“Every thought, action, decision, or feeling creates an eddy in the interlocking, inter-balancing energy fields of life. In this interconnected universe, every improvement we make in our private world improves the world at large for everyone.” – David Hawkins
Did you ever arrive at a meeting late and when you walked into the room you sensed something terrible had been discussed and the room felt heavy? In the same vein, have you ever arrived late at a meeting and felt you had just missed an amazing breakthrough and that everyone in the room felt up and there was a general positive vibe in the room? Have you ever felt either of those energies without ever having heard a word spoken? If you have, like most of us, you were experiencing the energy field of that room. The field is what you feel when you enter the space. Where do these fields come from? How are they created? How can the awareness of them help our work?
In her book “The Regenerative Life”, Carol Sanford describes fields as “Organized patterns of energy that influence and respond to the quality of activity occurring in a system. This implies that if we want to affect a system, the way to do it is by working on the energy field that is organizing it.”
Any work or interaction that involves mental energy creates and exists within a field of energy and that energy impacts and is impacted by the variety of energies of the place. We know from experience that we can shift the energy field of a situation so we can create something new. Think of a time when you began to think about something from a different perspective and how the energy around it, in both yourself and the space, changed so you could see new potential. Imagine developing your capabilities to observe these energies at work, to reflect on them and to build your and others’ capacity to shift the energy field and find nodal points of intervention that yield the most potential, rather than simply reacting. This is not easy work because we have become accustomed to reacting in automatic mode and doing so without much discernment of the resulting effects of those reactive energies.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor Frankl
What does it feel like to engage more deliberately in this way? Do you feel empowered by the potential of working in that space between stimulus and response? Do you feel something shifting inside you as you reflect on the potential of working with that space? Taking the time for self-observing helps us create the space Frankl observes and gives us an opportunity to image what we might do with and within the current field. When we use energy in that space, we are shifting or regenerating a field, and others can sense that too. What if we were able to reshape or regenerate fields of energy so we can begin to build alignment between the people and living systems with whom we are working, aligning our energies around a common aim and set of targeted outcomes? Let’s see if we can try this.
We invite you to pause for a moment, take a nice long deep breath and sit quietly. Bring to mind a project (or a process or an event) from your own personal experience where you either saw it having greater potential than was manifesting or that you felt you wanted to move toward greater potential. Ensure to ground your thinking in a real experience. Image it alive and real again. Close your eyes and be there again with that experience for a few minutes before reading on.
Write down what you were thinking and feeling.
Now ask yourself a couple questions, writing your responses to the following:
- What specifically was the potential you saw/see within this particular project or process?
- What was/are the constraint(s) you perceived/perceive that restrained/restrain that potential from fully manifesting?
- What capabilities or capacity needed/need to be elevated or developed in you that would enable reconciling the restraint(s)?
Are you feeling differently than when you began this exercise? What has opened or shifted in your thinking? What are you observing about how you were/are thinking/feeling through this exercise?
What you have just done is created an energy field. You have elevated/shifted the energy in yourself and in your space. When we do this with more than one person, we begin to build our capacity to elevate the energy with and for each other, enabling us to collectively work on a deeper more meaningful level. Taking the time to ask a disruptive or destabilizing question, then asking for reflections on how folks are thinking and feeling about what is shifting breaks us out of automatic/mechanical mode and creates or regenerates an energy field. We can utilize these fields in our work to elevate our work and manifest unrealized potential, alone and with others. We often begin our meetings with similar types of exercises aimed at regenerating a creative or unifying field. This helps everyone become more present in the work we are engaging together and enables the group to work more effectively.
Can you think of times where, if you had worked on regenerating a field like this in a meeting or event, how that meeting or event might have gone differently? What is the effect of beginning work together with a group by first generating a field? We can do the same in our everyday and business life.
It can be challenging to hold that field. When we eat or sleep we often break the field and need to regenerate it again. Have you observed that the energy changes in a meeting after a food or lunch break? We need to take time to regenerate that field so we can continue working together in actualizing greater potential. How might you follow the break to regenerate the energy field necessary for yielding far more effective gatherings and greater potential in the work you do?
Regenerating fields often helps connect us to something greater than ourselves. When we begin to image the potential and effects of our work, we often see how interdependent we are with other living systems and what our roles might be as active participants in working with those systems. Developing questions aimed at generating a field where we can experience these connections is key. Give people time to reflect, not just on their responses, but how they were thinking about them. Doing so allows them an opportunity to observe their own thinking and reflect on what has shifted in them. This will elevate the field. Make sure the questions are grounded in real experience around something they deeply care about so people can relate to it realistically instead of abstractly. This is important to make it real and to connect. When you are doing this, do so with respect, genuine caring, and be open and honest. This will help create the field.
In your next meeting or zoom call or anytime that you want to elevate the discussion and begin to work on potential, try to start by creating a field. You will find that 5-10 minutes of time at the beginning of the meeting will create greater value for the rest of the meeting.
I hope to meet you in a field at some point.
This article continues an eight part series aimed at exploring how regenerative practices can be used to build our capacity to engage with larger living systems. In particular, we’ll examine how built environment projects can serve as powerful and effective instruments for doing so. These practices are grounded in the Seven First Principles of Regeneration. These principles emerged through the work of Carol Sanford, a wise and insightful elder, and through our work with Carol, Bill Reed, Joel Glanzberg and others over the past decade. Inspired by this continuing work, we will unpack these seven principles through the context of our experiences co-creating habitation. The principles include: