Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 3: Food

I will be brief, since I see that we are going to do an after action review in the coming session.

Lynn and Nina hosted the last workshop with the principle of food.  There is a theory that providing food satisfies the reptilian core of the brain that would otherwise be occupied.  People would then (in theory) be able to be more present to what is happening in the teamwork.  I am grossly paraphrasing this idea, and I apologize if I'm misrepresenting it.

Joy was unable to find research that supported the idea, but her brief search was neither exhaustive nor conclusive, so we don't know that the research doesn't exist. But I suppose it is the case that research is only really conclusive about a particular biased view of things, often built into the way in which the research is being conducted.

In any case, the time unfolded by Lynn and Nina inviting us to partake of the treats and then requesting that each of us take 3 minutes to tell a story in which food has powerfully influenced our lives.  The process they established was to debrief on the process after we had completed sharing our stories.

People told stories of fond family remembrances, of rich heritage and relationship with land, of amusement and tradition. There were also stories of betrayal, denial, humiliation and violence.
For me, the universal quality of the stories was that food was intimately tied to our human journey.

I was particularly touched by Sheree who shared that she was part of an intergenerational family of cattle farmers.  She spoke of the feeling of attack she and her family is experiencing in the current political climate.  She also spoke of the pride her family has in caring for the animals and providing a high-quality beef product. I inferred that her family is feeling the general public vehemence against certain corporate food producers, their exposed inhumanity to animals and the environment.

As she spoke, it made me think of how easy it is to judge, to create an "enemy" in the name of some noble cause against whom we will self-righteously fight at every turn.  And in doing so, we are entirely blind to our own hypocrisy.  I suppose the extreme case of this is that anti-abortionist who so "values life" that he is willing to kill for it.

I am really interested to consider the questions the Roger posed in his writing on after-action reviews.

I have not fully processed the experience with respect to teaming and collaboration.  For me, I noticed myself engaging in what I might call helpful and unhelpful thinking patterns in response to peoples' stories.  One of the things that I noticed is how the "pressure" to complete our stories made it difficult to honor the profoundness of each story.

Well, I fear this is a terribly distorted and truncated version of the time, but it will have to do (unless anyone else would like to provide an account...please do)

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