The pattern of Creative Facilitation
Updated: Jun 10
I work with people and people tend to follow patterns.
Patterns of behaviour, useful behaviour, and not so useful behaviour. I have been fascinated by patterns ever since I could move about and grab hold of things... plants, animals, insects, marbles, stones, water, wood... I have always wanted to find out what makes that insect do what it does, that stone that shape, that piece of wood smooth and this one rough. When I am working with someone, or a group of someones, I notice what they repeat, how they express themselves, what words crop up often, what words are avoided or difficult. I also notice how they move physically. How do they sit, stand, move their bodies, their face and their hands when talking, or thinking... when not moving talking or thinking. I am not looking to predict what anyone person or group will do in any situation, however I am keen to find out what goes on for the people I work with on a deeper level than is initially presented.
Once we understand what emotions and feelings we associate with which behaviours, we can be honest about what we want to do... and I like working with people who are keen to find out what they want to do and how they can do that honestly and with a sense of connection.
There all sorts of books and manuals that suggest that if we all follow this plan... or that set of actions... then we get a certain result... I am not so sure about that.
My way of working depends upon the person or the group I am working with, I follow them and aim to join them on their journey... I am not aiming to lead them on mine.
There are some core principles that are at the base of how I work, these are often in the form of assumptions.
I assume that every human wants to be better, in what ever way they interpret that.
We all want to feel ok with ourselves, it feels comfortable to be ok with myself... and one of my core principles is that we are comfort seeking animals... seeking connection with self and others.
I do my best work when I feel that I am doing something that I am comfortable and relaxed with.
I may not always find every thing easy and sometimes I may challenge myself to do something that is scary or difficult... but I am more likely to do that difficult thing well when I feel I am confident in myself and those others around me who support me.
My pattern of work aims to help create a community where we can feel comfortable and relaxed much of the time.
I like working with others who have worked hard to master the techniques they need to express themselves through what they contribute to their community, and can then offer this contribution without feeling uncomfortable. So the patterns in my work are based around assuming that we all want to do well in what we do... we all want to feel comfortable with ourselves and others... we all want to contribute something useful and meaningful to our community... this gives us pleasure and meaning... and a life without pleasure and meaning sounds dull to me. Another core guide in my life and my life's work are the texts and practices associated with Taoism.
It feels strange to me to say;
"I am a Taoist"
When people ask what that means... I am likely to say; "I don't know, it is a feeling, a way of being. Hard to put into words... more a sense of... something... beyond words." Not much help as a description.
The big text in Taoism is The Tao Te Ching. A book of 81 very short chapters or pieces... the first piece says;
Tao k'o Tao fei ch'ang Tao... or in the nearest English translation... Tao called Tao is not Tao.
Some things cannot be explained in words. They can be felt, they can be demonstrated, they can be useful... but they cannot be described usefully in words.
There is an old Chinese saying;
Name the colour, blind the eye.
I feel this describes the limits we put on something when we categorise and name things... what ever that colour you see in the lake or in the sky... maybe nobody else sees it like this... and it's the same with being a Taoist... what ever way you live it... that is your Tao.
And this is how I work... with processes I have learned and from the spontaneous and organic moments that are not just beyond learning... but rely upon not knowing. This feels like a good place to stop writing more words and to sit quietly and see where my mind goes and what my body tells me. Thanks for joining me on this journey into some of my patterns.