Being Present in Roppongi

So last week we invited 60 or so people to do something unusual in Roppongi.  A few blocks away from the Japanese Parliament and on the second floor of the Japan Foundation headquarters, we had businessmen and school teachers, consultants and nonprofit organization leaders, college students and retired government workers lying on the floor with each other.  It was a somewhat unusual way for most of these people to spend a Tuesday evening.  But it was a normal way to invite people into the deeper meaning and mystery of Theory ‘U.’ We led people in a modified version of learning to lie, sit and stand.  A bit of a challenge in a crowded room, but people in Japan are voracious learners and they were willing to accept this invitation from Arawana and I.

Theory ‘U’ has just been translated into Japanese and was released last month.  People here feel an immediate attraction to the ideas and process of presencing.  It feels natural — as it is.  So we began the evening with movement and then began to share ideas about Presencing.  Arawana gave the bare bones of the theory and I told stories about how it is being used around the world.  We asked people about their own experience using Theory U and about how these ideas showed up in their work.  It was a lively exchange.  After about four months of work in Japan this year, I am still surprised at the energy and commitment to learning here.  Many of the participants had the book, but they wanted more — what does this really mean and how can we use this in our lives and work.  I continue to be impressed and inspired by folks here.  They are committed to finding a new way forward!

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We’re all in this together. Most of us know that our own ideas are only part of what’s needed to move forward.  Sometimes we grudgingly admit that the perspective of another has value. From time to time we remember that unless it works for all of us, it doesn’t really work for any of us.

AND, it is challenging to bring people with different perspectives, experience, values and beliefs into the same room and have more than rhetoric, stoney silence, posturing and mind-numbing arguments.

Communities have diverse, knowledge, resources and capacities. When we bring the people together across difference to share stories and experiences, successes and failures, magic happens. We help people in place-based communities, groups tackling particular issues, businesses and organizations get real with each other, respecting each other enough to share their experiences and their truths without blame or judgement.

We know that most people just want a good life for themselves, their families and friends. Unfortunately, we’re in a time when the knee-jerk reaction is to find someone else to blame for our problems. We’re quick to “other” people and make up stories about those with a different viewpoint. Time to stop that. Time to slow down and listen for a change. We can help.