Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Workshop Notes November 4

Facilitation and Coaching Workshop Notes, November 4, 2011

Roger asked us how we did on the HW.  Could we tell that noticing our breathing was about divided attention? We were supposed to have an experience similar to that of driving your car to your destination with no idea how you got there. That’s fragmented attention. Can you notice the first moment you notice? With this assignment, we are developing a capacity for intention. Our class had varying results with the HW, from working well until someone started talking to you to coming and going in mid sentence, to changing your relationship with your computer.

Roger notes that our point of view (POV) allows us to function, but is still delusional. Our POV is our model which can be invisible until painted with the special spray so that it is something we can see.

Pete is currently teaching physics by democracy, comparing models proposed by different students. That seems very appropriate for physics and I would like an update on this later in the quarter. But Kurt is still flummoxed by the word quality in ‘it’s the quality of your attention’. Kurt says his definition is that it is the extent to which requirements are met. Also could be called awareness of where your attention is. 

Neal has a different manifestation of reality. We’ll call it Neal’s Metaphor. Neal says “It’s like negative space and chicken sexing”.  We all immediately wanted to hear about chicken sex, but Neal had to first tell us about negative space in drawing. Draw around the object, but don’t draw the object. You infer what the object is by what’s around it. You don’t have to know what the object is, like a chair, you can just know what’s around it. That’s a way to understand quality. For example, take chicken sexing, not to be confused with chicken sex. A male and female chick look the same, you can’t tell the difference. However, when it comes to laying eggs, the male chicks don’t help, so you want to separate them out. If you could, you’d only produce female chicks. Up until recently, chicken sexer’s were paid a lot of money to separate chicks because they had to do it intuitively. A good chicken sexer is very, very accurate, since you always find out later after they produce eggs, or not. Now they do genetic testing of chicks, and intuition based sexers have to find other ways to be intuitive. Still, it’s good that Pete sent us all a clip from Baraka which shows what the chicken sexing looks like:

Have you read Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, by Joshua Foer?  Amy says in that book they talk about how the inexperienced chess players look at the pieces, the master’s look between the pieces.

For both chess and chicken sexing, you don’t know until after the fact whether your attention was divided or not. Roger might call it pattern recognition.

Nina experienced divided attention once when returning from a camping trip with her kids. She turned onto her block and it seemed eerily quiet. She was spooked enough to take her wallet out of the car with her when they all went inside the house to find Dad, who had missed the camping trip. As you might expect, her cooler and something else got stolen from her car while they were inside the house for only a few minutes. She had been attentive enough to sense the eeriness, but divided enough in her attention (kids excited to be home) to not to also lock the car when she got out.

How do you recognize when you are divided? You are both inside and outside at the same time. That’s facilitation.  Roger says that if we do our HW and study divided attention, we will get skillful at it. I’m skeptical, and I think Kurt is with me. However, let’s not give up, let’s keep trying. The next HW assignment is to locate something in your life that is a routine habit, and don’t pick driving. Now structurally change that habit, do whatever it is another way. For example, shower in cold water, eat with your other hand, don’t answer the phone, brush your teeth with your other hand, play tennis using your non-dominant arm, etc. Caution! Do this for one week only. Roger didn’t explain really well what will happen to us if we keep going past a week, but he made it seem undesirable. Don’t take any chances, please practice safe structural habit changing.

Let’s go back to Roger’s One Thing Model that was explained last week. As depicted in Liz’s drawing below, recall that complaint moves up to narrative. Inside the narrative is a pattern or assertion, then asserted or displaced necessity, over to context or mandate, then down to generative forms, then specificity of form, then action then indicators in a feedback loop back to a context or mandate. On the left it is about survival, on the right it’s the creative component:

Our in class assignment required groups of three. Person A complains. Person B recreates the complaint. Person C breathes consciously while observing what is occurring. C watches eye movements, circulation, posture, breath. C will drive A and B crazy because A and B will be so self conscious. And that’s exactly how it went. Hopefully Roger will have us do this again so we can all switch places… 

See you Friday, Dianne