by | December 2008

A Collection of Articles and Essays
by Matrix Leadership Institute Trainers and Staff

Matrix Hosts a Book Launch

The Mutual Necessity of Matrix Practice and Multicultural Awareness

In order to begin to understand systems of oppression and privilege, we must deconstruct our white, U.S., Euro-centric, and male (patriarchal) orientation to the life through the lens of individual merit. Warning: when you are a member of a dominant cultural group, it is very hard to take this individualism apart and see yourself as a part of a privileged group that has a $100 bill in your pocket whether you earned it or not; whether you spend it or abuse it or even know that it's there.

Matrix Communication Networks

If the members of a group never communicate directly with each other in the open, if all of the communication is spoken to "the group as a whole" or occurs in private conversations outside of group time, the links between people will be faint, sporadic and incomplete at best. If no one ever talks to anyone else directly or if all of the communication goes through the teacher or the manager, the individuals are not connected optimally.

Sustainability ~ The Matrix Factor

We must cultivate the capacity to live and work in healthy social eco-systems or communities. Amidst the chaos that is an essential aspect of systems change, what will help us navigate these turbulent waters? What is the human dimension of creating sustainable life on earth? How can we move from fear to hope and possibility?

The Matrix Group Dialogue Process

When the ideas that emerge translate into decisions and actions, decide who has responsibility for what and by when. When inspirations or possibilities need further reflection or research, decide how you will track and return to them. When evolutionary possibilities emerge, it is through collective action that we converge and birth a new order.

Reflections on the Election of Barack Obama

In the world that is to come, how will we sustain through this time of chaotic and necessary change? How will we keep our individual and collective ships afloat as the old structures and paradigms come crumbling down? What does it look like — really — for me to invest in and trust the connections — the relationships and groups—that will carry us forward, rather than securing my own house to weather the storm?

Healing the Divides Between Us

When I heard the president-elect say, "We are not just a collection of individuals ..." my Matrix mind woke up. Senator Obama was speaking the words of a systems thinker — a holistic, globally responsive consciousness. In Matrix Leadership trainings I often post quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

From Activation to Coherence

The concepts presented by all of the systems I incorporate are very similar. How can an individual connect from his or her heart? What impact does trauma have on the brain and the heart? How can we resource ourselves and heal from these impacts?

Matrix Emerging, Part II

It was through the connections between people that the intelligence, the wisdom, the rarefied love and call to action were manifested. I do not diminish my role as founder or elder or teacher, but in this gathering, we were all each other’s teachers. We all integrated denied aspects of ourselves through touching our common humanity. We all experienced a profound level of communication and presence.

Dissolving Barriers; Clarifying Boundaries

The relevant definition of a boundary is "the point at which something ends or beyond which it becomes something else." It is synonymous with a frontier or an edge. When we cross a particular boundary, we are leaving one state, place or form and entering another. When we dissolve barriers we are opening to allow ourselves to be impacted by another. We are opening to allow our ego or separate sense of identity to soften or dissolve. We open to Union with the Divine. We open to love in the present moment.

Matrix Emerging

At the beginning of the recent Matrix Facilitator training in Boulder, I was given a vision that this group — along with others — would take the Matrix technology and artistry to the “four corners of the earth.” It was the birth of the second generation. The work is out-growing me, the founder — which is a long-held intention. It is emerging!

Remembering Ourselves as Connected

Before undertaking this journey to remember yourself as connected, understand that the limitations of your current character and identity are at risk of being dissolved and restructured.

Differentiation in a State of Openness

At the heart of Matrix work as it is emerging, is realizing our interconnectedness. Not establishing or creating our interconnectedness, because the fact that we are connected at levels beyond our comprehension, is indisputable. In our psyches, cultural norms, paradigms, and perhaps even in our genetically coded DNA, we are wired in the key of separation.

Re-Storying Leadership

For many of us committed to leading social change, the danger of feeling burned out, angry, powerless, overwhelmed, and full of grief is real. We connect to personal and collective suffering in our desire to make a difference. Traditional leadership models can lead to a sense of isolation, power struggles, breakdowns in collaboration, and a sense of feeling disconnected.

Intimacy, Openness & The Great Mystery of Becoming

Re-Sourcing in Connection

New Year's Celebrations and Determinations

Mindfulness, Presence and Connection

THE CAPACITY TO BE MINDFUL is fundamental to creating conscious, living systems. Establishing connections mindfully opens a gateway to a shift in consciousness. It is a shift that enables us to move from being reactive to being responsive and proactive. It allows us to differentiate from beliefs and actions rooted in the paradigm of separateness. It supports us in consciously choosing ways of relating that embody the truth of our interconnectedness.

