Featured Student: Vanessa, 2nd Year MAPOF
Vanessa says one of the things making her excited these days is applying her Processwork learning in the diverse projects she is involved in. Recently Vanessa has been working in various places that are in transition. This includes in Greece, where systems are collapsing or dying, as well as working in Canada helping to facilitate an ongoing truth and reconciliation process with indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. She shared a recent story of working with a young woman indigenous leader who is building new partnerships between youth and mainstream institutions and government. One of the big tensions is around different concepts of “time” and the different cultures around time: how to honor both the “funding deadlines” as well as the deeper historical arcs of time, and to bring into these partnerships that things need to take their own time. Vanessa worked with her on “in-sourced” power and “outsourced” power to remind her that she has more power in any situation than she thinks she does, especially when she goes into these meetings.
Vanessa shared another recent experience working in a facilitator role with a group of women religious leaders who are part of a massive transition in how institutional religious life is lived. Vanessa was able to introduce the idea of role theory, and that people are people, but they are also occupying roles that are assigned by any given field or context. This concept was so helpful to them as they were struggling particularly with the role of the “bully”. It’s a role that is alive in their leadership and congregation, and also is a systemic issue in the Church also around abuse of power. Vanessa was able to explain different types of power such as positional power, personal power, and social power, which helped them realize that at any given moment they can have a different relationship to power and be in a different role. Once they understood this idea, they were very creative about how to begin using these ideas, even to address bigger changes in the organizational hierarchy to which they belong.
Vanessa feels she is in a major change period of life. Part of engaging in the MA in Process-oriented facilitation allows her to see her world work as connected to a larger community of practice. Vanessa also writes poetry. She recently wrote a poem called “Into the Deep, A Worldwork Fairy Tale” after her 5-day live-in residency with her cohort. Some lines from the poem include:
We welcome the new Loves
unravel the old shames
reveal the burdens of
our privilege, race and rank
We risk dissolving something known
to see the deeper, stranger truth
of our own experience
Thank you Vanessa for being our featured student and for sharing a bit of your experience with us!