We are regularly asked by people how they can learn to facilitate the Work That Reconnects. Experienced facilitators around the world have begun to offer facilitator development programs (see list here), but most facilitators until recently have gained their skills in other ways: by taking part in and assisting in as many workshops and longer intensives as possible; and/or by organizing and practicing with groups on their own.
Since the Work That Reconnect is available to everyone as “Open Source” or “Creative Commons” offering, certain time-tested guidelines are all the more important. Here are some we have come to see are essential:
Know Your Roots
Steep yourself in the world view that animates this work. New paradigm thinking from science and spiritual traditions that are essential to this work are distilled in Joanna’s books and especially in the first four chapters of Coming Back to Life, as well as in World As Lover, World As Self and Mutual Causality. Active Hope- How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone is also essential reading and lays out the Spiral of the Work in more depth.
Stick with the Spiral
Recognize and follow the power of the Spiral as it moves through its four stages.
Listen to the People
In the Work That Reconnects, you are inviting people to speak the truth of their experience on an endangered planet. In so doing, they open themselves to the grief of our world and the intelligence of Earth. You can trust that. This elicits your respect; there is no need to fix, preach or comfort.
Honor the Source and Pay it Forward
As with anything you have learned from another tradition or body of work, you will want for the sake of your own integrity to attribute it explicitly. As with any gift, the gratitude you experience will compel you to share this work with others.
Know How It Works and Experience It Before You Lead It Or Change It
Experience the Work firsthand and understand its underlying principles before you attempt to facilitate. The practices of the work can change and become yet more relevant as we face new challenges. Let any changes you make be based on a clear understanding of the original form.
Be Actively Engaged in the Great Turning in Your Own Life
Take part in some way in each of the three dimensions. You need to know the challenges and joys, ups and downs, tears and laughter of committed activism if you want to be authentic in your facilitation of this work.
Study Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work That Reconnects (revised edition, 2014) our most thorough manual to date. Additionally, carefully read Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy.
Use this Facilitator Competency Framework to assess where you are.
Form a study/practice group that meets regularly with four to twelve others. Group study of Coming Back to Life, the training videos and other materials from the website is an excellent way to digest the interactive wisdom of the Work.and. For all to read a portion on theory of the Work and for one or more to lead an exercise, is a proven way to Taking turns leading and participating in practices can build understanding and confidence.
Start an Active Hope book group. Visit www.activehope.info to learn more about the book and starting a book study group. Study guides are available. Participants share facilitation of the group and offering practices.
Support each other with feedback so everyone can grow their facilitation skills.
Study the WorkThatReconnects.org website.
Read Deep Times Journal (and read back issues) to stay connected to emerging thinking and practices in the Work, as well as the ever-expanding WTR network.
Attend workshops or participate in webinars with Joanna or other facilitators (see upcoming workshops that are being offered).
Find facilitators in your area to ask for support and guidance.
Study the training videos.
Begin offering workshops, day-longs, and retreats preferably with an experienced co-facilitator.
In recent years we’ve recognized the need to deal more specifically in the WTR with patterns of oppression in our society. We become more alert to ways participation in the workshop can be made more open and honest to all people.
Here is a website to educate yourself about the Deaf community: www.deaflinx.com
For those of us who are white-identified, we can seek a greater understanding of the manifold effects of power and privilege. Here are two articles to read if they are not already familiar to you: Understanding White Privilege by Francis E. Kendall and Facing my White Privilege by Tara Brach.
Read the August 2017 Issue of Deep Times Journal.
Senior facilitators of WTR around the world offer Facilitator Development Programs for people seriously interested in becoming a facilitator of the Work That Reconnects or who want to understand it more deeply in order to integrate its wisdom into the other Great Turning work they do. For a partial list of programs, please visit /facilitators-development-programs-intensives/
After you have gained some experience as a facilitator, you may apply to be listed on The Work That Reconnects Network website.
Once listed you can promote your WTR activities through the workthatreconnects.org website.
Share your discoveries, new practices, successes and challenges with the international Network of facilitators of the Work That Reconnects so we all can learn together.
Offer a webinar, present a talk or video, create a blog for the WTR Network.
Joanna Macy, Anne Symens-Bucher, and the Weavers of the Work That Reconnects Network.
For more information contact us.