LUPS

In this second interview with Vinzenz Lüps, Thomas Steininger and Elizabeth Debold discuss different dimensions of their We-Space practice as a means of consciousness or spiritual development and as a practice of group dialogue that catalyzes emergence. Thomas acknowledges three different forms of We-Space initially, to which Elizabeth Debold joins in and hones in on how their work brings a magnifying glass to this dimension of the We-Space by moving beyond the self-referencing “I” into a new emerging experience of who we are in the Higher We. They go further in exploring “transindividuation” and offer an invitation to move beyond the self-referencing “I” into a more individuated self-sense that is grounded in prior unity and holds the capacity to perceive and intuit the emergent aliveness between us. This paradoxical experience of both wholeness and individuality, and of an integration of Eros and Agape, opens a new ground for the evolution of human culture. Thomas and Elizabeth reflect on how this work is explored in their training programs in the Higher We Lab and Higher We Training that focuses more on awakening this sacred depth between practitioners, where their Emerge Dialogue Process is a more pragmatic approach that liberates co-creativity in groups.For further in depth discussion of the two, see Chapter 13 on Emerge Dialogue Process in Gunnlaugson & Brabant’s Cohering the Integral We-Space.

PACIFIC INTEGRAL PANEL

ABIGAIL
LYNAM

GEOFF
FITCH

TAMARA
ANDROSOFF

For over twelve years, Pacific Integral has been exploring, facilitating, and researching transformative change in an integral, developmental context, through the Generating Transformative Change (GTC) program. Working with hundreds of leaders, over twenty-four programs delivered on three continents, GTC has developed into one of the most powerful, awakening, and mature learning journeys available today. Central to this work is an understanding of how individual and collective growth go hand in hand, and that the We-Space, grounded in transpersonal awareness, forms a container for growth that liberates a profound intelligence and creativity. Join faculty Geoff Fitch, Abigail Lynam and Tamara Androsoff in this panel conversation as they dialogue on the experiences, lessons learned, and essential practices of their integral transformative We-Spaces, which are central to the work of Pacific Integral. In this conversation, they explore how they do this work and what they are learning about it, discussing how development occurs in both the I and the We and how it is possible to relate to the We-Space as a container at different trajectories of development. As the conversation gets going, they explore the liberating movement at the level of the body, mind and spirit which activates a deeper intelligence, a movement that comes through the We-Space into the joint collectively from beyond the I and the We. They also discuss the larger collective shadows that show up in the We-Space and how learning to hold that is an essential part of the process.  Finally, they share why the We-Space is central to their work and why they feel it is an important subject at this time in history.

BILL TORBERT

In this conversation, Bill Torbert begins by reflecting with Gayle Karen Young on the centrality of the We-Space in his earlier mapping of the types of research of action inquiry that one could engage in. While traditional research methods overlook this, Bill comments on how the We-Space phenomena is not just about personal or collective development but also has the potential to change and update the methods of social science itself. From here Bill describes the Action Inquiry Fellowship as a form of practicing We-Space consciously over the years, with its autobiographical origins in the importance of friendship in Bill’s life and work. This gives way to Bill sharing about learnings about more traditional “unilateral power” in contrast to the more challenging “mutual power”, which is the form of power that is explored in the We-Space and that also has been central to Bill’s research and work in the Action Inquiry Fellowship. From here, Bill reflects on how this work in mutual power plays out in organizations, and how this influences leadership roles collectively by cultivating mature We-Spaces (with conflict being held differently, liberating structures being adapted collectively in groups and organizations, among other insights). Additional applications to leadership, organizations and business are explored as Bill and Gayle weave a deep inquiry into the significance of the We-Space in our work and lives as a whole.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SESSION WITH BILL

