Never Stop Noticing

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Long after a facilitated session has finished thoughts,insights and ideas will continue to bubble up. These may be pure gold for helping the group move forward to achieving its purpose. Below is one such story where Jason continued to notice the environment and a piece of magic presented itself.


In a pine grove below the yurt two yellow crested cockatoos flew into land. Rachel pointed them out and I commented that this was quite unusual; cockatoos in New Zealand. I had seen great flocks of them in South Sydney. Usually they make a horrific screeching noise when they fly. If I was a pukeko or a sparrow I would be scared witless by these brash immigrants.

I called everyone in for the next part of the session, which was group purpose. We had spent most of the morning getting up to this point and the momentum was building. Folk were listening to each other, engaged and present. It was time to wave the wand and activate the magic of collective intelligence. I thought the cockatoo would provide the perfect symbol, the perfect doorway.

I announced with the confidence of experience, that our group purpose was present in the room with us now. I asked the group to imagine a cockatoo flying around the yurt making screeching noises and those noises were the groups purpose. I then asked if there were any cockatoo translators in the room, what was the cockatoo trying to say. I stopped, did a couple of playful screeches and let the dialogue begin.

As the children played in the middle of the yurt, painting and drawing, Emma flashed a beautiful analogy with a powerful punch. Unfortunately it got slowly swallowed up by a sea of words and explanation. Then there was a challenge and a denial that the purpose was actually present. A few of us insisted it was. Time was running out. The cockatoo screeched.

Siri drew our eyes to the intention, written on flip chart paper, blue tacked to wall, by the yurt’s main entrance, that had been formulated at the last meeting. “To live as family in harmony with the earth, fulfilling our creative human potential”. It got quickly edited to “to live as family in harmony, fulfilling our potential”. Some folk still wanted to keep the Earth in there, but we were out of time.

We left incomplete around the purpose, but with a determination to attend to it at the next meeting. I felt disappointed, as a facilitator I like to nail these things. The day had been long and even with this feeling, I was really pleased with how hard folk had worked to be present and contributing.

As some quickly scattered to the winds to attend to the rest of their busy lives, the team adjourned to debrief in the cottage lounge. Part way through, Fiona entered and asked if she could she tell us something.

She sat down and began to speak quietly. She told us that as they were finishing cleaning up the yurt, Jason, a Chinese man by birth, noticed a mandarin inscription on the small circular table that had been in the centre of the yurt. He translated the inscription which roughly said “with a harmonious family success in all things is possible”.

This was the table that the children had been playing, drawing and painting around all day.

We all smiled and I said “no way!”, as I clapped my hands. It had been true the group purpose had been present all the time and although it still needs to be checked out with everyone, our Chinese ancestors had given a most improbable gift. How wonderful!

The question for the group will be what do they want to do with this gift? All too easily it could get lost in a sea of words and explanation. Such magic is ever present, but seldom noticed and given its due.

So well done to Jason for continuing to notice long after the purpose session had finished,  thanks to Fiona for coming to share and thanks to the cockatoos for their screeching. I never thought I would ever say that about cockatoos!

By Akasadaka Robison

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