This morning I woke at 5am with a severe vulnerability hangover.
The early wake-up was necessary to catch a flight to Adelaide to facilitate a board strategy session. The vulnerability hangover was residue from our final teaching session for the course I teach in Foresight and Social Change. I’ve talked about the headspace required to teach this course before – how we use scenario thinking to place ourselves in different worlds, and how we might think about pathways and agency as essential components of hope.
Yesterday’s class focused on images of the future, teasing apart the differences between optimism and pessimism (Polak, 19723 [PDF]). This exercise requires people to declare how they see the future and then inhabit others’ views. In running this process, I often find it helps to articulate my perspective – the fairly persistent pessimism that prompted this study of compassion. I’ve facilitated this process a lot and it’s always emotional as the group gains a felt understanding of what it means to perceive the world differently.
We followed this with a meditation on two essential questions – “Who is my Self?” and “What is my Life’s Purpose?”. We chart the journey of Theory U / Presencing, requiring participants to lose their internal voices of judgement, cynicism and fear, and be present for each other and for the future as it emerges. Holding this space requires me to do the same.
Holding this space requires that specific type of courage to ‘let others see me as I am‘. When I left the classroom I felt raw. And still raw today.
Moving to the head space of a strategy session only delayed the recovery. Normal hangover tactics like cocooning with a nap or the triple of coffee, vegemite toast and paracetamol didn’t work. For me relief from this vulnerability hangover came through talking to a friend, taking a walk and and having a quick cry.
[Day 31-37: Reflection]
*Taken on my walk