Thriving in the face of historical woundedness
An Offering in Organisational Systems Constellations
In our workshop processes we explore concrete organisational or project-specific cases and systemic challenges related to diversity, equity and inclusion questions (DEI). We host systemic processes for our clients who feel ready to honour the legacy of historical woundedness in Southern Africa, in particular its impact on the work environment.
This practical work session creates a space for looking into the heart of the phenomenon we call ‘diversity’. When we speak of ‘diversity’ we often really mean: the overt and subtle emotional landscape that is evoked when working together in face of shared divided and divisive histories. The natural response of the human being is to shun pain, to suppress, numb and evade experiences that appear ‘painful’.
- inquire together into the subtle dimensions of historical woundedness in organisations and workplaces
- learn from the South(ern) African experience, in turn exploring what the modality of systemic constellations work can offer to specific challenges related to diversity/a divisive shared history in your own work/organisational context
- connect Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) related systemic constellations work to broader organisation development practices and processes of transformation
- connect to one another across historical barriers and in face of the reality of our memories
Historical woundedness appears as a kind of ‘cellular memory’ in the organisation’s field. It extends to its physical spaces, relationships, products and services, and monetary flows. We work on the understanding that such dynamics are woven into the fabric of the organisation-as-organism, over the course of its lifetime. All who work and have worked here – past and present – belong and continue to impact on this system and are, to some degree, impacted by it. The historical context in which an organisation was founded and grown, what aspects benefited and compromised its life form and life force, also play a critical role. Systemic constellations work offers an avenue to explore the less visible dimensions of the inheritance of multiple histories in our organisations/workplaces. This may speak to organisational history as well as personal and contextual memories of the people working within the space.
Paradoxically, the simple act of ‘seeing what is’, honouring and acknowledging our wounded realities, can restore a flow to teams and projects that have gotten stuck. This enables ways of dealing with conflict as a source of transformation and supports a healthy and generative work climate for the people in an organisation and in freelance situations.
It takes collective courage to move from ‘wanting to resolve/solve things’ towards adopting a stance of ‘acknowledging what is present without fixing it’. To be with what is. This often enables a flow of life energy again – for the organisation/system, its people and the environment around. Within that flow, the constellations process can offer the organisation a ‘new guiding image’, that is embodied and without need for many words. From this visceral embodied experience, people can step towards genuinely transformative movement and action.
Undine Whande & Lawrence Ngorora (South Africa)
Dr. Undine Whande – Email: [email protected]
Dr. Undine Whande was born in Germany she has lived and worked continuously in Southern Africa since the mid-nineties. She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town. Of herself, she says:
I am a peacebuilder at heart. Most of my life I have worked in various conflict resolution and social justice initiatives in Southern Africa. In the search for the core of what enables transformation, what fosters non-violence and unlocks the developmental potential of conflict, my journey has led me increasingly into the domain of personal transformation. From the big societal transformation that I worked with at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to working with the Healing of the Memories process for ten years, to providing community mediation support, to accompanying change processes in organisations and institutions, my path led me to inquire deeper into the ‘inner life’ of change processes. I trained as a systemic leadership coach in 2006-08 and have since been working with leaders and their teams in intensive creative reflection and change processes based on their own questions and aims.
Throughout my waking and working life I have held a personal line of inquiry that asked how the histories of countries, communities, families and individuals are intertwined, often entangled, and always on a path of growth and development through conflict and pain. Accompanying myself through an extensive personal healing quest, tending to my own wounds as child of parents deeply traumatised by war, led me to systemic constellations work, as well as yoga, mindfulness and meditation practices.
Nature constellations work found me when I was asked to hold space for several pieces of work that involved questions around land and the elements. I was honoured to hold space for an indigenous community reclaiming a historic vlei, and to host several constellations on the theme of water. In our South Africa context, themes around nature, land and resources are inevitably bound with our complex and difficult history. Hence many nature constellations may also have a community and historio-political element.
Lawrence Ngorora – Email: [email protected]
Lawrence Ngorora is a dedicated and experienced Organizational Development and Leadership Facilitator, born in Zimbabwe. Of himself he says: My intimate knowledge of people and issues about them arises through experiential understanding of the inter-relationships between natural complex systems of rural African culture, traditions, ecosystems affecting tending to livestock (poverty and prosperity) starting at a very tender age. I benefited from early particular attention to finer detail when tracking to find lost cattle, suspending judgment, ability to inquire and intuitive deep listening to nature. Coming of age during the bush war set more practical experience of learning negotiation skills through difficult situations faced with one army during the day and the opposing army during the night. I borrow much of my intuitive leadership skills in conducting workshops from these experiences.
Graduating from high school, I trained abroad as a meteorologist, further enhancing systemic thinking required in unravelling the complexity of weather systems similar to emotional intelligence useful in human interactions. Working with famine, early warning systems in southern Africa increased my sixth sense in connecting the complexity of emotions, coping with poverty, resilience and adapting to changes in climate. My inclination is to identify linkages in complex natural patterns with changing variables and the impact they have on individuals’ inner search for peace, useful in deep trans-generational processes of healing and reconciliation