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Wisdom Council #1: “What could ASP become?” Participants’reflections

Compiled by Gerard Davies
Some of the Council participants

Jill Poet:

I really enjoyed the event. Thank you for being such an excellent facilitator, Debbie. And it was lovely to hear everyone’s insights and perspectives.

Distilling the conversations down to answer What could ASP become, I shall respond with a question:

I think everyone was very much in agreement that what is needed, in general terms, is better conversations with many groups, particularly the general public, the younger generation and small businesses. We need to create better connections, provide clarity and share meaningful stories.

And so my question is this:

  1. Should ASP be delivering those conversations, training etc direct to those groups? Or,
  2. Should ASP be a facilitator to help its members better deliver the services most needed, with a repository of stories and other resources that can be shared, and appropriate training and seminars for members, as well as continuing to make valuable connections?

My personal view is that it should be the latter, but it would be interesting to hear what other members/Wisdom Council attendees think.

Dave Hampton:

Some featuresof the ASP of the future (in my personal dreams only) include:

  • young and bipoc led
  • outdoors, often
  • highly diverse 
  • activist-friendly
  • courageous and clear
  • radical and rebellious
  • committed to non-violence
  • tells the truth
  • acts as if the truth is real
  • artistic, creative, heart-led and regenerative
  • embodying (and articulating) a new story

What could ASP become:

I believe it could – miraculously – become a small part of the ‘cosmic flip’ necessary in history for everything ‘broken’ to start to be mended.

If we dare believe in ‘The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible’ (Charles Eisenstein) then *all* that ASP has to become (together) is that part of the cosmic jigsaw puzzle that transforms a broken and deeply destructive system (the destructive super-organism that is) completely into it’s opposite.

I see this as like one of those Origami or butterfly transformations, where up becomes down, right left, and inside out etc. Everything changes – all at once.

Everything we thought couldn’t be changed – changed.

With Nature as our teacher. Again.

With heart as master, mind as slave.

Well that was fun.  Oh and can I add one.  ASP could become masters of the concise.

Gwyn Jones

Mindful and respectful of our past and every step on the journey to here.  This can help to guide our choices in future, keeping true to the ethos and values that got us here. “A constant amongst the chaos”.

To make sense of what is happening and why.

Our cosmic context that shows our place in nature and all societies. I am, because you are, because we are. (Ubuntu). Shamanic.

Strive for ever more diversity of members, perspectives, voices, stories, approaches and disciplines.

Always seek to move from sharing knowledge to discourse, from stories to impact when appropriate.

Respect and value curiosity and the uncertainty and experimental nature of all our choices.

Responsive to the flow of energy of each member and ASP as an organism. 

Leading by allowing events to emerge and unfold without imposing our will and not trying to control; letting events take their course.

Tao Te Tsing – Lao Tse Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Sophia Le Rendu

I am still warmly buzzing from the great vibes oozing out of the first Wisdom Council – wise weirdos indeed!

Facilitation with Debbie was clear, inspired openness and participation – and fun!: Thank you J

What could ASP become?

I like David Hampton’s ‘cosmic flip’ … I strongly sense that we, as a whole human community have the capacity to transform from unsustainable to sustainable. In Spiral Dynamic integral we talk about ‘vertical change’ … which is when all six conditions for change can be met, anchored and integrated. On the surface, some of these conditions may not seem accessible … so it does take a Yellow Wizard to be able to travel up and down the spiral of an organization / community to help realign into the healthy qualities of each level. Thus creating a healthy jigsaw puzzle for next steps to naturally emerge in sustainable and surprising ways.

As this is my first introduction to ASP, it’s not so easy to picture a future of it … but I DO see ‘to promote learning of … sustainable practices’ as a noble and fun place to start – providing creative training to members, discover what is of value … and then taking appropriate training out to companies and institutions to meet the actual needs of those clients – and the Planet.

Sam Cande

lovely to of met you all.  On one hand I unfortunately only made it through the introductions before I had to shoot off to a meeting but on the other hand I was fortunate to hear all about you all and be part of the group.  So whilst I didn’t get the chance to hear the rest of the meeting, having met you all it felt like a really warm group where I could feel comfortable to speak but also to learn.  You are all experienced in so many different areas but then come together with one passion, to do good for the environment. 

