Focusing

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Purpose of Focusing

Our thoughts, emotions and body sensations all feed in together to create our world experience.
Our thoughts, emotions and body sensations all feed in together to create our world experience.

Preparation: Thought Stream

Process: Focusing on Sensations

Reflection

[Download MP3s: Focusing  (Purpose), (Preparation), (Process), (Reflection), or you can use the Transcript text below to guide others.]

Write a few notes down in your Joyality Journal about the feelings in each of these body centres … reflecting but not judging.

You might also ask yourself:
>Was it easy? Or hard?
>Was it frustrating?
>Did you find it hard to remember to do this exercise? How do you feel about that?
>Where are you feeling that?

Remember all these feelings and thoughts are relevant. They are simply telling you something important about yourself. Remember to be gentle on yourself.

Are you judging yourself? If you find you are, what are the emotions that come with this judgment? What are the thoughts? We invite you to write those down in reflection in your Joyality Journal.

By doing this, we are practising releasing the grip of tension, “shoulds” and judgments in our lives on ourselves first, so that we can be more open to self-love, self-acceptance and therefore be better available to share our fullest potential with the world.

Return to Why Joyality?

[Transcript: Focusing]

Purpose

Joyality is not just about feeling happy and good all the time. It is actually about embracing and being able to face the real emotions we feel in the moment, in any moment. In our culture, we often deny ourselves access to our real emotions in a given moment. Think about it, have you ever told yourself “I shouldn’t be angry..” or “I should feel happy right now”… ? Essentially many people on this planet have grown up thinking that feeling bad, sad, mad, socially awkward or just uncomfortable in life is a “wrong thing”. This has perhaps been because many of us were told not to feel so often … “don’t feel sad” “don’t feel bad” “be happy” as if that is the only ultimate goal of life. Of course, “not feeling” was never the intention of those that said these things to us, it was simply a misinterpretation.

We at Joyality, inspired by many compassionate healing and awareness practises, know that feeling all our emotions is a very useful thing. In fact our emotions are a gateway to personal awesomeness! Emotions can help to open us to a deeper knowing of ourselves and our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. They are signs that something is not quite resolved or sitting right within us or that something is blocked and may be pointing to a belief that is self limiting. When we are able to face our emotions or just practice sitting with them instead of pushing them away, suppressing them, being ashamed of them then we provide ourselves with a great opportunity to be able to connect with the core of ourselves. By being with and expressing emotions in a safe and personal way without projecting onto others, emotions can be more easily processed and transformed. Remember, what we resist persists and what we face and embrace given the chance will change.

There are so many ways to feel and process your emotions. You may already have some useful practices for this … some people write a journal, draw, do sport and exercise, do some yoga, meditate, go for a walk in nature, scream, cry, punch into a pillow, sing, dance, have a warm bath, just to name a few! What do you do? Reflect on this and write your answers in your Joyality Journal.

Our thoughts, emotions and body sensations all feed in together to create our world experience.
Our thoughts, emotions and body sensations all feed in together to create our world experience.

A physical feeling or sensation in the body, when you stubb your toe on the pavement, will provoke a thought “ouch that hurt” and may lead to an emotion; sadness hurt. Or if someone just said something nasty to you, you may have an emotion first, anger perhaps, which will have a thought behind it “that person is mean”, and a physical sensation tied in with it, a pain in the heart perhaps. When we can observe our thoughts, sensations and emotions as they arise we can better learn to know ourselves, our motivations and act consciously rather than re-actively in our lives.

Preparation: Thought Stream Meditation (Source: adapted from Naomi Goodlet)

These meditations help you to focus, and to get in contact with your own body and the sensations within. Know that throughout this meditation you are completely in control of yourself and you are free to slow down or pause this focusing session at any point if you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed, simply by opening your eyes and stopping the podcast. If this happens, we invite you to just sit with anything that comes up and journal about it if you feel to.

Find a comfortable place to sit, either on the ground or in a chair, where ever feels good. Adjust your sitting position until you are completely comfortable….

Now I invite you to close your eyes. You don’t need to keep your eyes closed throughout this session, but doing so might keep you in closer contact with your imagination and the sensations within your body.

Start by taking some deep breaths ..
Relaxing your body, sitting comfortably..
Now visualising that you are sitting on the bank of a gently flowing creek
Hearing the trickling sounds of the water as it cascades over the rocks….
Effortlessly making its way on the journey…
Noticing any thoughts that are trying to hook you in.. trying to distract you
You notice next to you there is a small pile of leaves, all different colours, resting on the ground…
Pick up one of the leaves and hold it out in front of you

Next time you notice a thoughts hooking you in, just place that thought on a leaf and send that leaf floating down the stream…
Just visualize and imagine what ever works for you
Watching the leaves and they float away…
And bringing yourself back to the water endlessly drifting along…
No need to worry about anything…
Just effortlessly observing the creek…
As you notice thoughts popping into your mind..
Notice the temptation to give into them and get caught up in them…
Instead softly stay in observation and place the thought on a leaf and send it sailing away.

Now it is time to observe your thoughts, not to engage with them..
There may be an endless supply of thoughts… that’s ok…
The leaves are never ending, so every time you notice a thought just placing it onto a leaf and watching it float away out of sight, again and again bringing yourself back to the stream and the sound of the trickling water.

As you watch the stream you also allow yourself to watch your mind, choosing to observe your thoughts rather than becoming them…
As any memories, judgments, worries or ideas come into your mind as they will, just place them on a new leaf and watch them float away…
By observing your thoughts you become pure awareness, by letting go of the trouble with your thoughts you become peaceful…
Letting go of any self judgment when thoughts arise to distract you from your focus, this is the way of your mind, it cannot be control, by simply allowing your thoughts to come and go you become a master..
Even if you are constantly sending thought after thoughts off down the stream you are perfecting the act of observing and allowing, allowing your thoughts to drift in and out… letting them come in placing them on a leaf and letting them drift on by….

Peacefully observing…
And gently bringing your attention back to your breathing..
Focusing on the breath…
Becoming aware again of your surroundings
Opening your eyes
And moving your body when you’re ready…

Taking a break, maybe writing a few notes in your journal about how you’re feeling right now after that experience.  How is your state of consciousness different from “normal”? Bringing yourself back to this practice whenever you feel to make the time.

When you feel ready, sit back down in your comfortable spot, ready for the next part of the process.  Closing your eyes again, if that feels good.

Process: Focusing on Sensations (Source: Phoenix Institute via Rita Gyoffry)

In your own way, take a few moments to feel your body relaxing….

Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out, let your weight settle down onto the surface you are sitting on….

Feel the muscles softening a little…. And loosening… relaxing and releasing…. Just simply letting go…. Perhaps a deeper breath or two helps…. And that feeling of letting go a little more on the out breath….. Just feeling the ease of it all quite effortlessly ….. effortlessly…

With your eyes gently closed, become aware of the space before your eyes.. Relax your eyes.. just simply resting your attention there… Now pay attention to any sounds outside the room.. just listening… with a gentle curiosity… Letting the sounds come and go…. No need to judge…. Now bring your awareness to any of the sounds inside the room….letting the sounds come and go…. With simple curiosity… now bring your attention to the sound of your own breathing…. Letting the sound come and go.. with gentle curiosity…

As you bring your awareness to your breath, notice what sensations there are as you breathe in … and as you breathe out…. Feeling the air touch your nostrils… Feeling the slight movement of your chest and your tummy… Listening to the gentle sound of your breathing……

Allow your breath to take up whatever rhythm feels natural for you at the moment.… quite effortlessly..

And now bring your awareness to your centre… the feeling centre-line of your body… with the intention to check in with how you are feeling and with a willingness to include body sensations, gently ask yourself, ‘How am I feeling?’.. Bring your awareness to your throat… feel into it.. with a gentle curiosity, explore the sensations in your throat.. subtle or strong.. comfortable or uncomfortable.. any sensations… and as you feel into your throat, feel the flow of your breathing….

