Have you been in danger of loosing friendships over polarised issues? It’s tough sometimes to stay in conversation with people who don’t share our views or seemingly our values. How can we do it and bring more complexity to our conversations?
I want to share a personal story to introduce the topic. It’s about vaccinations. Firstly I want to say this is not a story about pro or anti-vax, it’s about polarisation.
It’s a beautiful blue sky day. A group of us has been working together in the communal garden. It’s morning tea. We’re sitting in a circle enjoying the sun, the tea, the camaraderie. Someone says ‘I’m thinking of going to the Freedom anti-vax rally, who wants to come’? People start getting animated about anti-vax. I’m vaccinated! My heart starts beating faster. Do I speak my truth here or do I let it slide, stay silent? I choose to speak about why I chose to be vaccinated. The tension rises. People start justifying their beliefs. Things quickly become polarised. Someone cuts across the conversation and says ‘Let’s just get back to work’! We all do. It feels as if a sigh of relief goes around the group but I’m left feeling like I’m the enemy. I feel Poles Apart!
I’m left wondering why we all get triggered by our differences? How can we simply have a conversation where we can hear our different views without it becoming so charged with tension and self-justifications? All this awful chemistry is running through my bloodstream and I’m left wondering how I can make a pathway back, find the happiness of working together again?
Know the feeling? Been in that experience? Are there topics you know NOT to talk about around certain friends and family? Topics you avoid because you have strong opinions or feelings? Of course there are – we all have them! How do we sit with, and work with, feeling alienated, shut down, silenced or activated into angry righteousness? How do we move beyond these places where we’re poles apart, navigate beyond these Us vs Them positions?
Wicked Elephants have been digging deep into polarised conversations. We’ve been exploring how we find a pathway through the tangled forest of beliefs? We so want to get away from debating right and wrong, into complex conversations that embrace multiple views. Do you share that longing? Could you also learn some skills that might help you navigate through and beyond those polarising conversations that divide us?
Wicked Elephants are offering a learning and conversational practice space.
You will learn:
- to work with your biology, calming triggered responses
- move beyond left-brain positional conversations
- value diversity and embrace complexity
- work with an ecology of views and partial truths
- spot values within beliefs
You will practice
- One to one and group conversations on polarising topics
- Different styles of conversation
Poles Apart is run over 6 sessions from early July to early Sept beginning Saturday July 9, AEST. We’ll have 2 sessions, a break of a week, followed by the next three and a further break to consolidate our practice in life. We value the space between sessions where we can really bring our learning to life and practice in our families, workspaces and communities. The first 5 sessions will be 2 hours and focus on skill development and conversational/dialogue practice. The 6th session will be a final harvest, shifts, insights, appreciations.
Sat 9th July 10 -12 noon
Sat 16th July 10 -12 noon
Sat 30th July 10-12 noon
Sat 6th August 10-12 noon
Sat 13th August 10-12 noon
Sat 3rd Sept 10-11.15am
So how about joining us and helping us shift our cultural conversations from polarisation to satisfying complexity. We see it as a shift from ME to ME and WE.