Applying Matrix Principles to Families

One of the first simple interventions was to say to my kids when they had an issue with their dad or each other, "Maybe you should talk directly with ______, instead of telling me." One of my kids even said to me that they were afraid to try that out. Some of our first forays into recreating an open matrix style system were quite painful. At first, my eldest teenage son would sit around with us and could only tolerate being there for about 5 minutes before having to get up and leave. But what a valuable 5 minutes that was. It was a beginning that has evolved over the years to hours and hours including weeks of family vacation time spent together with a deep appreciation for all of our individual needs to come and go whenever.

What Does Love Intend Here?

In Matrix work we are attempting to differentiate from this paradigm of separateness-or individualism. It requires that we differentiate from our need to know what to do or how to proceed. It requires that we stay in communication about all of our differing experiences and needs long enough to develop a compassionate sensing of the needs and responsiveness of the Whole that includes each and every individual, and yet is more than the collection of our separate selves.

Creating a High Feedback Culture

The practice of giving and receiving feedback is an essential characteristic of living systems that are sustainable and capable of emerging over time with increasing fullness and satisfaction. Any organism — whether an individual, a relationship or a group — relies on feedback to develop and evolve toward higher functioning. Like any practice aimed at changing consciousness, it takes time, commitment and trust.

Trusting the Matrix: Thriving through Chaos

I believe that we are all yearning to remember ourselves as interconnected strands in the web of life. In my estimation, we have now put independence and autonomy on the map. Surviving launched many of us into developing the ego strength to leave limiting, constrictive belief systems. Now our continued evolution-even survival-depends on realizing our interdependence.

A Matrix Approach to Working with Trauma Activation in Groups

A useful distinction to make right away is the difference between trauma and traumatic activation. In a workshop setting it is common to label an event as traumatic when often it would be more accurate to name it as traumatic activation. Trauma occurs in an individual or group when an event occurs that is beyond its capacity to deal with and is on some level a threat to its survival. The newer an organism is, the less capacity/resources it tends to have, to deal with events.

Differentiation in a Field of Trauma

In a polarized or highly charged conflict, the parties may become locked into a competition for the victim role. The fight appears to be about who hurt the other, or who caused the worst injury to the other. In other words, who is the perpetrator and who is the victim? Who is the most hurt? Who suffered the greatest injustice? Whose fault is it? Frequently people are fighting about whose version of "the truth" is correct or valid. The deeper truth is more likely that both people are victims of larger systems of oppression, such as racism, sexism and classism.

Human Connection Through the Lens of Cultural Competence

We only have to look at recent events to tell us that communication difficulties, discord, and even violence that occur in the present, across cultures, are underpinned by deep-rooted errors of simple communication, connection, and actions based on misinformation which preceded these events. I am offering a couple of general guidelines for this person-to-person communication in the opening stage of a group, organization or community that can assist newly forming groups to avoid later cultural competence pitfalls.

Matrix Radically Redefines Conflict

Clarifying the territory—or issue or theme—of a conflict is critical to the Matrix process of distributing the conflict (or differentiation) among more pairs of people. For example, when a man and a woman express their conflict with each other, it may become apparent that they are in the territory of gender differences. When this gender territory is made conscious, we can distribute the conflict more effectively. Other pairs can then find and express their versions of gender differences with each other.

From Control Dynamics to Differentiation and Co-Arising Intelligence

In Matrix groups we open the lens on our collective assumptions of having individual personal power. When we are connected, we are all instruments of the whole or the Divine. When I am in connection with others in such a way that I am continuously bringing my voice, my wisdom, and my gifts into the quantum dance with the wisdom of each, “equal, different, other,” together we mutually empower each other and harvest the fruits of our collective voice and our collective dance on this earth.

Realizing Interconnected Life on Earth

Person by person, relationship by relationship we gain the depth of knowing each other to value differences as essential resources. We no longer relate to differences as threats to our identities. Rather they are responded to as inherent to creativity. As we discover that we no longer need to defend our positions, we will dialogue with curiosity and respect.

Listening Through Our Connection

We shed limiting personal beliefs and habits that would have us live as if we are separate, alone, or devalued. We experience being valued and supported. We live in our connection to Spirit or Source as that which is larger than our individual egos and separate sense of self. We thrive in the present moment and live with a sense of faith and possibility.

Opening the Channels - Weaving the Web

If I am going into an existing group, such as a corporate management team or a city government group, it is the first concept that I teach and ask a group to practice. It is the fundamental building block involved in shifting from a primarily hierarchical model of communicating, to a responsive, interactive matrix model.

Cultivating a Ground of Health

The Wine of Ordinary Human Connection

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I have only completed the first of four weekends and I am already beginning to integrate the insights and tools into my consulting and training practice. Without having to open a book to review the content, I feel as though my awareness of groups has shifted. I can't wait for the next installment!
— Simon D'Arcy
President and Founder, Business Success Teams
Santa Barbara, CA