And so, Ria and I next turned our attention to “the new paradigm” – that seemed grounded, at least for us, in this living field. Our collective project is an embodiment of exploration: we can only do this by living it ourselves. It’s no good just talking about it, theorising. Pioneers are the ones who go out and try.
From the beginning, we wanted our project to be an exercise in ‘thrival’ – not just survival. Sustainability is not enough. How can we ALL thrive?
Many of my questions at that stage revolved around finding inner alignment between ourselves and the ‘immanent world soul’ – that extraordinary entity that showed up in the constellation we did at our London gathering of Women Moving the Edge in October. Alignment of the kind that brings that quality of aliveness – the juice – the life force, the potential for goodness and beauty.
My sense was that the pathway to that alignment lay through intentionally unpacking our conditioning – all the things that keep us closed off, unlistening, isolated, alienated, busy and unavailable. A by-product of this practice of intentional unpacking should be transparency about those things that so often prove to be sticking points in community, particularly: property, power, ownership, value, money, etc.
Contemplating what it might mean to be “intentional”, a new question arose for us: Can we inhabit the whole Spiral in our community experiment? To explore this question, we used the Spiral Dynamics model, which looks at phenomena in developmental terms and sees collectives in terms of the values that motivate them. Collectives cannot evolve from one level to another without first meeting the needs of their current level. It is the ways in which they meet those needs that create the next level of challenges that will force them to develop more complex coping mechanisms – and so on up the spiral.
Survival (BEIGE) – How will we shelter, feed and clothe ourselves, and keep well?
Tribal loyalty (PURPLE) – What are our kinship bonds? What are the spirits that people our cosmos? Is this where we relate to the immanent world soul and the magic restored to us by this new way of being?
Individual (RED) – What space is there for the individual? My own space, my own field of action, my own voice and flavour? The circle cannot be whole unless each member is whole.
Structure (BLUE) – What are the ‘house rules’ that allow the community to be strong? What are the lines the individual may not transgress, and what are the consequences for doing so? Who has the authority to judge?
Development and success (ORANGE) – Can we constantly grow and improve? What constitutes ‘success’? How do we measure it? Do we need a ‘business model’?
Community (GREEN) – What are the boundaries of the circle? Who is let in, and on what terms?
Health and balance (YELLOW) – How do we keep our spiral healthy and balanced, ensuring the relevant memes light up when needed?
Living inquiry (TURQUOISE) – How do we engage in living inquiry on behalf of the planet?