Welcome to our Peacemaking training. Peacemaking, sociocracy and co-op training are requisites for membership of any GOVERNING Green Camp CIRCLE but are useful for any individual or organisation.
Many of us believe that humanity is at a time of mass social and ecological emergency. The ‘business as usual’ society of capitalism, materialism and individualism is felt by many to be at the root of these problems.
Disconnection from self, others and nature, added to the fragmenting of meaningful community structures is leading us into a massive mental and spiritual health crisis in the Global North and increasing inequality, injustice and environmental destruction, mainly in the Global South.
ABOUT PEACEMAKING TRAINING
With this training you will learn a series of 7 step protocols for dealing with conflict that help to resolve issues in such a way that they become opportunities for growth and innovation. Even with good governance and decision making, people still fall out with each other. We come together with different backgrounds, preferences, communication and leadership styles. However, difficult conversations and conflict should not be avoided or suppressed. Instead they are an excellent opportunity for creative problem solving and innovation in groups and organisations.
When we have good tools for holding and processing it, conflict and disagreement can be a source of ideas and solutions which would not otherwise have been found. A healthy, transparent approach to communication and differences is also fertile ground for both individual and group development and can support the emergence of trust and stronger relationships.
You are invited for a one day training introducing the basics of Peacemaking: which includes finding personal peace, conscious communication, processes for exploring and clearing conflicts and reaching unity – even in recognition of differences.
These processes come from a variety of sources including Jon Young's 8 Shields (www.8shields.com) based on systems used by indigenous and first nations peoples - with thousands of years experience building strong communities and Non-Violent Communication techniques of Marshall Rosenberg (www.cnvc.org).
ABOUT THE FACILITATORS
Dr Deborah Benham
Deborah has been a student of Jon Young’s and involved with 8 Shields and Art of Mentoring since 2011. She is currently part of the 8 Shields Global Leadership Programme; taking a leading role within the team setting up 8 Shields UK. Deborah’s has a PhD in wildlife conservation, environmental education and the people/nature interface. After 15 years working in this field she moved into broader areas of regenerative culture and design for sustainability; with a particular interest in social sustainability and social enterprise. Deborah is currently Managing Director of the Newbold Trust (www.newboldtrust.org), a retreat and education centre for sustainable living and wellbeing in NE Scotland, part of the Findhorn Ecovillage ecosystem (www.findhorn.org). Prior to this she founded and ran Wild at Heart, providing nature connection programmes, ecotourism consultancy and wildlife guide trainings. She now offers consultancy, trainings and workshop facilitation in nature connection, regenerative culture, sustainability and youth empowerment. She is an experienced facilitator who loves to creat transformative programmes in support of regenerative communities and healthy ecosystems.
Deborah will also be supported by her fience Reuben (root) with whom she delivers these trainings & James Wood and Madelanne Rust D'Eye, the former a somatic psychotherapist and the latter worked in community building for indigenous communities in Canada for 15 years. They were also both part of the Schumacher training with Jon Young and the Cultural Emergence training with Jon and Looby Macnamara last year.
NB: This is the first in a series of trainings necessary for membership on a Green Camp Board Circle.
1. Core Agreements
- Mission and Vision Statement (see separate document): Members agree to support and uphold the organisation's mission and to take an active and enthusiastic role in achieving its vision and objectives.
- Core Values (see separate document): Members agree to live, to the best of their ability, by an agreed upon set of core values.
- Policies and Procedures (see separate document): Members agree to abide by any policies and procedures agreed upon and noted.
- Communication, Peacemaking, and Conflict Resolution: Members agree to use non-violent communication, peacemaking agreements, and conflict resolution techniques, and to use the Clearing procedure to resolve issues arising between individuals. Members agree to communicate with honesty and transparency with other members, and to give and receive constructive feedback when appropriate.
- Governance and Decision Making: Members agree to use and fully participate in Sociocratic processes during meetings and for taking any medium to high impact decisions. Members agree to take an active role in governance and decision making by bringing to the team meetings: issues to discuss, items for consultation, and proposals for improving and advancing the project.
- Professional Conduct: Members agree to conduct themselves in a professional manner regarding the project, during work time and in public areas. This includes: keeping good time for shifts, meetings, and breaks, working to the best of their ability, not letting personal matters interfere with work duties, informing the focaliser if they need to take time off due to sickness or a personal matter. Members provide a high level of customer service to clients, guests, and volunteers, treating them with respect and professionalism.
