Intense Identity Expansion

7 min read

One of the greatest problems in coaching, counseling, conflict resolution, and problem solving in business is the extreme grip of personal and group identity that keeps people from being real and present to their experience of others. Recently, I learned a simple and rapid way to move a conversation from “me” to “we,” to a new level of profound emotional connection and appreciation.

For some time, my friend and colleague, Charlie Smith and I had been discussing the long tradition of “Talking Sticks” from indigenous peoples throughout North and South America and Hawaii. History tells us that the “Talking Stick” was used in tribal council circles where whoever was holding it, spontaneously spoke whatever he/she was aware of in the moment. I’m not sure how they consciously knew it at the time, but such a practice allows one to be fully present and real and in doing so, have the speaker and the listeners be transformed in the moment. (I wonder if AA borrowed their “non-crosstalk” traditions from it).

In my own experience, the Glass Talking Stick enables someone to fully come from their true present awareness. By sharing without interruption or unsolicited advice and in a psychologically non-judgmental space, it’s as if one gets to give an “oral report” on their “true” self without mental or past based constraints.  If you’re like most people, you will remember that whenever you have been called upon to speak – all the way back to an oral report on something in grade school – such an experience really helps you to be aware when you are being real, candid, honest and authentic versus when you are being inauthentic and faking the audience and yourself.  The Talking stick is a vehicle for helping amplify that experience of true self-expression and self-experience.

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