On May 12th 2017, seventeen adventurers – some experienced Clean Facilitators and some people brand new to clean - assembled at Caitlin and Shaun’s house in West Kirby for four days of clean facilitation. On offer were six facilitators (myself, PennyTompkins, James Lawley, Caitlin Walker, Shaun Hotchkiss and Phil Swallow) and several clean processes: Clean Language, Symbolic Modelling, Clean Space, Emergent Knowledge, Pronoun-scapes and the Whirligig (pictured). Plus plenty of space, homely surroundings, delicious food, sea views and plenty of places to walk and process what was happening.
Before everyone arrived, the six of us met to decide how we’d work together and to do a Clean Set Up together. Then it was time to greet the participants. People were gathering from all over the world (Russia, Malaysia, Australia, USA and Netherlands) as well as all over the UK to join us for the third annual Adventures in Clean.
After an initial set up period, participants were invited to split into smaller groups of five or six and to join us in one of three rooms, where we would be working in pairs. That afternoon, I worked with James and we asked each person in turn, “What would you like to have happen?” followed by about 15-20 minutes of facilitation to help them gain clarity about their desired outcomes. At the end of each person’s session, we invited participants to ask questions about what we had been doing. People were interested in why we had asked particular questions, how what we were doing fitted with the PRO model and what determined whether the second facilitator came in with a question or two.
On the second day, the Whirligig came into play, with many participants taking their process into this gyroscope and being moved into different positions to find out what they knew in each one. By this time in the event, participants could please themselves about where to be. They could join a group with two facilitators, they could climb into the Whirligig and take their ‘stuff’ for a spin, they could go for a walk, draw a map of their metaphor landscape or just chill in the kitchen or the garden. As facilitators we work in different pairings, which gives us a fantastic opportunity to observe and learn from one another, too. This is a rare treat and one of the many reasons we decided to run this event in the first place.
Each participant charted their own way through the weekend, working with whomever they wished, choosing different locations and picking the process that best suited them at the time. James and Caitlin facilitated Clean Space on the beach and even in the sea at one point. At break and lunch times we all met together in the kitchen for delicious vegetarian food, and delightful nibbles. And when chocolate strawberries appeared one afternoon, one participant declared it was like being at a luxury wedding.
At the start and finish of each day, we all met together to find out how people’s adventures were progressing, and what people needed next. As facilitators we then organised ourselves to ensure we could meet those needs, varying our facilitation partnerships, spaces and timings accordingly.
In the final group session, we asked everyone: For you, Adventures in Clean was like what? Here are a few of the responses:
- I feel physically different; my outcome has changed.
- It was like a mental detox – and for the body as well.
- I have deeply connected with myself, with others, with the earth and with God.
- It was like being in water – sometimes diving, sometimes paddling, sometimes floating – and always gently supported.
- It was lifting and releasing.
- I now have a seed of trust.
- It was like a flower opening,on time-lapse.
- A process of discovery.
- I’ve started a new chapter, a new page.
- I found out more about Clean Language, I’ve met some wonderful people and I have found a new direction.
- It was like opening a big old pirate’s treasure chest.
Tags: clean language, marian way, caitlin walker, james lawley, penny tompkins, the pro model, phil swallow, shaun hotchkiss, clean set up, emergent knowledge, whirlygig, adventures in clean, clean space, pronoun-scape