David Sibbet | Cognition & Communications
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My heart is still singing from the four-day retreat I and 35 other colleagues spent in the redwood forests of Ben Lomond this summer solstice. We met at Sequoia Retreat Center, a truly sacred place. It was my eighth year participating. Each time the experience deepens.

The energy in this year’s gathering went up an octave—perhaps because of the crises in confidence the world now faces, perhaps because a core group of us has stepped across a threshold of withholding into true ceremony, perhaps because of forces we cannot explain. But these two weeks after returning have been filled with reflections about all that happened, and especially  the evening of Medicine Wheel dancing that is the turning point of the experience. I felt that our community reclaimed something deep and fundamental. We experienced true ceremony.

MedicineWheelJournal - Reclaiming Ceremony

During one of my reflective times I drew this pen and chalk drawing of the dance, without thought of sharing, just so I could relive the experience. The image has come alive for me. There is something about the energy of line and patterns that re-evokes some of the magic. I have no idea if it will do that for you, but I feel called to try and bring it alive a bit in words. Something happened this time that all of us need more of.
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Upon reading a George Lakoff critique of the “framing” in eco America’s new report on global warming (see recent post) I experienced a flash of insight in regard to a puzzle that’s been nagging at me since hearing Otto Scharmer talking about Theory U at a recent Thought Leader Gathering in San Francisco (see my post on Theory U). TheoryUGraphic - Thinking About Frames: Is Process a Swoop or an Arc? The graphic visualization of Theory U is what I would call a “swoop”, a compelling little visual shown here. Why did Arthur M. Young, my teacher about Process Theory, insist process should be visualized as a “turn” or “V?” as illustrated below? In our study group with Arthur we would often argue with folks who wanted to visualize it as a smooth arc rather than 90o. Thinking About Frames: Is Process a Swoop or an Arc?

This may seem like an abstract puzzle, but Lakoff’s article suggests otherwise. He states without qualification that cognitive scientists agree that “frame circuits” in the cortex and nervous system guide our sense perceptions, and that these are held in place by values. The frames that keep getting reinforced in our experience become hard wired. They become the window through which we look through when we see—the directional microphone through which we hear—the guide to what we touch and sense.

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