As we began our day together, we asked our participants why they were there. When we heard the response “My heart told me to come,” we knew it would be a special day – and it was.
We coordinated in advance about what we wanted to accomplish, and had our PowerPoint deck at the ready. Our first commitment was to emergence – to see who showed up, what their interests were and how they wanted to engage, to attend to what we were making together, and how we were making it.
We shared our history about learning CMM with Barnett Pearce, and(?) described his influence on Fielding Graduate University, the communication field, and on our academic path.
Frank Barrett, Fielding Professor and Barnett’s colleague, joined us at lunch and shared his heartfelt memories of Barnett. He recalled the emotion he felt when he spoke with Barnett about how CMM woud live on at Fielding. Frank also spoke about his current research, applying some principles of CMM to look at the patterns that might lead some military members to suicide. Here too was an example of how CMM as a practical theory might be consequential to the analysis of restoring meaning and healing to veterans, in this case.
Looking at another real-world global example to illustrate the dynamics and complexity of social construction, Ilene introduced a colleague from her recent trip to Israel to the room via video. We sampled a TED talk by Dalia Fadila, which illustrated some of the complexity we had been modeling, as applied to the complex construction of social identities in the Middle East. (Dalia’s engaging talk can be viewed here.)
Near the end of the day, the energy in the room shifted once again, from conceps and models and “macro thinking” back to the personal level. Fielding faculty member and CMM scholar practitioner Placida Gallegos joined as we moved deeper into the heart of the work with a story from one of the participants. We used circular questioning as we explored his story. We listened as the story unfolded, and applied what we had been learning during the course of the day to deepen meaning and create new possibilities.
We ended with the shared feeling that emergence had happened, with each of us walking away with something we needed (but perhaps could not put into words). We acknowledged a day of dancing together – accommodating the questions, shifting energy shifts (restructure the phrasing here), and moments of confusion and attending to the unfolding.