Liminal Work for our Common Future
In the current moment humanity is having to confront some of the complex systemic impacts of human activities, work out how to respond and how to move forward with positive solutions. This work for our common future involves a wide group of people from many disciplines and walks of life - but we all have one thing in common - we are trying to face up to deeply difficult and frightening possibilities. We also may have to deal with people who appear to be in denial of the need for systemic change and find ways to achieve breakthrough understanding. In this context it is important that we pay attention to our own wellbeing, both for our own sake and in order to be really effective in this important work. In attending to how to deal with our own stress and fear we may also gain key insights into what lies behind denial.
Recent research in social neuroscience has shown that we are hardwired to be collaborative and altruistic. Experiments have now been done that show greater activation in the centres of the brain registering pleasure when someone gives away five dollars compared to when they receive five dollars.
Further to this we know that the lack of meaningful interaction with other human beings will make us seriously ill not just mentally but physically as well. So loneliness, social rejection, and similar experiences reduce the efficacy of the immune system as well causing depression and even suicidal ideation.
Depression, anxiety and anger are accompanied by heightened levels of cortisol which reduces cognitive capability, increases vigilance, and fear narrowing the individual’s ability to conceive of constructive solutions to any set of circumstances and making them more likely to respond to any emerging situation with the fight/flight/freeze response centred around the amygdala.
Evidence gathered from studies carried out in Japan on the effects of Shinrin-yoku a term that means "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing" shows an increase in immune system activity, reduction of blood pressure and lowered anxiety.
A number of other practices have similar effects, guided relaxation, different types of meditation and yoga but I mention forest bathing in particular because the fact that we can see these changes in brain activity and in physiology suggest that out relationship with ‘nature’, the environment has the same importance to us as meaningful interaction with other people. We are in society with nature.
A key point here is that when we are in fight flight freeze mode we switch off this sense of interconnectedness with other people and with nature to focus on immediate threats to the survival of the organism.
What we’ve found through the application of Liminal Coaching guided relaxation techniques working with people suffering from stress, anxiety and cognitive clouding, is that as the levels of accumulated stress and anxiety are drained out, the natural collaborative and solution creation capabilities of the person re-assert themselves leading to changes which then solve problems in the outside world.
That matters to this group for two main reasons:
If you or your listeners / co-workers etc are living in a state of constant anxiety about armageddon the ability to not only create constructive solutions, but to even think they might actually work will be severely curtailed. You may well ideate but fail to act. If the limbic system is on high alert it will tell you that it’s pointless and the best thing is to stay in bed under the duvet. You did it yesterday and survived and from the amygdala’s viewpoint that is a win.
At least as important is that the evidence cited above but not necessarily cross-correlated previously, suggests that engagement in the sense of a deep relatedness with ‘nature’ / the environment is as fundamental and as hard wired as the need for meaningful human interaction.
Using techniques to help people drain stress and anxiety results in a change of brain-state to one which is based around the intrinsic hard-wired impulse to meaningful and creative interaction with both other people and the environment. This state is also optimum for generating solutions, promoting action and perhaps most important, yet most difficult to measure, having hope.
We believe Liminal Coaching techniques can provide a specific and highly focused contribution to helping people in multiple settings feel better and see more clearly how they can act to help effect urgent change.
Email Mike Parker to receive your free workbook and/or start a discussion on how we can help.
Techniques That Work
We have spent many years working with leaders across disciplines to develop a set of techniques which when taken together drain the stress reservoir while simultaneously building resilience and increased capacity for creative thinking and problem solving. Move away from stress management to actually building your capacity to flourish.
What others are saying
"Mike Parker has been engaged with our entire small team of innovation design consultants to help us cope with lots of change in our business while taking on the complexity of problems we work on with our clients.
The most important benefit so far has been reducing my reactivity when under stress and the awareness of how those reactions get in the way of achieving my goals. I look forward to our sessions every week as a place of calm, where I can reconnect with my goals and inner world in ways that help me create the impact I want to see in my self and our business in pursuit of our purpose.”
- Mark Kuznicki, Founder at The Moment
"Mike helped me through some stressful times with my work.
I was suffering from taking too much on, mixed with some difficult client and team situations. I was looking for more perspective, but also for the ability to dial up my creativity despite the stress so I could do great work for my clients.
Mike’s coaching helped me get clarity, perspective and tap into the thinking I needed to deliver great solutions for my clients."
- Jason Mesut, London
FOUNDER AND ONE-ON-ONE COACH
Mike Parker is the developer of the groundbreaking modality called Liminal Coaching, and has over 30 years of experience in global systems helping clients to innovate, manage stress and improve performance across a wide range of domains.
Mike’s interests are deep and broad, ranging across psychology, anthropology, philosophy, math, business, music and economic systems. All of this is supplemented by culture studies and a life devoted to Systems Thinking. Mike has an MBA in innovation, finance and strategy and has supplemented this with further post-graduate studies in Systems Thinking and Governance. He is a qualified Solutions Focused Therapist and a Research Fellow at the Schumacher Institute.
He is not your normal coach. The approach is a unique fusion of Systems Thinking and Solutions Focused Change methods that leverage what we are learning about how our brains and neural systems operate. Every program is tailored to the needs of the client.