Bring your attention to the centre of your chest, feeling for any sensations.. a slight pressure, an ache, a tightness… a hardness or resistance to the breath.. or perhaps it feels soft and comfortable.. explore the body sensations free of any judgment… and as you feel into your chest, feel the flow of your breathing…

And now bring your awareness to your upper abdomen, above your belly button, but below your rib cage and ask yourself ‘How am I feeling?’ Notice any sensations in the upper abdomen.. a softness.. a tightness… a shakiness… a numbness… whatever sensations you find there… as you feel into your upper tummy, feel the flow of your breathing…

Now bring your awareness down to your lower abdomen… around and behind the navel…. There’s no need to analyse whether the sensations come from a physical cause or an emotional cause at this stage simply explore all the sensations in the lower abdomen… and feel the flow of your breathing…

Now open your awareness to include the whole feeling centre-line of your being.. your throat, chest, upper and lower tummy… keep the feelings company.. with curiosity and compassion… just sitting with whatever feelings are there… and as you notice the feelings in your centre, feel the flow of your breathing…

When you are ready slowly become aware of your surroundings again…
Begin wiggling your fingers and toes…
And when you are ready … in your own time open your eyes again..
And really take your time to adjust to the space with your body in it as it feels right now.
Feel free to bringing yourself back to this practice whenever you are on the go or stationary.

Reflection: Write a few notes down in your Joyality Journal about the feelings in each of these body centres … reflecting but not judging.

What you have just completed is the first step in focusing, to connect with what’s happening within your body. By connecting with your inner world, you are actually also connecting with the world around you. What is within affects what is outside. (We will be practising some focusing in the sharing circles throughout the next 8 weeks.)

You can do this exercise wherever you are throughout your day, whether you’re walking, sitting on public transport, riding a bike or sitting at a desk. See if you can remember to practice this a couple of times a day and write a few notes in your journal how it went everyday.

You might also ask yourself: Was it easy? Or hard? Was it frustrating? Did you find it hard to remember to do this exercise? How do you feel about that? Where are you feeling that? Remember all these feelings and thoughts are relevant. They are simply telling you something important about yourself. Remember to be gentle on yourself. Are you judging yourself? If you find you are, what are the emotions that come with this judgment? What are the thoughts? We invite you to write those down in reflection in your Joyality Journal.

By doing this, we are practising releasing the grip of tension, “shoulds” and judgments in our lives on ourselves first, so that we can be more open to self-love, self-acceptance and therefore be better available to share our fullest potential with the world.

Return to Why Joyality?

© Copyright 2015 Eshana Bragg and Rachel Taylor

* Source: Rita Gyorffy, inspired by material from Focusing Australia via The Phoenix Institute’s Transpersonal Counselling course including the Thought Steam meditation by Naomi Goodlet.

 

Building Beautiful Bridges

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Purpose, Preparation, Process & Reflection

Click here to go back to the Three Big Stories of our time, in the Why Joyality? section.

 

Reflection:  Now spend some time reflecting on what you’ve written, what you’ve imagined about this person, and ask yourself this question:

  • What do you have in common?

This might be aspects of your ecological shadow, a shared interest, friends, workplace or industry, or a place/location … anything at all.  Spend quite a bit of time on this question and really brainstorm “What do I have in common with this person? How am I similar to them? What beliefs, values and feelings do we share?”

Throughout the rest of this week we invite you to learn more about this person and reflecting on their reality, world view and core values. You can do this through observing the person in real life, the media or if you get the chance try engaging with them to find out three things:

  1. What they really care about?
  2. What they think makes them and other people happy?
  3. How they think the world can be made a better place?

Source: This exercise is based on The Philosophy of Life Game, which Dr Eshana Bragg developed and has been practicing with groups of people for the last 15 years or so. It is inspired by the work of Katrina Shields, in her book In the Tigers Mouth (1991), particularly the chapter called Building Bridges with the Opposition.

[Download MP3: Building Beautiful Bridges , or you can use the Transcript text below to guide others.]

                                                                                                  Back to Joyality 501

[Transcript Building Beautiful Bridges]

PurposeThe purpose of the Building Beautiful Bridges process is to step into other people’s shoes. Particularly those who we don’t usually relate to, or we find ourselves on the opposite sides of an issue we care about.

It’s a process to help us develop compassion and break down stereotypes. It’s a way of overcoming artificial barriers and practising stepping towards people that we don’t usually feel comfortable with in a friendly, compassionate and gently enquiring way. So … we get to open our hearts and open our minds, which sows really important seeds for collaboration in the future. Building bridges across an apparent gap of separation also helps us see the beauty in people, and find ways to respect and even admire them, which makes the world a more beautiful and joyful place for us to inhabit!

Have you heard those corny sayings “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet” and “Your enemy can be your greatest teacher”?

Well, as usual, this exercise is an exercise in imagination!  Let’s get practising …

Preparation:  We invite you to find a quiet space with your Joyality Journal and free yourself from the business that’s behind you and in front of you, and take some time out to focus on this process.

**Feel free to pause here while you do this. **

Having done that, take a couple of deep breaths and think about the people in your community, or the wider community, who you believe just don’t understand you. They just don’t get why you care about the issues that you do, whether its climate change, some sort of environmental protection or social justice, whatever it is for you. In fact, many of these people don’t even believe that what you care about is an issue at all.

**Feel free to pause here while you do this. Allow any feelings to arise in relation to this, breathe, and let them be.**

Try to get a bit more specific now and apply this process to your “passion action” that you’ve been developing through Joyality .. and focus on people who you want to be different in relation to your passion action. You want them to act differently and make different decisions, and to support you in the differences you want to make, the differences you want to bring to the world. See if you can write a list of these people. They can be specific individuals or a type or a role, for example the police, or other students in my course, or my family or the prime minister of Australia. Write yourself a really good list of people in your Joyality Journal.

**Feel free to pause here while you do this. **

When you’ve done that, choose one of these people. It is easiest to do this process the first time focusing on someone you already know. You may want to choose them because they are particularly challenging, or they just resonate or stand out as someone you would like to feel closer to, or perhaps they are a person that is very important in terms of your strategy for change making (refer to your journal notes from the end of Joyality 401).


“To deeply understand what is important to another does not mean that we must DO what they want. Understanding them also does not mean that we have to agree with them. And understanding them does not mean that they are right and we are wrong.”

– Jon Russell


Process: Part 1

Visualising this person that you have chosen to do this exercise with, and holding them in your imagination for a moment.

  • What is their usual reaction to you when you are expressing what you care about and the actions you would like to take to make the world a better place? (If you haven’t actually expressed those things to this person then just imagine what their reaction might be if you were to express those things.)
  • How do you feel when that happens? What emotions come up for you?

Allow yourself to sit with that feeling, exploring it gently and nurture yourself and do whatever you feel to take care of yourself in that moment. You might feel to draw upon one of your selves from the Voice Dialogue process. You might want to use the focusing technique. Just breathe and allow that feeling to release back to where it came from, or down into the earth, into the nature that we are, or just to be there present without needing it to change.

  • You might want to ask yourself what you need, or what you would like to happen in that situation, and see if any insights come.

The main thing we need to do is to give ourselves some attention and nurturing in that situation. It is important to give ourselves compassion first, connecting with our feelings and needs, and maybe even figuring out a request for ourselves or the other person.  That way, we can move through a potentially triggering situation, in an empowered way.

You might like to write a few notes in your Joyality Journal.

Process: Part 2

When you are ready, shift your attention to the person in your imagination in front of you. What do you know about them? Their lifestyle? Their values? Their wants and needs? We’re going to explore a series of questions, so if you haven’t done so already I invite you to close your eyes and image as clearly as you can, making up details if you don’t know them, but its important to try not to parody this person. So be as realistic as you can be.

1. Getting Aquainted. The first set of questions are:

  • What does this person look like? What sorts of clothes do they wear? What sort of hair style?

See them as clearly as you can in your imagination. Just allow images to pass across your minds’ eye, inviting you to consider different aspects of this person. You don’t need to write anything down, just get in contact with them through your imagination.

  • How do they spend their day? How do they earn a living? Who do they spend their time with? And what do they really care about?

2. What Makes Them Tick? For this second set of questions you might want to use your journal to explore your answers:

  • What might they think makes people happy?
  • How might they think the world can be made a better place?

