Releasing Your Dreams

I’ve been Journaling for decades. My writing began when I was a conflicted and confused, emotionally hyper-sensitive teenager, and never stopped for any real length of time. Over the years my Journaling transitioned from an outlet for raw emotions — filling page after page with the full spectrum of heady joy to deep despair – to something much quieter and more philosophical. More honest, as I connect the dots between ‘what’s given, and what’s received’ (and my role in that balance).

Keeping a Journal is one of the most worthwhile and therapeutic activities I know of. The writing itself is not the main-thing. It doesn’t matter to me how my words spill out, fit together, or look on the page of my notebook. What I look forward to, as I write, are the feelings that come up in the process. It might feel like clarity; or relief; or peace. Recently I decided that, instead of Journaling about events, encounters, and my reactions to both, I’d try something different. It felt pretty amazing.

In the world of Organizational Psychology (it’s used in other settings as well, but OP is what I know), the other AI ( totally distinct from what we all recognize as ‘artificial intelligence’) is a tool called Appreciative Inquiry. This AI is a process for helping individuals and groups through Change. But rather than starting with a look at what’s not working, AI side-steps reality for a minute and allows a deep-dive into fantasy. How things could be; the ideal scenario; how we want and need things to be. Accordingly the first of four steps in AI is called “Dream”.

If Readers have explored creative visualization or read the teachings of Abraham, they know the value of feeling the sensation of what you desire as being fully present in your life now. It’s like putting on VR goggles and stepping into the world of your sweetest imaginings. The Job is there. The Relationship is there. The New Baby is there. Abundance is there. Whatever your desires, this is a true garden of delight. Abraham calls this place of mind and heart “The Vortex”.

What does this have to do with my Journaling? My new daily (well, almost daily – not quite yet) journaling goal is to use a variation of the Dream activity of Appreciative Inquiry. The more I do it, the longer an aura or glow of peace and joy extends throughout my day.

Anyone can do this. What are your deepest, most heartfelt desires? Without allowing your mind for even a split-second to make a list of all the reasons why you don’t deserve Happiness, just start writing. What your heart wants; how it feels, to have what your heart wants. It doesn’t matter where you are in your life, what your circumstances are, what your waking-dream is about.

The point is to – if you were making a painting – pick your colors, drag your buckets to the biggest canvas you’ve ever seen, and just start splashing paint according to whatever feelings and rhythms feel right for you. If you decide to Journal, fantasize and feel into how you want your life to look. All that’s required is a piece of paper, something to write with, and, the ‘permission’ you give yourself to feel the way you want to – for as long as you allow yourself this luxury. This kind of Journaling can be your exclusive private time — your brief escape from your current reality.

This isn’t just wasted time, or pointless day-dreaming. This is truly powerful stuff, validated by individuals and organizations, large and small; and you have access to it, any time you choose to release your dreams.

Getting it Right

Today, while doing some profession – related reflection on Groups and Group behaviors, I caught myself wrestling with (yet) another erroneous belief. It’s a kind of stereotype-thinking, I suppose, and yet it isn’t. Here’s my problem:  I want to believe; I need to believe that collectives of well-trained and well-educated people share certain important attributes. For example, “All teachers like children”; or, “All financial advisors are honest”; or, All doctors are appropriately knowledgeable.”  My rational mind knows that these statements are sometimes, but not always, true. But there’s an ideal in there somewhere, isn’t there? There’s an expectation that (looking at my own first career) someone who dislikes kids would never choose to become a teacher of children. I mean, why would they? Right? Not so much.

So it was, when I was engaged in group work recently that I had to explore this need I have to trust in a certain ‘standard’ of behavior. Silly, I know. Years of education and training don’t mean that we’re no longer hampered by the Ego’s evil twins:  vanity and insecurity. In fact, sometimes the more elevated we become (with our own accomplishments and academic pedigrees), the more vulnerable we are to The Twins.

Collaborating in groups or teams…more expansively, coming together in any kind of relationship where personal and mutual goals are exposed and in plain view…creates a natural push-pull of ideas, needs, desires, and hopes for satisfaction. We all know that, in such instances, effective communication is key. But what if you’re involved with someone who can’t, or won’t talk, let alone express authentic feelings? What if that ‘someone’ sends emails and texts, but avoids actual conversation? And, finally, what if that person is someone you know has ‘both oars in the water’, and so is fully capable of hashing things out without undue ‘drama’?

Nowhere is it written that we all have to adhere to The Golden Rule in relationships. The Truth is (in my experience), that someone within the relationship has to take the lead in keeping interactions in a higher-energy place. It’s not fair; it’s not fun  — especially if you’re The One always reaching for harmony and a productive outcome. But taking the high-road is expedient, and satisfying even if the other person (or people) doesn’t / don’t ‘rise’ according to our expectations and our desires. “At the end of the day…”, when your head relaxes into your pillow and you review how you handled yourself in a situation like this, you’ll rest easier. And, if you’re the one who looked for the nearest Exit when someone asked you to ‘engage’ fully and truthfully, tomorrow’s another chance to get it right.

What We Already Know

My colleague and friend Deepak Patil recently published his doctoral dissertation. His topic was related to the Theory of Collective Intelligence. Think:  the wisdom of bees, ants, migrating birds and whales, and even plants and trees. A kind of inner-knowing, without a whole lot of empirical evidence beyond the research and speculation of scientists that study systems and patterns. What my friend Deepak did was investigate an emerging application of this theory, to human organizations.

While doing his research Deepak uncovered some very interesting, fairly recent studies and subsequent conclusions about how Collective Intelligence functions in groups:  allowing humans to come together more productively by exploring – among other things — the power of empathy, compassion, tolerance and something called “social perceptiveness”.

Why should we care about this? Because despite what our eyes and ears might be telling us at this very moment, Humans Beings – as a large and complex Tribe –actually have very positive tribal instincts. (I’m not referring here to the media’s version “tribalism”, which is more narrow in focus and typically pernicious.)

At the very depths of our being, we humans recognize the practical value of unity and cooperation. In the process of survival, the emotions and skill mentioned above become the “glue” that forges and cements relationships, ensuring that nurturing and protection is extended to all members of the tribe. This is the foundation of our Collective Intelligence as human beings.  And even though it’s not exactly‘ on display’ in the world around us, it’s not just an ideal, or a dream. It’s evident, in studies that began (Carnegie Mellon Institute) back in 2010.

From what I’ve just learned from Deepak about the actual science of it, on a human level I think that Collective Intelligence could  be casually defined as “what happens when we listen to our better angels.” Or, what happens when we try to stay in that “higher vibration” of daily living.

The Carnegie Mellon Institute (after its lengthy study of organizations worldwide), identified the presence of Collective Intelligence through a variety of assessments and observations. The resulting data indicated that significant Collective Intelligence could be identified and measured by three factors. The first was a high degree of Social Perceptiveness (the ability to read non-verbal cues); the second was the Distribution of Conversation (the degree of shared and transactional dialogue); and third was the Proportion of Females in the group (the higher number women, the stronger the Collective Intelligence.)

The full Carnegie Mellon study is much too detailed to summarize here, but I’ll offer my own takeaways: Our Collective Intelligence will, if we allow it, see us through our challenges as a Human Race. Also, when (not if) women are fully validated by global societies (females, by the way, scored much higher in Social Perceptiveness and in the facilitation of Conversation), we’ll experience how profoundly this benefits everyone.

Now: all we have to do is remember that we are better, stronger, smarter, happier and healthier when we are truly “Together”. Nothing else matters – arguments, divisions, disagreements – as much as this particular reality. It’s not really up for debate…is it?
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