Archive for dialogue

Open Space postponed

Posted in Commentary, Ipswich with tags , , , on November 6, 2015 by racheljackson

Based on the feedback from the Open Space survey I have decided to postpone the event scheduled for 19th November 2015.

Whilst most of the respondents who gave their views wanted the event to continue in 2015 to enable a discussion which other forums do not represent, the level of response suggested that the timing is not right for this stage of the dialogue to begin.
That said it has opened some new conversations and sparked some new activities and I do not expect this event to go away – far from it I would love to see you signed up to come along when we reschedule in Q1/2 2016. Until then – keep talking.

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A question about the Ipswich Open Space event…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 3, 2015 by racheljackson

The intent of Open Space is to bring together people who care about a specific question to discuss, engage in and take action upon that issue. Asking the question can itself highlight some complex dynamics surrounding the issue and has done just that in our case – to my mind this simply reconfirms the complexity of the question and the need to work together to solve it.

However….I want to run an event for Ipswich that is valuable and have given my time for free to that end. I am aware that there are a number of other activities and events taking place in parallel to this Open Space and it is my sense that to continue with our own event at this time would not fit with a spirit of collaboration and an avoidance of duplication.

In the spirit of Open Space I would like to gather your views on the way forward before I make any changes. I have kept it simple and very very quick – you can share your view by clicking https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OpenSpace.

You are welcome to forward the questions to others if you feel they have a view we should capture but please only click the link if you really care about Ipswich and it’s future.

We have over 30 of the great and good of Ipswich already signed up so there is clearly energy and reason to have the dialogue…the question here is when and where.
Thank you for getting involved

Becoming a Warrior

Posted in Life and Learning, Motivation, On building my business, On Dialogue, On Leadership, On Resilience, On Women in Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2015 by racheljackson

In September my eldest son starts school.  I find it hard to believe that its been 5 years since my life as I knew it was turned upside-down and inside out by the realisation that the bus I had been driving for so long now had passengers…with views of their own!  To see him dressed up in his new uniform ready to build his own bus and start to drive it…based on observation of his newly acquired stabiliser-free cycling…is terrifying and satisfying all at once.  With my youngest bringing up the rear with constant questions and narrative about the world…I am starting to remember where I was going when this all started and am quietly pleased that in fact the holding pattern that I put in place back in 2009 has actually stood me in pretty good stead.  I am still self employed, I still have money in the bank and in the business, I am still in contact and working with many of the same clients, and in fact I have learned an awful lot about myself, emotional intelligence, resilience and mindfulness as well as leadership and organisational development along the way.  I have built new friendships and grown new skills in staff engagement, surveymonkey and bullying and harassment (training not applying!) at Colchester Hospital, been trained in Open Space facilitation and Dialogue by the amazing Sheila Marsh and Roma Iskander at the Participation Agency, designed new courses with Dr Angela Smith with some great exercises, and helped my husband set up the beginnings of a route out of the rat race.

This week I made a big step forward though…I have joined Sam Pollock’s amazing Warrior Woman programme – a weights-based, holistic, female only route to building not only my fitness, but also my commitment, courage and strength to get back to who I need to be.  I have pushed ‘prowlers’, strained towards my toes and hollered my way towards a successful pull up (yes just the one).  My goal?  To regain my own freedom of spirit.  My measure? The ability to hang from a climbing wall overhang and calmly lift my feet up to where I want them.

Talking about Growth

Posted in On building my business, On Dialogue, On Resilience with tags , , on December 2, 2009 by racheljackson

Yesterday I met a wonderful couple at their home south of Manchester to talk with them about their work in the field of facilitating dialogue.  Janice and Phil McNamara from Summerhouses have, over the last few years, travelled an inspiring journey together and now work together using their diverse experiences and background to help schools, colleges and organisations improve the dialogues they share.  As someone who is also passionate about this field, it seemed bordering on criminal not to catch up with them to talk.

As the tea flowed and we nattered, the openness and authenticity of our communication enabled me to reflect on my own journey and the challenges and gifts that have shaped that journey.  It brought to mind something my partner has often repeated to me in my moments of fear and growth:

“A man found a cocoon for a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared stuck.

The man decided to help the butterfly and with a pair of scissors he cut open the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. Something was strange. The butterfly had a swollen body and shrivelled wings. The man watched the butterfly expecting it to take on its correct proportions. But nothing changed.

The butterfly stayed the same. It was never able to fly. In his kindness and haste the man did not realise that the butterfly’s struggle to get through the small opening of the cocoon is nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight.