- Personal Development: Members commit to ongoing personal development through community building activities, supervision and training, giving and receiving feedback, and recognising and taking responsibility for their own patterns and behaviours. Members are responsible for communicating how others can identify when they are out of alignment and their preferred tools for regaining alignment. This information will help in recognizing misalignment and in supporting members' wellbeing.
2. Core Values
Welcome & Inclusion: being attentive, personal & friendly to help create an environment of unity, diversity, tolerance & respect for differences including others' views, opinions and styles, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation; maintaining an awareness of the good of the whole balanced with personal integrity.
Nurture & Wellbeing: Caring for the physical & emotional needs of ourselves & each other, for our clients and for the environment. Desire and ability to take care of each other; relating to each other in a loving way. Seeing our personal wellbeing and resilience as a gift we can offer to others and the world.
Personal Development: recognizing that our current society and ways of living & working together are highly dysfunctional; understanding our individual personal wounds and areas of challenge; taking responsibility for our personal feelings and needs; increasing our tools for self-awareness, self-care, and healing; becoming a more functional human being.
Resilience: having the tools and resources to cope with changing situations. Positive attitude, even when challenges or struggles arise. Commitment to and personal tools for regaining positivity.
Peacemaking processes and Conscious communication: Active engagement in finding one’s own peace; giving & receiving feedback in a nonviolent or compassionate way. Behaving with integrity, authenticity, transparency and nonviolence. Commitment to understanding, living, and constructively speaking one's own ‘truth’.
Community, Celebration & Appreciation: Exploring ways to live and work together in more sustainable ways. Sharing resources, space, time, food, feelings, our lifestyle & values. Practising gratitude, appreciation and celebration. Noticing and honouring each other’s gifts and contributions. Actively creating a culture of positive and constructive feedback.
Regenerative Culture: Raising awareness of and supporting others to engage with the Transition from Capitalism and Globalisation - and their associated social, environmental and economic crises - to a more Life Sustaining Culture.
Sustainable Living & Permaculture Design: Interconnected with nature; we are part of and working with the Earth. Working towards sustainability at all levels - social, environmental, economic, and personal/spiritual. Using nature’s wisdom to design our food, social and infrastructure systems.
Spirituality: tending spaces and times for peace, respite & reflection to support healing & connection. A belief that everything is interconnected and we are all comprised of energy. Honouring the mystery and wonder of life through inclusive non-denominational spiritual practices.
Synergy or good match between the needs of the organisation and members' personal needs & interests.
Curiosity and creativity. An interest in bringing new skills and ideas to the organisation to blend and balance with those of other members.
Appreciation of the needs and agenda of the organisation and a willingness to engage with those, rather than trying to impose a personal agenda. Consciousness that we exist as part of a group, a larger system, and the ability to balance personal needs with the good of the whole.
Flexibility: understanding the organisation's variety of needs and ways of working; being willing to make changes to support those needs.
Engagement with the strategic development of the organisation to some extent.
Commitment to upholding the shared agreements, values, and culture we are co-creating; living by our values; using the tools and processes that support a healthy and sustainable community.
3. Peacemaking, Conflict Resolution & Conscious Communication
To maintain positive relationships within our team, we use a set of processes which facilitate Peacemaking and clearing conflicts.
Conflict Builds Community: remember that we learn and grow together through our diversity. Conflict is problem-solving in disguise. Our differences are gifts that make up a healthy whole. Be open to seeing something from a new angle.
Speak fearlessly and with compassion for all parties.
Little and often: avoid building up a backlog of problems by addressing them soon after they arise.
More information on these topics is available from the 8 Shields Institute. Also Marshall Rosenberg's excellent book on Non-Violent Communication in addition to his many YouTube videos online.
Our aims are:
To promote a sense of safety, inclusivity, and non-judgment.
To increase understanding and empathy, finding unity in our diversity.
To enable the peaceful resolution of difficult situations.
To support self-development and emotional growth.
To support and mentor each other in alignment with our agreed values as members of the organisation.
When and How to Use these Processes
If you have an interaction with someone that leaves you feeling upset, angry, hurt, confused, or any unpleasant emotion you could ask for a Clearing.
If you experience someone behaving in a way that seems out of alignment with the organisation's Core Values and Core Agreements, you could offer Constructive Feedback.
