Four territories of experience…


As I’ve continued to write and publish these reflections on a daily basis, I’m starting to notice the subtle variations in character, intent, and focus of each piece.

On one end of the spectrum, this narrative is a simple reporting of the day-to-day activities of my life. Not quite so well as a detailed journal in terms of a factual report, but generally catching the large blocks of attention, these missive do share something of the gist of the journey.

It’s probable that from there, these reflections fan out into a multi-textured territory covering something more than simply a two dimensional spectrum. They have and will likely continue to wax and wane from the surfaces of my experience to more of the interior feeling states. As the reflection on Community, that I’ve considered to write just today, but have not begun, they may cover territories more abstract, but with some hope to lend to the practical.

As this piece so far, there are those that will simply reflect recursively into the act of writing itself.

William Torbert explores pointing out four distinct territories of experience:

  1. The outside world – that which we can observe with our five senses.
  2. Our inner bodily sensations – both proprioception, and other “inner” senses such as “a knot in my stomach.”
  3. The thoughts and emotions you experience.
  4. Our own awareness of our existence in real time, our presence and that of others existentially. May also be thought of as our awareness of our awareness.

Bill also talks about “Four Parts of Speech” that relate to and draw their timely content from these four distinct territories:

  1. Framing – Attention/Intention/Vision
  2. Advocating – Strategy/Structure/Goals
  3. Illustrating – Behaviors/Operations
  4. Inquiring (and Listening) – Outcomes in the External World
  • These are drawn from Bill’s book, Action Inquiry, one of my all-time favorite books.

Today’s thread is really just a stream of consciousness on the act of keeping up this storyline in a way that more fully reflects my lived experience.

We could say that this entry is simply “Framing” what one might expect, returning to these pages. Of course it is also an “Illustration” of these same constructs as well.

January 11, chapter 2:

I got out of the house again today, in hopes of a haircut. That turned out to be a Lelah as the appointment was canceled by text just as I was nearing the destination. Instead, Caitlin and I just used the time to enjoy the outdoors and playfully each other’s company while including a brief stop at the market for groceries and lunch.

Prior to that I got a little business clerical and financial handled, feeling a bit on top of those things as the days progress.

What I really didn’t want to finish today’s entry without mentioning was the way I spent the afternoon. Thanks to a recent email from Dave recommending, and perhaps reminding, me that the traditional I Ching could be a really useful tool during this period of notable tension and transformation, I ventured down the rabbit hole of a reading reflecting on the question:

“What attachment is this that holds me back from full and gleeful surrender?”

The result was hexagram 42 changing to hexagram 21. I spent about two hours plumbing these depths and found the time to be quite well spent in terms of helping me to wrap my head around my situation, possible avenues, outcomes, and things I might otherwise have had a hard time seeing.

One could easily trace my path through these reflections by starting here: https://cafeausoul.com/oracles/iching

As for now, 7 PM has arrived and Tresa is just popping through the house, so I’m going to go say hello so as not to miss her.


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