Worldwork, Warsaw, Poland, April/May 2014

I found myself faced with many responses when I told people I was going to be part of Worldwork in Poland. I was met with either glazed eyes, raised eyebrows, or envious looks. A close friend said to me …”You better get your story straight or you run the risk of appearing flaky and losing your credibility”. Knowing my experience was deep, challenging, confronting, amazing and wonderful, and definitely not flaky, I have attempted to explain Worldwork

As part of a group of 500 people from 38 countries, we explored the ghosts of history and how we could learn from these ghosts. Ghosts in process work language, are considered to be those things that are “unspeakable” and “those which have not yet been given voice to”. These ghosts go underground and cause trouble, if not given the opportunity and space to be spoken and truly heard. As a group, we went through a process of identifying the shared issues, sorting through and grouping them together. We explored the issues of genocide, the abuse of power with the oppressor and the oppressed, the realm of politics, economy, social issues and the role of the child in all of this. We talked at a reality level and then furthered the discussion through exploring emotions at very deep levels, allowing us to get to the essence of the problem and therefore what the possible solutions may be.

Worldwork was about bringing deep democracy to real life and raising awareness to the history of conflict. We heard the pain, agony and ongoing effect of conflict and genocide throughout the generations. We heard the agony of those who carried shame for their family histories and the brutality against others.  We heard the agony of those who had suffered, and whose families had suffered. We experienced the pain of the conflict on the ground that we walked on, and we heard despair ……. so very painful… And there is hope ….

You may ask “why”? “Why subject yourself to such trauma?” My answer is … To deeply know what has occurred and to have the capacity to apply these learnings to everyday life. This awareness means that in our small way, we can influence people to step into the heat and fire of conflict so that they can learn from it, and ultimately step out the other side, at worst without casualty, and at best transformed. It is only through our awareness and interactions with others that we can deeply understand, and indeed, make changes in our hearts, minds and practice. It begins here, today, in our everyday lives, in the workplace, in our homes and in all ways we have to do it differently and do it better! This is our destiny…


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