If you notice something in the organisational system (work or community life rather than a specific person) that is confusing or needs attention, you could ask for a Picture Forming about a Systemic Issue.
3.1 Definition of Terms
Charge: Feeling and holding an unpleasant emotion (upset, anger, discomfort, confusion) toward another person, as a result of an interaction or incident with them.
Trigger: The subject or interaction which caused the charge. Also used to discuss a charge. For example: ‘he/she really triggered me’. An emotional reaction to something someone said or did. For example:. “When John said I am always late, I was really triggered.”
Clearing: The procedure by which a trigger is recognised and a charge is resolved. This involves 9 steps which are detailed later in this document.
Feedback: The process of sharing information with someone which will help them become more aware of a potentially unconscious pattern or behaviour which may have affected you or the group.
What is the difference between offering Feedback and requesting a Clearing? Feedback is seldom accompanied by a charge. Feedback is generally neutral and expressed with the best interests of the person and project in mind. For example: “When you speak very fast, I find I cannot hear some of what you mean to say. I experience this as quite overwhelming, and others may also. If you slowed down your speech to make the information clearer, other people like myself would be able to better understand what you say.”
Projection: A part of the personality that wants to be expressed, which can appear to be a charge with someone. For example: If I become annoyed by what I perceive as someone speaking too much and often interrupting me – perhaps I am desperate to speak out more myself.
Shadow: The parts of ourselves which we are unconsciously suppressing or not allowing expression. Not what we dislike about ourselves, but rather what we don’t know about ourselves. A charge can be one way our shadow finds expression. If we have unconsciously suppressed our shadows, they will need expression before balance (or wholeness, or healing) can occur. Our unconscious attracts experiences that trigger us in order to allow us to become more conscious of our shadows.
Transference: An unconscious desire for closure which can result in working out an unresolved issue from the past with someone in the present. We are usually not aware that this is what is happening.
3.2 Three Examples
Example 1: The Clearing Procedure is for resolving interpersonal issues, and is designed to be helpful. The Nine-Step procedure for holding a Clearing, outlined below, can be done informally. Two people can agree on a mutually convenient time, make the proper preparations beforehand, and then run through the nine steps together. Ideally this becomes quite normal in the organisation, so no one need feel worried about approaching someone and asking to do this. It also becomes easier with practice.
Sometimes we feel nervous about asking for a Clearing Procedure. We may be inexperienced with the process, or the issue may feel particularly difficult. Asking an experienced facilitator to lead the procedure will help create safety for both parties. The facilitator can help to guide the Clearing Procedure, making certain everyone is fully heard and all concerns are addressed. Ideally the organisation has several members with experience facilitating Clearings.
Example 2: Members might offer Constructive Feedback after noticing something, or when wanting to share information, to make a request for a behaviour change, or to understand why someone is doing something. Unlike a Clearing, an offer of Feedback will have no emotional charge.
For example: I may observe someone behaving in a way that I perceive as out of alignment with the organisation's Core Values or Core Agreements. I perceived Person A complaining about Person B's behaviour to me rather than taking those concerns directly to Person B.
In this situation it would be easy for me to hold negative emotions or create judgments about Person A. It’s important for me to remain curious rather than emotional when I offer Constructive Feedback. Using the guidelines provided below, I might ask Person A in a gentle questioning way, “I notice that you’re talking about B a lot and seem unhappy. I wonder if you have spoken to B directly about how you’re feeling?”
Using questions rather than statements will help Person A receive and consider the feedback without feeling attacked or becoming defensive. I would then be very open to hearing Person A's response.
More guidelines for giving and receiving Constructive Feedback are given below.
Example 3: For Systemic Issues members can request a Picture Forming at a policy meeting when the group is discussing work-related or community-related items. A Picture Forming can lead to a Proposal and subsequent actions which can address Systemic Issues.
Picture Forming is one of the processes used in Sociocracy (Dynamic Governance). It’s a group mind-mapping activity in response to an issue that does not have an obvious or immediate solution. Ideally the organisation has Proposal Forms available for members to suggest topics for which they already have a clear idea or solution. Members can fill out the form and give it to the focaliser to add it to the agenda for the next policy meeting.
Members are welcome to submit Proposal Forms to be considered at policy meetings, especially very clear ideas they would like the entire group to consider. Some examples would be: a project for a volunteer group to carry out; an event a member would like to lead; a potential solution to an issue that has been discussed already. When submitting a Proposal Form it can be beneficial to ask at least one other member to help, either with writing the Proposal Form or presenting the Proposal at the policy meeting.
