Sunday, November 28, 2010

Letter from Deep Democracy Institute director

Posted: 26 November 2010; Updated: 15 December.

On Thanksgiving, Max Schupbach, director of the Deep Democracy Institute in Portland, Oregon, emailed me from Africa.

Dear Eugene
hi and love from intense Nairobi. In case you are interested and think this could be a good idea, ellen and I could facilitate an open forum on Sunday night April 10th in Los Alamos. In case you and your team think this would be a good direction, we will help with setting it up.
Here is the conditions under which we work
a) we are responsible for the facilitation, all facilitation questions including possible additional team members, etc. are in our court
b) we help you with writing a public invitation that we can send out
c) we advise in terms of brief open statement speakers
d) we co-sponsor the event with our logo, so that your organization and ddi are organizing partners, which will give it more impact.
if you feel this is a fun arrangement, we are into it, but we also soooo understand if at this point, the whole project has a history where this is no longer possible or does add value, in which case we  are equally thrilled to drop it and support you just spiritually.
Please answer me personally and I would like to finish this up between you and me so that we have a consensus, with copying others into this email. It will take less energy.

sending lots of love

We accepted his proposal at once and are now working out the details, which include getting the incorporation process completed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sedona Precedent of the LAGRI Experiment

Sedona Afternoon
Posted: 15 November 2010.
Updated: 14 November 2012

November LAGRI Meeting
At their monthly meeting on Sunday, 14 November 2010, I was invited by LAGRI (Los Alamos Government Review Initiative) president Ellen Walton to make a presentation about our LADDOF (Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum) project, which included introducing those in attendance to an experimental dreamwork process. Specifically, my objective for the meeting was to introduce the concept of "potential creative energy" and have those present experience a practical application.

I began the presentation by writing "LADDOF" on the upper left and "PCE"on the upper right hand side of a white board and then engaging their hearts with a song and a poem before engaging their heads with the CREEI Process.

Sedona Surprise
I discovered this application years ago when invited by a board member to present to her 17-member board of a national philanthropic foundation meeting in Sedona, Arizona. Their purpose was to make annual strategic and budgetary decisions at a secluded place. Thinking there was at least half a day to present a workshop for that meeting, I became anxious by the end of the day when there was less than half an hour remaining and I hadn't yet been invited to speak.

The board chairman then turned to me and said, "Dr. Kovalenko, you have 20 minutes to give us an image."  Wow! What the hell to do? Spontaneously it came to mind to have everyone recall a recent emotional event, whether inner or outer, preferably a dream, and give it a one or two word title. There was no need disclose the contents of the event. Only one person could not recall a dream. I quickly wrote down the titles as they were called out from all 17 participants and asked the Twelve CREEI Questions, which are designed to be answered "yes", "no" or "uncertain". To process the results of this questionnaire one looks first at answers other than "yes" to get an indication of where to focus first to seek "intra-personal balance". 

It became abundantly clear, while asking these questions and registering how many hands rose with "no" or "uncertain" answers, that there was much hidden fear and anger within the group as a whole. When I pointed this out they were surprised. It was a new experience for all of them except for the board member who had invited me to attend. But they were open to my suggestion that unless they first focused on the emotions that they were unaware of at that meeting, it was unrealistic to expect the board to make responsible strategic decisions for the foundation.  That made immediate sense to this intelligent, well motivated group and they reorganized their agenda to attend to these "meta issues" the very next day and before making the decisions they were there to make. I left the meeting that night feeling I had done my job after all, but more importantly having been taught by that group a new and important application of a process I thought I had understood well enough already!

The LAGRI Experiment
With that preamble I asked all the LAGRI members at Sunday's meeting to recall a dream and to give it a title, while I posted their responses on a white board. All participants responded with a dream. For the purpose of this demonstration it did not matter how old the dream was. It was enough to take the first such memory that came to mind for each person there. Below are the results as they were posted on the white board: (click on chart to enlarge):

LAGRI CREEI Process Experiment
Note the "Patrn" (pattern) column. The four typical CREEI patterns are:
1. Transformative (all yes answers);
2. Motivational (one or two "-" or "?" answers);
3. Anticipatory (three or more "-" or "?" answers in the first six questions);
4. Traumatic (three or more "-" or "?" answers in the last six questions).

The results above were similar to the Sedona experience. All but two patterns scored "Anticipatory Traumatic", which simply meant that there was a lot of "potential creative energy" (PCE) among this group. [Note: "PCE" is only a recently developed concept, which had not yet crystallized for the Sedona experience.] I believe this potential creative energy needs acknowledgement, expression and processing by group interaction before making more important decisions beyond the group.

If on reflection those who attended the meeting see value in this concept of becoming aware of their PCE, then we have a new opportunity to develop group awareness, which can then be applied in creative directions. For example, if LAGRI would take this process further, it could set an example for the County Council, as well as other organizations and groups in the Los Alamos community. This would be a significant way to illustrate the purpose of the Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum.

In this context, and with the technical expertise of this community in mind, one might consider the metaphor of the laser, where scattered light of various wavelengths is brought into coherence to generate a focused, more powerful beam.

For a more detailed explanation of the CREEI Process, click here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

We are incorporating!

At the LAGRI meeting of October 3, it became clear to me that our LADDOF project needed its own non-profit vehicle. Ellen Walton, president of LAGRI (retiring from that position after the New Year), has agreed to be one of our founding directors, along with Jim Bradbury, Joseph Dillard and myself.

Arny Mindell and Max Schupbach of the Deep Democracy Institute in Portland, Oregon, have given us their enthusiastic support in doing this, which is great news! To help us get up and running we have engaged the law firm of Patel and Alumit of Encino, California.

Stay tuned.