3. Why is That So? Again, use your journal to explore your answers:

  • Why do you think they see the world that way?
  • What media might they be immersed in?  What big story does that media tell about the state of the world? About whats important? About what makes people happy?
  • Like us they might be increasingly bombarded with disturbing news about the state of the world. How do you think they might deal with that information? Would they push it away and deny it? Do they get depressed by it? Do they take positive action?

Reflection:  Now spend some time reflecting on what you’ve written, what you’ve imagined about this person, and ask yourself this question:

  • What do you have in common?

This might be aspects of your ecological shadow, a shared interest, friends, workplace or industry, or a place/location … anything at all.  Spend quite a bit of time on this question and really brainstorm “What do I have in common with this person? How am I similar to them? What beliefs, values and feelings do we share?”

Throughout the rest of this week we invite you to learn more about this person and reflecting on their reality, world view and core values. You can do this through observing the person in real life, the media or if you get the chance try engaging with them to find out three things:

  1. What they really care about?
  2. What they think makes them and other people happy?
  3. How they think the world can be made a better place?

Source: This exercise is based on The Philosophy of Life Game, which Dr Eshana Bragg developed and has been practicing with groups of people for the last 15 years or so. It is inspired by the work of Katrina Shields, in her book In the Tigers Mouth (1991), particularly the chapter called Building Bridges with the Opposition.

Other Resources: See Marshall Rosenberg’s Compassionate Communication.

 

                                                                                                  Back to Joyality 501

In the Tiger’s Mouth: Stepping Up for Change

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Purpose: We are able to change the rules of the game – the larger social, cultural and economic systems that we are a part of – in two main ways. The first is by co-creating new systems or ways of doing things, from the bottom up, like we did in Co-creating Change with Community (Joyality 501). .Doing it together!

The second way is by changing existing systems, inspiring top-down change to create new policies, laws, organisational structures and financial plans, etc. This is what we’re calling “political action”. To do this, we need to connect with, convince, and inspire individuals and groups of people who currently have great decision-making power. Let’s call them “the big end of town” … likely to be politicians, government officials, corporate CEOs and boards. Approaching these people will probably take some courage, like in the Shambhala Warrior story, but the rewards can be great, whether or not the changes you are requesting occur right then and there!

Through ‘In the Tiger’s Mouth’, we combine many of the tools you’ve learned so far in the Joyality Program, to take a courageous step towards larger scale positive change connected with your “passion action”. What scale that is, is totally up to you … it’s just about taking a step in that direction. 😀

Taking ourselves out of own own comfort zone, taking a stand, for something that we believe in can benefit us in many ways. Meeting our own fear, as we have explored in Dare to Care (J301), indicates that we care deeply about something other than ourselves. It is an opportunity for courage, and a “call to greatness”. Simply by taking positive action when we feel afraid, we can feel empowered and fully alive.


“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act in its presence.”

– Bruce Lee


By aligning our actions with our core values, by speaking our truth, we increase our self-esteem … we feel good about ourselves.

By supporting each other, and being supported by others, we feel a sense of belonging … we feel a part of something bigger than ourselves: the Earth, humanity, a positive movement for change.

By acting and speaking in ways that care for and respect our own needs, as well as the needs of others, we nurture ourselves as well as bring change to the world.

The phrase “in the tiger’s mouth” comes from some Buddhist stories that refer to being in the grip of fear, and how it is possible to find positivity, mindfulness and calmness in the midst of it. Let’s practise joyality in the tiger’s mouth! 🙂

Preparation: So, let’s start by identifying where the tiger’s mouth is for you, and your passion action … Here are a few questions that might help you do that: Where is the “frontline” of your change-making? Where are you out of your comfort zone, a bit nervous, hesitant? Where are some important decisions being made about the things you care deeply about?

This might be: talking with your closest friends and family; making a phonecall to your local politician; approaching your college administrator; or making a presentation to the CEO of your company, its board, or shareholders meeting.

If finding decision-makers doesn’t quite make sense to you in connection with your passion action, think about who might be able to support your change-making strategy, your initiative (see Tag Team J401 and Co-creating Change J501). These people might help you by providing funding, permission, endorsement or other kinds of support.

** Pause here while you write them down in your Joyality Journal. **

Once you’ve identified the person or group of people who could help bring about the changes in the world you believe are needed, you might like to have a look back at what you’ve written in your Joyality Journal about:

  • 5 Tips for Communication (Joyality 201)
  • Your Mode of Communication (Joyality 201)
  • Building Beautiful Bridges (Joyality 501)

Process: Now you have identified some of the key decision-makers or gatekeepers important in achieving your goals or vision, write some notes in your Joyality Journal about:

  • What they care about? What are their needs and wants?  What is likely to motivate them to support you, and/or change their current behaviours, structures, organisational frameworks?
  • What is your core message? What are your needs and wants? What do you want them to do? How do you want them to change their current behaviours, structures, organisational frameworks? How could they support you?
  • How can you re-frame your core message in their language and and make it relevant to them and their needs and wants?

Okay, now is the time to put that all together in a message to these key decision-makers that has the underlying message or tone of “How can we work together to make the world a better place?”. You could just free-write this message into your Joyality Journal, or perhaps role play it with a friend pretending to be a key decision-maker / gatekeeper.

(Try applying your insights from 5 Tips for Communication and Building Bridges while you do this.)

Reflection: Think about how you might actually use this message.  We suggest you choose one of your favourite modes of communication, or you could challenge yourself to step out of you comfort zone and use one that you believe will be most effective in your strategy for changemaking.

Some ideas: Send it as a letter. Use it as a basis for a petition (paper or online), so you can demonstrate that other people feel the same way you do. Make a speech or presentation or video. Get creative! Use your writing to plan a face-to-face meeting.

(If you plan to deliver your message in person, remember that communication is much more than the words you use, and includes your tone of voice, facial expressions and body language, even your dress-code! So aim to show humility, strength and respect in all your modes of communication. Be polite and friendly. That way, your message will be most easily heard.)

We encourage you to  “just do it”, and see how it feels to get this message out there into the world, and delivered to some people who might be inspired to make some far-reaching changes!

Source: Eshana Bragg. The phrase “in the tiger’s mouth” is drawn from Katrina Shields’ book of the same name (1991) and her introduction explores the meaning of the phrase (pp.xiii-xiv).

 

                                                                                                   Back to Joyality 601

You Are … Your Very Own SuperHero

Back to Joyality 601

Before your begin, especially if you’re feeling a bit down or tired, we suggest you review Your Resources in your Joyality Journal. If you didn’t do that activity, then make a list of your strengths (personal qualities, passions, talents, skills, knowledge) in your Joyality Journal.

Purpose, Process, Reflection

Reflection: Make sure that you have come back down to Earth fully. Imagine yourself taking off that Super Hero costume, checking that you are fully yourself again, back in disguise, so that you’ve got no lycra showing or strange symbols or anything to give away your full secret identity. Feeling your feet firmly in contact with the ground.

When you’ve done that, get out your Joyality Journal and do some free writing about what Super Hero you might be in disguise.

If for any reason this guided meditation didn’t work too effectively for you, then listen to it again and write down the answers to those questions as they are spoken in the podcast, and/or use this as a journaling process by asking yourself, “if I was a Super Hero, who would I be?”

[Download MP3: Superhero, or you can use the text below to guide others.]

Back to Joyality 601

[Transcript SuperHero]

Purpose: The purpose of the You Are Your Very Own Super Hero process is to embrace our inner change maker. In a fun light hearted way, to create a symbol or a mythical figure we can draw upon to empower us and enable us not to take ourselves too seriously as we do our change making.

You can do this process anywhere, just make sure you have your Joyality Journal to do some reflections afterwards. Later, practice thinking of yourself in this way when you are in potential changemaking environments.

Process: Make sure you are in a place where you wont be disturbed and that you feel comfortable to close your eyes and listen to this guided meditation.

Get comfortable and feel the places on your body where you are connecting with the environment around you. The place where your body touches the chair or the ground and feel that connection through to the Earth and to the place that you are sitting in right now.

As you are sitting here allow your imagination to take you upwards. Imagine you are actually rising above your body that’s sitting here in the place. Imagine yourself floating up into the air and looking down on your own body.

