Ready for a collective chrysalis?

Markus Feenstra
Markus Feenstra
Explore the possibility of joining a Renormaling home group
Format:  a two hour (or so) small group Zoom conversation
Timing: Applications open now
Accompanier: Mark Feenstra -

In this time of trouble on the earth,
we come together to practice welcoming,
metabolizing, and being moved by
harmonizing noticings.

These noticings often first show up as trouble,
and when those bringing them are truly welcomed,
it can allow help from within to emerge.

This help can bring about a change in being
that lets our natural genius, beauty, and delight
more freely move within, through, and between us
to wherever our particular gifts are needed.

These generative gifts liberate more of everyone's wellbeing.

Enabling this possibility to ripen and come fully alive within and between a small group of committed people is why we convene Renormaling home groups. 

Renormaling home group 5.84 MB View full-size Download
Putting myself in the picture
After 18 months of accompanying and being accompanied by our first Renormaling 'home group' and 3 months of accompanying and being accompanied by our second home group  (and on the back of 25 years of previous group experiments along these lines) I feel like a building site. Much of who I once thought I was has now become the building materials for a project that seems to be miraculously completing itself from within. Lots of unfinished projects, lots of spontaneously coordinated activity, an increasing absence of the urge to attempt control what is happening, and a deepening trust in the help from within that I make sense of as weaving the whole project together in the way that is ripe for me.

If this word picture suggests a possibility that feels ripe to you, then you are welcome to contact me about the possiblity of joining our next Zoom conversation about forming a new Renormaling home group, particularly if you are also involved in leading others in this kind of work.

A possibility worth exploring?
What inspires what we are up to with Renormaling Home Groups and the Renormaling Institute has been beautifully articulated by various people. Here is one version by Thich Nhat Hanh - The Next Buddha May Be a Sangha (1994)

"If there is no sangha available where you are, then practice looking deeply in order to identify elements of your future sangha around yourself. It is possible the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. 

The next Buddha may take the form of a community, a community practicing understanding and lovingkindness, a community practicing mindful living. 

And the practice can be carried out as a group, as a city, as a nation."

"Members of your sangha may be your child, your partner, and a beautiful path in the wood. The blue sky and the beautiful trees are also members of your sangha. Please use your talent and your intuition to create a sangha for your own support and practice. We all need a sangha very much.

Our practice should be supported by the people around us, and we can learn how to support them in return. We support them by looking deeply so we can recognize the seeds of peace, joy and loving kindness in them." 

Our response to this possibility 
I'm part of a 'Renormaling home group' that was initially formed by members of the Conscious Leadership Guild 18 months ago in response to the question of whether going back to normal was such a good idea, after the advent of Covid19.

After 6 months of exploring possibilities the possibility emerged in this group that a series of related group inquiry experiments I had been leading since 1995 might have something to offer to the inquiry we were in. The group embraced this possibility and we began accompanying ourselves and one another in this practice we call Renormaling. Subsequent to this we have gone on to form a Partnership and to allow the possibility to be increasingly present that what is emerging within and between us is a movement (in the sense of people being moved) of those of us who are ready to seriously and publicly engage with the possibility that under certain conditions help from within, in such forms as an emergent wisdom, transformative energies and genius quality contributions to everyone's wellbeing can emerge, within and between us.

Sensemaking in context 2.12 MB View full-size Download

In my story, authority to lead in our wider culture is generally ceded to our rational faculties, or ways of doing sensemaking, on the assumption that this is the most effective and reliable form of help available to us from which to address the predicament we find ourselves on this planet.

In Renormaling home groups we play with the alternative assumption that we contain a much richer and more potent set of possibilities than those that can be revealed by our sensemaking faculties alone. But, because of the nature of the deep assumptions governing our normal way of doing sensemaking, we tend not arrive in the question of how the full range of our capacities come into sufficient harmony with one another and the way nature and reality work to liberate what is truly possible for us. I imagine this possibility as 'whole-being-fullness'.

The work we do in home groups is practice letting the whole-being-fullness of the help within and between us become sufficiently present and welcome within in our current ways of being, to be able to be inspired and guided from within to allow the remaking of our current way of being.

The vehicle we work out of is called Renormaling Partners. Our intention is to serve as a catalyst for the emergence of a movement of 'weird leaders' who stand for accompanying one another in allowing the process of our own healing and transformation to complete itself as a theory of change we can stand for and be present to the wider cultures we are participating in. We believe there are many of us somewhere in the midst of this process, but that we often lack the conditions necessary for its completion. This invitation is our response.

