Karen Gimnig, Imago Facilitator and co-author of ’The Cooperative Culture Handbook’, led a large workshop of Washington Commons’ members and Explorers interested in building community and deepening our connection to one another. Karen asked each of us to write 10 responses to the prompt, “Our vision is realized, we have moved into our new homes, and we have fabulous relationships. I can tell because I see, hear, or feel…”. She created the image above with our responses.
Karen asked, “What gets in the way of attaining our vision”? She showed us how our conditioned survival strategies on a biological as well as a social level kick in when we feel our sense of belonging threatened. These strategies put us in our competitive habits where we inflict rules, employ power, and judge right and wrong. Such strategies have kept us alive but are counter productive to communication or creating connection. Even when we are not in fight or flight response, Karen told us, “only17% of what gets said gets listened to”.
Then Karen taught us the simple but powerful technique of‘Mirroring’ or ‘Active Listening’ which to do at all we had to get out of our competitive habit of preparing our rebuttal. We practiced using this tool in breakout rooms with one other person for 2 different 20-minute sessions. This single tool enabled us to begin to hear each other in ways that brought people back from the breakout rooms bubbling with cheerful chatter at what they had learned, savoring the connection they had made with their future neighbor, and childlike joy that, “my partner really got me”.