Reflections Beyond Marrakesh

December 17, 2017
Setting the scene. 

In October 2017, one programme leader from the Northern Hemisphere, Corina Roobeck who lives in Spain, joined forces with our Southern Hemisphere, Australian based, leader Simone Maus to deliver Zenergy’s Stage Two Facilitation programme.

The programme was held in Marrakesh, Morocco with 7 participants, 2 programme leaders and one assistant. The participants represented  an extraordinary mixture of people. Between us we spoke about 13 languages and represented about 10 countries.

The venue was amazing and gave us a lot of room for metaphors for facilitation training. We were in a large property which was surrounded with walls separating our western world culture from the arabic, eastern world culture around us. We reflected on how much there was an inner world and an outer world view that was present through the living conditions in this country.

How much would we integrate those two worlds in ourselves as whole person facilitators this week? How much will we let our walls down?

The Purpose

The programmes Purpose was to Generate Collective Intelligence. The groups Purpose was To Burst with Magic.

The Zenergy Stage 2 programme works with learning to notice what is missing in a group using a number of facilitation distinctions, such as purpose, culture, powerful listening, powerful speaking, being with, intentionality, intuition, power with, fearless and ruthless compassion, emotional competence to name a few.

We used the steps of Zenergy whole person learning and integration, see below.  The facilitators stepped more and more into their personal power. They pushed beyond their comfort zones through the vulnerability of learning into a bursting magic space of facilitators that helped the group to reach a new level of accessing collective intelligence together.

One of the participants described it in a great way:

“It’s hard to completely capture the magic that happens at Zenergy in words.  Apart from providing a comprehensive and dynamic set of skills that can be put into practice on a personal and organisational level, Zenergy goes above and beyond the ordinary. We learned to connect with a source of intelligence unique to our group yet larger than the contributions of each member. What emerged was truly spectacular and immensely powerful. An empowering and life changing experience.” Sina Saffari


In one of our check ins in the morning, I was coaching one of our participants in the facilitation seat. The purpose of this process is to share anything that needs to be said to become fully present for the day. I noticed that one of the participants who checkd in earlier somehow did not feel present and something unspoken became more and more apparent in our group. I decided to try something new and to name that something is present and unspoken and we might be able to help each other as a group to name it so that we all can be more present for the day. This intervention resulted in a beautiful sharing about what it means to be a father and a teenage child. The whole group participated to this conversation and what has been hard to express for one member became enlightened through the sharing of the experiences of the group members. We truly accessed some magic together and learned so much from the collective intelligence that emerged between us. When I reflected back on what I did that made this happen, I realized that I was standing in a purpose of healing and learning for the group. I also realised that I used powerful listening for a different dimension then just the words. I listened for what might be possible for us as a group. I listened for the groups intelligence and to what might be helpful to achieve our purpose. I trusted my intution and stepped into the unknown by naming what I felt was present even so I did not know what it was or what to do next. The group took it away.


Power and commitment to excellence

My co-leader and I noticed a phenomena after our first day of training. During the group’s purpose session where a participant facilitated the alignment of the group’s purpose for the week, my co-leader and I both made an intervention which was kindly rejected and pushed back by the group, who was very much sure that they had their purpose. Our interventions were based on a feel that the purpose could be something more. At that stage the group’s purpose felt very safe and indeed could have been the purpose of many other groups. In our debrief at night we both realized that we were not really committed to our intervention and we did not really stand for excellence for this group. In our conversation the next day with our coach, he challenged us that there might have been something going on around power during that session. I mean we are the leaders of the programme and the group ignored our interventions on day one of the training. “Is it not like going to a Zen Master to learn and then say no thanks, I disagree, I think I got it” our coach said to us. Well that was an interesting perspective and we presenced it with the group the next day, knowing that many were working on power and how to work with it as a facilitator.  We owned our drop of commitment to our interventions and our lack of standing for excellence for the group and the purpose they might actually could achieve. It was an interesting exploration and the group had another go at their purpose, which finally popped out as To Burst with Magic. What a powerful purpose for a group of growing whole person facilitators. This powerful purpose stretched all of us and was truly unique to this group.

Navigating dangerous terrain

On day 4 of the stage 2 training we normally leave the safety of our workshop room for an excursion organised by the group members. This allows us to work with co-operative decision making in the group. On the day we split the group in half and give them a task in relation to one or two of the facilitation distinction. That day we had one car going off with a team exploring power with and the other car exploring fearless and ruthless compassion. As an excursion the group chose to drive to the Atlas mountain and to take a donkey ride and have lunch. When we got there we were put straight away on to the mules, which are a cross between a donkey and a horse. We each had a guide and started our journey.

Some of the reflections of that ride in relation to our facilitators training were incredible. People felt slightly out of control as we were sitting on the mule and had to fully trust it. When the terrain got a bit hairy, we had to stay extremely present to not fall of the mule or disturb the mule so that it does not hurt itselve. It was an hour on the mule and so much like sitting in the facilitators hot seat. We navigated in the unknown. We had to trust. We had to share power. We had to stay present. We had to be fearless. Some of us did consider not going on the mule. We had to be compassionate. And we had to stay connected to our purpose and culture as a team which helped us through the day.

One of our participants told us that where he comes from, in Brazil, they use the term ‘Beyond Marrakesh’ as an expression of a wild experience that goes far beyond the comfort zone.  Well, we can truly say that we all together went Beyond Marrakesh!

I like to end with a poem by co-leader Corina Roobeck to express her reflections.

Brilliant and broken

Let your light shine

Both are our strengths

Open the internal gold mine
Whole person at the ready

Breathe it all in

Where does it come from

Keep it real nothing to spin

Trust in yourself

You could hold the key

Unlock the gate

A new cave for others to see

Put your head in your pocket

Your heart in your mouth

Wind back on stupid

We could all head south.

Work with the unknown

Nothing to prepare

Try something new

Only limited by what we dare

Walk the steps

Get into your groove

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