“What if the way we respond to the crisis is part of the crisis?” (Bayo Akomolafe)
the pause. training : un/consultancy : labs
The context: The complexities, uncertainties and inequities of the times we’re in are amping up our sense of urgency and tendency to argue and polarise. Physiologically and emotionally charged, we make more mess. We are less able to engage well in the collective need for change, and in relation to the radical diversity of experiences. The idea of slowing down in the face of urgency is countercultural but essential.
In response to the ‘wicked problems’ of our times we tend to get busy trying to save or fix the world, often repeating patterns of oppression, growth and separation. Or, we turn our backs, carrying on with business as usual, or disappearing into spiritual or gated communities.
the pause is a radical act, an invitation to stop in the midst of action,to disrupt our normal modes of being,to collectively fall silent and become aware of the moment we’re in.
The provocation: What if we make ourselves available for something new to emerge? the pause is a project rooted in feminine principles of receptivity and rest, in politics and possibilities of decolonial thinking, the emptiness of mystic traditions and the vitality of embodiment and play. It began in 2018 on the edges of Extinction Rebellion and speaks to the reciprocity between inner and outer awareness, reflection and action, reverence and irreverence. At its simplest, the pause is about the power of ‘just taking a moment’. For ourselves. As a group. In a process. When cultivated as a shared attitude and skill, we can sit with the unknown, with awkwardness. Quieter voices are heard, our jangled nervous systems are soothed and more understanding, mutuality and emergence become possible. It builds resilience in relationships as we meet the trouble. It has more power than we can imagine, and is more challenging than we might assume. And that’s just the beginning…
the pause is a very human practice made necessary by the failings of modernism, colonialism and capitalism, however it is a practice that at it’s best is pointing to the decentering of the human mind and the human creature, with the possibility of coming home as part of the web of life and living from that place.
The project: the pause is an idea, a set of practices, an orientation. We offer ‘un/consultancy’, training, creative labs and shorter workshops and participatory arts happenings. The current focus is on forming the ‘un/consultancy’ part of the project, developing further our engaged work with groups, organisations and communities. We are also setting up as a Community Interest Company, developing a website and have just submitted a bid to fund a 1 year pause training for grass roots community leaders, educators, activists, artists, and social entrepreneurs..
the pause began in 2018 on the edges of Extinction Rebellion as a participatory, performative prayer in central London. I was then invited to run a number of workshops at St Ethelburga’s, to design and host a 4 day team ‘pause’ retreat and ongoing support / consultancy for the Media Messaging team of ExR, and have hosted a Kissing The Void retreat with Tina Sharman + Jem Bendell. We’re now in a growth spurt, a start-up phase of consolidating and articulating ideas and practice.
Get in touch to be added to my mailing list for updates, events and to discuss developing a pause offering specific to the needs of your organisation, group or community (of place or practice).
Upcoming open events:
Pause… on the hill A residential retreat in Devon, 8-12 June 2021. Time to pause, potter, play and pray together.
Kissing the Void, Deep Adaptation and the creative spirit 9-14 July. A retreat in Devon.
Website will be coming soon
the pause is counter to the culture that has driven us to the brink of extinction. It is an invitation for everyday magic to unfold.