Out of the cage: random thoughts on coaching and integral snobbishness

by | Nov 10, 2005

It’s 12:29 and 52 seconds by my computer clock, and after two hours of trying to get the titles of my posts to wrap in the right hand column instead of extending past the white space, I realized it would be simpler to shorten the titles. So I did.

Shorter. Now why didn’t I think of that before?

This afternoon as I was walking to the ICF exam assessors’ meeting, I realized that I feel as though I have been let out of a cage. I’ve been keeping myself caged up in some respects, mostly around writing. No wonder I have been so confused — writing has always been a primary means of self-discovery and orientation. Having written so publicly for nearly eight years, I had fallen into the fantasy that I had to maintain some sort of persona and that I owed you, the readers, a kind of consistency and infallibility that isn’t mine to give.

Perhaps it’s due in part to my plunge into Integral studies in the past few years. I’ve read and practiced and attending seminars and trainings. I’ve designed seminars and trainings. I’ve learned so much that, even though I wasn’t learning in an academic setting, I fell into a sort of academic trance, a trance of hyper vigilance, caution, and constant automatic criticism. I could barely get to the end of a sentence before the sentence no longer seemed true.

Oh Lordy.

I’m not blaming the Integral world, mind you. Ken Wilber’s AQAL theory remains the most robust framework I know of for the practice of coaching, and I love coaching. It’s just that within and around the Integral community there is a lot of strutting and declaiming about what is and what is not Integral. I’m an advanced sort of snob, so I refrained from strutting and declaiming for the most part, but only because I saw that they were marks of the Integral Rube. In other words, I am good at sniffing out the trappings of authentic understanding. Hey, authenticity is my game, so it stands to reason that sometimes I get seduced by it.

It’s interesting (to me) to notice that I woke up from the trance at about the same time that I’m enrolling experienced coaches in an Integral Practicum, a series of tele-seminars in which participants will experience, observe, and apply the Integral model to their work. I’m excited about it and have planned to do something similar for over a year, but I’d been stymied by the need to be Integrally correct. Well, I’ve never been very good at correctness (even though I gave it a good solid try during my years as a Catholic schoolgirl). It feels so good to have come through that passage into my home, where renegades roam.

Blogging after midnight appears to carry the risk of rambling. That said, it’s time for bed.