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Gathering 2019

Every 18 months or so we invite members to gather together in person for a few days. So far we have gathered in Boston, Sydney, Wellington, San Diego and Melbourne. We next come together on September 7th-10th in Marriottsville, Maryland USA. We call our time together a gathering rather than a conference, as we host an experience that is quite different to a standard conference. It is a time to meet old friends, make new friends, laugh, learn and delve together in the vast topic of Adult Development. It is an opportunity to share, question, challenge and learn – a sharing of the depth and breadth of our combined wisdom and endless curiosity. Our next Gathering is in September 2019, staring on the evening of the 7th through to the 10th.

The Program includes the following offerings:  

Adult Development Theory meets East

Overview to come 

A Meditation: Walking the Labyrinth of Transitions

Utilising Bon Secours stunning outdoor labyrinth, this meditative session is for veteran and novice labyrinth walkers. We’ll briefly cover some labyrinth basics including a theology of walking the labyrinth and a quick refresher on William Bridges’ model for transitions. We will walk the labyrinth’s three phases in silence focusing on a significant transition in our lives to reflect on the endings, middle space, and new beginnings of our transition. We will reflect individually and collectively on what comes to us through this practice of Walking the Labyrinth of Transitions.

Co-creating a new model for 1+ coaching with a systemic lens

How might a systemic lens change the way we work when there is an “identified coaching client”, and it becomes clear that the system would benefit from something bigger than traditional one-on-one coaching, but smaller than a full-scale systemic engagement, or even a team engagement? For example, the engagement is to Coach person X, but X’s boss appears to be part of the presenting problem. Let’s explore together the implications on contracting, confidentiality, etc. of coaching beyond the individual client. 

Common Mistakes of Late-Action-Logic Actors in a Highly Polarized World

In this session we share and analyze the participation of late-action-logic actors in the highly polarized socio-political context of communities and organizations. The presenters draw on their experience on university campuses, which have historically been – and continue to be – sites for culture wars around issues of identity, access, expression and power. We focus in particular on mistakes and common traps for late-action-logic actors and invite participants into a parallel analysis of their own experiences, actions and potential ways forward.

Creating Learning Partnerships to Support Developmental Complexity

Learning partnerships challenge the traditional learning model of expert teacher/naive student, allowing space for a new way to learn where both expert and novice bring value to the experience. Learning partnerships are interdependent relationships in which people share authority and work collaboratively to learn and address complex problems. We’ll explore the benefits, risks, skills and developmental capacities needed to enact and participate in learning partnerships at the Gathering and in our own practice. 

Embracing our multiple selves

We are curious to explore with you the growth we gain when we engage in dialogue with the many characters and personas that live within each of us. We invite you to play with us in an experiential conversation, in which we will seek to discover the insights and learnings that come when we explore our inner dialogue through an adult development lens in a safe a supportive environment.

Exploring the illusion of control

The purpose of the session is to gain new and nuanced insights about the meaning we make of, and the way we enact control at various stages of development, and to use those insights to sketch a psychologically spacious approach to helping people find the courage to step into unpredictability.

Finding Your Home in Unexpected Places

Many of us are seeking development or greater richness in our lives. We read and attend workshops, but somehow, a greater capacity for experiencing and understanding the world around us seems random, and just beyond our reach. Together, let us sense into spaces just outside our reach by using our full-body intelligence. In this session, participants will sense into new ‘channels of freedom,’ to consider expanded paradigms of being for exploration and discovery.

GEN Clearinghouse: Translating research into practice

Following the creation of the first research summaries for the GEN Clearinghouse – Creating Conditions for Growth and The Influence of Culture (in its Many Incarnations) on Development and Vice Versa – this session will build on the August GEN Call and provide space for a deeper dive. Hear the behind-the-scenes stories from those involved in these initial literature reviews, explore the impact of the research findings on you and your practice, and join a collective discussion on the future direction for the Clearinghouse.

GEN for us, for the world?

We have joined this network for something—for ourselves, for our connections, for our work. But we have also joined it because these ideas about adult develop speak to us and offer us something we need in this confused and confusing time. This year my sights have been increasingly on the larger world—the non-GEN space—and how the ideas and practices of GEN might be healing and inspiring for others. Let’s talk about what role GEN should play in making the world a better place.

Getting the word out on ADT: what are our key considerations?

Given the potential benefits that ADT can offer humanity in developing individuals’ capacity to overcome many of the complex challenges we face in the world today, it seems timely to discuss how we might get this tool in the hands of more people in a way that is helpful. This session will provide a container for exploring our community’s diverse views on questions such as: How do we navigate the tensions between holding our expertise lightly and offering enough expertise to pique interest? Are there any non-negotiables when it comes to marketing ADT? What principles might guide our awareness-raising efforts? 

Lenses and filters: how might we describe what we see?

With the intention to share how we interpret how we are positioning ourselves and others in response to how our experiences align and differ, we will explore together using different filters as glasses and discuss what happens when the patterns we see are different from what others are seeing. This will involve working in triads to navigate a simple maze which only one member of each group will be able to see clearly.

