Each Part Does Its Job
As you put together this group of people, you
should be open to all different types and, if possible, you should actively look for
different kindss of people, specially the ones that you wouldn't usually associate with.
There are so many ways to classify people into "types" . In our case, we would
see how they are most useful to the radio as a whole, what role they can play. The
downside of this process is that different people tend to not get along. If you are in the
center, one of your main roles is allowing this friction to be there but not to become so
constant or harsh that it will dissolve or splinter the group. There are no hard rules in
how to do this of course. It is an art that will change from day to day. You should also
be aware that there are some frictions and some types of people that are not welcome and
should be banished in any way possible. How to tell the difference?
Focus on the task. If each element is doing
their job, then the tast will move forward. If certain elements aren't working, maybe
there are parts missing. Or maybe a particular part is inactive. But also, maybe, a
certain pairt is working actively against the process. Watch carefully and, once you have
seen the root cause, act swiftly yet subtly. Don't allow your reaction to become even more
of a disruption!
Another aspect of this group work is recognizing
not only what you and others are good at, but also what you and they are not good
at and allowing for that to be. Some people may be excellent communicators but terrible at
creative work. Others may be perfect writers but unable to speak directly to anyone. Maybe
someone has a special talent for preparing an invocational space but can't be there when
the invocation occurs! This is all fine and desirable. Our natural tendency is to make
sure that everyone has the same experience, that everyone contributes the same
"amount" (as if such a contribution could possibly be measured) or that nobody
"slack" off. But this tendency is contrary to a group invocation of this nature.
Allow for talents and allow for lacks. Allow for your own lacks as well! If someone can do
something better than you can, let them do it! Don't let ego, shame or status stand in
You can look at each person as a mystery waiting
to be unraveled. As they show up and approach you (or as you approach them), you can ask
yourself: "what is their role? what will they contribute? what needs to come out of
them?" Some people may at first seem like a really bad fit. They don't get along with
other people in the group, they don't joke in the same way, they reject the natural vibe
of the group. If that doesn't make them run away, then don't push them. Observe carefully.
Something is hiding behind the mask of their personality. That something has pushed them
to come to your group and is keeping them there, despite the resistance. What is it? Think
of it as a key that you need to find, a key that will unlock the gift that they are
Solo Experiment 1: WATCHING THE BAND
Rent a concert video of either a rock band or
a jazz band. ("Woodstock" would be a good pick but any concert video will do.)
Prepare to watch it alone with a very specific
purpose: to observe the interaction and the different parts of the structure here seen as
Place your attention on the drummer for one
whole song. Look at him or her whenever possible. When they're not visible, listen to the
sound of the drums and to the effect that they are having on the rest of the band. Try, to
the extent of your listening abilities, to listen and watch the whole of the sound from
the perspective of the drummer and of the sound of the drums.
Now for the next song switch your attention to
the bass player (the "low" guitar with only 4 strings...ok?) and try to do the
same. Feel the low rumble of the bass notes and feel the way they affect the rest of the
band. How does the rest of the sound resonate with their low vibrations? How does the
change of notes in the bass alter the basic mood and architecture of the rest of the
Now for the next song switch to the rhythm
guitar (if there are two guitar players) or to the piano and do the same thing.
Keep shifting from one member of the band to
the other, trying to focus your attention on them and to feel the difference in
perspective from one instrument to the other.
Experiment: The Conversation
Try this experiment you are in a room talking to
3 or more people.
1- Without announcing this in any way to the
others or making any move that will signify that you are doing something strange,
quietly within you make a clear statement that the experiment has begun. It will only last
about 5 to 10 minutes.
2- Look at your companions carefully but without
disrupting the flow of conversations. Take note of each one's role. Is there one who
mostly talks? Is there one who mostly feeds the talker back? Is there one that simply
listens quietly? Is there one that constantly changes the subject? Is there one that keeps
watch on time, safety and other basic material needs? And so on... try to see what role
each one is playing.
3- Notice your own role. What role have you been
playing? Has it changed since the experiment began?
4- Now smoothly and very gently (VERY GENTLY SO
AS NOT TO CALL ATTENTION TO IT) shift roles. Change your role and pay attention to how the
others shift as you shift (or maybe some of them don't shift at all).
Do this experiment with different groups of
people. After the experiment is over and you are alone again, write down your
Experiment: What Can I Do?
Sit down with a notepad and pen. Make 3 columns
in the piece of paper with these headings:
What Can I Do WITHOUT ANY EFFORT
What Can I Do WITH SOME EFFORT INVOLVED
What Is Terribly Difficult For Me To Do
Now start filling in the columns. As you think
of particular actions write them down in the appropiate column. Try to be as objective as
possible. Don't judge yourself in any way. Simply be clear about what you have observed.
Only list actions you have actually tried. It's not enough to just imagine that you CAN or
CAN'T do a particular action. If you haven't tried it, you don't know. Be very specific
and limited to actions you have tried and with which you already have a very specific (and
memorable) experience. The list may change in time, so don't worry about filling in every
action or about having placed it in the "right" column. Simply write them down
as they come and in the column that most seems to fit them.
