What stops you? What stops you from doing and being who and what you want to be? What stops the future that is trying to emerge?
According to Otto Scharmer’s Theory U and the good folks of the Presencing Institute, it comes down to listening – how we listen and what we listen to. Like many and too often, I hear a pair of unrelenting harpies – Voice of Judgment and Voice of Fear.
Perhaps you know them: the little voices at the back of your head telling you all the reasons you shouldn’t be busting loose. Why your envisioned future can’t and won’t happen. The scathing, shrill self-censure ahead of every step off the familiar path. The nagging nay-saying, alarmed at the unknown.
~ ~ ~
The shower splashes against my face, down my neck, across my chest. It warms the cold places deep within, softening, soothing.
Rubbing soap from my eyes, I see it: the judgment I ascribe to others is actually my own.
I watch the sudsy water disappear down the drain, willing it to take the judgment with it.
~ ~ ~
Theory U is dramatic, so it came as no surprise that there would be theater.
Social Presencing Theater focuses on what our bodies know about our heads and hearts. In the “Stuck” exercise, participants become mobile statuary, embodying where we are – and where we want to go. One person takes a position that represents a place she feels stuck in her life or work (huddled, stretched; whatever), and then asks other participants to take positions related to that “stuck” feeling.
Take and hold the positions. Feel what the body knows.
See what the body wants to do.
~ ~ ~
I’m crouched on the floor. My right hand is tentatively raised – just a little – hovering by my right ear. My left arm is ram-rod straight in front of me, deflecting, defending, resisting.
I hold the position, waiting to see what my body wants to do.
My body wants to drop that left arm. It wants to stop resisting.
The arm drops. Within and around me, things begin to move.