Sometimes it may not be an appropriate item for the next policy meeting, if it is specifically related to a department or an individual area of responsibility. If so, an alternative would be to hold a small group meeting with the relevant people.
More information on Sociocracy can be found in the book ‘We the People’ by John Buck. There are also several online training videos on Sociocracy.
3.3 Preparations for Clearing
- Peacemaking: As members, we have agreed to take responsibility for making peace by understanding ourselves. Take some time to consider your own personal history, patterns, past difficulties and issues. Explore your own wounds, triggers, edges, sensitivities, or stories. We all have versions of these and they will have arisen in previous situations. Be prepared to explain some of these, and their effects on the situation, during the Clearing.
- Find Your Peace: Find a way to quiet your mind and emotions. Spend some time using any personal tools which help you to regain a balanced emotional state. These may include meditation, connecting with nature, physical exercise, or talking with someone you trust.
- If you are struggling to find your peace or to understand your part of the situation, try asking for help from an Ally, ideally someone you feel comfortable with and who will be honest with you. Ask your Ally to reflect on your situation. Sometimes our Allies can see our blind spots better than we can ourselves.
- You can also ask your Ally to hold a space for you if you need to do some emotional release, especially for anger or frustration. Instead of bringing these difficult emotions directly into a Clearing, get them out of your system in advance. They may not look non-violent while you are expressing them, but that's OK, they are part of the Peacemaking process. Afterward, during the Clearing, you may be able to refer to these emotions more calmly.
- Peace in the Body: Align to your highest intention, to find the best outcome. Acknowledge your emotions, and continue to imagine what the 'highest good' might be for everyone. Try to remain aligned with this perspective during the Clearing.
- Trust your gut. It's normal to be a little nervous or hesitant before a Clearing. If, however, you are experiencing extreme emotions or physical discomfort (headache, nausea, sleeplessness, etc.) and are certain you will not be at your best, this will affect the success of the Clearing. It's OK to say 'no' to the Clearing for now and to find a better time.
Timing: Find a time convenient and comfortable for all parties where no one will feel pressured or rushed. Remember you can schedule more sessions if more time is needed.
Location. Where is the most supportive place for everyone? Outside? Side by side rather than face to face? What kind of space feels good for everyone?
Set up an energy centre for the space. Add flowers, or a bowl of water or salt, or a candle. Beautiful items can assist in diffusing the charge during the Clearing Procedure. Use whatever supports you in creating a safe and healing space.
Invited Parties. Make certain everyone knows their role in advance. A Facilitator will open and close the space, maintain the pace, and guide the Clearing Procedure. Allies can lend participants energetic and moral support and can also help to suggest words if speech becomes difficult.
In the beginning, use a soft focus and peripheral vision rather than looking directly at each other with intensity. This will help everyone to speak more gently from their hearts with trust and courage, and may help the conversation to move more easily.
Agree on a time limit. A clear boundary will prevent the procedure becoming too long or exhausting. Speak with accuracy and economy.
Pause, or take a break, if too many overwhelming emotions arise.
Speak using your ‘finest words’: Be kind. Be mindful. For example: ask for help investigating the 'charge’ to understand the situation better, rather than saying ‘I have a problem with you’. This will help reduce defensiveness and increase a shared attitude of curiosity.
3.4 Clearing Procedure – In Nine Steps
1) Gratitude for Each Other: Welcome and honour the other person, giving them some positive feedback. Use specific examples. This can help increase positive emotions.
2) Data & Facts: Outline what happened that created the negative emotions you are holding, the 'charge.' Be clear, honest, and accurate, avoiding large generalisations (“you always do that,” “I've told you a thousand times before”). Allow the other person to respond. There may have been an unknown miscommunication which, when revealed, eliminates the 'charge.'
3) Your Emotions: Using one of five emotions (sad, mad, glad, bad, fear), describe how the situation made you feel. This helps increase empathy and promotes understanding of the effects of our actions.
4) Your Judgments: Conflicts which involve negative emotions commonly lead us to unconsciously form judgments based on assumptions. Notice your judgments and speak them aloud to determine if your assumptions are untrue. e.g. “When you spoke to me sharply, I felt afraid that you no longer respect me.” “What? I was preoccupied with something personal, did I speak sharply to you?”
