Negative capability – A capacity for “being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”. Keats (1795-1821)
Climate Change – the debate is replete with facts and reason and yet? We know what’s happening and know fact and reason have not brought the needed response. So how do we live and navigate our way in these uncertain and unsettling times? Our 3 part series, Emitting Hope, took Keats’ idea of negative capability as our guide. We explored living within the uncertainties of climate change through the lens of Mind—our perspectives, Heart—our feelings, and Body—our intuitive knowing. WE (Wicked Elephants) engaged in a variety of experiential processes that enabled a depth and breadth of response. We shifted away from our western rationalist culture’s reductions stepping into uncertainties, feelings, doubts. We listened and each found our authentic response.
“Being embodied…not just an intellectual pursuit of facts and reason, reconnecting to our intuition and our own remarkable resources, using all our senses to guide us….[helped me tap] into my creativity. I was able to be in doubt and uncertainty without panicking, without being fearful. I could open up to movement rather than shutting down with overwhelm and despair.” (T.L. Sydney NSW)
We invited ourselves and participants to sense, feel and move our way into an exploration of the many dynamics co arising within and between us. To release the need to piece all the dynamics together in a reductive way, into a logical sequence of sense making. Loosening the grip of a rational mode of sense-making can feel uncomfortable, but can also tap a sense of enlivening expanse.
The body, our body, is the guide. It’s the pathway through which we navigate the discomfort. By generating a closer, more intimate relationship with our senses and feelings our nervous system feels supported, enabling us to respond with more openness and less defence. Add to our individual awareness the perception of other bodies moving and responding an array of narratives can emerge. We begin to feel an intricate entanglement of thoughts, words, stories, feelings, senses, silences, impulses. We begin to make sense differently! To find deeper invitations.
We asked the question – is it hope or something else we are generating? And the answer came back, it’s hope yes, and more. It’s a capacity of being we’re developing – here are some responses:
“This process has been incredibly illuminating and puts me in contact with the sadness & grief and their need to be felt and seen. The shared experience of vulnerability builds resilience and capacity to be with others in new ways.” (K.H. Denver, USA)
“Anywhere we get to share a diversity of perspectives is of value. It helps locate the rigidity in me, introduces oxygen to open us up. For me this builds resilience for difficult conversations – learning to love the people who annoy us.” (S.G. Brisbane, QLD)
“Experiencing our living connection to the universe, to each other is a powerful reminder that we are not alone, and that by trusting ourselves and our senses, we can restore that connection and fortify our energy.” (T.L. Sydney NSW)
For those who want more here is an overview of each session –
Exploring the MIND – we utilised the Polak Game – participants explored illuminating beliefs, values and assumptions underlying their perspectives and their sense of agency. We moved around the Game to enliven a multi-perspective awareness. This enabled participants to engage more deeply with others perspectives generating questions, judgements, curiosities. And ultimately shifts in position.
Heart – Generally, we have a limited field of literacy when it comes to emotional awareness. Our emotional state is a very important and powerful dimension of generating agency in the face of the IPCC findings. We took the participants through a process introduced to us through our training with Diane Musho Hamilton learning to identify the wisdom within our feelings and emotions and how to shift them from dominating our emotional landscape.
Body – In this session we harnessed the body’s intelligence to find our response to the complexities of IPCC. We framed the inquiry around a theory of ‘negative capability’, we’ve mentioned above. Given we have all the facts and reasons ‘necessary’ around our need for climate action we invited participants to focus away from reductive rationality and cognitive sense making perspectives. We led a process to listen and respond to the co-arising of the feelings, sensations, memories, and stories that are alive within us. We then listened to our body for our own invitation for how we live in this time.
“I think and feel that what has been generated through the workshop process goes beyond Hope and into Compassion and into Acceptance, into Empathy and into Forgiveness. – I was actually in the process of discovering that Hope is transferable, it can be given as well as found, received as well as located.” (L.W. Sydney, NSW)