When we co-founded Emotional CPR (eCPR), I put my very best thinking into the project as a way of embodying how I envisioned relationships and how every person could learn how to support another person through an emotional crisis. eCPR has evolved over the years and so have I. I have a new insight and an invitation I would like to share.
First, however, I want to briefly review the features of dialogue that are part of the eCPR workbook. In dialogue: 1) We use our authentic voice, meaning we speak from our heart, our vital center; 2) We listen from a neutral place, free from preconceived notions and any resistance, and use curious inquiry to listen for meaning beneath the words; 3a) We practice deeply respecting each person and look for the richness of their life experience which feeds their vital center, and know they have something to teach us; 3b) We see the value in thoughts and behaviors different from our own; 4) We share our voice so others may understand, and suspend our beliefs as dialogue is not debate or an effort to convince anyone of anything; 5) We allow ourselves to feel another person’s emotions and their experience, and share ours to encourage an emotional dialogue; and 6) We understand that we are all equal and every person has something to offer, leaving status, power or privilege outside of the dialogue.
I will be giving an open presentation online on June 22, 2017 , so I am focused on articulating my new learning beyond recovery and outside our education-and-advocacy bubble. My draft presentation title is Intentional Wellness, Nurturing the Soul and Conscious Self-Evolution.
A significant part of my intentional wellness journey has been learning to believe completely in myself. This includes, among other beliefs, being grounded in the wisdom and the discoveries of my life’s journey. To that end, I think of the caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly.
Do we as humans have imaginal cells? Do I have a destiny that I am not yet aware of?
The newest chapter in my journey of liberation is nurturing the soul. As the picture above depicts, I am breaking open and letting go of attachments—including old, habitual ways of thinking—so that new learning and wisdom can emerge. All I need to do is go into stillness to find answers or the direction I will walk. I am learning that I make shifts not through my thoughts but through my feelings, my body, my intuition. I am experiencing expanded awareness, which I can’t touch and I don’t yet have words to explain. This process, however, allows inner knowing to emerge and opens possibilities for cooperative relationships and creating the emerging future—together.
The more deeply I listen, the more I connect to myself and to others and gain a larger understanding of our shared journey. The invitation for everyone is to transcend our social conditioning and see other ways of thinking and being in the world as valid and good—and that means that more possibilities open up. Our heart and mind expand; our perceptual barriers dissolve. We see life more clearly. We co-create a new paradigm, a new way of thinking and being with one another, so that we experience a deeper source of creative intelligence. In this fertile ground of openness, we think more clearly and therefore can more effectively co-create the communities we want. In my mind, that is a peaceful, cooperative society.
I will use eCPR as an example of the process. When two people go together into the deep, dark and vulnerable space led by the person in emotional crisis but with a supporter who embodies the dialogue process mentioned above, a new way of perceiving the unfolding situation or process emerges. New insights and resources are revealed which allows not only a resolution of the crisis but inherently creates an opening for the person, who now perceives reality more clearly, to make changes in her life in order to live more aligned with her deepest values and intentions. When we get underneath what we have been taught to believe about ourselves and our relationship to the world we tap into a deeper level of creative intelligence which in turn allows us to think clearer and behave in ways that move us in the direction of the life we are creating.
One does not need to go through a crisis to find a new way of perceiving challenges and finding innovative solutions. Leading edge work is being done using a model developed by the Presencing Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which proposes a framework and methodology for understanding and practicing a learning cycle. They state that most learning methodologies focus on learning from the past while they focus on learning from the future as it emerges. In order to do this, one must suspend the voices of judgment, cynicism and fear, and connect with a sense of appreciation and wonder, opening up a new space of exploration and inquiry. They have a specific protocol for this process which they use to facilitate over 25,000 participants from 161 countries on an experiential learning journey. The phases of the protocol are used by groups of people working on solving a wide variety of community problems.
I submit that a new style of leadership is spreading. It will engage and energize people through tapping into innate wisdom, integrity and transparency with high levels of trust and positive energy and embodying mindful listening and other emerging practices. This is a big invitation.
Lauren Spiro’s vision of social justice and mental health liberation fuels her work of community building, developing our individual and collective capacity for feeling deeply connected, appreciating the vast creative intelligence of the human mind and creating pathways so everyone may come home. Diagnosed and institutionalized with chronic schizophrenia as a teenager, she has emerged as a visionary thinker, artist, and consultant dedicated to embodying inner peace to create global peace. She has an M.A. in Clinical/Community Psychology, has been featured on national media, co-founded Emotional CPR and two non-profit mental health corporations, is the former director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (www.ncmhr.org) and author of a recently published memoir, Living for Two: A Daughter’s Journey from Grief and Madness to Forgiveness and Peace. Join her at www.laurenspiro.wordpress.com or email Laurenspiro1@gmail.com