Feel yourself rising up further and further, seeing the room or the place your in from above, above beyond the room, the building, the garden or the park, wherever you are getting higher and higher so that that space becomes smaller and smaller below you.

Imagine yourself rising higher and higher so that now the town or the city that you’re a part of, you can see the whole thing below you.

As you’re rising higher you can see the region, you might be able to start to see the coast or the rivers, the landforms of your area and imagine yourself rising higher and higher, until you’re actually in the very thin parts of the atmosphere and even beyond that to where the satellites orbit the Earth.

Feeling the power of gravity holding you to this beautiful planet, just see yourself looking down, seeing the curve of the edge of this beautiful planet Earth. You can see the landforms, the ocean, the clouds swirling, this beautiful blue pearl of a planet below you, and just resting there for a few moments.

As you’re resting here out in space, you suddenly realise that you have actually been sent on a mission down to planet Earth and humanity in its time of need. What a surprise! You have been given a whole bunch of special powers, different skills and attributes that no-body else has.

You’ve even been given your own outfit and your own special name. Never as there been a Super Hero quite like you before! Just allow any images any thoughts to come up…. See what kind of a Super Hero you might form into being right there on the outside of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Now one of your powers is to “sustain the gaze”, like every Super Hero can do you can be fully aware of the dangers, the traumas, the fearful, the horrific, the terrible things that are happening down on planet Earth and you are able to see what needs to be done to change those things and to protect things that you care deeply about. To protect the Earth, to protect humans, to protect all the creatures on the planet.

Just be aware of your ability to see all these things at once and not be over awed by them, but know how to help and when and what to do.

With this awareness imagine yourself either parachuting down or using some of your special powers to travel back down from the outer atmosphere of Earth, closer and closer to this beautiful planet. Allow yourself to travel down getting closer and closer to home. How does that feel, as you travel from space towards this beautiful planet?

While you are on that journey, get clear about what causes you’re protecting or fighting for? What is your mission, should you choose to accept it?

Lastly, what is your disguise? Right now you are probably wearing some kind of outlandish superhero outfit, how will you be able to fit in when you get to Earth? Who will you pretend to be? Have some real fun with these ideas.

When you have all those things figured out, imagine yourself actually landing back at home, back where you are, where you started doing this guided meditation. Feel yourself entering your body again, wiggling your figures and toes, making sure you’re back home in one piece. Ask yourself what will I do with this one wild and precious life?

Reflection: Make sure that you have come back down to Earth fully. Imagine yourself taking off that Super Hero costume, checking that you are fully yourself again, back in disguise, so that you’ve got no lycra showing or strange symbols or anything to give away your full secret identity. Feeling your feet firmly in contact with the ground.

When you’ve done that, get out your Joyality Journal and do some free writing about what Super Hero you might be in disguise.

If for any reason this guided meditation didn’t work too effectively for you, then listen to it again and write down the answers to those questions as they are spoken in the podcast, and/or use this as a journaling process by asking yourself, “if I was a Super Hero, who would I be?”

Source: Dr Eshana Bragg, inspired by Caroline Casey’s “visionary activist astrology” (Making the Gods Work for You, 1998); photograph of Girls Against Gas is from the Gas Free Northern Rivers campaign (source: GetUp Australia).

 

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Connect With Nature Wherever You Are

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This exercise is done in two parts. The first can be done at home or wherever you’re comfortable. The second part should be done somewhere in the outer world, in a place that you feel disconnected from nature. Remember to take your Joyality Journal with you!

Purpose & Preparation

To prepare for this process, you’ll need to do 3 things:

  1. Make sure you can access this page on your phone or other mobile device, and that you have enough data to stream audio. (If you can’t, then you’ll need to download the Connect Wherever 2 (Process and Reflection) onto your mobile device. Let us know if you need help with that.)
  2. Choose a physical place to do the Connect Wherever Process (guidance below)
  3. and, before you go to that location, we suggest you re-listen to the Elemental Being meditation.

Now think about and choose a physical place that is similar to the place you are likely to do your change making in. Choose a challenging place that is quite disconnected from nature, for example, somewhere that’s air-conditioned with no openable windows, or perhaps it has no windows at all. You could even practice this in a shopping centre. The best way to practice this activity is to choose a place where you feel uncomfortable and disconnected from the things you really care about.

Now that you have chosen your changemaking place, think about how you might travel there. Whatever your answer is make sure you travel that last few 100m on foot, before going inside a building, so that you can listen to this audio whilst you are walking to your change making venue.


“I act on the conviction that everyone is making a difference. Just by living our lives, consuming space and resources [and interacting with other people] we are making a difference. Our choice is what kind of difference we want to make.”

– Fran Peavey


Process & Reflection

 

Reflection:

Tune into your body, your emotions and state of mind, see if you feel any different than you normally do in a space like this, and write about this in your Joyality Journal.

How are you feeling? What is your state of mind?

Do you feel more connected to life and nature than you normally do in this space?

If so which parts of this exercise gave you the strongest feelings of life and nature and the force of evolution. Write this down, because these are the most powerful practises or thoughts and concepts for you to focus on when you are coming into an environment to do some change making in the world around you.

[Download MP3s: Connect Wherever 1 (Purpose & Preparation), 2 (Process & Reflection) , or you can use the text below to guide others. ]

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[Transcript Connect With Nature Wherever You Are]

Purpose: A lot of our change-making work doesn’t take place in the most beautiful spaces. It is often in the city, in air conditioned buildings, perhaps inside a corporate business environment, maybe a parliament house, council chambers, city hall, or in Congress. Even if we are doing our change making processes in natural spaces, there are often some very disturbing things happening in those places as well, such as destruction caused by logging or mining, toxic waste dumping or the break down of previously thriving ecosystems.

These places can feel quite soulless and quite disconnected from our values, the inspiration and beauty of nature and the kind of lifestyle and society we are trying to create.

The question is, how can we stay inspired, connected to and invigorated by those values, by those things we really care about, when we are in an uninspiring and disconnected space?

The process we are about to do is a series of tools and techniques to help you feel more connected with the larger processes of life, no matter where you are, so that you can draw upon that inspiration and power in your change making.

We invite you to practice this now, ahead of time, so that you can become very familiar with the process of feeling connected when you actually do your action or your change work.  This is also a good time to remind ourselves that change-making is not separate from our ordinary lives and ordinary places that we find ourselves working and living.


“I act on the conviction that everyone is making a difference. Just by living our lives, consuming space and resources [and interacting with other people] we are making a difference. Our choice is what kind of difference we want to make.”

– Fran Peavey


Preparation: To prepare for this process, you’ll need to do 3 things:

  1. Make sure you can access this page on your phone or other mobile device, and that you have enough data to stream audio. (If you can’t, then you’ll need to download the Connect Wherever 2 (Process and Reflection) onto your mobile device. Let us know if you need help with that.)
  2. Choose a physical place to do the Connect Wherever Process (guidance below)
  3. and, before you go to that location, we suggest you re-listen to the Elemental Being meditation.

Now think about and choose a physical place that is similar to the place you are likely to do your change making in. Choose a challenging place that is quite disconnected from nature, for example, somewhere that’s air-conditioned with no openable windows, or perhaps it has no windows at all. You could even practice this in a shopping centre. The best way to practice this activity is to choose a place where you feel uncomfortable and disconnected from the things you really care about.

Now that you have chosen your changemaking place, think about how you might travel there. Whatever your answer is make sure you travel that last few 100m on foot, before going inside a building, so that you can listen to this audio whilst you are walking to your change making venue.

*** Pause here whilst you go to the start of your walk, about 100metres from your inside location. ***

Process: You have arrived at the start of your walk. We invite you to look around you, get yourself oriented to where you are. Spend half a minute or so doing that. Like the very first Joyality walking meditation you did, remember the idea of a silent disco, focus on your own experience and enjoyment in this process even though you’ll be surrounded by other people going about their daily business.

Make sure you are standing still, and in a safe place. Now look up … this is something we often don’t do when we are walking through town or in the city. Look up into the sky and notice what you see there, what the weather is like, whether the sun is shining or whether it is cloudy, what sort of clouds there are… are they moving fast across the sky? Or are they just still? Just tuning into the weather… See if you can tune into the vastness of space that is up behind that sky, up towards the sun and out further into the solar system. Connecting into your big context.

