The Art and Craft of Collaborative Fields

By Freya Secrest

The subject of “collaborative fields” came up recently in a conversation I had with Mary Inglis, one of our Gaianeering presenters and a facilitator of the Game of Transformation. Mary defined a collaborative field as a particular ecology of relationship in which one consciously takes steps to foster a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. She described some of the steps they use in the Game process which helps to lead to such a field: “We always start a game with attunement – to ourselves, to each other, to our activity and purpose. We also consciously invite in the “Game Deva”, that overarching presence that works with the game process.” She further outlined that each game is guided by a stated intention that helps to focus the group effort by connecting the participants with a common purpose.

These are important group building processes, but I wondered what is the “magic” or “zing” that ignites attunement and shared purpose into a new wholeness? That seems harder to pin down. Mary used the results of her experiences in the Game to point to possibilities: “You know how sometimes you look at what you have been doing and you see it is more than you thought it was? This happens in a game when we have created a collaborative field.” She pointed to the magic that leads to a new wholeness as emerging out of the attitude each person held and brought to their participation in a game. In her work she noticed that the willingness of participants to engage all parts of themselves, energetic, physical, mental, emotion, subtle, spirit and soul made a difference. It was when each person brought their full selves forward with commitment to the ecology of the process that new “whole-making” would most often happen.

I was intrigued by the thought that I might nurture a similar collaborative field in my own daily life and activities and curious about how to foster and encourage its development. I didn’t want to just wait and hope it would “happen.” First, in considering my own experiences, I began by looking at the moments when I noticed synchronicities or connections with others or the world around. Those are my first thoughts of a collaborative energy at work. What I noticed about the synchronicities is that they can happen at a meeting or around a shared creative project, and sometimes even when I am alone in a reflective, quiet state where an answer or idea that solves some daily issue pops to mind. Upon further reflection, I realized that at those times I am in a loving state, not a head over heels “in love” but a resilient, at peace and “in tune” loving. In that state of love I generate an energy or “field” of connectedness within myself that flows out and links with the world around me.

Magic Step #1: Love is the foundation for a collaborative field.

This loving state needs a place where it can land and grow. My reflections jumped to the interaction of the Four Incarnational Principles of Identity (Standing), Boundary (Holding), Relationship (Energizing), and Emergence (Co-Creating). Each of these ideas hold a different signature or element of connection for me and together they shape a balanced place where I engage, integrate and grow through my life events. Going back to Mary’s definition of collaborative fields as attunement to ourselves, to each other, to the subtle ecology of life and to our activity and purpose, it is through being able to bring my love into the diversity of my everyday life that I bring about the possibility of new “wholeness”.

Magic step #2 : Engaging in our own life and incarnation is the place where collaborative wholeness can root and grow.

Coming to appreciate the different essences of the Four Incarnational Principles has been a process that is evolving for me. Using these principles helps me to better understand the magical wholeness that emerges out of my life. But I can’t do it only from the level of thinking or even feeling; I must embody these qualities with a physical stance or action that encapsulates their energy. Sovereignty fits with the uprightness of standing, connected through head and feet to the stars and earth, and through my skin with the world around. So I often physically stand to create a link to this element. Boundary creates a place of connection where differences meet — a lap that can hold or arms that encircle and define the space of inside and outside. When I sit or hold something I link with the energy of boundary by the very shape I take. Relationship I see as an activity of exchange where differences can meet “eye to eye” with respect and recognition of the value of self and other. When I look at someone or something I try to bring that attitude of respect into my gaze and approach to our relationship. The idea of Emergence has evolved in me to be the stance of the open hand. It requires a strong energy of standing and balance in order to hold an openness to other. It is something I try to explore through developing my capacity for invitation and welcome.

Although each principle is involved with the others, it is emergence that is particularly connected to the idea of collaborative fields for me because it is a place where we discover and are surprised by newness. What fosters emergence is that sense of loving invitation – the open hand. I imagine I am offering a treat to a shy deer and feel how still, strong and at peace I need to be in myself to give the other “room” to come forward. When this is hard, it is usually because I am turned inward, closely focused in my own life. But when I turn toward the life around me in the spirit of love, welcome and open-handedness, then my energy and imagination can begin to foster collaborative possibilities. This to me is the art and the craft of a collaborative field.

Click here to listen to Freya's interview with Mary Inglis and recordings of other Gaineering Conference presenters. For more information about The Game of Transformation, please click here.