AFTAB OMER

Aftab Omer (president of Meridian University) joins Alicia Stammer to share more about the We-Space in the context of the work that has been unfolding over the last 25 years at Meridian University. Aftab begins by pointing out how this emerging way of being has been at the center of Meridian’s culture, which he feels holds tremendous promise for changing and influencing the world with how we show up, lead and learn together from the intersubjective field. Aftab reflects on the structures at Meridian that support this orientation through the development of collective consciousness practices that have been explored. Year after year the cohorts for masters and doctoral programs have generated a coherent We-Space of transformative learning and collaborative inquiry that continues to unfold and evolve. Aftab shares the deeper capacities that arise from this space and the signature way of being together that honours the interplay of individual and collective development. Beyond the dynamics of cultivating transformative learning communities, on this call Aftab explores the broader expanse of collective consciousness, field theory and how these topics relate to the pressing issues of our time.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE INTERVIEW WITH AFTAB

GEOFF FITCH

Drawing on his experiences in leading collective leadership retreats and journeys with Pacific Integral, Geoff Fitch brings a seasoned wisdom into collective We-Space practice that he shares with Andrew Venezia on this call. In this practical yet abstract, heartfelt but also intellectual and universally oriented call, Geoff shares his thoughts and reflections on We-Space work. Geoff explores a few basic orientations to We-Space and collective practice and how our relationship to what a We is changes throughout each stage of our development. Geoff speaks about the importance of Truthfulness, and how Truthfulness contributes to the depth and power of a We-Space, stretching us into becoming more of ourselves. Geoff explore a sense of wonder – the wonder of being alive, and how collective work evokes this wonder and supports its presence throughout the life long journey of a practitioner’s life.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE INTERVIEW WITH GEOFF

COLLECTIVE STAGES PANEL

TERRI
O’FALLON

KIM
BARTA

RIINA
RAUDNE

Terri O’Fallon and Kim Barta are a sister and brother duo who have discovered many beautiful synergies in their work with adult development theory and coaching and therapy practices in the Pacific North West. Terri is a co-founder of Pacific Integral and developer of the STages Model; her brother Kim runs a successful psychotherapy practice in Montana. In this spontaneous conversation with host Riina Raudne, they explore an inquiry into the STages model, illustrated with stories from Kim’s practice. The conversation takes an adventurous exploration of the following questions: How does the We-Space evolve as we grow up? How do we show up in collectives at different phases of our life? How does the individual affect the collective at various stages of development and how does the collective shape the individual and groom him or her for the next phase in life? What implications might these developmental nuances suggest for cultures at large? Terri’s and Kim’s conversation is full of delicious insight as well as practical ideas on what capacities we might need to build in ourselves as well as for groups in preparation for quality intersubjective connecting in each stage.

TERRI O’FALLON

Does the We-Space evolve and become different, as we grow up and mature? If so, how? In this conversation, Riina Raudne explores with Terri O’Fallon other possibilities for looking at and framing development collectively. Terri is a lifelong educator with decades of experience in various contexts of growth from primary school to graduate level educational institutions. Based on her work analyzing data from thousands of sentence completion tests, she has developed a nuanced approach to adult development that is applicable in both individual and collective contexts. The resulting STages model is a developmental diagnostic tool that listens to a person’s speech to notice changes in object category from concrete to subtle to meta-aware, whether the predominant learning style is active, passive, reciprocal or interpenetrative, and whether the orientation is currently mainly individual or collective. Combinations of these parameters help practitioners and clients find cues about developmentally aligned next steps both alone and in the We-Space. In this call, Terri talks about the effects of We-Space practices in longer-term cohorts and about the fascinating longitudinal research she is conducting with Pacific Integral students.  A rich and engaging call exploring the intersections of Terri’s work in the We-Space.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE INTERVIEW WITH TERRI