Now looking down around you more normally, start to walk. As you walk towards the venue, just become really aware of your feet walking on the pavement or the road and start to draw your attention further down as you walk, underneath the concrete, underneath the bitumen, down, being aware of the soil beneath you and the rocks, the different geological layers down below your feet. As you are walking see if you can become aware of the lay of the land. So what shape does this landscape, the natural landscape, under the roads and pathways, what shape does that take … going up a hill, down a hill, round corners, feeling the shape of the land beneath you. That may even take you back in time a little, imagining what this landscape was like before all the buildings and the streets were made…. I wonder where the natural lines of the creek were, what the trees and natural vegetation were like.

As you continue walking, draw your attention to any vegetation that is around you. Are you walking past any parks, or are there any street trees, are there small bits of grass growing through the cracks in the concrete? And hardy weeds? Allow your attention to be drawn to the nature that is around you in that human made landscape. Allow yourself to marvel at the wonder and the strength of that nature that is around.

*** Pause here whilst you absorb and notice the environment around you … continue when you are nearing your destination. ***

As you are nearing your change-making place: Keep walking or, if you’ve already arrived, find a seat somewhere either outside or inside. Draw your attention a little more into yourself, but make sure you also have enough attention on what’s around you so you keep yourself physically safe. Focus on the nature that you are, the nature that is inside you, that is connecting with you all the time. Practising a mini version of the Elemental Being meditation, become aware of your breath and the connection between you and the atmosphere. Every in-breath, really feel grateful for the life force that is entering you.

Then drawing your attention to the water that is in your body. The beautiful soft fluids that are moving around, take a drink of water if you have some with you and appreciate the blood that is taking all the nutrients and energy around your system.

Now drawing attention to the solidity, the earth element within your body, your bones, your strong framework that allows you to stand tall, stand in your power and feel the element of earth within you, strong and secure.

Finally focusing on the element of fire as you are walking, feel the heat energy of the exercise as you walk, be aware of the energy of the sun that has come through the food that you have eaten, into your body, the fire in your belly, the passion that you feel for life.

Now ending this meditation on your elemental being, focusing on all of those elements coming together and recognising the force within you of life affirming life. Seeing if you can focus on the power of positive evolution that’s flowing through your being right now. That can support you on any of the positive changes that you wish to make and inspire within others.

*** Pause here while you find your destination and actually enter the space or the room where you are going to practice the rest of this nature connection process. ***

At the change making venue: Now that you’re inside inside your change-making venue, your disconnected place, find somewhere that is quite comfortable to sit and just be for a while. Find yourself a seat where people are unlikely to disturb you, or get yourself set up in such a way that looks like you’re busy so no-one will interrupt you.

*** Pause here while you settle into your spot. ***

Now that you’re comfortable, we invite you to focus in on the nature within yourself. Centre yourself by taking a few deep breaths, focusing on the air, your breathing that is within you. The water, the earth and the fire. Just settling yourself into the natural being that you are. Appreciating that. Focusing on and appreciating the beauty that you are. Finding that place inside your heart, inside your body where you are really connected to that joy, that beauty, that peace.

We invite you to close your eyes and see if in this place, which might be busy and noisy, see if you can focus and come into a calm place within yourself, with your elemental being.

*** Pause here whilst your give your self as much time as you need to connect with that calm peaceful space within yourself, take as long as you need there is no rush, this might take a couple of seconds or even several minutes. Practise tuning in, just have a go, before opening your eyes and continuing. ***

Human connection. Now that you’ve opened your eyes again, have a look around the room or the space that you’re in. Become aware of all the different things that are in there, tables and chairs, or decorations, curtains, light fittings, whatever is in that space. Start to become aware of all the hands of the people that have used these things, how many people have touched and used all these objects around you? Who have they been?

Then cast your mind back to the history of these objects, think about how many hands have been involved in making these things, in the manufacturing process, in the transportation process, how many other people have been involved in actually making this whole space, all the things in it, the building itself. Think of all of those people and how, being in this space right now, you are connected to all of those people.

If there are other people in the room, in the space with you, allow you attention to be drawn to them, really opening up, with curiosity, thinking who are the other people sharing this space with me. See if you can practice seeing the beauty within them. Practising something that is other than your ordinary sense of consciousness in this space … and really sit and allow the beauty of these people to become apparent to you.

*** Pause here whilst you give yourself time to do this. ***

Natural Origins. The last part of this process is to focus again on the objects within the room, within the space, and allow them to connect you into their source, into the source of everything on Earth.

Have a look at some of the objects around you, just take one to start with and take yourself back through what you know of how this object has been created, how it’s been manufactured and what the source materials of those objects are, there might be a few of them. Do this the best you can, using your imagination if you don’t know for sure.

Follow each of those components of the object back to its original source, so if its steel then think of the iron ore that it was manufactured from and the fire, the energy that was used and where that came from. So the original source of the fire would have eventually been from the sun and the source of the iron ore was from the mineral in the ground.

Allow each of these objects to take you back to the raw source, the natural original place in nature that these things come from. By doing that see if you can feel connected to nature as you sit here in this place. Recognising there is no separation. We, and our human made environments, are all made of stardust.

*** Pause here while you follow as many objects back to their source. ***

Reflection: Now that you have finished that process, I invite you to stand up and walk around in that space, do something a bit more normal and ordinary in that place, whether that is buying something to eat or drink, or just having a light conversation with someone, or going to wash your hands, whatever it is that comes naturally to you.

*** Pause here whilst you do that. ***

Tune into your body, your emotions and state of mind, see if you feel any different than you normally do in a space like this, and write about this in your Joyality Journal.

How are you feeling? What is your state of mind?

Do you feel more connected to life and nature than you normally do in this space?

If so which parts of this exercise gave you the strongest feelings of life and nature and the force of evolution. Write this down, because these are the most powerful practises or thoughts and concepts for you to focus on when you are coming into an environment to do some change making in the world around you.

Source: Dr Eshana Bragg, inspired by workshop processes first experienced with John Seed (Thinking Like a Mountain, 1988); David Abrams (The Spell of the Sensuous, 1996) and Wes Nisker (Buddha’s Nature, 1998).

 

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Climate Change as Ally (Stay Awake!)

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Purpose & Preparation: This story gives us an opportunity to practise “reframing” a familiar story of threat into one of support for positive action … a kind of aikido move, taking the energy of attack and using its momentum for protection.  So, just find a quiet and nurturing place, inside or outside, and take a few deeps breaths … perhaps practise a little floating leaf meditation from Focusing. Imagine your mind open and expansive, and just listen to these ideas.

Process

 

Reflection: After allowing those ideas to settle, reflect on these questions in your Joyality Journal:

  • Flipping the concept of climate change from one of a threat, to one of support for the changes we need to make … does that change how you feel in any way? How?
  • Can you think of any other “limiting beliefs” or stories that you tell yourself that prevent you from taking positive action towards the things you care about?  List a few of these on the left hand side of your page.
  • What are some alternatives to those limiting beliefs and stories?  Look at each belief and ask yourself “is this completely true?”. For each “limiting belief”, on the right hand side of your page write a different belief/story that might empower and motivate you, support and nurture you … and the world.
  • When you focus on these new beliefs or stories, how do you feel? If you find some good ones, perhaps write them on post-its and remind yourself!
[Download MP3s: Climate Change as Ally, or you can use the Transcript text below to guide others.]

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[Transcript Climate Change as Ally]

Process: The story of climate change is familiar to us. Climate change is the biggest threat to the continuance of human civilization and life on Earth that we have ever faced. It is a threat to our lifestyles, our comfort, our consumptive habits, our children and grandchildren. It is a source of fear and uncertainty, something we would rather avoid thinking about and wish for never to happen. We would like to share with you a different story about climate change, one that opens doors instead of closes them and breeds courage rather than fear; one that we feel vastly expands the potential of what is possible and ignites the energy necessary to make it so.

