Dear Friends,
What is the essence of the Constellation? What did attract you to our community? 
Why do I need your help? Am I not supposed to know?
Over the years we have kept exploring who we really are, and I have the feeling that together we might be able to peel off another layer of the envelope...
May I request your help so that we all share the meaning of our involvement more effectively. 
Many thanks in advance for your contributions
JL" 

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This is a wonderful question. I think the essence of Cosntellation is equanimity (giving same importance to the person/group we are Listening/linking and appreciating as we are all human, we are same, we have same dream to be happy and peaceful), mindfulness (stimulating each others and bonding with undivided concentration) and loving kindness.

Equanimity, mindfulness and loving kindness.

Thanks JL for bringing up this.

 

For me the Constellation is a safe and encouraging environment where you can be yourself and flourish, grow, change as an individual but always in and with a community that trusts.

I see in my life, when I was a child at home, later as a wife in marriage and even now that I have children  that I have always found it very important to be 'free' in what I think and what I do (I think my parents and husband would call it 'stubborn' at times) - while at the same time feeling the confidence of being supported by people who are 'there', who care and trust - not overwhelming but reassuring. I was fortunate to have such people around me at the different moments in my life. I feel the need to give the same care and trust back in return - at home as well as in the Constellation and beyond.

So, perhaps it's individual freedom, collective trust that leads to both individual and collective self confidence and growth. That's why I am 'attracted' to the Constellation. And I believe that a same environment for any community can bring out the best and that is what we (as the Constellation) want to transfer to other communities.

Not sure if this is understandable - i might need to rephrase sometime....

L'essence de la Constellation c'est aussi qu'elle construit du sens.

"L'expression "donner du sens" est philosophiquement inexacte. Le sens ne se donne pas, il se découvre et se construit. Nous découvrons le sens d'un événement en le reliant à d'autres événements, aux facteurs sociaux, économiques, politiques ne cours au moment de sa production. Nous construisons le sens de notre existence en élaborant des pensées et des actions qui relient les exigences de nos aspirations aux contraintes des situations.

Mener une existence qui a du sens, c'est chercher à comprendre ce qui s'est passé et utiliser cette compréhension pour construire ses pensées et ses actions. Mener une existence qui a du sens, c'est exister en nous reliant à tout ce qui peut nous éclairer, nous réchauffer, nous nourrir."


Eugénie Vegleris « Manager avec la philo » http://www.managementagora.com/article-4268442.html

Nous construisons le sens de notre existence en élaborant des pensées et des actions qui relient les exigences de nos aspirations aux contraintes des situations.

Super!

Merci

Thank you for the question and call for help!

I am ‘new’ in the Constellation, and still trying to find out what makes it so special, different and why I feel already so committed and involved;

It all started with a friend sharing her ENTHUSIASM about a conference where she had met Mimi and Jean-Louis;

So enthusiastic that I searched on Internet and had a look at the Website.

I entered into a kind of RESONANCE with the vocabulary used: appreciation, dream, listening, care, community, strengths, share… even the word ‘plan of action’ was there, giving some reassurance to my pragmatic ‘engineer’ side; there were some kind of LIFE and PASSION as well as some STRUCTURE: I was starting to love it!

So did I write an email to BelCompetence, that was quickly answered, and I met Jean-Louis a few days later; the meeting was short and confirmed my impression: this was really SOMETHING different and making SENSE!

The next step was to witness the work; attending a first meeting of ‘Et Après?’ at Fabien place was a “HEART opener”: so much ENERGY, SOLIDARITY, HUMANITY, sense of RESPONSE-ABILITY, HUMILITY  and JOY… The facilitation trainings, BelCompetence and Constellation meetings and even virtual platforms and emails exchanges just confirmed and reinforce my first impression. Something wonderful was radiating from coaches, facilitators, community members and I felt so WELCOME! 

What was going on there? My curiosity was triggered, as well as sense of passion. Was I becoming more HUMAN? Was I becoming more COURAGEOUS and APPRECIATIVE? 

Yes!

I certainly was becoming more MYSELF, in contact with my own DREAM, so much inspired by the dreams of OTHERS, more CONNECTED, able to contribute, give and receive. Working for the Constellation was not working, it was enjoying and LEARNING.

The whole thing was simply making SENSE!

So I guess, to find the essence, I would take all the words written in capital letters in the text above, and find a good mixture; or if I had to choose only one, I would say: GRATEFULNESS. 

The Constellation is about bringing noses together and thereby evoking wisdom to emerge and develop, together with human warmth. 

Thank you , Jean Louis , for bringing us back to fundamentals and Rituu for reminding us to come back to this page!!!