KIM BARTA

In this inspiring interview, Kim Barta discusses with Miriam Van Groen a wide-ranging and in-depth array of concepts and distinctions he works with when speaking about We-Spaces in his work with his sister and colleague Terri O’Fallon. Kim begins by outlining three key ingredients for a genuine We-Space to occur: a receptivity, an agency and a reciprocity. Such We-Spaces produce a special intimacy, healing and flow. From here, he goes into naming the variations of symmetrical and asymmetrical power configurations in the We-Space. And Kim is only getting warmed up! Brimming with knowledge, gentle enthusiasm and care, Kim transitions to guiding Miriam through a deep guided visualization of the evolution of the We-Space and our understanding of We from being inside various stages of our earlier development. From the beginning of being inside our mother’s womb to experiencing ourselves as ecosystems within ecosystems, becoming spiritually one with the kosmos, Kim brings the listener into a powerful revelation of the deep dimensions of the We. From there, Kim dives into exploring ways of holding a larger intimacy with difference, understanding our internal collective, how this relates to our external collective and many more dynamics (including facilitation tips) in the We-Space. In working with shadow elements, resistance and projections, Kim brings listeners into a richly nuanced understanding of a We-Space within a powerful developmental context.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE INTERVIEW WITH KIM

JOHN T. KESLER

In this call, John Kesler shares with Andrew Venezia his work with Integral Polarity Practice (IPP), a We-Space approach that has grown out of his work in conflict negotiation, local organizing, activism and long term spiritual practice. John’s unique approach sheds a compassionate light on the many ways in which we are longing to be more comfortable and at ease within ourselves. John shares a profound optimism in our ability to find shared values and common ground through his approach of working with the polarities in our everyday experience. Through his process of uncovering the still point within each of us, it becomes possible to embrace the fullness of our human energies and to encompass the wholeness of these polarities, whether in a group or in our own selves. Each polarity has its inherent wisdom, and by learning to bring this wholeness inside of us into a more fluid, integral embrace, through this work we begin to show up in the world in a fuller and more released manner. The beauty of his offering lies within the possibility of moving into a fuller dynamic relation with ourselves and the world. Regardless of whether you have experienced IPP, this conversation introduces a powerful and transformative practice that will benefit most listeners with a deep passion for honing their edge and discernment in the We-Space.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SESSION WITH JOHN

GREGORY KRAMER

In this conversation, Phyllis Hicks joins Gregory Kramer to explore how his work in Insight Dialogue maps with a wide assortment of constructs and experience of the We-Space.  Insight Dialogue is an extension of the essential kernels of Buddhist Practice and meditation integrated with Bohmian Dialogue that Gregory uncovered during his PhD with Terri O’Fallon. This practice emerged freely out of an intrinsic human relationality, revealing itself as a method gradually through the power of being mindful and aware in coming in relation with others between the words and the wordless, between thinking and awareness, between the constructs of our minds and hearts and the frameworks that disentangle those constructs. In this call, Gregory explores the three bases of Insight Dialogue and shares how the meditative qualities synergize with the qualities of relationship, coupled with mindfulness, which then builds a powerful container in the We-Space.  In Insight Meditation, the wisdom teachings are explored as doorways into deeper insight and realization.  Gregory shares the handles and injunctions for his work in Insight Meditation, elaborating on where one is receptive to one’s self, the world and both together in the between, so the relational field or We-Space becomes the object of awareness in an overall felt attunement to the layers of emergence.  Join Gregory and Phyllis for a richly nuanced uncovering of Insight Dialogue as it unfolds in and through a relational practice in the depths of the We-Space.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SESSION WITH GREGORY

THE EMERGE DIALOGUE PROCESS PANEL

KELLY
JENNINGS

MIKE
KAUSCHKE

THOMAS
STEININGER

ELIZABETH
DEBOLD

MARLENE
POTHOFF

MEI
KUANG-LI

Thomas Steininger and Elizabeth Debold are joined by four practitioners who are engaged with them in HigherWe-field work. Mike Kauschke and Marlene Potthoff are core HigherWe practitioners connected with emerge-bkthe educational charity in Germany that offers training in the HigherWe and Emerge Dialogue Process. Mei-Kuang Li and Kelly Jennings have more recently been engaged in emerge-bk’s international program, One World in DialogueTogether they dive into an experience of the HigherWe field and examine the foundations and the qualities of this emergent human potential. The HigherWe is not focused on the interpersonal dimension of relationship, but on the intersubjective relatedness that is emergent between us when we open our awareness to it. Through their collective investigation of the phenomenon that they were sharing, they unpack new ways of understanding the experience, practice, and implications of the HigherWe.