What if instead of thinking of climate change as a “threat” to humanity, we think of it as an “ally” of “The Great Turning”, of global transformation, of the social, economic and cultural shifts we need to create a world that is not only sustainable, but regenerative and joyful. Extreme weather events associated with climate change are disrupting our “normal”, fossil fuel dependent, consumeristic ways of life, and even our ability to conduct “Business as Usual”. From the perspective our sustainability, this is a good thing!

Arguably, even if the “threat” of climate change did not exist, we are still in need of fundamental changes in our societies, economies and cultures. Even without climate change, almost half the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 a day, food and water insecurity are widespread, income inequality is rampant and extreme, racism and sexism are still harsh realities, and for all our material wealth in the “developed” world many people are deeply unhappy or dissatisfied. So, even if our extractive and consumptive economy wasn’t going to crash the planet (which it is), even if we could go on like this forever, would we want to?

In order to address these issues, fundamental shifts in priorities, lifestyles and ways of thinking about ourselves and the world are needed. The “threat” of climate change clarifies this need and constricts our timeframe, putting severe pressure on us to act quickly and boldly. Climate change then, can be seen as an ally, a natural catalyst, helping us to do what we have been needing to do for a long time. Perhaps this is what we needed in order to see, to truly understand, just how wrong we have been. The Earth is trying to get us to wake up, and though she will not spare us if we do not heed her call, she moves slowly enough to give us time, enough we hope, to turn things around and start off in a new direction.

Reflection: After allowing those ideas to settle, reflect on these questions in your Joyality Journal:

  • Flipping the concept of climate change from one of a threat, to one of support for the changes we need to make … does that change how you feel in any way? How?
  • Can you think of any other “limiting beliefs” or stories that you tell yourself that prevent you from taking positive action towards the things you care about?  List a few of these on the left hand side of your page.
  • What are some alternatives to those limiting beliefs and stories?  Look at each belief and ask yourself “is this completely true?”. For each “limiting belief”, on the right hand side of your page write a different belief/story that might empower and motivate you, support and nurture you … and the world.
  • When you focus on these new beliefs or stories, how do you feel? If you find some good ones, perhaps write them on post-its and remind yourself!

Source: This process was developed based on Eshana’s 2015 article “What if … Climate Change as Ally”. Please contact Eshana through the J-Team if you would like a full copy of her article.

Other Resources: Limiting Beliefs and How to Turn Them Around; This Changes Everything.

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Tag Team – Social Change as a Ripple Effect (Act!)

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Purpose & Preparation

The Change Wave: how a new behaviour, idea or technology spreads through a group of people, with
The Change Wave: how a new behaviour, idea or technology spreads through a group of people, with points of “take off” (when suddenly a lot of people start doing it, when it goes viral, etc) and “saturation” (when everyone who’s likely to change has changed).
  • The innovator develops a solution or an alternative that makes a significant difference to that issue. They are somewhat on the fringes of mainstream society, and may be considered ‘radical’ or ‘alternative’ by many.

    Example Action: The first person to propose a new farmers market.

  • Change agents are the “idea brokers” for the Innovator. They look around for good ideas that could be applied across society and are passionate about finding ways to encourage others to take up the new idea, behaviour, or product/technology.

    Example Action: A group of people helping to get a new farmers market up and running.

  • Transformers are concerned about mainstream values, though they have a sense that things could be done in a better way.

    Example Action: Shoppers who are not quite satisfied with the experience or quality of the food at supermarkets and have heard about the farmers market as an alternative where they can get local, organic produce and get to know the farmers.

  • Mainstreamers are the vast majority of society or a particular group. The “noisy majority”, they are not interested in the particular issue of concern, they are more interested in getting on with life as normal and being part of the general community.

    Example Action: Shoppers who come to the farmers market because the produce is of a high quality, reasonable value, they can get most of what they need there, and have a pleasant, social experience.

  • Unwilling laggards don’t like change very much at all and will only adopt something new or change their behaviours if everybody else is doing it.

    Example Action: Shoppers whose neighbours and friends are going to the farmers market, and ask them to meet for coffee there! Once they start shopping at the markets, they realise it’s fine.

 The Change Wave including roles in the Tag Team.
The Change Wave including roles in the Tag Team.

Process

Reflection

Reflection: Take a few minutes to reflect on this experience and write down some insights in your Joyality Journal.

Here are a few things to think about and ask yourself:

  1. Were there any “ahah” moments or insights from doing this?
  2. Can you see that this process of social change is like a tag team, with each role only needing to affect the next?
  3. If you did experience that, imagine using this as a framework to design a strategy to get a whole bunch of people behaving in a new way! Each role is most in touch with the roles on either side of it. They understand what is important to those people on either side of them – what motivates them to change and how to communicate to them. As effective change makers, we realise that the best strategies for social change integrate all these different motivations for different people; and include partnerships with people who understand these different motivations.
  4. So see what you can gather from your experience in the Tag Team exercise to create a change strategy for something you care deeply about.  If there are gaps, that’s okay! Just notice what you don’t know … and start to learn from the people around you … what do they care about? what motivates them to make changes?
[Download MP3s while looking at the diagrams on this page: TagTeam 1 (Purpose & Preparation), TagTeam2 (Process) and TagTeam3 (Reflection) , or you can use the text below if you find it easier, and to guide others.]