I found my answers, in fact, in the responses received so far ! I feel the essence of the Constellation is each and every aspect mentioned by the other members of the community. I am attracted to the Constellation for that very reason:  Resonance. Where else will I find such a sense of identification with the ideas???? thank you all, for the beautiful thoughts!! Rebeka, what gems!

I tried to think of one thing above all that was the essence for me: and I found the word Freedom looming large. The freedom to be, the freedom to believe, the freedom to act.

The next words that floated up were Trust and Warmth: The sense of well being in the presence of other members; like being wrapped up in a warm blanket.

The last and most important : Sharing. Sharing a collective Joy in each other's discoveries, wonder, excitement, aspirations and achievements. no competition, just extended and expanded joy!

Thank you for stimulating this reflection!

Sanghamitra

The Constellation is to me what it means - a group of STARS (people) where the stars radiate light (strengths), contributing to the creation of a beautiful sparkling pattern (competence) in their constellation (community). And these constellations, twinkling with the light of 'dreams coming true' inspire ALL that behold them or connect with them - all over the world.
It is this essence that makes me glad I belong to The Constellation.

The essence of the constellation is to contribute to bringing change in the universe. Changing the perceptions and mindset of how things are perceived and done around the world. Despsite significant contributions, Community Development processes continue to face challenging circumstances of making similar mistakes done by others in the past.

As a technocrate, I feel previleged to be involved in these enormous tasks of the Constellation. I am a very strong believer in the strengths and invaluable contributions that remain untapped in every community.    

 

I recount what I had written down as my first impressions:

Some Impressions from the SALT Visits to Northern Thailand in December 2007

 

The start of the Journey

‘First impression is the best impression’, I felt as Laurence introduced us, a team of eager beavers, to the nuances of the AIDS Competence Process (ACP). She had asked us a very introspective question that was both best, as well as impressive by its central and profound nature correspondingly. That query, which took us on an exploration of our innate nature was, ‘Are we human?’

 

I replied instinctively and truthfully, ‘At times, we are human!’ Jean Louis beside me burst into peals of laughter, pushing us on with, ‘What are the times we are not?’

 

‘Well. We do slip up; After all we are all human!’ I muttered slowly to him, setting him into another bout of amusement.

 

Soon we had a list of the inhuman traits: Selfishness, anger, power, cruelty and so on. Similar was the assumptions that we have more experience, know more, and are better than people in communities are. Other such traits include, not caring or sharing, as well as operating automatically and not consciously. The group’s contributions were fast filling up spaces on a chart.  

 

On the other hand, being aware that everyone else is an equal human being was a display of the least iota of human behaviour that we have. Communicating appreciation, support, care and the like were humane. We share our fears, reflecting on what we do, looking into ourselves. We also consciously try to connect with others, look beyond ourselves, and see despite the differences our similarities and respect them. Therefore, it was for us to constantly rediscover, recognize, resolve and remind ourselves that we must vigorously exhibit such humanitarian qualities to our fellow men. So essential was this requirement as it was elementary. The perfect logic of its simple and natural spirit had won me. This was the staring point of the journey, on the road of ACP.

 

‘We are sexual, we are human’, stated members from the group, much after this session. Animals are sexual too. However, exhibiting our sexuality and strengthening it through love and bonding are its human qualities.

 

On the Road

Once we accept human equality, the next and the rest of the logic follow its due course. We then see the people of the community through a humane lens. This lens focuses on us learning from their experiential knowledge, rather than teaching them our pre-defined solutions.

 

If we, the visitors found the community members confronted with an issue our contribution to solution seeking of the community members, could be by posing challenging questions. These questions dare people to further action. Here again, as the responses to the queries posed were sought and found by the community members, they would be most active in testing and implementing them, than it were had we imposed the same solutions on the community members.

 

Counselling a Community

I remember as a child, I would rebel against orders. The same activity I would willingly complete if it came in as a request. Probably this could be because a request respects the requested one’s decision. Conversely, an order belittles it. Moreover, the counsellors amongst us will remember that in order to make a client pursue a decision, we help the client to make the decision by providing the complete range of options. In addition, based on experiences we provide an awareness of the consequences of following each of the options. Subsequently, we leave it to the client to decide or choose from among these options. Clearly, decision-making is the client’s responsibility. Similarly, ACP extrapolates this logic from an individual level to that of a community’s. After all, the community is only a collection of individuals.  

 

Effect of Decision-making on Motivation, Enthusiasm and Implementing

As in counselling where we see clients practicing only the decisions they made, so also in ACP it became increasingly clear to me that communities execute those decisions that they made. Subsequently, the enthusiasm and motivation levels to accomplish the decisions are highest. This is because if an individual gives his word to his own community that he or she would undertake an activity for their own, then their integrity, and the community’s trust and confidence in their ability to implement it, is in question until they have completed it. Furthermore, all communities visited by us exhibited not only high levels of volunteering, but also high levels of decentralized planning and delegation of practice.

