By: David Plenderleith, from team SUI 4
The KP Spotlight series sheds light on some of the people, stories, and experiences that we learn from at KP Switzerland
On Monday, October 23, Lukas Hohler, a teacher and practitioner of Conflict Resolution taught us for a whole week on the the paradigm of WorldWork,a framework for building the capability of people, teams, and organizations to create and enjoy relationships.Lukas describes himself as a sensitive, energetic earthling, living with a wild mind. He’s also an entrepreneur, having built two organizations over the last eight years. I sat down with Lukas to discuss diversity, rules in conflict mediations, nationalism and process leadership. Read our interview below.
KP: What attracted you to WorldWork?
LH: It happened 23 years ago. My mother invited me to come to one of the Worldwork seminars in Stupava, Slovakia. I was 23 at the time and in quite a severe crisis, finding it hard to focus on anything other than my inner pandemonium. Walking into this seminar, this large, international group that got into heated conflict around all the bis “-isms” of our times, really caught my attention and I realized that I am very well able to focus, but only if something is emotionally intense enough to capture my attention. I was blown away by the intensity and depth of human interaction I saw. I decided to study Process Work, the mother paradigm of Worldwork.
KP: What makes it different from other forms of conflict resolution?
LH: It’s an approach to conflict that is inclusive of intense emotions. We believe in the importance of people expressing themselves in various states of consciousness. A lot of conflict resolution paradigms begin by laying out “rules of behavior” or “how to’s” of communication. At Worldwork we prefer to build a vessel that allows for all levels of human experience and expression to come forward. That requires an openness towards powerful emotions and ways of expression. We also have a facilitation paradigm that considers the role, or the capacity of the facilitator, as a potential in every field of conflict. We [also] believe in the wisdom of conflict, we are using a field perspective which implies that every conflict is “field made”. This includes a teleological perspective where we ask: What is trying to unfold here? Which kind of awareness is trying to emerge from this? Rather than,‘what went wrong here and how can we find a compromise that works for the majority of stake-holders?’.
KP: You recently gave a three-day workshop exploring the WorldWork paradigm at KaosPilots, how was the experience?
LH: I really enjoyed working with the Kaospilots Switzerland. I have always been a fan of the Kaospilot school and was very excited to seeing it start in Switzerland. Last year, I had the pleasure to teach an introduction day for team 4 and I was excited when I was asked back for a deeper and longer introduction. Having three days allowed me to cover more material and to focus on what’s in the field, the group at hand. That was very interesting and informative. It is always much more interesting if you actually get the chance to start working with a field instead of just teaching a few bits and pieces. I hope that my three days could contribute something to the overall flow of how you are developing as teams, students and staff at the Kaospilot school.
KP: How would you describe the diversity at KaosPilots?
LH: I have a lot of respect for the Kaspilot school Switzerland and how they are deliberately working towards a diverse body of students and staff. The southern scholarship is one way of doing that. As a result, you do have a much wider range of diversity at the Kaospilot school than many other schools. What I see as the challenge is that tapping into the resource of diversity is something that needs a lot of work on how our experiences of the world are very different from one another.
The powers and skills of people that come from economically disenfranchised parts of the world and did grow up without access to ressources that are a given to us, for instance, have to be approached carefully. Inviting someone to speak, or to share their viewpoints is a first step. But as soomeone from an economically disenfranchised part of the world, the more different my perception of the world is, compared to the contextual mainstream that I am a surrounded by, the less safe it feels for me to come forward. I need a lot of framing and transparency about what the surrounding mainstream has on its mind when asking me to step forward. Otherwise I may be worried about being misunderstood, projected upon, being used as a token, feeding into stereotypes and assumptions, or being romantizised because of my different background, to just mention a few possible reservations.
That’s why I think that the big challenge that comes with diversity is to create room and vessels to actually host the conversations and the framing that is needed in order to tap into the unbelievably creative resource of diversity in a way that benefits all. It requires a lot of work.
KP: The WorldWork paradigm believes in the importance of dreams and their influence on our reality. What have you been dreaming about?
LH: Recently, I have been dreaming a lot about the world and where we are headed these days. I am very concerned about nationalism and a general tendency towards segregative ideas, symbolized by the popularity of walls. The possibility of War and stocking up on weapons and rockets is very popular again. I am dreaming of a world, where our relationships, the way we are dealing with one another and with conflict is much more juicier than fighter jets taking off on a mission to war. Arnold Mindell once said about Worldwork, “We are looking for something that is more exciting than war and more sustainable than peace.” I am still fully behind this statement. Steering into conflicts face to face and working on our differences is a good way to begin.
KP: What advice would you give to an aspiring process leader?
LH: Believe in the importance of what it is that you are doing. It took me many years to actually understand, that what I was doing had an impact on people and the world. I always thought everybody else was amazing and when I listened to them and followed them it seemed to be so far from what I was doing. But it’s not! It never was. We are all much more powerful than we think we are. And a good way to build on this is to identify as a learner. If you are willing to learn, you cannot fail. There is a beautiful sentence on the wall of your school: Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. Don’t be too shy to try something! You will learn. From what goes well, and from what goes less well. Start to embark and believe in yourself as someone that has a right to be here and has some great ideas and intuitions about how to do things.
Having Lukas teach the WorldWork Process was an incredible experience for both students and staff. We learned to facilitate the WorldWork process but also participated as a whole school to understand our roles, ranks, and differences in our community. This process helped us recognize and respect everyone´s uniqueness. We offer a special thank you to Lukas Hohler for taking the time to conduct this interview.
To learn more about Lukas, visit http://www.changefacilitation.ch/en
To learn what it´s like to be a Kaospilot for a day, register for our Kaosday November 18th, HERE!