October 2020 Edition
Transformation in Portugal
Hello and welcome to my newsletter!
You might be receiving this email because you were on my previous The Phoenix Project list with Will Franks or because you've been on a recent training with me.
I've decided to start sending out regular newsletters to try and build up a following for my writing and workshop projects.
Transformation in Portugal
I just got back from 3 weeks in Portugal, where I did some trainings in Possibility Management. This is an approach to building a culture beyond the patriarchal, capitalist empire in which we find ourselves. It came out of the eco-village movement and includes upgraded thoughtware, emotional healing processes and adulthood initiations, that together welcome people into new ways of being.
The main theme of my two weeks of trainings was realising all the ways that I hide myself from other people and the world. I choose to be small and nice, and present myself as a 'good boy' in order to stay safe and make sure that people like me. This means that I often don't stand up for what I believe in because I'm too afraid of what other people think. After one emotional healing process, I made a commitment to "sometimes being a problem for other people", which felt powerful.
We live in a society where people are traumatised and oppressed into giving up their power and authority to stand up for what they truly believe in. If we want to see real political and social change this work seems vitally important.
My experience coming back to normal life afterwards has been like dropping back into an old well worn set of clothes. On the surface nothing seems to have changed - i'm still largely playing out the same behaviours with those around me. But at the same time, everything has changed - because I am now so much more aware of the clothes that I'm wearing, more aware of the ways that I prevent transformation in my life. This new awareness is incredibly painful and I think it is this pain that will slowly propel me out of this set of clothes and into something far more potent!
I don't think Possibility Management contains all of the answers to building a culture based around love and connection but it definitely has quite a few of the pieces! There were some big things missing, such as anti-oppression work, more political awareness and nature connection but no one training is going to have everything I'm after. Maybe it's the work ahead of me to bring these areas of exploration and the people undertaking them together!
If you're interested in doing a similar course to me, Vera Franco who I met on the training and has a lot of wisdom to share, is doing an online version in November.
Over the last few years, I have been slowly honing in on an answer to the question of: what is my contribution to the more beautiful world that I want to see?
I realised some time ago that it needed to combine together two areas that I am naturally gifted in: the world of ideas and the world of interpersonal relationships. It's also dawned on me that what excites me the most is the intersection of politics, spirituality and group transformation.
So at the moment (and this will probably change!) I think I am on this planet to support groups of people to live and be together in ways that challenge the dominant structures of our toxic culture.
I've already started doing this work in the area of conflict transformation within XR but in the following months, I’m hoping to start offering more workshops and trainings as well as continuing to write when I can. Watch this space!
I've just upgraded my website with some of the stuff I'm working on at the moment. Check it out!
My October Articles
This month I released an article called Junctures on the Path of Change. It explores several stages that I have noticed many activists and cultural transformers go through on their paths of trying to changing things.
Here are some other articles I enjoyed this month:
Jem Bendell's Disentangling from our Destructive Ideology
Allan Kaplan & Sue Davidoff's A Delicate Activism.
Phoebe Tickell's Hall of Mirrors.
Brent Cooper's Hypermodern Highway to Hell.
Jason Hickel's We can't have billionaires and stop climate change.
I also loved these podcast episodes:
Erik Davis on the Cosmic Right (on #ACFM)
Reweaving the Human Fabric with Miki Kastan (on Accidental Gods)
The Alchemy of Age Shifting with Anderson Todd (on Voicecraft)
Sending warm autumnal vibes!
P.S. I've been skating a lot around Victoria Park lately so I thought this image was appropriate!
Dear Julyan. What a surprise to receive Your newsletter. It touched me how You allowed vivid insights into Your being, Your development processes and Your ambitious and yet realistic plans. I will get into some of Your shared articles. With Love Divyám'shu
Glad to hear your time in Portugal was so useful for you. I'm sure you will find it difficult being a problem for other people! We have to progress, yet be congruent with ourselves, it's an unfolding. Look forward to hearing more from you1