 

Other spin-offs

We could compute the value of all the volunteering inputs of community members in terms of actual money. Then if we compare it as a ratio with the funds spent from donors during the same period, we would be able to develop tested index of sustainability

 

Awareness and Behaviour Change

Sensitized Health Care Workers do realize that behaviour change is the key solution against the epidemic. The model of providing awareness and leading it to behaviour changes in only the sexual act, is fraught with failure. For awareness alone does not necessarily enforce behaviour change in decision-making or risk-taking. Currently, we know that the battle against HIV is won or lost, in the bedrooms by the millions of decisions made by people. Here, in their intimate moments, only their own determination to change behaviour is with them. If these resolutions are part of the collective declaration of a community, it has more chances of standing up to the test. Therefore, realization by a community is the easiest way to a stronger and en masse behaviour change.

 

Religion, Culture and Traditions

Many communities are rooted in their religion and culture. We must sift through available data to find out whether following culture and traditions is leading to a remarkable reduction of HIV prevalence in some of these communities. Phayao has shown the world a reduction in prevalence from 18 to less than one. Suat of Phayao is placed best to analyze surveillance data that he as an epidemiologist has collected over the years. His depth in academic analysis is matched by an equal strength of his devotion as a Buddhist. Selflessness helped him to build three temples in his village, where he is called, ‘Professor’. None can dispute his philosophy that one must see People Living with HIV (PLHIV) holistically. For, PLHIV were part of a family, and the family a part of the community.  

 

Flexibility of response

This is the hallmark of ACP making it prepared at all times. Thereby the community responds best to emerging issues or changing environment than the one it had planned for earlier.

 

Sustainability

The most appealing feature of ACP is the sustainable CBO model that evolves from its adherence. Ms. Pimaji stating that for the last two years their Community Health project did not have to access any Government or donor funding is ample proof of having attained sustainability.

 

Reflections on Pimjai’s challenge:

Pimjai practiced selflessness. She had devolved responsibilities, developed peers to leaders, and a system, that made her dispensable. As for the reality of HIV in her life, she saw it as a immense opportunity to employ the human qualities.  Her meditations on death, while sitting alone in the pre-dawn darkness in the Buddhist crematorium, were to focus on her very mortality. For being mortal is again a basic human trait. The remembrance of death before we begin life every day is the best way to be human, that Pimjai has taught me. Preparing for death humbles one with a remembrance of the stark fact that in death the great leveler, all human beings are equal. Her statements that she was ready to pass away made her my epitome. Her plea that the best service we could do to her was to transfer the concepts that we had learnt from her organization or life.

 

If we ought to be the change first, that we want to see in others, then we must measure how much ready we are now to pass away. Therefore, I must bury my selfishness that makes me cling to this material world. How I do it without betraying anyone is the challenge that I could solve by devolving my responsibilities. Over time, everything is possible. If the key is selflessness and if in death, I go away taking not anything from the world, then I must begin to give everything. How fast I do it, the better human being I will soon be.

 

Working in India

A billion people, with a vast majority living in rural communities provide opportunities galore! Convincing the funding agencies to support a National Facilitation Team that coach detected champions, to start this bottoms-up response, is one way of scaling up the success tasted in the states of Karnataka and Mizoram. 

 

Decentralization is the mantra of the current National AIDS Control Program (NACP). Therefore, mainstreaming community response to HIV is a prime area. In addition, the United Nations Country Team’s (UNCT) current support to transferring and transforming knowledge to action and implementation, gives ample scope within its ambit, for supporting community responses not only to HIV but also to most of the other themes in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Good times together Rafique. I still treasure the memories in my heart :)

The essence of the Constellation and what attracted me to the Life Competence community is the reason for which the Constellation was formed and has continued to grow i.e. the shared interest and vision in social transformation through a change of mindset from expert mentality to that of the believe that every individual has a contribution to make towards his/her own development once given the confidence and necessary support by means of good facilitation.

The turning point in my life as a member of the Life Competence community was that eve of the Mombasa Workshop in Kenya (July 2005) when I was invited to join the team of facilitators to facilitate the workshop to which I went considering myself as a participant going to learn from others. The confidence and support I received enabled me co-facilitate and turned me into national and international facilitator that has as of now in similar way helped to change the lives of several individuals, communities, countries, and regions. That spirit had kept me within the Life Competence community and that spirit is the essence of the Constellation.

I know that spirit is flowing well and please help the spirt to continue flowing across the world for a better environment for all.

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