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Community of interest, community of practice, tribe

This ‘funnel’ graphic depicts increasing levels of engagement and commitment: A) interested in the subject (community of interest); B) committed to its practice (community of practice); C) committed to achieving the group’s objectives (Tribe). This progression of involvement leads the individual from casual observer to fellow practitioner to tribe member. Sadhana Community, my tribe, can help you create an online course–without having to do it all alone. Interested?

IOU, Bob Duggan

It is with sadness mixed with gratitude that I share the news of Bob Duggan’s passing recently. Bob inspired me–and continues to inspire me–to make a positive difference by sharing my gifts with the world. My efforts today to complete One Breath at a Time and publish it before the end of the year are in service to everything you stood for, dear teacher. IOU big time!

Bob Duggan, mentor
Author of “Breaking the Iron Triangle: Reducing Health-Care Costs in Corporate America”

We break the iron triangle with a focus on a wellness system, designed to move 75 percent of the public (a public that now repeatedly goes to disease experts) into learning wellness practices — how to breathe, how to sleep, how to exercise, and how to live well. It is a conversation about what is not insurable. Wellness must be incentivized, but we cannot insure well-living. We must figure out from a public policy perspective how to encourage young children in the first grade to breathe deeply, to get enough sleep, and to eat well. For example, rather than immediately resorting to the pharmaceutical Ritalin, we must learn how to incentivize deep breathing and exercise for hyperactive children.

-excerpt from The American Wellness System: An Alternative Way of Thinking (Statement at Hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, February 23, 2009)

Portfolio page is much improved!

I created this screen capture with Camtasia. It’s a short (2:20) portion of a Storyline Articulate project Shaz Malik and I designed and developed together. This Child Protection in Emergencies training consists of three separate modules; this is from Module 2, Child Protection in Emergencies. To see the rest of the new and improved Portfolio page, click on the Portfolio link above. Complicated, I know.

Transformative learning is the process of upgrading our mental maps.

As I look for my next work engagement, I ask myself: What do I really want to be doing? Again and again, transformative learning pops up.

Personal transformation–or transformative learning, as Jack Mezirow calls it– has been a consistent interest threading through my entire life, both personally and professionally. It connects my choice to become an artist; a writer; a teacher of yoga, breath, and meditation. It’s where my interest naturally lies as an instructional designer.

I’ve experienced transformative learning in many contexts. Some were consciously chosen: hours-long work sessions drawing, painting, writing; taking LSD and mescaline (decades ago); various meditation, breathwork, and yoga practices.

On the other hand, I’ve experienced transformative learning in many situations not entirely of my choosing: divorce, fire, bankruptcy, losing jobs, falling in love, losing love.

Speaking of unintended transformative learning experiences, the original research that led Mezirow to conceive transformative learning theory was a study of unintentional transformations, not intentional ones.

Make no mistake: the process of transformation is rarely easy. It is inherently vague, uncertain, confusing, complex, and ambiguous. Individuals often fail. In divorce such a failure of TL is called flame-out, meaning the person never fully recovers. Instead of transforming through the trauma to create a flourishing re-invented life, the person is permanently crippled.

Transformative learning theory was Mezirow’s attempt to create a reliable road map to help the individual not only survive the psychological and emotional ordeal but to come out the other side stronger.

People often revolutionize their lives as a result of a transformative learning event. One student complained that yoga teacher training should come with a warning label!

Personally, much of my experience with transformative learning theory in action has occurred in various training programs with Landmark Education. The first time I participated in the Landmark Forum, my life changed tracks entirely. After that weekend, I was on track towards a different future. I saw more clearly how my skewed private map of reality–my interpretations, assumptions, expectations, narratives, and other such stories–actually created my life situation as a self-fulfilling prophecy! And let me tell you, what I saw was disgusting! I saw how my life was perfectly arranged to allow me to blame everyone around me for what I didn’t like about it. As the saying goes, the truth will set you free…but first it’s gonna really piss you off.

But afterwards, after distinguishing these mappings as my own subjective map, I looked at my life with fresh eyes. I saw the facts a bit more clearly: divorce, the impact on my three sons, loss of love, loss by fire of nearly every possession (including twenty-five years of journals and my entire body of art-works). After this transformative learning, I was able to choose a different future: where before I contemplated suicide, now I planned a trip to Thailand! Where before my immediate future was basically more of the same old same-old, afterwards my future included a year at Chiang Mai University as a visiting foreign lecturer!

Bottom line: your future is determined by mental maps that may or may not match reality. In fact, they can never match reality entirely. At best, a map has limited and short term utility. To have fixed ideas based on them is madness. And yet that is what so many of us do. We go on acting like we don’t know the difference between reality and make-believe. Why? Because we don’t!

I am convinced that the future of planet Earth depends upon such maps. Every decision by every world leader is based on a specific map, a specific mental model with its predictions of what the outcome will be of choice A versus choice B. Go to war against Iraq? Intervene in Syria? Eavesdrop on citizens? Invest in renewable energy or coal?

Transformative learning is the process of upgrading our mental maps.

I would love to work on a project that involves transformative learning!

Do you employ transformative learning theory in your work?
If so, I would love to know how you facilitate it, how you
operationalize it.

Please let me know if you have relevant information. Thanks!

Moving on, looking forward!

What a surprise it is to be unemployed!

As much as I feel tempted to share the distasteful details, I’m not going to. Just suffice it to say the company, without any warning, eliminated all junior instructional designer positions. The good news is that I’m finally making progress on completing my book, titled One Breath at a Time.

I just uploaded an updated resume for my new search for work.

More soon.
Joseph