The foundation of systemic phenomenological work

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15 January 2021| Personal

“After frustration comes development!”

I said this today to a colleague who was frustrated with the technology of her new laptop. And when I thought about it a little longer tonight, I realized how true it actually is.

It is already starting when you grow up from baby to toddler to kid… and so on. Every time before the next development is manifest, there is frustration and whining. And even there is often a kind of decline in development first. (How happy I was as a young parent with a book that described the developmental stages of children!)

And pre-development relapse is more common. For example, my baseball-playing son suddenly had a few training sessions and a match in a row last year where, in his eyes, he played very bad. And the following week, his game really took a quantum leap forward. Reached the next level. By the way, I believe that is how it works when he is gaming, since the relapse and accompanying frustration are then roared all over the house ;-).

And last year I experienced it a few times myself. The most prominent example is that I agreed to conduct a one-hour workshop at a conference for systemic colleagues. I had passed the subject to the organization via email and a few lines of description. The weeks before the conference was to take place, I started the substantive preparation. And I really started to wonder how on earth I could have come up with that subject! I had never done anything about it before and the inspiration was hard to find. Made a draft anyway, shared with a colleague, and I got a response like “hmmm…interesting…”. I heard ‘by far not good enough’, so I adjusted the setup. Two days before I had to do the workshop, I showed it to that colleague again and explained what my plan was. “Hmm Bar, what’s systemic about this?” Grrr … @@##!!@!

And, ironically, the subject of the workshop was Flow. Hard to find, that flow. Back to the design table. And then I had it, suddenly I saw through the subject of flow and the interaction of the three mechanisms that are active in systems and a workshop design resulted.

And now comes the bonus, because the frustration brought huge development! This exercise has helped me to fathom the systemic work at yet a deeper layer. I feel and understand even more clearly what It is that I am doing. As a result, we explain a number of subjects somewhat differently within our institute. As a result, we adapted our basic training. So that was well worth the frustration.

Do I feel like another portion of frustration? Well not immediately, but when it presents itself, I just trust it will cause development …

 

Barbara Hoogenboom

5 januari 2021

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