Tag Archives: Dragon Dreaming

Dragon Dreaming pt four: Walking through the Quadrates

See earlier posts on topic here

As the circle is a fractal, every quadrate holds all 4 stages within itself. There are 12 steps through the circle and four guardians of the edge that make sure you’re ready to pass on to the next stage.

  • 1. New awareness is the dreaming of the dream phase where the dream comes into being in the self.
  • 2. The motivation or the sharing of information is where the dream is put out to others to become others’ dream. It is the planning phase of the dreaming.
  • 3. Gathering information is the doing phase of the dreaming and is a phase where feasibility will be checked and considered and planning material will be gathered.

Here, before the project moves into the second stage, the planning, there is a time for reflection. It’s the centre of the circle, a time for reflection, quiet, like the centre of a candle or a storm. It’s the first guardian of the edge, if the project doesn’t work or hasn’t been successful to hear it goes back to the first step.

  • 4. Considering alternatives is the time to find different or other helpful options; the dreaming in the planning.
  • 5. Designing strategies is the point where the group will look at what needs to be doe and design ways of doing it, an action/implementation plan will be worked out.
  • 6. Test and trial is the stage to try out the design and readjust, develop it.

The second guardian comes in to reflect the planning stage.

  • 7. The implementation will be started here, first foot in the water, the doing is dreamed into being.
  • 8. The management and administration is organised, the location of resources identified, checking incomes and outcomes, tracking time and keeping the deadline in mind.
  • 9. Installing monitoring helps to change the doing, readjust, learn from previous experiences.

The third guardian comes in to reflect the doing stage.

  • 10. Evaluating outcomes allows us to learn from our processes, and acquire new skills, see where we need to develop to be more effective.
  • 11. Personal growth will be the benefits acquired by the individual in the project.
  • 12. Inner reflection time is there to find deeper wisdom within the individual and new meaning, further direction to start the cycle again.

The fourth guardian comes in to reflect the celebration stage to move on to the cycle.

This wheel is a model: the menu, not the meal. A model is trying to be close to reality, but is never perfect in that imitation.

You can imagine one project that you’ve done in their lifetime and walk over the 12 steps, evaluating how much effort/time you have put into each one of them on a scale from one to 10; one being little time and 10 being a lot of time. It is easy to draw up a circular diagram from here that shows which stages you seem to prefer. The diagram has circles around the core, the closest being one, the furthest 10.

Dragon Dreaming pt. three: Narrowing down the Dream

For earlier posts see Dragon Dreaming pt. one: an introduction and Dragon Dreaming pt. two: the Dreaming Circle.

The meeting facilitator will write down the results from the Dreaming Circle without getting rid of the original document (which is good to keep). Things that turned up a few times in the Circle as well as relating ideas can be put together or grouped so that the outcomes are more easily visible. He/she reads out the dream to the group and ask whether everyone feel like their contribution has been considered (which should be the case as he/she doesn’t want to take anything away from the initial document).

The Dreaming Circle gave the project a broad layout. At this stage, as the group moves towards the planning phase, the dream needs to be narrowed down and find more focus and strength. Like a stream of water that flows through a narrower bed becomes stronger so do our thought, ideas and visions as they become focused. Thats why the outcomes from the Dreaming Circle need to be formulated in 3 to 5 specific goals, the vision of the project. From here the group can concentrate on giving the newly designed project a subtitle which describes the core of it and finally a title or name. This should make the meaning deeper while still enabling people to identify with it.

This process will be done in the groups, or in one big group all together, facilitated by the main facilitator of the session. If there is no time for that an example can be given.

Following is a draft (which explains having text in brackets) example from the EDE that will clarify what is described on top. Because of the high number of African participants on the EDE we designed a project to support the African Network of change makers and Ecovillages.

Goals:

  • develop capacity building (strategies) to empower communities
  • identify and strengthen (relevant) networks (of sustainability) in Africa
  • establish sustainable agriculture for food sovereignty
  • promote holistically sustainable communities and design
  • enhance and celebrate African traditions and best practices (for sustainability) 

Subtitle: Growing Resilient Communities

Name: African Abundance

More posts on Dragon Dreaming are following.

The Art of Dreaming

We had our Panya LTV (long-term volunteer) Dreaming Circle the other day and I’m very pleased with the results. I had never before really practiced it outside of the highly motivated EDE group. I knew this would be more of a challenge. Before the Dreaming Circle about the project, everyone took a couple of minutes to talk about their personal dream as a possibility to reconnect to it. I found this to be a very interesting practice which teaches us a lot about people.

In aboriginal culture people believe that their dreams are their projection into the future; we’re constantly calling our future into being through our dreams. People nowadays have lost this connection, have forgotten the art of dreaming because they’ve been told off; being a dreamer is regarded as being unproductive, we’ve unlearned how to follow them. Knowing our innermost dreams and visions and sharing them with others is the first step towards this reconciliation with the future.

You can hear when people talk about their dreams how they haven’t really thought about them at all. Some people stay in the past, talking about their experiences and mention the future very little. Others express a lot of hope and uncertainty through saying phrases like ‘I hope in the future I’ll be…‘ or ‘maybe I’ll have…‘. most of us don’t know where we’re going… we are not clear about what we want. What we did want as a child was often laughed at and rejected and we did’t allow ourselves to dream. When the body of the child grows up we don’t leave it any room to be.