5) Your Regrets: Share whatever you have done (or not done) that may have increased the conflict or neglected the relationship. “I regret that I haven’t had more time to connect with you.” “I regret not tending our relationship.”
6) Inner Reflection: Reflect on which part of the 'charge' may be coming from you.
- The Past: Do you have a history, behavioural pattern, or family dynamic that could increase your sensitivity to the situation? Observe yourself and take responsibility for your part. e.g. “I am sensitive about receiving criticism, because my father was very critical, so I have a hard time with it.”
- Emotional Needs: We all have emotional needs (love, belonging, appreciation). An unmet emotional need can develop into a 'charge.' Determine if you have any unmet emotional needs in your situation. Speaking aloud our emotional needs can increase understanding and empathy.
7) Requests: Ask for a behaviour change or follow up actions. What will help to heal the issue? e.g: “Can we spend time once a week and get to know each other better?” or “I would love it if you could remember that I work more slowly than you. Can you be patient with me while I learn?”
8) The Other Person - Active Listening, Mirroring and Responding: At regular intervals allow the other person to respond. Listen to their response fully and from the heart. When each person has finished speaking, summarise what you have heard, so each can feel understood. If you feel there is any truth in their judgment (e.g. you were angry with them, or you were impatient), take responsibility and explain why.
9) Gratitude: Say thank you and close.
3.5 Notes for Facilitators
Before beginning, make certain there is no charge between any of the participants and the facilitator. If there is, find another facilitator.
Insist the participants be very specific with their data.
Actively guide the interaction. Ask probing questions: ‘Is that an emotion or a judgment?’ State clearly, gently, and firmly whenever you observe a miscommunication or a confusion.
Notes for Participants
Get curious whenever there is a charge. Instead of using energy to avoid or defend, try using the existence of charge to increase awareness about the situation, for everyone involved.
Investigate any charge you are holding. Try a small homeopathic dose of what has triggered you. Imagine yourself displaying the exact behaviour or attitude which has generated the charge. Does that feel uncomfortable? Does it clash with your belief system? Is this a behaviour or attitude that you wish you were more comfortable with? You might learn something about yourself ☺
Take your time and discuss the issue slowly. This encourages speaking truthfully from the heart.
4. Feedback Policy
Giving feedback is an important communication tool when living in community, creating learning and self awareness, while helping the organisation to meet its aim of being socially sustainable. By being open to feedback we can learn more about ourselves and each other, build better relationships, bring our gifts more fully into the world, and create a great place to live and work. Feedback can help us to become more aware of our gifts and strengths as well as our shadows and blind spots.
Creating a Culture of Appreciation:
If you notice someone doing something well, please share this with them as soon as you can. Be specific. For example, “I love the way you welcomed that guest, you were so friendly and smiling and they seemed to instantly relax and feel at home”.
In some First Nations traditions our gifts and talents are believed to be shy and hidden. If they peep out but are not noticed or welcomed, they may go into hiding again. Giving positive feedback helps us to feel valued while creating more positive energy in our community and workplace culture.
If you are truly offering feedback, it will be based on observation, without any emotional charge. Before you offer feedback, make certain your motivation is to share learning both for yourself and the other person. If your motivation is to hurt, punish, or make the other person feel bad, that is not truly feedback. When charged emotions are present, it would be better to request a Clearing. The desire to hurt is common in western culture, indicating a need for empathy and understanding. Much more information on this topic is available in Marshall Rosenberg's Non-violent Communication materials.
It is best to offer feedback sooner rather than later. This ensures the feedback is fresh and relevant and will avoid developing into a charge. Always ask if now is a good time to offer feedback. If not – arrange a short time in the near future which is mutually convenient.
When someone offers you feedback, it is critical to actively listen. Do not simply say, ‘I hear you’. Summarise what they have said to check you have heard and interpreted them correctly. Seek and acknowledge any truth about your behaviour from which you can learn. Appreciate the time and energy it took for them to offer you feedback.
2:38 video of Marshall Rosenberg introducing NonViolent Communication
11:08 video of Marshall Rosenberg demonstrating NonViolent Communication
5:09 video of Daniel Ofman’s Core Quadrants (in English)
3:26 video animation of Brené Brown on Blame
20:19 video of Brené Brown on “The Power of Vulnerability”
20:38 video of Brené Brown on “Listening to Shame”
NonViolent Communciation Training
Daniel Ofman’s Core Qualities (in English)