Module 22 – Cultural Repair & Re-designing Harmonious Organisation

 

23rd-25th January 2019 (3 days) in Bangkok

(Deborah Benham and Root Cuthbertson)

 

Module Description:

Thought leaders of every discipline recognize major problems with modernity. While it has provided some improvements, it has also led to a terrifying increase of physical diseases, mental disorders, and collapsing social systems, particularly in the global North. It is vitally necessary for modern societies to initiate a systematic process of cultural repair, adding back in lost, forgotten, or undervalued traditional cultural elements. This workshop will offer an exploration of the 8 Shields, an elegant and intuitive system for restoring interconnection and healing with ourselves, our communities, and the natural world.  The 8 Shields provide both a map and a compass, allowing us to measure the multidimensional aspects of ‘Re-Villaging,’ pointing toward a more regenerative way of living sustainably on the Earth.Regardless of our background, we have the power to create the society and culture that we want.  We can choose to consciously create communities based on Unity, Peace, Communication, and Healing. Rather than conflict resolution, we propose designing for conflict prevention.  We can build our courage, reduce our shame, and uplift each other with our forgiveness. In a time of disruptive changes, we can begin to build a strong and lasting harmonious organization to work for positive changes.

This module can be taken separately, or together with Module 23: Sociocracy.

Facilitators

Deborah Benham is currently Director of 8 Shields UK, an incubator of tools for culture repair and nature connection, and the former Managing Director of The Newbold Trust (newboldtrust.org), a sustainable living and educational centre in Forres, Scotland. She is a certified trainer with Gaia Education, 8 Shields and for interpretive and wildlife guides, and holds advanced degrees (PhD, MSc) in wildlife eco-tourism and marine conservation.

Root Cuthbertson, from Canada and the US, has been a curriculum designer for Lost Valley Education Center and the Global Ecovillage Network, training and membership coordinator for JourneyDance, and Education Coordinator at The Newbold Trust.

 

Invisible Infrastructure: ancient and modern social technologies

Introducing Sociocracy, Culture Repair, and Peacebuilding (Modules 22 and 23)

Two three-day courses.

 

Culture Repair

Thought leaders of every discipline recognize major problems with modernity.  Otto Scharmer, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has described modern society as facing an ecological crisis, a social crisis, and a crisis of meaning.  Many have expected modernity to solve social problems, like health care, education, and poverty.  And while it has provided some improvements, it has also led to a terrifying increase of physical diseases, mental disorders, and collapsing social systems, particularly in the global North.  Growing up in the UK and North America, we have witnessed:

– consumption without contentment

– loss of meaning, purpose and sense of value

– epidemics of obesity, diabetes, alcoholism, and addictions

– disintegration of connection to place, people, and nature

– a dis-spirited search for “family”, community and belonging

 

Our quest for leading-edge approaches has brought us to the healthy aspects of traditional cultures.  Most traditional cultures in Europe and North America have been displaced by modernity. We believe it is vitally necessary for modern societies to initiate a systematic process of culture repair, adding back in lost, forgotten, or undervalued traditional cultural elements.

We invite you to explore the first 8 of 512 elements we have been using successfully to repair cultures affected by modernity. Inspired by, respectful to, and in some cases gifted by indigenous cultures in Australia, Hawaii, Botswana, and North America, this universal framework, developed by Jon Young and his colleagues at the 8-Shields Institute, aims to restore inclusive, supportive, and intergenerational communities where everyone’s gifts are honoured and welcomed.

We offer an exploration of the 8 Shields, an elegant and intuitive system for restoring interconnection and healing with ourselves, our communities, and the natural world.  The 8 Shields provide both a map and a compass, allowing us to measure the multidimensional aspects of’Re-Villaging,’ pointing toward a more regenerative way of living sustainably on the Earth.

 

We ask:

What are some similarities and parallels shared by traditional cultures around the world?

What elements of culture have been lost in the shift toward modernity?

How has historic trauma affected modern society’s relationship with nature?

What elements of traditional cultures result in healthy connections with both nature and neighbours?

Why are modern societies, like the US and UK, now looking to traditional cultures for assistance?

 

For Thailand: We are intrigued about having this conversation in a context where modernity has arrived relatively recently, just in the last generation. What improvements has modernity brought?  What challenges are traditional Thai communities facing?  How can Thailand, and similar areas around the world, benefit from modernity without endangering cultural identity?  Can Thailand avoid the environmental, economic, and social dysfunction, disease, and despair that have appeared in many western countries?

 

 

Peacebuilding

The sensationalist mainstream media has been telling us we live in times of polarization, separation and fear, pointing to a bleak future.  How we respond to this is a choice. Regardless of our background, we have the power to create the society and culture that we want.  We can choose to consciously create communities based on Unity, Peace, Communication, and Healing.  How would it feel if all people were welcomed and included? What if our differences were valued as gifts?

We, and the generations who will inherit from us, need tools to transform conflicts into creativity, trust, and collaboration.  All too often, the difficulties in our human relationships create the biggest challenges in our lives.  Many important projects or well-intentioned groups have collapsed under escalating disharmony.  The bad news: we all carry echoes of historic trauma, some thousands of years old.  The good news: we can empower ourselves to heal it, and we are not the first to have done so.  When we openly recognise the historic or family wounds we carry, we can normalise the friction that inevitably arises from our personal sensitivities.

 

We ask:

How can groups of any size (couples, families, neighborhoods, or organisations) live and work together more harmoniously and effectively?

How can we each take more personal responsibility for enlivening all the positive changes we want to see in the world?

What is the role of personal Peace and historic trauma in dealing with our interpersonal issues?

How can we engage in dialogs across differences in worldview, background, or preference?

How do we hold each other accountable with both integrity and compassion?

How do we participate in a culture where every person is respected, included, and valued for their unique genius, potential, and brilliance?

 

We offer an exploration of practices which optimize the conditions for Peace:

– Frequent appreciation

– Positive and constructive feedback

– Conscious communication

– Normalizing forgiveness

– Cultivating unity in groups, and personal peace in individuals.

– Reducing shame and fear around tension and disagreements

– Increasing both safety and courage

– Anchoring processes to support individuals and leaders

– Weekly, monthly, or annual reflection cycles to support learning

 

Rather than conflict resolution, we propose designing for conflict prevention.  We can build our courage, reduce our shame, and uplift each other with our forgiveness. In a time of disruptive changes, we can begin to build a strong and lasting Peace.