Wenn das Kind wird erwachsen wohin wird es gehn,

Ist das Kind dann verloren oder kann man’s nicht sehn,

Hat es sich vielleicht versteckt, hinter einer Haut,

Die die Wahrheit der Dinge im tiefsten beraubt.

Wenn das Kind wird dich rufen wirst du es hörn,

Oder wirst du so tun als würds dich nicht störn,

Und es einfach verdrängen bis es nicht mehr geht,

Weil das Kind dann vergangen und es nicht mehr lebt

Not only spiritual mystics but also science is showing us the power of dreaming and visualisation. ‘Brain studies have shown that imagining something in vivid detail can fire the same brain cells that are actually involved in that activity. In other words, the new brain circuitry appears to go through its paces, strengthening connections, even as a person merely repeats the sequence in the mind.’ (Goleman) Through this visualisation or mental invitation we call our vision, our dream into being within ourselves, we open up our being for its manifestation. The more we have clarity in what we want to see or become, the more we trust ourselves, the higher the possibility that we create it.

Dragon Dreaming pt. two: the Dreaming Circle

You let your project go through its Easter – let it die for yourself and be reborn for the group – when you entre the Dreaming Circle: the Dragon Dreaming instrument to share and extend your vision during the dreaming phase (see an earlier post Dragong Dreaming pt. one).

It is the dreamer, the one who comes up with the project idea or vision who calls in a Dreaming Circle. He/She takes the talking stick and tells his/her dream. It is helpful to be grounded and clear in this moment in order to impress the listeners. From here, the talking stick moves around and everybody is invited to speak and express what the project should include for them to involve in it. A scribe writes doen the main points and ideas. To keep a postive energy flow in the circle and let the group take momentum and be creative, there are a few rules to be followed by the participants of a Dreaming Circle:

– The initiator keeps his/her description of the dream short and inspiring and is open for it to change and for other people to take ownership in the dream or the project idea (after all, that’s what it is all about);

– all participants talk only when holding the talking stick;

– sentences are short, expressing what they want, not what they don’t want; they are affirmative, supporting rather than diverting while allowing the original dream to guide them;

– participants don’t discuss with other participants about their contributions.

The people in the Dreaming Circle give ideas for any form of contribution and are willing to take at least a part of the responsibility for their ideas/contributions/dreams. At the end, a group (ideally consisting of 7 to ten people) creates a living document of the new dream/project and can start gathering information for moving into the planning phase.

Dragon Dreaming pt. one: an introduction

One of the most interesting sessions on the EDE in Sieben Linden was the one on Dragon Dreaming. Following is a small introduction.

Dragon Dreaming is an instrument for project design and group building developed by the Australian John Croft. If you break the word project into two you’ll find ‘pro’ and ‘ject’, ‘pro’ meaning ‘in front’ and ‘ject’ having the meaning of ‘throw, thrown’: it’s about a vision or a dream thrown in front of yourself. That is where the idea of John Croft is derived from, seeing that there are many visions and dreams alive in all of us, but only little realisations, actual projects. In this sense Dragon Dreaming is building the bridge between vision and project, dream and reality.

In today’s world, we grow up being told that we’re ridiculous when we’re sharing our dreams – “wishful thinking, illusions, impossible”. In aboriginal culture fromAustralia, it is common belief that next to the linear time that we create ourselves everyday, where people meet in separation, disconnected from their dreams, there is the dreamtime, the time in which everything is one. The first empowerment that we’ll need to help us reconnect to that dreamtime is the reconnection to our dreams. This reconnection is taking place in that moment where we share our dreams and where people openly listen to what we say.Australia’s indigenous people believe, like many other spiritual groups, that when we’re born we are one with the universe. Once we realise our selves, our individuality we become separated and we’ll spend our whole lives healing this separation. Knowing and accepting our dreams, we actually know what will happen in the future; in telling our dreams we’re creating our future.

That’s a little bit of background according to which the realisation of our dreams starts with the Self, and so does Dragon Dreaming. The process of Dragon Dreaming starts with the Self and his/her dream, which is the first phase. First, he/she puts in a lot of energy, telling the dream to others and developing it in theory with the group. As the process goes on, people start to dream together and the planning starts in the second phase (‘Projects never plan to fail, they fail to plan’). So the group starts feeding into the project/dream and the project feeds back into the individual, the Self. A healing process for both sides is already happening.

From there the process moves into the third phase, the doing. The theory developed feeds into practice. A lot of projects, especially in our modern culture tend to spend all of their time in planning and doing, never really feeding back into the dreams of the individuals involved, therefore not really being satisfying to anybody and unsustainable.

Research has shown that 90 % of all our dreams, never become theory; 90 % of the theory is never really planned; 90 % of the plans are never put into practice; and 90 % of our projects never get older than 3 years.

To make the cycle complete, we therefore find a forth stage: the celebration. The celebration is the phase where the project feeds back into the individual, where there is time for reflection, adjustments, reconsideration of wants and needs, new dreams and visions to start the cycle anew and let it expend like a spiral, starting small and adding experience as it’s moving forward.

The circle of Dragon Dreaming is a fractal: it is a process in which the big circle is repeating itself in the smaller circles which I’ll write about in one of the coming posts. We can look at how the circle fits on every individual, on all of our life projects and situations: are we dreamers, planners, do we spend most of the time doing and forget the celebration? There are different instruments used in Dragon Dreaming, like the Dreaming Circle or the Game Board that facilitate the process of design. I’ll try to write about all of that later.