Social Presencing Theater, Monthly, Virtual, Open Practice Session

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Social Presencing Theater has grown out of the Presencing and Theory U work of Otto Scharmer in collaboration with Arawana Hayashi. It is a method for bringing more visibility – therefore clarity and shared vision to a group, and in turn helping them sense their “next move.”

SPT is a new synthesis between theater, embodied presence, dialogue, stillness and presencing.

In these SPT monthly, virtual practice sessions for SPT and Theory U practitioners, we will engage in exploring how to tap into the wisdom stored in our bodies. And how to do this in a virtual setting.

Some of the benefits of attending these sessions:

  1. practice how to create the conditions that enable a sense of collective “presencing”, both virtually and in person

  2. learn how to identify “the emerging future” and get to a place of commitment to action

  3. Increase awareness and letting go of preconceptions

  4. tap into the greatest potential of a situation

  5. explore how to create and foster transformational experiences in an online setting by engaging the intelligence of the body.

These sessions are open format, this means, what happens will depend on who shows up and what we bring with us that day. In the past, we've practiced together, clarified instructions, hosted case clinics, held discussions on important topics of SPT, had time for Q&A.

In my experience, no matter who shows up or what happens, as we engage with our individual and social bodies, the environment that gets created is always generative. In many occasions, I have left the sessions with a deep sense of groundedness and a feeling of expansion in my body.

There is a suggested donation of $20 for these practice sessions.

Our generosity in giving and receiving is what creates sustainable conditions and promotes a rich environment of practice for all of us. Thank you very much for your support.

Times: 8am to 9:30am PST/ 11am to 12:30pm EST/ 4pm to 6pm GMT/ 5pm to 7pm CET

How did I get into doing SPT virtually and why I continue to do it?

I have been leading SPT virtual sessions since the end of my one-year-long Advance SPT training in 2014. At that time the intention was to stay in touch with the cohort and with the work. We started having biweekly zoom calls and to the day, for 4 consecutive years, we still get together in this format once a month. It has been an incredibly enriching experience for all of us.

We always start our sessions with a 5 min version of the 20 min dance, which we found to be really helpful, and a way to reconnect with our bodies, the group and the space in between us, before we start talking.

I have also used SPT in a virtual setting for my one-on-one coaching sessions, for example, I’ve used coaching circle like conversations. I will give the person 10 to 15 min to present their case (talk about what is going for them) then have 3 min of stillness together, and after that I will offer them an image, a feeling, and a gesture, after which I will take the gesture and offer them a sculpture 1 to sculpture 2 process. I got really good feedback with this and it helped us get to a wonderful generative dialogue afterward in most cases.

In 2016 together with Katherine Gee we hosted an SPT online practice hub at the website. We offered SPT virtual sessions both in English and in Spanish. Between the two of us, there were about 3 sessions available a week that people could join. We will have between 5 to 15 people attending these calls.

Over the years, doing this, I have learned a tremendous amount about SPT, about hosting this practice virtually, and about facilitating transformational experiences online.

Some people are still a bit skeptical and ask, how could it be possible to do this very personal and interpersonal practice in a virtual setting? And I totally understand, I was also feeling at the beginning that this is not recommendable because “people need to be in the same room for SPT to work”. And in many ways this is true, there is nothing like being in the same space and having the other bodies in close proximity to you. It is definitely a different experience, for me, it is not an “either-or”, it is a “this and that”. I think both are very legitimate experiences and for some people is the difference between being able to practice or not.

We have done many of the SPT exercises online, the 20 min dance, the village, duet and stuck going from sculpture 1 to sculpture 2 with really remarkable results. Of course, the only thing we can not do is touch each other, but besides that, it is absolutely possible to engage in these practices and still arrive at great results and insights. I haven't tried a 4D mapping though so I can't say, but I'll be curious.

One of the most exciting things I've discovered lately is the idea of exploring the concept of "global social body". Communication via video conference is the way to go in this time of age, more and more this is how meetings are being held, across time zones and with people from all over the world, why not exploring and bringing awareness to how far our sense of social body can be expanded, what does it mean to be bounded in time and space nowadays?

Another exciting insight has been exploring how much we rely on our sense of sight in order to communicate and stay connected. In an in-person setting, it’s easier to have a sense of the social body because even if our eyes are closed we can still have a feeling if somebody is close or far from us. In an online setting alternatively, I find it fascinating to stand up from my chair and practice a village or a duet. What I’ve discovered here is that it is absolutely possible to still feel connected to the other people without having to be too attached to the screen. An interesting sense of trust gets developed and there’s a knowing that the other person is there and that we are all contributing to create this particular social body.

One more interesting thing that happens many times is that by practicing with others in a virtual setting, I gain a new and refreshing sense of my own space. Since I am purposely paying attention now, I get to see things that have been there, around me the whole time, but now I get to see them as if it was the first time I’m encountering them.

At the end of the day, SPT is about cultivating mindfulness of body and awareness of space, both at an individual level as well as a collective. I find that this can be beautifully accomplished in and in person setting, and also in a virtual setting.

What people that have practiced SPT online are saying:

Thank you so much, Mery, for the session today, so grateful you are doing this. As a U.Lab beginner, this was exactly what I needed to get more practice and understanding. I got a lot from the dance and the Village exercise, these were all new to me.

Thanks for all of the creators' tonite. It's really fun and energetic communication without talking. By sensing and body movement with others, the energy flow and creativity arise in the space. And I realized that the only limitation is my thoughts, not the room and zoom.

Thanks for the great experience co-created by everyone today. It makes me more interested to communicate with others with body/emotion/being in virtual practice. I notice my voice of judgment is the limit and it blocks the way to communicate with others authentically. And my partners also help me break the limits. Thanks

Mery’s way of virtual facilitation was quite inspiring for me. She made me feel how powerful virtual SPT can be, and even better she created a different narrative about it so it does not feel like SPT with lower quality than being together in the same physical space. It gave me a good sense of being connected on a deeper level. Morphological fields in practice.

There is a suggested donation of $20 for these practice sessions.

Our generosity in giving and receiving is what creates sustainable conditions and promotes a rich environment of practice for all of us. Thank you very much for your support.

Times: 8am to 9:30am PST/ 11am to 12:30pm EST/ 4pm to 6pm GMT/ 5pm to 7pm CET

About the facilitator:Image result for Mery Miguez

Mery Miguez is a Social Presencing Theater teacher and coach. She has been authorized to teach SPT by Arawana Hayashi in 2014, she was part of the 1st cohort of the Advanced SPT training and has studied under Arawana’s tutelage since 2002. Mery is also a Shambhala Art teacher, a meditation instructor in the Shambhala lineage and an NLP Marin Master Practitioner. Her art practice is theater clown.

Mery has been experimenting with teaching SPT online since 2014 and has facilitated numerous u.labs both in person and online, in English and in Spanish since the first MOOC in 2015. For the last u.lab in 2017, she offered a weekly online support for hub hosts.

She has also launched her first 5 weeks, online class "Integrating SPT in your life, work and practice" for changemakers who are passionate about making a difference in the world and would like to use this methodology to create an impact in their communities. This class is currently running with 3 sessions weekly, both in English and in Spanish. Next version, coming up in April, stay tuned.

Image result for Mery Miguez

SPT has been Mery’s passion ever since she crossed path with it because it combines everything that’s important to her, contemplative practices, theater, and social change. Sharing the power of SPT with others and helping them feel comfortable so that they can do the same has been Mery’s inspiration for the past few years and is one of the things that gives her the most joy in her life.

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