Opening my heart and mind through the living spiral: Co-lab reflections

Colombian Cacti

by Ana Maria

It seems like our co-lab appeared in front of me at the perfect moment.  The living spiral framework it emphasized was both the inspiration and impulse that I needed to re-enchant myself with my own Ph.D. journey, and with life itself.

I learned through the co-lab, led by Thomas MacIntyre and Hilary Bradbury, that when we want to change the world, we have to change our inner world first. It is of no use becoming observers and researchers of change and transformation, without taking responsibility and committing ourselves to personal transformation. That was quite revealing in terms of my academic struggles.

Through my Ph.D. journey, I have always divided myself in two: a person who fights for academic recognition, and another one who tries to travel a more organic path with what her heart dictates. Transformation and transgressive learning require reconnection, and this co-lab allowed me to re-connect my fragmented self. Now I feel more inspired and connected to write my dissertation about transformation.

Transformation requires time, and transformation in each person has its temporality, it is a process, so my dissertation is just a part of my life, is not my life, that is why I need to keep going and learn through this process, knowing that one day will end. Now I write narratives of transformation from farmers, consumers, market managers of the Capital Region of Bogotá, but through them, I’m also transforming myself.

New practices I have adopted

The use of a plant as a metaphor to narrate transformation process allowed me to connect with a more organic process of writing. Connecting with the vegetal world helped me to connect more creatively with the transformation narratives I was working on my dissertation. But at the same time, it made me reflect on my connection with the plant world. Plants, trees, are the oldest beings on planet earth, within them, they treasure great wisdom, so now I try to feel and connect from another place with plants. What can I learn from them? How can I generate other ways of thinking, doing, and feeling through the visualization of the structures and processes of plants? I have begun to do a meditation in which I visualize how I put roots down the earth, how through my body I take energy from the sun and then generate oxygen, new air to think and feel different, and thus be a new and a more sentient human-being for the world.

Next action steps

I loved the core exercise of working with and drawing a plant, since it connected me with my creative spirit. I would like to explore more my creativity, not just for my delight, but also for the collective pursuit of more mindful and heartful ways to think, be and do for the sustainability of the earth and all its beings, included us (the human beings). I want to explore more the methodology of the living spiral and become put it to practice. I want to spread the word and create more networks of transformative co-creation.  Thanks also to my co-laborators  – Jean’s, Maite’s & Katies’ – for their blog that shares their collective experience. It was a group effort.