The part of this blog called Architeuthis is a story – in some ways my central story – but it is a story with no clear beginning, middle and end. These writings stem from recovered fragments that were scattered and buried beneath the rubble of a series of psychic disasters, blended with the theory that supported the detective process, and the sense made of each clue.
I am using the name Architeuthis, because on the day I acknowledged that the most significant yet unthinkable event in my life had in fact occurred, I had a very important dream about a giant squid, the details which I will tell in a later post. The name Architeuthis is the name for a giant squid. But the name Architeuthis also has a different meaning. It is a composite of two words: arche, a Greek word which means “origin” or “element” and Teuthis, which means squid, but is also the name of a mythological general who quarrelled with Agamemnon and in revenge stabbed Athena in the thigh. She, in turn, punished him by appearing to him in a dream after which he developed a wasting disease and the people of his town suffered from famine. And therefore Architeuthis is also the primary wound.
However, this is not a story of revenge. It is a story of consequences, both intended and untended. And I will tell it in a series of fragments, as it unfolded.
Windpump repair. Amidst the huge silence of the vlaktes, and the simplicity of meeting basic needs for water, and warmth, and keeping food cool, I walked around my internal landscape unfettered. There are some dark shadows and unopened doors. One specific door that needs to open. My mind still cannot enter that room, although my body has not escaped it.
Every now and then someone passes a nugget on to me that supports the theories that I have spent my whole life working on. Recently, a friend suggested that I would like this TED talk. It talks about something which intuitively makes sense, but which I have not scientifically studied myself. It talk about how adverse childhood experiences (abbreviated to the word ACE) affect our health in the long term.
I have not blogged for a year – for technical, emotional and practical reasons. New technological help has kick started my writing urge again. As I begin this new year – my fiftieth year of life – and I am moved by personal and world events, I find myself musing about the following:
The whole scale of human joy and suffering, and how we move along it in slow increments in some cases, or leaps and bounds in others. And how we keep looking for a grand plan, or at least some order, in that emerging dance…
How firmly we defend against evidence that sometimes it is all terribly random, and therefore, apparently unjust…
How hard we work to find justice and meaning in the experiences that we encounter in ourselves and others, and how we elevate our explanations to the status of sacred rules and injunctions….
How outraged we are when those injunctions fail, or are dismissed or challenged or even ridiculed by others….
And notwithstanding my belief that things like good boundaries, resilience, self awareness and conflict resolution skills matter a great deal in managing the vicissitudes of life, how I, increasingly, return to the one idea that, in the final analysis, only the giving and receiving of love (or compassion, if you prefer) makes it all bearable.
2014. That date is a detail from the science fiction stories of my childhood. And here it is, and here I am at the age of 48. I have spent most of my life working with the idea of how we as humans can nurture each other, and help each other become more able to both give and receive nurturing. These days that extends to wondering how we can achieve more nurturing for all the other living things on the planet. This photo was a surprise – I took it in a hurry (as wild vervet monkeys are quick and difficult to photograph) and was not really able to see what I was taking a picture of, other than an adult monkey. It was only when I downloaded the picture onto a large screen that I saw the suckling big-eyed baby. May 2014 be full of such surprises.
Offered by Helene Smit of Feather Learning (Pty) Ltd, in association with the Depth Leadership Trust:
Facilitation Skills 1
18th-21st June 2013
This course is designed to introduce participants to facilitation and equip them with a comprehensive understanding of the role, metaskills, skills and tasks of a facilitator in organisational and group settings.
Participants will develop a solid and rigorous theoretical foundation from which to begin work as a facilitator. They will be equipped with the essential skills required to run group processes, particularly concentrating on helping a group to achieve its agreed upon goals. After attending the course, the participant will be able to:
Demonstrate an understanding of the role of facilitation in organisational processes
Identify the main theoretical perspectives out of which facilitation has emerged
Understand and apply the differences between the roles of a facilitator, a leader, a chairperson and a participant
Understand the basic frameworks underlying the various schools of clinical and organisational psychology and how to use variables of each to manage human behaviour
Understand the main differences between individual and group behaviour
Practise techniques for managing their own psychological responses to facilitation situations
Begin to develop the metaskills required to facilitate effectively
Develop their communication skills with a particular emphasis on the ability to listen and use appropriate verbal skills.
Apply basic facilitation skills
Embrace the professionalism and ethics required to function effectively and with integrity as a facilitator
Understand the main tasks of a facilitator
Ensure that groups achieve their objectives during meetings, workshops or other group sessions
Use a range of facilitation aids
Understand how to document a facilitated session.
Facilitation Skills 2
16-19th July 2013
This course follows on from Facilitation Skills 1 and teaches the skills of working with both “on the surface processes” and “beneath the surface processes” in groups. The participant will develop the skills required to safely bring underlying issues to the surface and to assist the group to resolve these issues. In particular, the participant will develop the ability to:
Understand the idea of the group “psyche”, or the group-as-a-whole
Understand the nature of group processes, and the relationship between on the surface and under the surface processes
Help groups to explore under the surface processes in a constructive way
Help groups to identify, interpret and draw meaning from the group dynamics and associated processes
Understand power dynamics in groups and how to facilitate in the face of power differences.
Identify and work with group roles and archetypes during group processes
Understand how to identify and work with a variety of signals in a group
Work with group leaders and the role of leadership in groups
Understand the scapegoating process in groups and have the skills to assist groups to avoid scapegoating
Understand the impact of diversity issues in groups and use appropriate facilitation skills
Understand the nature of conflict processes in groups and have the skills to assist groups to resolve conflict
Venue, Bookings and Cost
The courses will be run in the small town of Prince Albert which is situated on the edge of the Great Karoo at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. The cost for each course is R5700 including VAT. This cost does not include accommodation. A variety of accommodation options are available at affordable rates. To find out more, or make a booking contact us at 0235411114, or email Helene at email@example.com.