As a side note, to the ones in each of us who have been acting as the rational gatekeepers of our sensemaking and safety, this invitation is not an attempt to side-line the gifts you bring, but rather an invitation to you to allow an opt-in culture change experiment to unfold in which the assumption that orienting around help from within, as a way of being, can be genuinely tested.
Our approach to creating the conditions for Renormaling to unfold in a home group

Theory L graphic with text.png 3.03 MB View full-size Download

There seem to be an underlying theory (Theory L above) and three primary  strands out of which our approach to Renormaling is emerging (if you ask another member of the Renormaling Institute they will likely point to different aspects):

1. A set of consciously held assumptions about reality that allow us to play with taking the possibility of help from within seriously, without forgetting they are a set of opt-in possibilities for how reality actually works.
  • Openness to the assumption that consciousness is not a epiphenomenon of matter, but is primary to the nature of reality itself,
  • Openness to the possibility of an authentic ‘harmonizing influence’ at the root of our own being, and being itself (however we make sense of it), 
  • Assumption that accompanying ourselves and one another as we directly attune ourselves to this influence is a valid theory of change, 
  • Assuming our wider cultures ‘normal’ is present within and between us more deeply than we are normally aware of, and that it we cannot orient from deeper than these roots we will tend to unconsciously replicate these norms, even if our intention is to change them
  • Assuming that there are conditions we can co-create within and between us that allow us to orient from deeper than these roots, which also allow us to become more available to this Harmonizing Influence, and that if we cultivate this deeper orientation this H.I. can reveal noticings within and between us which enable to orientation to stabilize

Change in being graphic with Theory L.png 1.65 MB View full-size Download

2. A deeper orientation or posture that allows harmonizing ways of being together to emerge within and between us from deeper than the grip of the unconscious roots of normal operating in our ways of looking, and of reacting to what we see.
Here are a few notes on my sense of this Renormaling orientation:

  • Practicing orienting from deeper than the roots of normal in us,
  • Practicing ‘being with’ and welcoming whoever is showing up in us and others (and the noticings they are bringing),
  • Practicing orienting from friendly not pretending, not knowing, deep wondering and natural humility that naturally notices and can metabolize harmonizing noticings and gifts,
  • Openness to assuming that when ‘trouble’ shows up, that if we welcome and follow it to its roots, what it reveals can gently and reliably liberate latent gifts within us and others.
In home groups we accompany one another in inquiry into how to discern and practice this orientation for ourselves.

3. A way of collaborating that helps us inhabit an orientation that naturally tends to notice and welcome help from within and to inhabit this orientation form moment to moment, in our normal lives.
Renormaling home groups 17.4 MB View full-size Download

The method of collaborating we use in our current Home Group is to meet weekly for a couple of hours on Zoom, in a small group, accompanied by a qualified 'Accompanier'. During home group meetings those present practice accompanying a member of the group in inquiry into a pre-agreed theme that we all, including the one playing the role of Accompanier, take turns inquiring into. My current sense of how to point towards useful themes looks like this:

- Welcoming normal and liberating gifts
- Being in friendly not knowing together
- Ripeness and being moved from within
- Basecamp for a new way of being
- Surfacing the story your heart is in
- Source and your body of practice
- Orienting as a community of being

But because we are accompanying each other on our own inquiries into these themes we tend to quickly leave behind the starting language, unless it happens to suit us, and to find our way into descriptions of the themes that best describe the territory we're inquiring into together. The process of forming a home group appears to emerge anew each time a new home group forms.

At the start of each cycle of inquiry we inquire collectively into the new theme, so everyone can 'find their footing'. Each group member prepares for their 2 hour group-accompanied inquiry into each theme by meeting privately with the Accompanier for a 1.5 - 2 hour 'warm-up' inquiry. Sometimes other members also participate. With some themes the group cycles through a second time.

