During the last two decade or two Worldwork, the idea of facilitating and processing world or collective issues in a large group setting, has evolved from the process-oriented facilitation methods developed by Dr Arnold Mindell. At the end of June Worldwork (www.worldwork.org) took place in the centre of London with 400 participants from 35 countries around the world.
Not just a conference of people talking about theories and issues, but rather a forum within which issues are raised, discussed and the emotions, and conflicting perspectives and experiences are welcomed and facilitated. The underlying attitude is one of Deep Democracy which to me means a kind of eldership attitude which knows the value of bringing the light of awareness to all voices, viewpoints and perspectives behind any conflict, and encouraging them to hear, see and feel one another’s perspectives and also to know the ‘other’ as an aspect of your self.
Sounds pretty scarey doesn’t it? Well Worldwork is truly an intense experience, but it also very carefully facilitated, which means to make things easier. The participants meet at many levels, in a large group forum, in daily small groups, one-to-one with trained facilitators, and in interest and network groups. Worldwork is as much and inner as an outer experience. Collective issues are inherently happening inside us all the time. The colonialisms and oppressions which continue to recycle in the world, happen within us, in our families and relationships, schools and organisations, and so on. So sustainable solutions lie in addressing all of these levels.
Big shifts occur when people who are part of a system or nation which has been oppressive or traumatising, are accountable for this history and listen carefully to those who have suffered and been traumatised. The Worldwork forum allows many of these interactions to take place.
For the first time this year I was part of the facilitation team at Worldwork. It was a tremendous experience of working and learning at your limits. Not having time to get stuck in your self-doubts and inner criticisms, but needing instead to stay engaged in what is happening in the individuals and groups which you are contributing to.
Much will be written during this year about WW 2008 in London, theory and stories and multimedia recordings will be presented on the Worldwork website.
Worldwork is an event, but it is also a daily opportunity and life attitude. Every interaction you have with another human being, or with yourself, or with the Earth, is an opportunity to enrichen the wellbeing of all sides. My relationship troubles are worldwork opportunities. Struggles within the organisations I work with. My relationship to my cat and chickens. Bringing awareness to what is happening in each of these interactions, and not only staying stuck and identified with your own position and point of view.
For me Worldwork was also a huge celebration of humanity and diversity. Things will always be left to resolve, but I am moved by the willingness and committment of everyone who participated.