Allow a week to go by. Then sit down and read
the list carefully. Read it as if someone had written it about you. Feel your emotional
reactions. If you feel a particularly strong reaction, breathe deeply 3 times and in the
exhale attempt to release the tension.
Allow another week to pass and read it again.
Follow the same instructions but also add to the lists if something new comes to mind.
Save this list. It will be useful in the future.
* * *
It takes a particular kind of effort to release
the idea/assumption that you are or can be "good" at anything or everything. It
may simply be cultural, or instilled in us by our parents, or carried in the DNA as a
recurring confusion between the individual and the group. Wherever it comes from, it's
there and it must be released in order to form the shamanic radio. Find your spaces where
you can truly contribute and concentrate on them. Help others find theirs (without jumping
to conclusions too soon!). When the roles fall into place the radio starts to work. As
simple as that. For that to happen, at least a certain amount of our vanity has to fall.
Repeat after me: "There are some things that I simply can't do..."
* * *
Group Experiment 1: Collages
Preparation: For the following experiment you will need at
least 4 people, but it can work with more. To prepare for the session (or to start it) you
will need to put together (or simply bring out of the garage!) a box full of old
magazines. These should be magazines that you don't mind destroying permanently. If you
are unsure about any of them, take them out. The ones left behind should be free of any
attachment. On the other hand, the magazines should be colorful and full of photographs or
drawings. News magazines, fashion magazines, comic books, National Geographics, Computer
magazines, etc can all work well for this. You will also need several glue sticks and at
least 100 pieces of white and/or black cardboard. These should be in different sizes, from
small 8' x 11' to large poster size. The exercise can last anything from a few hours to a
whole day (with breaks for eating). It's up to your group to decide on their level of
- Arrange a large table so that the glue sticks and carboard
pieces are on end and the box of magazines is on the floor at the other end.
- Read these instructions out loud to everyone that is going to
participate and make sure that they are all clear. Answer any questions and clear up any
confusion BEFORE you begin. If someone asks a question that is not answered by these
instructions make a quick decision and move on. Don't get bogged down in theoretical or
legalistic discussions, as this would be directly opposite to the spirit of the exercise.
- The group is first divided into three sub groups: the
Selectors, the Cutters and the Composers. As the day progresses people will move around
from one sub group to another, so there should be no attachment to any particular
subgroup.Depending on the size of the group, each subgroup may be composed of one, two or
three people. The three subgroups should be roughly the same size. If this is not
possible. the Composers should have the greater number.
- The job of the Selectors is to go through the magazines and
choose specific pages that call their interest. Once a page has been selected it should be
pulled out of the magazine (by removing the staples) and handed over to the Cutters.
- The job of the Cutters is to cut particular pictures or words
or phrases out of the pages that are handed to them.
- The job of the Composers is to compose collages out of the cut
pictures and phrases that the Cutters hand to them.
- Time is divided into 15 minute work sessions (with short
silences in betweer that function as defining breaks). At the end of each session each
person hands over their work to the other group. The Composers place their finalized
collages on another table. The Selectors pick a new random batch of magazines from the box
and return the untouched or broken magazines back to the box AND they hand the selected
pages over to the Cutters. The Cutters hand their cut pictures to the Composers. If they
still have a surplus of selected pages these should be returned to the box. If a Composer
has an unfinished collage, it should be handed to another Composer to finish. If a
Composer has extra cut pictures that haven't been used, they should be handed to another
Composer. If someone finishes (i.e. feels that they have done all they can) before the 15
minute session is up, they can simply sit quietly until the work session ends. Don't try
to suggest or help the other subgroups or members of your own subgroup in what they are
doing. Just do your part!
- Every 2,3 or 4 work sessions, everyone will switch
roles. (The number will depend on how much total time your group has to work with.)
- At the end of the entire session, there should be many
collages that have been created. You should leave some time for the whole group to explore
Some people will have a lot of trouble in the role of
Composers, either because they will be at a loss of "what to do" or because
their idea of "what to do" is so specific and clear that they won't want to let
their collage be finished by another composer. It is crucial that the 15 minute work
session be respected religiously to avoid these attachments. The same kind of attachments
may occur with the Selectors or the Cutters, although most people find it easier to
"let go" in these roles. Besides the actual construction work, make sure you
place at least part of your attention on the FLOW of energy and make sure this FLOW never
stops. If you notice an obstruction, unblock it by pushing the rules!
* * *
Once the radio starts to come together, people will move
towards their respective roles. In this process, your main function as a host and
organizer is to STAY OUT OF THE WAY! Allow them to find their own place in the radio. If
they seem to be at a loss, look for their strengths and focus on those. This will
stabilize their position and function as well as adding an esential element to the
Invocational Shamanic Radio that we are in the process of constructing. It is from these
individual strengths, rather than a preplanned idea of the results, that the true organic
radio will come from.
1. Divide the group in couples.
2. Sit in front of each other.
3. Do a rapid, three to five minutes session of quick question and answer. One
person asks the other a question and the other answers as quickly as possible, not waiting
to form an answer. Just blurt out the answer quickly.
4. The questions should refer to any combination of the following phrases:
Allowing each part to do its job (we are not all the same!)
We are not all the same, allow each part to do what it does best
(usually being what it enjoys the most!), allow each part to make its own choices for its