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Laura Simms had joined us for a Knowledge Fair in Assam where we brought the communities together to share and exchange. So when there was a presentation organised by Taos Institute on the Assam project and Knowledge Fair, Laura joined us. Here are our thoughts on the presentation sent to me by email. The title of the blog is from Laura. 

Thank you so much for inviting me to be part of this conversation today.  how SALT has rippling resonant effect in every aspect of people's lives and how, something changes, perhaps even the atmosphere , the trees planted, a sense of aliveness in a community that attracts other communities to ask what happened is also worthy of contemplation for me.
I learned many important things today - personally and in the work.  I was thinking about the ways bees listen.
It turns out that bees hear what we might describe as a song deep in the flower as it opens and produces pollen.  And the flower hears the bees as they move toward the pollen. The pollen is responsible for the reproduction of the flower, and the life force.  As the bee comes closer the flower produces 20% more pollen.  It is a collaborative act of listening at the level of vibration, and not to words or a melody.

 It is the essence of song, the essence of listening.
Birgitta described asking a question based on what someone had said. that kind of listening is a bees body listening.  The unlearning produces so much happiness that not only is the community enlivened, it seems, but we are reengaged because there is a great pleasure in the process, even when frustrating. 
When you spoke about inclusion, it was not a learned idea. It was so genuine.  the embodied voice, the listening, is at the heart of genuine presence and collaboration. Perhaps it is why as a storyteller , my self and others, are learning so much about SALT. 
I loved what Philip said about the process. That the conversation itself was where change is instigated.  It will be wonderful to listen again to the conversations that took place. 
Bing given opportunities to see the subtly of my own personal collusion in ownership and manipulations through impatience or judgement is a gift beyond description.
Scientists have known what people's with wisdom traditions know, that the bee is drawn to a song inside the flower that we do not hear. And that the flower hears the bees that are drawn to the pollen. It is language without words. It is the energy of speech itself. This is the listening that awakens within us. this is the listening that re-members our forgetting that nothing exists on its own.
My reflection to Laura's sharing- I found this on the net " Bees, in contrast to people, do not hear with their ears, but they notice the sound with their whole body, especially with their antennas and sensitive body hair. "
A lesson for us human beings on how can we listen not only from our ears, but heart, mind and being fully present for the speaker?

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Comment by Nkurikiyinka Valens on August 4, 2020 at 3:11pm
What a nice illustration!
Comment by Ranganayaki Thangavelu on August 4, 2020 at 2:59pm
Love this. Being fully present for people in our listening, not just with our ears, and how SALT leads us there
Comment by Marie Lamboray on July 13, 2020 at 2:04pm

Some notes from the meeting:

For ownership to happen, awakening must come from within individually and in the community. When we realise our joint responsibilities, slowly things are changing. The discourse evolves from: “It is their job” “It is our tradition” to “We slowly realise that unless we take action nothing will change” “We are in control” “Why do we keep this old age heritage?”

The SALT-CLCP approach builds the awareness of being a community and of being capable of doing something about challenges. It gives time to the community to talk and reflect at each step, at its own pace. The problem is when there is an impatience to go forward and with time constrained projects. NGOs cannot own the agenda if they really believe that communities own the project.

In Assam, we have been three years. It is the longest time that we have been accompanying communities. Some communities did not respond, some reacted very quickly, others took time to internalise…

The biggest compliment a community can do to a facilitator: “We do not need you anymore. You are welcome to visit us anytime.”

In a knowledge fair, it is difficult to create an atmosphere where people can be themselves, where there is no judgement because of the presence of external people who are not used to the way of working and multiple languages, but it is worth it. The communities involved are already in a ‘non-judgement’ and ‘building from strength’ state of mind built over time during the process. The challenge is for NGOs’ facilitators to unlearn and let go, stop being an expert and simply be human.

Steps in the process are very helpful to give a structure to the conversation based on facts not emotions. This allows people to listen to each other’s point of view. Each step provides that opportunity.

To exclude no one, the SALT-CLCP asks from the beginning “Who are we?” “Who is the community?” A group organically emerges who wants to act, but the facilitator should continually ask “Who is missing?” Meeting in small groups helps. 

Indicators of ownership can be (1) Do people share with other communities? If they benefit from it, they will share without facilitators’ intervention; (2) Are new relationships build between people?

Who decides what is credible evidence?

Comment by Luc Barriere-Constantin on July 3, 2020 at 3:41pm

Thank you. That's a beautiful sharing of personal experience. 

I make a sentence out of it, which is a source of reflection for me (at least): Deep listening is a language without words. All what we express without words is felt by the others; but the attentive or deep listening is somehow a positive message we send to the person who speaks. 

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