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[Transcript Tag Team]
Purpose: It takes a whole society to create the level and extent of change we need to create a sustainable future. This change doesn’t have to happen all at once. But it does need to happen quickly.
Perhaps think of it like a wave at a football stadium, or the ripple effect of a single stone dropped into a pond. The change starts somewhere and reverberates through the whole system, depending on connections and communication, until every particle or member of a system moves or makes a change.
The Change Wave: how a new behaviour, idea or technology spreads through a group of people, with
The Change Wave: how a new behaviour, idea or technology spreads through a group of people, with points of “take off” (when suddenly a lot of people start doing it, when it goes viral, etc) and “saturation” (when everyone who’s likely to change has changed).
The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate how this sort of change can happen, and to show you that the motivation for this change can differ completely between different people in society. Social change operates kind of like a tag team, between different members of a group of people, each acting to influence each other in sometimes surprising ways.
For example, a farmers market might be initiated by someone passionate about addressing climate change and promoting local economics; its first supporters are also motivated by these same issues and are excited about getting the project off the ground and spreading the word through the community. The next people to shop at the markets come because they want to buy local, organic produce and meet the farmers. The next because they can get most of the produce they need there and because its good quality and reasonable value. The last type of people to come to the markets are because it’s simply “the place to be” and most of their friends and neighbours shop there!
Preparation: Before we start the process itself, we’d like to introduce you to the key characters in the “tag team”. (Perhaps keep these descriptions on your screen while you do the process.) These are 5 different roles that people play in the creation of change within a social system or a particular group of people.
The Change Wave including roles in the Tag Team.
The Change Wave including roles in the Tag Team.
  • The innovator: Someone who is really concerned about a particular issue in the world and is really inspired and develops a solution or an alternative that makes a significant difference to that issue. The innovator creates a new idea or an innovation, is somewhat on the fringes of mainstream society, and may be considered ‘radical’ or ‘alternative’ by many. (Eg., the first person to propose a new farmers market.)
  • The change agent: Is also concerned about that same issue and is looking for a solution to a particular problem. They haven’t come up with a solution but they are looking around for good ideas that could be applied across society and are passionate about finding ways encourage others to take up the new idea, behaviour, or product/technology. They are the “ideas broker” for the Innovator. (Eg., a group of people helping to get a new farmers market up and running.)
  • The transformer: More a member of the mainstream community, but is somewhat interested in the same issues as the change agent, and is generally interested in new ideas. They are also concerned about mainstream values, though they have a sense that things could be done in a better way. (Eg., Shoppers who are not quite satisfied with the experience or quality of the food at supermarkets and have heard about the farmers market as an alternative where they can get local, organic produce and get to know the farmers.)
  • The mainstreamer: This is the vast majority of society or a particular group. So you might think of them as the “noisy majority”. And essentially they are not interested in the particular issue of concern, they are more interested in getting on with life as normal and being part of the general community. (Shoppers who come to the farmers market because the produce is of a high quality, reasonable value, they can get most of what they need there, and have a pleasant, social experience.)
  • The unwilling laggard: This is a person who really doesn’t like change very much at all and will only adopt something new or change their behaviours if everybody else is doing it. In other words, if something becomes the new normal, then they will do it because they don’t want to be abnormal. (Eg., Shoppers whose neighbours and friends are going to the farmers market, and ask them to meet for coffee there! Once they start shopping at the markets, they realise it’s fine.)
Please note that we all play different roles depending on the particular “new behaviour” that we’re talking about. For example, I might often be a “change agent” when it comes to finding ways to connect people with nature; but I’m definitely an “unwilling laggard” when it comes to adopting new technologies like social media!
Process: In the Tag Team exercise today, you are actually the Innovator and the Change Agent (because you care about the particular challenge you are finding a solution for). You will be role-playing the other roles too, so see if you can use your imagination to create a specific character for each one (with a few details like their name, what they wear, who they hang out with, how they make a living, etc!)
Follow these instructions as best you can, and use your Joyality Journal to write down the answers to the following questions. This process is an opportunity to refine and develop your Passion Action.
Innovator
Start off imagining yourself as an innovator. Think of an environmental or social issue that you care deeply about. (This could be what you’ve done already in Joyality 101, when you found your issue or your passion.) Identify one change in behaviour that if everyone did it would make a significant difference to that problem or issue and create positive change? That change in behaviour might be a physical behaviour, or the adoption of a new technology or a new concept, or engagement in a new program/business/enterprise. When you’re thinking of that behaviour we suggest you keep it quite simple, though creative, and it could be quite a radical “out there” idea.  Write that new behaviour down in your journal. This is your “innovation”.
Taking an idealistic perspective, who would you like to engage in this behaviour?  Who do you want to attract? Using the language of marketing, who is your “target market”? It could be large enough to make a significant difference to the issue you care about (eg., farmers all over the world, everyone in Australia, all staff of Los Angeles City Council) … or it could be a small group of people you would like to influence (eg.,your family, close friends, college dorm, workmates).  It’s up to you where you set the bar!
Change Agent
Once you have your behaviour and your group of people, switch to the second role. Imagine yourself as a Change Agent. As a Change Agent you too are passionate about the same challenge as the Innovator, in a particular real life situation, and have been wondering about how to solve it. You have heard about the new behaviour suggested by the Innovator, and ask what barriers and benefits this new behaviour has for the people you want to attract/influence? You might want to refer back to your notes from Joyality 101 when you were exploring the barriers and benefits to a new behaviour.
Then think about how you might encourage others with the same environmental and social values as you to make this change. How could you encourage other “people like you” to adopt that new behaviour or get involved in the new program/enterprise? (That way, you can find or create a small team of Change Agents … a very important first step in creating social change!  Even finding one buddy to go on the journey with you makes a huge difference to change making.)
As a Change Agent, you’re interested in making the idea of the Innovator attractive, accessible and easy for people to adopt. Can you suggest any improvements to the new behaviour/innovation that could make it easier and more accessible?
As a Change Agent, you also develop connections with the people you want to influence (who are not necessarily “people like you”). Brainstorm some ideas of more mainstream people, organisations, clubs or companies who are part of, or connected with, your target market. In particular, do you have any connections with forward thinking or open minded members of those groups?
Transformer
Now, imagine yourself as a Transformer. Imagine, you’re a forward thinking member of one of these mainstream groups (eg., the most open-minded member of your family, a football player who cares deeply about the environment, a CEO of a company who embraces sustainability). You’re somewhat interested in the same social or environmental issue as the Innovator and Change Agent, but you’re also very invested in the other values of this group.
Ask yourself what are the other values, the things that are important to this group, organization, club, company etc. What are the other things, apart from the issue that are really important to them (eg., money, status/reputation, being “cool”, popularity, safety/lack of risk)? Then explore this question: Are there some ways that the new behaviour/innovation as adjusted by the Change Agents, can serve these other values? How would “you” as a Transformer communicate with and encourage members of your group to engage in the new behaviour?
One of the ways you might encourage them is to “do it yourself”. However there will be other ways that you could encourage members of your mainstream group to do the new behaviours or adopt the new innovation.
Mainstreamer
Fourthly, as a Mainstreamer, imagine you are an ordinary member of this mainstream group (family, college, university, club, workplace, neighbourhood). You’re not particularly interested in or concerned about the environmental or social issue that’s motivated the other characters. Although you may have heard about that issue, you’re just interested in getting on with your ordinary everyday life. So ask yourself, what you care most about (your family, friends, having a good job, saving money, status/reputation, being “cool”, enjoyment/personal happiness)?
What would inspire you to engage in the new behaviour? How could you be encouraged to adopt this new behaviour?
If you engaged in this behaviour, who do you think you would affect or encourage to engage in it too? Are you a role model to someone else?
Unwilling laggard
Finally imagine yourself in the fifth role. As an Unwilling Laggard, imagine that you don’t like change much at all, but that you are seeing most other members of the group engaging in this new behaviour. You don’t care much about the environmental or social issue at all, and in fact think it’s exaggerated or simply untrue. Ask yourself what you care most about (eg., doing what is considered “normal”, things being simple and easy to do, as well as other mainstream values)?
What would induce you to change your behaviour?
Reflection: Take a few minutes to reflect on this experience and write down some insights in your Joyality Journal.
Here are a few things to think about and ask yourself:
  1. Were there any “ahah” moments or insights from doing this?
  2. Can you see that this process of social change is like a tag team, with each role only needing to affect the next?
  3. If you did experience that, imagine using this as a framework to design a strategy to get a whole bunch of people behaving in a new way! Each role is most in touch with the roles on either side of it. They understand what is important to those people on either side of them – what motivates them to change and how to communicate to them. As effective change makers, we realise that the best strategies for social change integrate all these different motivations for different people; and include partnerships with people who understand these different motivations.
  4. So see what you can gather from your experience in the Tag Team exercise to create a change strategy for something you care deeply about.  If there are gaps, that’s okay! Just notice what you don’t know … and start to learn from the people around you … what do they care about? what motivates them to make changes?
Source: This process is derived from a simplified version of the Amoeba Model of Social Change developed by Alan Atkinson in 1991 and is influenced by innovation diffusion theory.
Other Resources: There are many other psychological theories of social change out there, so feel free to explore and find one, or many that you really connect with. There is no “right” way to create social change, but there are certain principles and strategies that seem to work well. Basically, the more we can understand how change happens, the better we can design effective change strategies. Examples include: social learning theory; stages of change; and community-based social marketing (understanding barriers and benefits).

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Co-Creating Change with Community (Act!)

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Purpose & Preparation

 

Breakthrough- (X1.00)-2Step 1: Creating a shared vision

Process

 

Next Steps

Next Steps: What is special about this Planning Web process is that you can actually take a vision that is very inspiring and poetic, even abstract, and make it into something that is very practical, realistic and achievable.

Now you have learned about this tool, we invite you to use it in real life! Find or create your small group of passionate allies … even one buddy is a start… and start playing with a planning web.

The next step is to convert your vision from this circular group form into an actual strategic plan. This can often be drawn up like a table with a list of tasks and various people taking on particular responsibilities, timelines and priorities. Here is an example of a vision statement, group and strategic plan for a tree planting project.

BREAKTHROUGH- (X0.85)

Now it is time to get practical about implementing those tasks, priorities and timelines.

In terms of taking action, one of the best things to do is to identify some of the actions or items in the strategic plan that are easily achievable. These might be the items that are synergistic or overlapping, where people can collaborate to get two wins for the price of one. Identify where people’s enthusiasm and energy is and perhaps you want to start there.

As you take on these actions, really enjoy and celebrate them, even if they are small wins and achievements. It is also important to publicise and communicate those successes along the way. It is that joyfulness, that celebration and positive reinforcement that can get other people excited and draw them into the project, process or movement.


“A vision without a task is but a dream, a task without a vision is drudgery, a vision and a task is the hope of the world”

                               – inscription on a church in Sussex, England, 1730

[Download MP3s: CoCreating Change 1 (Purpose & Preparation), 2(Process) and 3 (Reflection), or you can use the text below to guide others.]