Towards an value exchange between participants in Renormaling home groups that enhances everyone's wellbeing
We are in a deep and ongoing inquiry around how to engage with value exchange in a way the has integrity with the underlying impulse animating the possibility of a Renormaling movement.  
A difficulty we have encountered  with value exchange is similar to every other topic we have attempted to give a form to as we strive together to successfully bring this Renormaling impulse into practical expression. 
The default way we notice that we tend to approach everything arises out of ways of looking that seem to be in the grip of the same cultural norms we are coming together to heal and transform in ourselves. 
A noticing from this ongoing inquiry that feels useful, is that while we need to use the ‘normal’ forms of organization and movement building we have available to us, such as forms of organization, branding, website building and value exchange, etc, we can also practice consciously engaging with these norms and the organizational forms they have given expression to from this Renormaling orientation we are cultivating within ourselves. And we can remind ourselves and each other of this in the forms we adopt and the way we relate to them. 
In this context, here are a few tentative noticings about value exchange:
What I will always return to
My commitment is to accompany you to not only discover your way to stably orient from deeper down the ‘L’, but to complete the process of liberating the ripening gifts within you so that they are free as possible to move wherever they are most needed in the world, from moment to moment. For me, this commitment in my being is the fractal seed of a Renormaling movement that I hope will also take root in and through you. While different inner community members in me will have their own relationships to this commitment, I commit to bringing myself back to it, even if it takes me a little while. 
Trust as a currency
The underlying agreement, beneath value exchange, is what we have recently begun calling ‘trust as a currency’. I am offering to accompany you only because I feel this trust. And I invite you to respond from the same place. This does not mean I and you will not welcome all the other voices of those who show up in us with a point of view, including those who are not at all trusting, but rather than after we have heard and welcomed everyone, we notice there is a deeply felt sense of trust within and between us to proceed, at least for now. 
What your contribution is for
Your contribution is towards weekly 2 hour home group meetings for 46 weeks of the year, and a two hour one-to-one accompanying session approximately every 8 weeks (to prepare for when the group is accompanying you to engage with a theme). I intend to give 25% of the contributions I receive back to the Institute. My best estimate at the moment is that home groups will take over their own accompanying within around 18 months of the group getting underway, and from this point onwards my Accompanier role will end. There will be an ongoing invitation to continue to financially contribute to the Renormaling Institute’s wellbeing for those who feel moved by this way of contributing. 
This is a high stakes investment for both of us
Changing normal in ourselves is ultimately an all in possibility, as far as I can tell, particularly for those members of our inner communities who have been doing their best to keep us safe, help us get what we want and avoid what we don’t, since we were children. Renormaling is not about optimizing our existing ways of being, but about the emergence and stabilization of a deeper orientation within, between and through us. Whether we will ultimately succeed is unknown.  There are no guarantees, even though we do have a successful experiment to build on. So the stakes are high. In my story, what we stand to gain is either of ultimate value to us, or we are better not to make the attempt, without denying the reality that we each contain diverse perspectives, and that there is no intention to railroad or force anyone into anything. This is an opt in expedition. 
You decide how much you contribute
Although we need a way for people like me to make a living accompanying home groups, and to support the work of the Renormaling Institute, we are making these contributions ‘op-in’. While I will let you know how much of a contribution I would like each person I accompany in a home group to make, given my circumstances, and how much I have agreed to contribute towards the Renormaling Institute, the actual amount you contribute to my wellbeing is up to you. 
What would work well for me
After some backwards and forwards (thanks John in particular), what feels right to me is US$300 per hour for group work and US$150/hour for one to one accompanying. This works out as a US$527/monthly contribution per person. In my story this level of contribution is a lot for some people, but still about right; too much for others (who will contribute less) and for others, perhaps less than what they can give, as they can afford to subsidize others. It is important to me that we clarify what your contribution is, memorialize it in a mutually agreeable way, and that you reliably follow through on whatever you agree to contribute while I am in the formal accompanying role and you remain in the group. I’m not concerned that we get this done before we start.
How to make contributions
We had initially thought the Institute would function in a centralized way to receive all contributions, but have since come around to starting out with a decentralized approach, where each Accompanier operates their own local Renormalizing Centre, and is invoiced monthly by the Renormaling Institute for the percentage agreed for any Accompanying or related work. This means that, once you have decided on a contribution that works for you, I will provide you with a means to pay. Internationally I have found the Wise app seems to work well, and within NZ banks transfers seems to work well. I can also provide a tax invoice each month if this is useful. 
We can change things as we go
We are each free at any time to revisit whatever agreement we reach if either of us gets the sense that this is necessary to ensure everyone’s wellbeing is being served as well as we are able. 
What if a home group no longer feels right?
The ideal of a Renormaling home group is that it becomes a stable enduring part of your way of orienting from deep down the L, wherever you find yourself. If this particular kind of group no longer feels like something you feel deeply aligned with then you must follow this where it leads you. The only material consideration before you move on is whether a trouble you notice you might be something a particular inner community member is in, with its gift not yet noticed and liberated, and the hope that this kind of trouble is not attend to by leaving, if that is possible. 
Welcoming ‘trouble’
It has become apparent from every experiment we have made in Renormaling so far (that I can recall) that trouble has precious gifts to bring, so you are invited to notice where trouble is present and to welcome and engage with it from the assumption that if we practice the orientation outlined above, we can learn together to actualize this possibility. 
Working on formal agreements and getting started anyway
I invite you to join in on the assumption that we can get started together without formal agreements, given that we can developing working agreements that meet our current needs a we go, and even when we have formal agreements the root of our relationships will be something deeper and ultimately indefinable that we are learning how to trust and be moved by, together. At the same time we are committed to developing agreements that to give satisfying form to home group relationships, and welcome your noticings and contributions.  

Joining an upcoming Renormaling home group co-inquiry
If you feel a clear yes in your being to this work then feel free to get in touch by email. Please share a little about yourself and your interest. Assuming I also feel there is a fit I will reply and we can set up a time for an initial conversation on Zoom. Assuming this feels right for both of us, I'll invite you to join the next Renormaling group conversation.

Please note there may also be opportunities for those who accompany others in this kind of work to also join a training for Accompaniers of Renormaling home groups, and to join Renormaling partners yourself, if you also want to practice making your contribution in the wider world from the base of the 'L'. 


Mark Feenstra