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My Clean Adventure: Personal and Professional Development


I signed up for Adventures in Clean becauseI wanted the professional development. I thought it would be a greatopportunity to see five of the most experienced users of Clean Language doingtheir thing – and that was my focus for the first afternoon and most of thefollowing day. I was watching different people come forward for clean sessionsand I was writing down their words and what was happening during the sessions, aswell as my own insights and Ah-ha! moments.

Part of what we were learning was how toask modelling questions of the facilitators in order to learn more about whatthey were doing. Some of us were having trouble with how to phrase thequestions, and James Lawley said: “If you are asking questions to confirm your ownmodel of the world, you’re not learning anything.” This had a big impact on meand I realised this is the essence of clean. So as I was thinking about whatquestions I could ask, I started asking myself, “Is this curiosity?” and“What’s the most I can learn here?” It was such a great opportunity to be ableto observe and ask questions in the moment, that I was determined not to wasteeven one question. 

I learned so much about facilitation andwhat Clean Language is all about and I gained a deeper understanding of whereit all comes from and how it works. Things I knew about in theory came to lifeover the four days, such as asking a question of a new metaphor when itappears, in order to honour it. I built a deeper respect for helping someone tobuild their metaphor landscape.

I knew that everyone who attended would bedoing at least one personal development session, but hadn’t given it muchthought until we were lining up on the first afternoon according to how muchprofessional and how much personal development we wanted to do. I realised thata lot of people were there for personal development and I started to wonder ifI might be missing something… When I knew it was going to be my turn, manyideas went through my mind that seemed baseline, boring or banal – they werethings I’d worked on before and hadn’t managed to change. So I asked myself,“What could I change that might change all those things?” This question onlypopped up after I'd finally volunteered for a session and I stood by thefireplace in the oak room surrounded by many observers. And I decided to workon how I regard myself.

The following day, it seemed that everyoneelse happened to be working on things that resonated with me. For example,someone was working on her relationship with her mother and she was describinga very similar situation to the one I’d been in with my mother. I could reallyrelate to the way she was feeling about it. This was a really tough day;throughout the day my landscape was transforming and reassembling as I ‘piggy-backed’off the other sessions, whilst also doing my best to pay attention to what thefacilitators were doing. It wasn't easy but perhaps it facilitated the bigchange I'd asked for. It reminds me of what they teach at Nasa: keep theconscious mind occupied and focused on one thing (i.e. what was going on in theroom) so the subconscious can get on and do it's best work.

It was a wonderful space with so manypeople wanting to learn, and the support didn’t just come from the facilitatorsbut also from other participants. When I was upset that day, someone offered mea hug. When I told Penny Tompkins that I needed to ‘move through’ something,she suggested a walk, and one of the other participants went with me. Whenanother participant was invited to find a bed and lie down, I took theopportunity to do the same. Although it was tough, the whole thing flowedperfectly.

At the end of that day I worked with Marian Way and Caitlin Walker on reclaiming the power I'd given away in the past in theexpectation that I would be looked after (but wasn't). It was a healing sessionand I am so grateful for it. Simply by bringing my awareness to the pastsituations and acknowledging them, I was able to let go and realise more of whereI am and what I am now. I was more able to be, respond to myself and beresponsible. At the time it didn’t make any sense, and afterwards I wrote,“What just happened? It feels like nothing. I felt feelings and I gotinformation, but just because I have gone through this process, is it so? Gotto practice. Keep her safe, feed and water her and let her go her own way andhave fun. She is your guide, regard her as such.” Later, when I read what I’dwritten, I realised that this was me regarding myself differently and that myinitial outcome had been fulfilled.

In the past, I’ve done all sorts ofworkshops and crazy things, and although I have had experiences and insights, Ihave always yearned for massive change and hoped the event would do it for me.During Adventures in Clean I realised that the biggest potential for change lies simply in the grounding and daily practice of what the event has broughtto my attention. This opened a door for me to start working in a different way.I am now going to bed earlier, drinking less wine and doing more yoga – and Iseem to have more time in my life.

Seeing five people do ‘clean’ in theirdifferent ways has also taken off the pressure I was putting myself under toget it ‘right’. There is so much freedom in that – and it is not just inrelation to working cleanly. I am more willing to give things a go in othersituations, and I’ve let go of trying to work things out beforehand. I have adeeper sense of trust.

Although I signed up for professionaldevelopment, I, along with everyone else, went through my own personal journeythat weekend, and I believe that has helped me with the professional stuff. Ithink you can only facilitate a client to as far as you are yourself.

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About Lisa Wrigley

Lisa Wrigley's avatar

Lisa qualified as a Master Practitioner in NLP (which included Systemic and Symbolic Modelling) with Caitlin Walker and Sarah Smith in 2008. She is also a qualified life coach who has consistently trained in Tantra for 8 years and Aikido for 13. Lisa has a background in the arts as a dancer, performer and film and theatre maker. As well as her 1-2-1 clients she is also growing her business: Lovemoves. http://lovemoves.co.uk

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