Social Presencing Theater
Using “presencing” and Theory U, Social Presencing Theater is an innovative social art form developed by the Presencing Institute and Arawana Hayashi that draws upon a body-based, intuitive knowledge of oneself and others. This workshop provides training in embodiment and Social Presencing Theater as it applies to leadership and change work. The root of the word “theater” means “a place where something significant becomes visible.” This is how we are using the word in Social Presencing Theater.
We can get stuck in thinking and talking and forget that the body has tremendous wisdom. In this work we are asking the discursive mind to step back so that the voice of the body can step forward and express its own natural movement toward health. Participants will cultivate embodied personal presence through body-based mindfulness practices. This starts with individual persons becoming more aware of how their body-minds show up in groups and then developing the capacity to operate not solely as an individual in a group but expanding awareness to operate “from the whole.”
The workshop will offer a series of practices that bring forth the basic “knowing” that lives in each of us (our synchronized body-mind system) and in groups (social body system). “Social Presencing” describes how groups of people become aware of themselves as a group. This includes uncovering the wisdom that is the ground for collective creativity and innovation. Skills are developed in creating healthy, coherent and generative ‘social bodies’ and social fabric through heightened space awareness.
The use of non-verbal techniques to inquire into “stuck” situations in one’s personal and organizational life lead to surprising insights and possibilities. We will apply this practice to some area in our work or personal life where we feel “stuck” – something we are trying to create is not moving forward. The body is visible, concrete, placed on the earth. The arrangement of bodies in social sculptures and placements in space convey huge amounts of information about structure, relationships and awareness.
Each practice is followed by a reflection – what are we noticing? And then we will have space to say what actually is this telling me about a “stuck” situation in my work or life.
Social Presencing Theater heightens sensitivity to current experience, brings attention to shifts in the social or contextual field, and is a method for prototyping seeds of the future.
For instance, people come to a meeting with diverse beliefs, backgrounds, states of mind, opinions, loyalties, etc. If everyone sticks faithfully to their own individual perspective and needs, it is difficult to feel the sense of space and the collective ground of creativity. Most of us could use some practice in how to listen to what is emerging – to the collective wisdom that lives in the social body and wants to express itself.
By heightening their sense of inter-personal connection, participants are better able to access creativity, facilitate groups and provide effective and compassionate leadership.
This will lead to the ability to access fresh insights, prototype creative paths to transformation, and develop skills for effective and compassionate leadership in the systems and communities we care about most.