It would So be great to see ASP grow where members alike can learn, network and engage on topics.  Could you put people into smaller groups to discuss set topics and break down interests but come together for larger events.  It would be good to hear from speakers about projects they are working on or understand where others need help?  Could ASP become the place to go to get answers?  Amongst everyone there are so many experts I am sure if I put a question to the group I would get the answers I needed.

Rob Barnard-Weston

On the ‘cosmic flip’ front: I am put in mind of the addiction recovery process, as practised by Alcoholics Anonymous and brilliantly explained in Systems Theory terms by Gregory Bateson in ‘The Cybernetics of “Self”’. When the alcoholic hits ‘rock bottom’ (which is a prerequisite for recovery to begin) there are two possible ways out: sobriety or death. As a society we seems to be in this place about now. The recovery option – terrifying though it seems until death becomes the only other option – often happens with astonishing speed and remarkably easily – IF one follows the simple, proven guidelines. 

Cosmic flip!

Lourdes Gant

What could ASP become? An association who values 3D:  Disruption, Divergence, and Defiance (in the sustainability practice) all at the same time 🙂 

What worked for you? I really loved how Gwyn (are you able to share that again in writing please?) shared the I-ching reading and resonated with what everyone shared about their perspectives.  

What worked less well for you? Some people are able to share more, some people are able to share less.  I believe we can really do a “Member of the Week” spotlight where someone is given a 15 minute time slot to share their wisdom 🙂 

What would you like more of or less of? I’d like to have a theme for the calls (for focus purposes) so we can categorize each of the “emergents” that arose during the meeting.  For instance, there’s a theme of businesses, there’s a theme on inclusivity, theme on future positive, etc. 

Nick Allen

What could ASP become?

ASP could become anything asp collectively wants. I believe it is likely to be an emergent process and we should probably make sure we (the older generation) don’t hinder that process. Key for me is to engage a much younger generation with more creative and flexible minds. Culture evolves fast and responds to what is around it in the present. I feel as a member of the older generation a sense of responsibility and impending catastrophe. These are not necessarily helpful emotions. I would like asp to be engaged with hope, creative exploration, trial and error in whatever field those most engaged at the time have the energy and passion for. It is not necessarily helpful to predict what areas they may be. 

Future councils could contribute to a wide ranging exploration of the myriad of possible corporate and organizational sustainability themes whilst also seeking to identify unifying patterns. 

What worked for me was the range of interesting perspectives. Such a knowledgeable resource. I think we have the opportunity to be more experimental with process, more playful, and less wise. I wonder if the notion of a wisdom council is attractive to a younger audience especially with a corporate or organizational orientation? 

I look forward to further instalments.

Charles Ainger

I agree strongly with Nick. 

ASP is emergent, because it is already the place members go to, to find answers or help that they cannot find elsewhere. This helps to ensure that we don’t just replicate what is already being done, but fill in gaps in the knowledge and skills and people needed for individual and system change. 

Thinking about how we can, therefore, encourage and serve new and younger members, two practical things come to mind, reminding everyone that ASP can provide things other sources cannot is:

  1. the kind of mindset we have, and
    1. the protocol we work to [the more important of these two things], that we finally wrote down for a Sub-committee [paper 3] on 15/2/19: 

Mindset: Before inviting a group, judge the ‘compatibility’ and ‘sympathy’ of the group. The criteria we suggest could be:

  • A focus on enabling individuals’ change, and creating individual practical capacity/ability to act for change for sustainability; 
  • Use of different forms of experiential learning, and a frame of a complexity mind-set
  • A familiarity with, and ideally formal use of, Action and Collaborative Inquiry
  • A strong connection with nature

Protocol: We’d require that all group members accept a protocol, that we use within the Gagglemail group (rather than relying on an unwritten one), that might go like this:

  •  Use it for shared purpose of action for sustainability change – not for personal/social stuff
  • Use it to ask for knowledge/help/collaboration, as much or as little as you need;
  • Contribute as much as you can when asked (and it often plays a strong ‘catalyst’ role – ‘I know someone/something who knows’?)
  • Share your knowledge free, even (often) when that may be used by the asker for commercial work (many of us also have to make a living out of acting for change)

 And maybe?

  • If you need more formal commercial arrangements with other group members for some work, make them up for that work yourselves; you don’t need, and should not expect, the group to agree or adopt them more widely
  • If you have gathered knowledge, in response to a question you have asked, put it together and make it available to all the group
  • Don’t exploit each other. 

– to help ii) bullet 5, does ASP IT yet have capability to provide a searchable web-based store for knowledge previously collected in answer to a question?

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