We started today with exploring culture. I liked the analogy from family therapy that one participant shared, of our culture being the water in the goldfish bowl we swim around in. We accept this as the way things are. It is only when we either stick our heads out of the bowl and get to see that there are other cultural goldfish bowls out there, or when another goldfish sticks their head in that we realise that it isn’t necessarily the only way things are.
Our culture is composed of habits, patterns, beliefs and expectations that all inform behaviours. There are many layers to our culture. Just as we have different microclimates in a landscape, and we can think about weather patterns for a country as a whole, or a region, or a locality, there are also different microclimates of culture – different size goldfish bowls.
At the beginning of any group we have the opportunity to notice the culture and design it more consciously. We can create a culture that supports us to be more of who we are and who we want to be and that enables us to support each other in being who they are and who they want to be.
Through creating this culture we are creating a safe container to hold the work that is to come this week. And this work doesn’t just apply to a course, it is also part of a much bigger picture of what we are trying to do – to create a life sustaining culture. We need practice in this in small and large settings, as it is a new story that we need to create as an alternative to the culture that generates the challenges faced with land and people around the world.