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Embodying the Patterns of PatternDynamics

In my previous PatternDynamics post (Following the Way Nature Organizes Itself to Deal with Complexity), I focused mostly on giving a fairly brief explanation of the underlying theory. In this post I’d like to share a little bit about the embodied experience of some of the Patterns that occurs during the PatternDynamics One Day Workshop (coming up Jan. 18th in Oakland, CA, and Jan. 26th in Bellingham, WA).  Rather than being simply a linear, left brain information gathering day, we are invited to be active participants in an experience-based learning organization.

Note: I will be leading a short 40 minute session on Jan. 18th in Bellingham where we will get a taste of  this easy group breath and movement practice. More details here.

Participants are asked to stand in circles around the 7 first-order Pattern diagrams that are  laid out on the floor (Rhythm, Polarity, Structure, Exchange, Creativity, Dynamics, and Source). Tim Winton then teaches these seven Patterns through simple breath and movement patterns alternating with brief definitions, compelling examples, and group discussion.


As it goes along, it starts to become clear that each movement is not separate and distinct from the others, but instead each one builds on the one that came before. This serves as a powerful example of how integrated the patterns really are, and that they are all there all the time. What changes is what we focus on, and what perspectives we bring to bear.

Tim Winton:

That’s where we really bring living-systems consciousness into organizations, because living systems … have a really amazing capacity to adapt and change, and keep themselves thriving in a range of circumstances. If we can bring that capacity into our organizations, then our organizations can in turn steward those environments better.

Near the beginning of the workshop it is explained that “Source” represents the fundamental pattern of organization at the heart of all systems, and that the Source of any organization is its identity and purpose. “If the identity and purpose is strong, there’s a strong sense of self-organization.”

Workshop participants are asked to take part in an experiment, “to create a really strong and intentional identity and purpose for our work today. Our identity and purpose is to form a temporary learning organization – a model system with our bodies, our minds, and our awareness.” Consensus is reached on a  “Source Commitment” statement that identifies the identity and purpose of the temporary learning organization that is being created.

It is fascinating to experience how embodying the patterns physically and in a group setting serves the learning process. What is really memorable is the sense of being part of a living organism, consciously experiencing our roles as both “part” and “whole,” as well as the process of signaling and responding as parts and wholes. At the conclusion of the first go-around on the ‘Dynamics’ pattern during last year’s Bellingham workshop, there was spontaneous laughter and applause. One participant commented, “That was delicious! Mmm… I could just eat that up!”

I think this is the best advertisement for the workshop – so I created a very short YouTube video teaser with slides and audio; the music at the end is the Monkey Puzzle Orchestra, featuring me on muted cornet (the cd is now available – I’m on tracks 2, 5, and 7).

Another woman’s comment: “I feel very charged, and alive. It feels like the whole field is charged, not just me.”

Tim Winton:

I think living systems have this kind of awareness [that we had a taste of tonight;] there’s a very, very refined capacity to sense the signaling between the parts to coordinate into some kind of dynamic system. Having a language for how that happens, and being able to share this language, will help coordinate the source of our own organizations, which then are the foundation for supporting the environment and the planet.

If you’re interested in learning more…

Register for the Bellingham workshop at Eventbrite: Click Here.

Download the One Day Workshop work book here.


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