Steve Davis writes this regular, interesting e-newsletter where he shares his thoughts and ideas on group facilitation. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed receiving these letters – sometimes they come just in time for a particular situation/project I’m preparing for! Steve is a pretty good listener too – I once had a long email conversation with him about workplace environment, which also led to thoughts about career choices, vocation and a sense of belonging. Over a few months. He asked me some difficult but critical questions, from an ‘appreciative inquiry’ position. Very grateful for that – it was at a time when I felt very strongly that no one at work cared to have a conversation about anything, and that they’d rather keep as far a distance from me as possible. I spent many sleepless nights wondering why I seemed so unlovable, and why it seemed that the work I was trying to do caused people in a place I cared about, so much pain… I’m so glad that is all in the past now!
Coming back to now.
Steve’s latest letter is titled “You are a Process, Honour It” (extract below). While it doesn’t come in handy for anything I’m doing now, it wonderfully summarises an important insight I’ve gained in the past 2 years. I’ve learnt to love me, more. Not just celebrating who I am, but also accepting what I’m not. Relishing the journey – with all its triumphs, mercies, mistakes & failures. I am a process! – and Christ is the goal. Oh Happy Day!
Facilitating processes for others means facilitating your process too
Effective facilitators spend a lot of time preparing material and frameworks for setting up and running effective group processes. They may assemble resources relevant to the focus of their group. They attempt to anticipate some of the problems, concerns, and challenges that may present themselves so that they’ll have responses to some of the anticipated challenges. How do I know this? Well, because I find myself doing it all the time! And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it. But, here’s another perspective.
So often as facilitators we encourage our clients to trust in the process that we facilitate in their behalf. But what of our own internal process? What if we were to trust completely in the richness of the moment to moment experience? What if every challenge or problem came pre-packaged with its own solution or right action? What if our awareness of this solution or right action were only apparent when we empty our minds of what we know from the past? What if you are a living reflective instrument? An empty conduit through which group energy is marshaled and evolved? What if this required you to surrender everything you’ve ever known? What are the answers to these questions? Ah, nice try. But sorry. No answers, this is merely a process!