ALCHEMISTS IN THE WE SPACE

BILL
TORBERT

HILARY
BRADBURY

ELAINE
HERDMAN

GAIL KAREN
YOUNG

Eavesdrop into a free flowing co-created We-Space panel as Bill Torbert, Elaine Herdman, Hillary Bradbury and Gayle Karen Young share about their work in Action Inquiry and how this connects with work in the We-Space in both personal and professional contexts. Bill begins by commenting on how work in the We-Space is not for the faint at heart and how important it is for the We-Space to tolerate deep conflict for it to help with one another’s development. If the group can’t support the most powerful form of developmental feedback, it is likely that we won’t be cultivating authentic vertical development. Hilary points out the importance of the dance between love and fear in the We-Space and how Action Inquiry has helped support this in being metabolized. In these authentic alchemical moments, the work unfolds. Elaine then touches on the “tougher” territory of the interaction and what we are doing together. Gayle speaks to the mortifying awkwardness and challenge to be engaged with the We-Space spite of whatever instincts pull us away from this. As the juicy conversation unfolds, this group sharing and inquiry weaves a rich depth of insight and maturity into the nature of this collective work both professionally and personally.

EROS POWER PANEL

HILARY
BRADBURY

DANA
CARMAN

HEIDI
GUTEKUNST

GAIL KAREN
YOUNG

Join Dana Carman, Hilary Bradbury, Heidi Gutekunst, and Gayle Karen Youngon this panel as they talk about their journey in Eros Power and how this connects to work in the We-Space. Hilary begins by reflecting on the sexual nature of our being, and the healthy and fun possibilities (of the higher action logics) for how this might optimally serve the world at this time—shifting from pro-creation to co-creation through our conversations. Heidi connects this with the organizational context and how can we work with these co-creative dynamics professionally. Dana joins in with his reflections on Eros Power in the spaces of the community. In this panel, these four explore their juicy inquiry about the role of the erotic and how this plays out both individually and also collectively within the We-Space: what it is, what it’s not, how to work with it given the shadows that arise, the intangibility of it and yet the undeniable necessity of it in our lives individually, collectively and as a whole.

DANA CARMAN

Dana Carman opens the conversation with Gayle Karen Young on the We-Space with reflections on working with executives who are at the stage of reinventing their organizations. Dana shares how he has noticed a growing collective need around re-aligning their core leadership skills and competencies, which connects him to the We-Space as its working through the Theory U movement. Gayle playfully engages Dana to share more around the process source code he works with that he is exploring with executives through intentional retreats.Going out for long walks into nature on these retreats, Dana reflects on the clarity that comes through the mirror of nature that brings forth an extraordinary wisdom to guide and inform their process. Currently in exploration around narrating his process work through a series of stages, Dana comments on the initial Reckoning stage as a deeper conversation into the client’s place within their life and this time on the planet. At some point this shifts into a deeper Remembering and reconnection with a deeper healing space of Soul work.  In this call, Dana reflects on the successive unfolding of these We-Spaces through the Reinvention, Realignment and Integration phases he is currently exploring. Over the course of their hour together, Gayle and Dana explore how these movements are integrated in several relational and organizational contexts and expressions.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SESSION WITH DANA

HILARY BRADBURY

Hilary Bradbury begins by reflecting with Gayle Karen Young on her explorations in the We-Space or inter subjective through her work with the Eros & Power online trainings and her new book Cooking with Action Research: Stories and Practices for Self and Community Transformation. Hilary comments on how the grounding for this We-Space work is through 1st person work and in her case, Zen practice. Bringing this collective orientation to her Zen practice, Hilary reflects on the deeper truth of the We-Space as the core experience of non-separateness with the whole of life and the contexts we find ourselves in. Hilary points out that meditation helps us know this underlying inter subjective truth of the We-Space and non-separation at a time when our anxiety is escalating. Hilary talks about the surprising Eros in all this—how we may feel ourselves animated by the same energy that animates the sun and the flowers through the silent kindness in a self that includes others in one’s response to life. As the conversation continues, in connecting Zen, Action Research and the community of AR+, Hilary brings together these interconnected streams through her recent reflections in how these aspects enfold and inform the We-Space.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SESSION WITH HILARY