Like the sapling which grows strong from being buffeted by the wind, in life we all need to struggle sometimes to make us strong.” – from Ack Paul Matthews

The description of my day that I had given to my partner which prompted him to repeat this wisdom once more was “somedays it feels like I am standing on a bar-stool trying to pin something to the ceiling!”. Those days are tough days to get through and I find myself testing all my resilience capabilities to find the courage and faith to move forward. I equally find that I learn more in those days than I could ever have imagined – and meet the most amazing people travelling similar paths.

To stick with the butterfly metaphor, each time I feel the urge to cut the cocoon and take the easy way, I reach out and connect with new travellers; I beat more blood into my wings and it reinforces my sense that I am travelling the right way…both in direction and in pace.


A weekend filled with Dialogue!

Posted in On Dialogue, On NLP with tags , , on October 5, 2009 by racheljackson

I am exhausted!! I have just finished my first module of the ITS NLP Coaching Certificate. Having been coaching for several years and started to see the slowly constricting legislative belt around the practice, I felt it was long overdue to get myself the tick in the box. More importantly, it has been a little while since I immersed myself in the intense, eye-opening, warm embrace of the ITS training programmes and I wanted my fix. I certainly got it 😉

ITS is the only NLP certification programme I know taught to 100+ pupils at one time using 1/2 speakers and around 7 assistants. When I first did my Practitioner training back in 2001 (my my is it that long ago?) I found it not dissimilar to my first experience of Glastonbury – the requirement to become close to and form some kind of bond with a vast array of faces in a very short space of time. It was exhausting. The model is based on the concept that the presence of such a large group both extends greater potential to learn from others, and broader experience of the wealth of human diversity. I still have many good friends from those weekends in the Polish Centre in Ravenscourt Park – and a huge store of good memories too. Whilst the course has its critics (often non-ITS trained Practitioners – loyalty in these courses grows fast!) I went back in 2004 for my Master Practitioner and on Thursday I re-entered the fold and began my route to ICF Certification. After 5hrs a day of listening, watching, feeling and practicing, plus an extra 2 hrs spent networking, co-creating and generally meeting an endless stream of new faces I have a to do list as long as my street and a buzzing energy to move forward…coupled beautifully with the desire to sleep for about a week 😉
And just in case I had not spent enough time during my days in focussed attentive learning, I chose to spend my tube journeys reading the full text of David Bohm. This has by contrast to the ITS sessions required the dislocation of my normal attention to detail and the ability to let my mind enter the wide and fast flowing stream of consciousness that is David’s way of writing. To attempt to correctly position every concept and each connection is to condemn oneself to eternal mental spaghetti…which given my days’ activities is not far from my state anyway!!
So for all those with whom I interact and connect with over the next couple of days…my profuse apologies if my eyes seem a little glazed and my handshake a little flimsy…I am still hearing you and I am still with you – its simply the fluffy clouds of exhaustion I am peering through. 😉

On Dialogue

Posted in On Dialogue with tags on September 24, 2009 by racheljackson

David Bohm – “On Dialogue” and “Thought as a System” are by my bed along with William Isaacs “Dialogue and the art of Thinking Together”. Yet another example of the guide appearing just when the pupil is ready, I picked up these books just when I need them most for both my personal and professional life.


David Bohm: “..the general tacit assumption in thought is that it’s just telling you the way things are and that it’s not doing anything – that ‘you’ are inside there, deciding what to do with the info. But you don’t decide what to do with the info. Thought runs you. Thought, however, gives false info that you are running it, that you are the one who controls thought. Whereas actually thought is the one which controls each one of us. Thought is creating divisions out of itself and then saying that they are there naturally. This is another major feature of thought: Thought doesn’t know it is doing something and then it struggles against what it is doing. It doesn’t want to know that it is doing it. And thought struggles against the results, trying to avoid those unpleasant results while keeping on with that way of thinking. That is what I call “sustained incoherence”.

William Isaacs: “..When I learned physics in high school I was taught to think of atoms as a set of microscopic billiard balls zooming past one another and sometimes colliding at high speeds. That image seems to fit the way most people interact when they’re talking about difficult issues. They zoom past each other. Or they collide abruptly and then veer away. These collisions create friction…..we respond to it by tryng to cool things down, to at least get to “maybe”, to compromise. We never learn to live over time in close context with the heat…”

Both Bohm and Isaacs have worked across a huge scientific community in search of a means by which they can address what they both see as a fundamental flaw in current communication practices – the lack of true open dialogue between people. I cannot agree more….and am reading on.