Making Stage Theory more accessible to clients through the LCP

Many TLC practitioners shy away from an explicit exploration of stage theory with clients, and, as a result miss an important opportunity to mine the deepest value of an LCP profile. The intent of this session is to discuss ideas and approaches that could help TLC practitioners move safely/confidently with clients into the concept of Adult Stage Theory, and its connection to the LCP.

Motivated for Transformation

How often do we remind ourselves of what motivates us to grow. This session seeks to explore what has motivated you through “challenging successes”. Together we will work through a vertically aligned model to break-down the essence of what moves us to face challenge and growth, individually and collectively. This is offered as an opportunity to reflect on your wealth of different motivators, those of your small group, and those present in the session. Come feeling good, and leave feeling motivated.

Playing with the edge of inner and outer complexity 

If organisations are to thrive in complexity, their leaders need to be fit for it. In this session, we will talk a bit about how we have been thinking and teaching about the importance of cultivating inner complexity fitness. We will invite participants to join us in experimenting with some new approaches for helping our clients to become more aware of the ways their own identities and somatic experience are conditioned to fight against the reality of the complexity they are actually facing.

Polarities and the Courage of Improvisation

Using jazz improvisation as a metaphor, together we will explore how to approach complex challenges through improvisation. How can we gain mastery in moving forward with others to design new patterns of action in the face of uncertainty and risk? Listening to selections of music and posing probing questions, we will identify the paradoxes/polarities that characterize jazz and other forms of creativity and their application in our professional and personal lives. Then, using basic musical instruments that non-musicians can easily play, participants will be invited to improvise with others, stepping in and out of an on-going flow of musical ‘conversation.’

Power for Good

It is empowering for us as individuals or as leaders of teams to be able to see the arrangement of power in a situation and to be able to talk about it openly. It is a conduit for our adult development and the ways we see it are, of course, shaped by our own development. This session will explore participants’ own stances towards power and how they can use this more effectively in dealing with a challenging situation.

Reimagining Failure

As we support clients (and ourselves) in navigating complexity, how might we reimagine the way we experience, story-tell about and leverage failure as a tool for development? Could focusing on rewiring our conditioned and cultural resistance to failure be an important lever for transitions? What is the relationship between patterns of behavior in failure, risk intelligence and AD? Let’s explore these and other questions that may help us understand this universally human experience and how we may unlock its power in some new ways.

Spirituality and Adult Development

Together we will explore the relationship between spirituality and adult development. A few of the things we are curious about include: How do spirituality and adult development impact each other? Is one a leading edge or tether to the other? How might we apply universally accessible spiritual practices in organizations to support development?

The Space of Developmental Thresholds

In this session we’ll deepen our exploration of thresholds and liminality. Threshold concepts are likely to be troublesome, propelling people into a sense of being “betwixt and between” identities and understandings. We find these “liquid” liminal spaces intriguing. Threshold concepts and liminality are often explored from a cognitive “ways of knowing” perspective. In this session, we hope both to honour the cognitive and move beyond it by welcoming the affective, sensory, and embodied dimensions of our experiences of thresholds and liminality.

The Stranger I’m Becoming: Witnessing the Shedding of Me

This session is about letting go – the kind of letting go that challenges the stories we’ve told ourselves and the stories we’ve been told. We will articulate our own stories of shedding and encourage willing participants to share their stories using reflective journaling; generative, deep listening; and narrative inquiry. We will then experience somatic and mindfulness exercises as we observe our own unravelling into “the stranger I’m becoming.”

The Theory of Holes–A Practical Approach to Spiritual Development

The Theory of Holes (TOH) is a practical, specific, and fascinating map for reconnecting with the essential self and helping us become less subject to the beliefs and emotions that form our conventional image of ourselves and the world. Core to the work of author and spiritual teacher A. H. Almaas, TOH is grounded in both spirituality and depth psychology. In this session, we’ll use a structured process of inquiry to support us to explore our own holes, how we attempt to fill them, and where we might choose to become more present to ourselves.

Transforming organisational systems as contexts for adult development

In our current context of complexity and disruption, leaders are having to constantly transform and reinvent their organisations. Through this organisational change work, I’ve been experimenting with helping systems learn to hold themselves as ‘object’, to operate at their ‘growing edge’ and be self-transforming. I am discovering that this may be simultaneously creating a space for individuals to do the same. What would be possible if these disruptive change programs were seen as containers for both changing the organisation’s functioning, but also for doing individual adult development? Could we create these systemic change contexts to be more deliberately developmental? AND could this be a complimentary approach for creating Growth cultures? 

Using Personal Constellations to Resource Ourselves for the Demands of Modern Life

In the complexity of modern life, we are often stretched to the edges of our resources and capacity. Whether as development professionals in our work, or as spouses/partners, parents, friends, community leaders, or other roles in our personal life, we might long for extra support that not merely helps us cope and survive, but actually nourishes us and facilitates our growth. Join us for a nourishing and growthful experiential session, using 2-3 simple, powerful exercises from Systemic Constellations work.

 

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