Category Archives: News

Alice Springs 3

How is your planning going? Have you booked yet for the conference?

Last night at our local AFN network we shared stories of our worst moments in our facilitation memory.

One of our members was working with a group of indigenous men. He had only one wok available for the bush food cook off.
No men came forward to cook at the wok and he found himself doing it all .

Later, one of the guys said, next time, bring 4 woks. He did.
The men got to work. They had self organised around the woks in their respective skin groups.

As explained to me , skin is not related to the colour or skin. They are a way of people knowing their relationships to each other . Each skin has specific roles in relation to the other skin groups and in certain settings, every one knows what each others job is. Things are highly organised.

This system has been handed down for thousands of years through ceremony and is till used today.

The skin system means you have belonging wherever you go in Australia. Even if you have no blood relatives there – you belong to someone and have relationship to them

THe skin system if important to know about if you are facilitating with indigenous peoples.

Perhaps you may learn more about this when you come to ALice for the AFN Conference

We are waiting for you!

Sue Gregory
for the Alice Springs working group for the AFN conference
sgregory@healthyoutlook.com.au
0419 119744

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Alice Springs 2

The night sky of facilitation

From my experience, indigenous culture has a slightly different way of looking at the night sky.

Let me explain.

You may perhaps remember, as a child, looking at the stars. Maybe you looked for the first star at night, then, in the vast expanse of the Milky Way, discerned the pointers. Perhaps you went on to find Orians Belt, then discovered the Southern Cross, and, even the complexities of the astrological signs.

All of these are specific points the eye looks for – “objects” in the sky, If you were like me, you may even have been told to “look hard” till you found them.

By contrast, my experience looking at the night sky with indigenous people in Alice Springs has expanded my way of exploring. I was invited to to “look softly”, to look deeply for the “spaces”.

As i relaxed into this new way of looking, lo and behind, in the dark spaces of the Milky Way, there emerged, like magic, the shape of a huge, giant emu, striding across the sky.

Perhaps facilitation is like the night sky and the milky way..

In our work, we are engaged to facilitate groups to discover and work towards common “object”-ives, like the pointers for moving forward. FInding them also requires us to look softly for the spaces where we can support people to pay attention to the silence after a question, the pause as the group gets an Ah Ha, or the deep still moment from which shared direction is birthed.

This is the space of emergent possibility , where the alchemy of magic waits, ready to be woken from its dormant state – the creativity of inspiration and energy for growth.

You may experience this when you come to the AFN conference and gaze softy into the night sky in the vast open spaces of the desert. You will meet the giant emu. The emu’s magic awaits you. Here, in the Alice.

Sue Gregory

for the AFN Conference in Alice Springs

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Alice Springs 1

It rained today in Alice Springs.

The Todd River flowed for the first time since Dec 2012.
In Arrente language there is a special word that describes the beginning of the river flowing.

As I stood in the  dry river bed to watch, tiny, delicate tendrils of precious water reached out tentatively across the sand towards me from further upstream.

These silently, gradually swelled to become fingers that grasped around red river rocks.
Then they began to swell into huge arms, the shoulders, then a chest, flattening out to form pools of water beside towering river gums.

Suddenly the whole  body of the  river arrived, full of bubbles, spilling  joyously over the causeway.
Laughing, gurgling ,connecting  with the riverbank and the crowd of  smiling faces . Such a collaborative network of flow.

I wondered if coming to the AFN conference in Alice Springs will be like this for you.

First , perhaps, an  idea to come to the centre of Australia. Then, may be, only may be, a tentative idea of a presentation or not – either way is just fine.
Then, perhaps thinking about one of those cheap Tiger flights. Then, wondering where you are  going to stay.

Then all of a sudden
you are here.

Just like the river

Sue Gregory

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