A Different Way of Being Together

1984 Gene Gendlin wrote an article called "The Politics of Giving
Therapy Away." Most of the article is about Focusing and listening
training and the Changes group structure that arose in the 70s in
Chicago. (You can read the article here.)

at the very end he has a section called "Politics," and he imagines
what political and social action groups would be like if we understood
that politics is about how we are together.

"We would attend to how we are together with one another. We would make
our organization a space in which each person is inwardly aided and
strengthened and finds an inward source of good sense and energy. Each
person would go home stronger, having got something of importance from
every meeting."

remember a wonderful experience organizing an international conference
with a group of Focusing friends. We would start every meeting with
Focusing time. Then we would go around the room and share whatever felt
alive and real from our personal lives. It often took 2/3s of the
meeting time! But no one was in a hurry.

At the very end we had
our meeting. Decisions were made quickly and smoothly. There was an
atmosphere of respect and cooperation. Different people took different
parts of the work, and went away and did them. The conference was great.

The feeling of something not being right; the Presence to be with it

I sit with the question of political and social action in the world
today, what comes to me is that there are hugely important issues that
face all humans today.

And I can feel in myself "something" that
wants to say, "That's too much for me" and go hide. But I know how to
turn toward that part of me with a "hello," and thus be larger than
that. When I feel the calm centered Presence that Focusing helps me
find, then I can stretch past my comfort zone, I can do and create new
ways to do what we do together.

There's that inspiring quote
from Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of committed people
can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

love that quote, it moves me–but I don't agree with the second part of
it. Many things change the world. It seems to me that ignorance and
denial have changed the world in vast ways that feel almost too big to

But I will not doubt that a small group of committed
people who listen to each other and who listen within themselves can
change their community… and that a web, a network of such groups can
change the world. It starts with the feeling of something not being
right, that we have the wisdom to notice and the courage to stay with
and acknowledge. Out of that… who knows what can come. We know where
denying and ignoring it goes.

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