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[Transcript for Co-Creating Change with Community]

Purpose: The purpose of this exercise, Co-Creating Change with Community, is to introduce you to a process that you can actually use with a small group of people with whom you share a passion, an interest, or something that you want to create together in the world. You’ll be practising doing this by yourself today, simply imagining your group of people, so that you understand the process and can focus on your individual vision dynamics. Once again, this is an imagination workout, getting you ready for the real thing! This is also another opportunity to refine your “passion action”.

The purpose of the exercise is to illustrate a few principles in terms of creating widespread social change across society: the importance of finding allies; the power of synergy; and how visioning can be converted to reality.

One of the first principles is how important it is to start where the strength is. This builds on the metaphor of a particular method of bush regeneration called The Bradley Method. The way this works is, rather than taking on the most desolate area of land that needs to be rehabilitated, you find the area that has the healthiest patch of forest and you work from there. The metaphor is that, rather than immediately trying to convince the Mainstreamers, or the Unwilling Laggards (from Tag Team), you can gather together like-minded people, other Change Agents, who you may be able to collaborate with, finding your allies, your comrades, your friends, who you can easily co-create with and form a support network in doing this.

Preparation:

** In preparation for this process, find a big piece of paper that you can get creative on! Perhaps gather a few different coloured pencils or pens, to keep things interesting. **

We invite you to bring back into focus the issue you are very passionate about and just start to scan the connections that you have, or people with whom you think share the same common interest or passion. Start by imagining that group of people, inviting that group of people to join you for a particular project.

One of the other principles that this exercise introduces is the power that a small group can have. Once you’ve found your allies and you start working together you’ll find that you all have particular focuses of interest, you all have different motivations for your passion, you all have different skills and different connections. The synergy of all those things coming together towards a common project creates this amazing potential and power for inspiration and change. It’s that co-creative energy that you can discover within your group, and hopefully also with the Earth and the ecosystems you are a part of. The Earth and its systems can also provide power and inspiration to create change and new innovations in our society.

This process also introduces you to a very simple form of visioning and strategic planning. This is a really important tool, where we can come up with a big vision that we all collectively share and we can go through a process of chunking that down into bite-sized pieces so that we can take concrete steps towards achieving and inspiring our large-scale vision.

It’s called The Planning Web, and was first developed by Peter Cuming of Sustainable Futures Australia in 1996.

Process: In your mind’s eye, we invite you to visualise a small group of people with whom you share a common passion, your concern about something, your wish to make a positive difference in the world. See if you can visualise those individual people as best you can. You might like to jot down their names, or maybe the groups of people they represent, and something about each of those people. To keep it simple, imagine no more than 5 people, and make sure they are real people that you know (even though they’ve not necessarily agreed to join you in this project!)

**Pause here while you write this down, perhaps with some stick figures, around the edge of your piece of paper.**

The Co-Creating Change process takes place over 5 steps. Here is an example of a planning web for a sustainable neighbourhood. You will create something like this for your own vision.

Breakthrough- (X1.00)-2

Step 1: Creating a shared vision

Imagine sitting down with your small group of people and having an idea about something that you want to do together. Some practical examples could be something like creating a one-time event together, or it might be an ongoing project, a new business, or an integrated campaign for social change in regard to your particular issue. So think of a project idea, whatever pops up in your head as an example, and write that in a circle in the middle of your paper.

Now do an imaginary brainstorm around your imaginary group, hearing from everybody about what their different ideas for this project would be. Take a bit of time and maybe next to the names of each of the people that you’ve written down, write any ideas you imagine them sharing about the project.

**Pause here while you do this, writing people’s ideas next to the stick figures around the edge of your paper.**

Once you’ve imagined hearing from each of the individual members of the group, we invite you to integrate those different perspectives into one vision statement. It can be one long sentence or a couple of sentences, describing in essence the core aspects of what it is that you want to create together (see our example below for a tree-planting project). (For the purposes of this exercise, maybe make it a smaller, achievable vision. It doesn’t need to be capped in that way, however you might like to start with a simpler version for your first time using this process.)

**Pause here while you do this.**

Step 2: Finding goals

Take that vision statement and break it down. Separate that overall holistic vision into a list of separate goals or aspects of that vision (no more than 5 or 6 different goals). You see that there are different parts of the vision, different aspects that you would need to achieve in order to create a whole project, a whole vision. (Our sustainable neighbourhood example above shows 8 goals, so we’d want to try and combine some to reduce their number.)

Then take each of the five or six different goals you identified. Write each goal inside a smaller circle around the outside of the big centre circle.

**Pause here while you do this.**

Step 3: Choosing roles

Imagine each imaginary person in your group, taking on one of those goals. Of the people in your group, think about what goals they might be interested in taking on, based on what you know about them with regards to their personal interest, or skills, what sorts of things they would feel particularly passionate about, interested in or skilled to deal with. Write one of your group member’s names next to each goal.

**Pause here while you do this.**

Step 4: Taking steps towards the vision

Just around the outside of your central vision circle, write either your whole vision statement, or some key words from that vision statement, or a summary of that vision statement. You might want to draw an image or a few symbols to help illustrate what you hope to achieve.

Draw lines between your goals and your central vision, to represent the stepping stones or pathways to achieve the vision.

** Pause here while you do this. **

Imagine that you are physically with your team of people, and that this “web” pattern is laid out on the floor.

Imagine them standing in a circle, with each of them holding one of the goals, looking to the centre of the circle where the vision sits. This vision is the thing that is inspiring all of you, and yet each of you are taking on separate responsibilities based on your abilities and interests.

Imagine everybody actually taking a few physical steps forwards into the circle towards this vision. Imagine each person taking steps towards achieving their particular goal in order to co-create the shared vision.

You’re one of those people, taking on responsibility for one of those goals. Whatever goal it is that you are responsible for, I invite you to think of some tangible, important steps that need to be taken to work towards that particular goal.

**Pause here while you ponder this and write some ideas down.***

Step 5: Focusing on synergies

If you are doing this process alone, we invite you to take one more of those goals and imagine taking responsibility for coordinating that goal and standing in the circle, focused towards that central vision, taking on that second goal. What steps would be important to take in order to achieve that second goal?

[If you are actually doing this in a real group of people, ask the others to share the goals they have taken on and the steps to reach their goals.]

**Pause here while you do this.**

Then compare the different ideas for the achieving goals that you and other people have come up with. Are there any synergies or crossovers? In other words, how are you thinking alike and differently? How can you help each other to reach this collective vision? These synergies are often the places to focus your initial energy, because they will be easy wins, easy things to achieve and collaborate on.

Each person in the group needs to be interested in the success, not only of their own goal, but of each others goals. Without the successful realisation of all of the goals the vision itself will not become a reality.

Reflection: What is special about this Planning Web process is that you can actually take a vision that is very inspiring and poetic, even abstract, and make it into something that is very practical, realistic and achievable.

Now you have learned about this tool, we invite you to use it in real life! Find or create your small group of passionate allies … even one buddy is a start… and start playing with a planning web.

The next step is to convert your vision from this circular group form into an actual strategic plan. This can often be drawn up like a table with a list of tasks and various people taking on particular responsibilities, timelines and priorities. Here is an example of a vision statement, group and strategic plan for a tree planting project.

BREAKTHROUGH- (X0.85)

Now it is time to get practical about implementing those tasks, priorities and timelines.

In terms of taking action, one of the best things to do is to identify some of the actions or items in the strategic plan that are easily achievable. These might be the items that are synergistic or overlapping, where people can collaborate to get two wins for the price of one. Identify where people’s enthusiasm and energy is and perhaps you want to start there.

As you take on these actions, really enjoy and celebrate them, even if they are small wins and achievements. It is also important to publicise and communicate those successes along the way. It is that joyfulness, that celebration and positive reinforcement that can get other people excited and draw them into the project, process or movement.


“A vision without a task is but a dream, a task without a vision is drudgery, a vision and a task is the hope of the world”

                               – inscription on a church in Sussex, England, 1730


Source: This Co-Creating Change exercise was created by Eshana Bragg based on a strategic planning tool called The Planning Web, originally developed by Peter Cuming of Sustainable Futures Australia in 1996. It has been used for collaborative planning involving up to 200 people – from large city-scale sustainability plans to small projects with indigenous communities in the bush – all with successful on-the-ground outcomes.

 

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