EMBODIED PRACTITIONER PANEL

JESSE
MCKAY

TRIINU
GROON

In this conversation, Triinu Groon and Jesse McKay approach the cultivation of deeper We-Spaces from first, second and third person perspective taking vantage points. Jesse begins by acknowledging the common variety of We-Spaces that exist in culture and that technically-speaking not all forms of collective space are positive. He then shares the first three competencies of the Embodied Practitioner Certification (EPC) Program, which he feels are the first person foundational capacities for creating deeper We-Spaces. These three competencies are a stable experiential contact with our body, the willingness to feel everything, and meta-awareness, which involves cultivating an active relationship with one’s own thought stream. In his view, individuals who have cultivated these three inner capacities are better equipped to create deeper We-Spaces by becoming aware of what is being talked about in the present moment without judgement and using what is arising as a doorway into this experience. This entire conversation is meant to serve as a contemplation where listeners are invited to listen to the recording and experience first-hand these steps towards cultivating deeper We-Spaces in their lives and work.

INTEGRAL POLARITY PANEL

JOHN T.
KESLER

TRISHA
NOWLAND

ANDREW
VENEZIA

THOMAS
MCCONKIE

This panel with John Kesler and three of his long-time students, Trisha Nowland, Thomas McConkie, and Andrew Venezia, goes in-depth into some of the fundamental polarities and paradoxes of We-Space and collective work. It explores the indescribably rich experiences that become possible when these paradoxes are resolved through and embodied, that is—lived into and out from. John’s Integral Polarity Practice (IPP) provides a powerful frame and practice for being able to embody any expression of human experience. By framing experience in this way, the levels of psychological-social-spiritual development are encompassed. This conversation opens us into a real taste of the potent and therapeutic energies and orientations that exist already in wait inside each of us, while inviting us to stretch into fuller embodied and authentic expressions wherever our range and center of gravity may cover in the developmental spectrum. Each of the four participants offers a symphony of poetic, personal and heartfelt interpretations of IPP and the deep effects it’s had on each of their lives and work with groups. No previous experience with IPP is required to be touched by this at times moving and deeply transformational conversation.

IMPROVISATIONAL JAZZ IN THE WE-SPACE

ED
SARATH

BOBBY
RICKETTS

ALEX
RODRIGUEZ

ANTHONY
BRANKER

In this panel we are joined by Jazz Musicians and Professors Ed Sarath, Bobby Ricketts, Anthony Branker, Alex Rodriguez and their host   Listen in as they explore the theme of Improvisational Jazz in the We-Space.  The conversation kicks off the question, “What currently allures you about Jazz as a viable inroad into the collective space of consciousness, learning and conversation?” The panelists move into exploring what gifts Jazz brings to the We-Space and how improvisation activates and works from the underlying ground of what Martin Buber termed, the interhuman sphere of the between.  Anthony begins by reflecting on the nature of relationships that improvisers experience, and the strengths of these connections to music making, where musicians almost seem to understand each other’s thoughts, predict each other’s intentions and there in turn decide where they will take their music at any given moment. This intersubjective spirit of the We revealed through playing Jazz then becomes the avenue through which the communication unfolds through the dialogic ideal, through a give and take and awareness of where the contributions come through those shared felt connections.  The panel moves into the inquiry and covers a wide swath of perspectives that shed new insight into the power of human relationship in improvisation and how the group setting is held with respect, openness, and understanding of a multiplicity of perspectives that evoke a way of embracing the music and life as a whole with the other and another.  Through this power that shapes and informs us at more elemental levels of our perception, improvisation eventually activates the power of the We through the music. Join us in this conversation as these Jazz panelists unpack the deeper insights and lessons into improvisation from their life and work in the collective.