Sunday, July 26, 2009


Woke up at 5.00 a.m. today. Another half hour later. Woo hoo!

Doing these quarterly consensus decision making workshops is awe inspiring.

During each workshop the residents of the host community share with us a couple of their conflicts. They are issues on which they have tried, but so far failed, to reach agreement. We trainee meeting facilitators then attempt to assist them in clearing the blocks.

Both the participation in, and the facilitation of, the process are peak experiences. When people who had been in conflict reconcile, there rarely is a dry eye in the room.

Presenting the trainee meeting facilitators with a real life challenge with which the host community is grappling is far superior to presenting the trainees with a hypothetical exercise on which to work. The difference is huge.

In an emotionally charged scenario, it is particularly useful to introduce an exercise that encourages each meeting participant to share from the heart, to access their feelings, and to take responsibility for their contribution to the situation. Alternative meeting formats that employ elements of movement or art or storytelling or drama are amongst the skills that we are learning.

Elliott Willis and Judy Roberts during the lunch break at WindSong Cohousing Community yesterday. Elliott lives in Nanaimo, as I do, and she is a member of O.U.R. Ecovillage in Shawnigan Lake.

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