We are regularly asked by people how they can learn to facilitate the Work That Reconnects. Several experienced facilitators have collaborated to offer a facilitator development program, but most facilitators to date have gained their skills in other ways. Most have begun by taking part in and assisting in as many workshops and longer intensives as possible; and many begin 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.
- 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.
- Stick with the Spiral
Recognize and follow the power of the Spiral as it moves through its four stages.
- 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. Start an Active Hope book group. We can put you in touch with people who can share how they have made this format work.
- Forming a study/practice group with two to eight others and meeting regularly, using the book, the training videos and other materials from the website is an excellent way to digest the interactive wisdom of these guide books. 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 build understanding and confidence.
- Study the training videos.
- Study the WorkThatReconnects.org website. After you have experience as a facilitator, you will apply to be listed on that website. And share your discoveries with other facilitators of the Work there.
- Be sure to read The 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 a webinar with Joanna or other facilitators (see upcoming workshops that are being offered).
- 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.
- Support each other with feedback so everyone can grow their facilitation skills.
- Find facilitators in your area (http://workthatreconnects.org/facilitators/) to ask for support and guidance.
Let us know how we can be of support!
Joanna Macy & Anne Symens-Bucher