Re: Soul Talk LO1267

deborah pearson (
Wed, 17 May 1995 16:44 AEST

The voices on story and soul have been strong, clear. My thinking and some
of my experience is that these two go together. They seem to evoke each
other. In my work as a consultant, I feel more of a need to work with
story and soul, have this kind of depth in the work. It means taking a
risk, allowing the process of the group to move in its own way and as
Eleanor Wynn (I think) says, moving away from THE AGENDA. And not at the
expense of losing the mind. (In Australia and New Zealand we use a great
word for the purely sentimental - wus, don't be such a wus etc, fingers
down the throat stuff gesture - she said crudely!)

The other day I took the risk, working with some Integrated Catchment
Management Co-ordinators. They work with groups of key community and
agency people, to develop and implement an Integrated Catchment Management
Plan. The group has a chair person, usually chosen for HIS high profile
rather than his capacity to facilitate a diverse group working together.
Our focus was to clarify their roles, roles of others, rethink leadership,
how to work with diverse groups etc!

I began with a story from Barry Lopez - Desert Notes and River Notes - a
story about the bear people, the salmon people and the river. They've
forgotten to talk to each other, listen to each other. They've forgotten
to say how they love each other. They've forgotten to make agreements.

It's a great story, spoke to their actual RIVER WORK - getting our rivers
and waterways clean. After they had reflected on meaning for them
individually, I told them why I had chosen it - to focus on the making of
agreements with their chairpersons and groups, talk about this. My sense
was they started off with lots of love/goodwill but hadn't made agreements
of how to work together. Of course, it's essential to have both.

The story hit the mark - deepened their commitment to the work, and we
meandered around, considering how to make agreements, and how to set it
all up in the first place so love/visions and agreements/common goals/
ways of working together, could be talked about right from the start. We
talked about having to give up our preferred style of working sometimes,
and working with what was in front of us with "skillful means".

The story stayed, surrounding the group - people kept referring to the
story. It held us and allowed the meanderings.

I'm interested to have some of your stories of when soul has been not only
in your work but in the work of the group. And what am I meaning? Work
that allows the love/depth of relationship and the agreements, to become

Warm regards to you all
Deborah Pearson

The Training and Development Group   ph 61 9 388 2260
300 Hay St                          fax 61 9 388 2268
Western Australia 6008         Email