Travelling to Athens in Greece with Ubele Initiative this September was an attractive and exciting prospect to me for three main reasons.
Firstly, I’d spent a week under Ubele’s auspices travelling in July with a larger group of thirty diverse emerging and established leaders from the UK’s African diaspora activist and creative communities. Then we were meeting with counterpart activist organisations from The Netherlands Black communities, based in Amsterdam. We were introduced to the campaigns, difficulties, victories and ongoing resistance our Brothers and Sisters there are engaged in, as they challenge the shadow of racism, prejudice and social-economic inequity cast by The Netherlands colonial / modernist past-present. They’re involved in positively addressing these social dynamics and advocating for and championing the richness of contemporary Black cultures in The Netherlands. That trip was intense, insightful, illuminating and inspiring.
Secondly, in my professional life here in London, I am (amongst other things) a Systemic Constellations Consultant / Facilitator. The prospect of spending a week, immersed in an experiential dive into the process work-based realm of Systemic Constellations, focussing on possible futures for Ubele Initiative itself, alongside exploring current and emergent dynamics within some of the organisations and projects of the smaller group of (18) colleagues from across the UK assembled in Athens was a rich learning opportunity.
Thirdly, there’s always something unique that emerges in being away from home with such a dynamic group of passionate change makers. Athens proved to be a wonderful environment in which to participate in this creative, mysterious, potent and radically inclusive approach to bottoming-out the hidden dynamics at play within organisational systems. Our two Greek facilitators Marcos and Chrysalu, skilfully lead the process of wrangling ourheadstrong group, sharing their deep knowledge of Systemic Constellations and guiding us in the process of leaning-into and exploring our lived experience of our organisational settings. They effectively challenged us to dream, envision and sense possible desirable futures at personal and organisational levels.Together they demonstrated palpable expertise, real warmth and passion for the work. I was simultaneously exhausted, energised, surprised, delighted and inspired over the course of the week. There was plenty of laughter and some tears too, even when the going got tough – as it inevitably does when working at depth with psychological and emotional dynamics in organisational settings, everyone ‘showed-up’ in terms of their commitment, engagement, presence and willingness to embrace this -for most present- novel way of working.
So, my main takeaways from this week of exploring the efficacy and flexibility of systemic constellations as an approach to better understanding your own organisational setting, catalysing practical insights that lead to action and stimulating creative breakthrough in terms of system wide design, product, service and communications innovations are as follows:
MY FIVE KEY TAKE AWAYS FROM UBELE’S SANKOFA INTERGENERATIONAL LEARNING HUB – SYSTEMIC CONSTELLATIONS PROGRAMME IN ATHENS, GREECE:
1. Try it! Systemic Constellations really works
2. Be courageous and ready to show up in 5D – constellations work is transparent and really does show reality-as-it-is in your system
3. Be ready for surprise, laughter, tears and to have your assumptions stirred, challenged and reframed
4. Be prepared for genuine emotional movement.Your relational world really does become more sharply drawn and the respective intergenerational entanglements and alliances you’re part of, are laid bare alongside the ‘hidden’ resources you have at your disposal
5. Change is possible and achievable when you’re prepared to be open to the mysterious dynamics and wisdom of the Knowing field