This week David and I have been supporting a community in Greece. It is a transient group of people who, for the last 14 years, come together for five months over the summer and live in community while supporting workshop leaders to bring their workshop participants to residential trainings in a holistic holiday setting. No one knows for sure who will show up each year so community members are faced with getting to know each other while working alongside each other and living together. As usual these situations generate hidden and open conflicts, divided loyalties, power struggles and friendship groups which exclude some and include others. On arrival, we were greeted by a team of core staff and volunteers who had been working long hours to organise the set up and preparations and had found themselves struggling with personality clashes and organisational disagreements.

 

We set to work on day one with compassionate listening and a no nonsense approach to using our time wisely. We all agreed that a core training in the Dialogue Road Map would bring new insight which might shift some of the stuckness and struggles so we agreed to do the training over the following two days and then revisit the issues from a new perspective and a new language. On days four and five we facilitated dialogues in circles, small groups and short exercises to tease out the issues that it would best serve the community to resolve during our visit.

 

The group came to learn that they did not really see or hear each other deeply enough to build the level of trust needed to allow abundance to flow so on day six we sat in community and created space for each person to be truly heard. Through this process we were able to see beauty in each person and marvel at the gathering of hearts and minds determined to demonstrate an alternative to mainstream consumerist living.

 

This deep work provided a breakthrough which meant that on day seven, our last day, the group became a team and transacted business decisions effortlessly, effectively and in harmony with the values of the community and no compromises.

 

We ended our last day in deep gratitude for the foundation of trust and understanding that will support each member to show up as the best version of themselves.

 

Reflection

When transacting business is sticky, difficult or taking too long, the reasons are not always obvious. What people often see as the problem is really just a symptom and outward manifestations of deeper conflicts. Seeking support from an independent experienced resource as early as possible can reduce heartache, save precious resources and contribute to sustainability.

By Maria Arpa


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