Self-Portrait

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Michael Cecil
The Ashland Institute
Ashland, Oregon, USA

email
www.ashlandinstitute.org

What is an underlying question that gives form to your work or interest in this field?

How can I perceive and understand the elements that allow authentic community to emerge, and assist in their implementation?

What is your personal experience of collective wisdom in groups?

a) Over 40 years leadership experience in Emissaries of Divine Light, a spiritual organization focused on the light of Essential Being in each person. Helped guide its growth as a community in 70 countries, linked through a twice monthly mailing and feedback loop. 12 primary intentional communities in 6 countries. Retired 1996.

b) 9 years association with Mankind Project (New Warrior initiation for men). A global community now of more than 20,000 men, many of whom meet weekly in circles to do ongoing internal work to integrate shadows, clarify life purpose in service.

c) 3 years association with Eldering Circles of men, committed to health and wellbeing of both immediate and larger community, through holding the space for emergence of potential in individuals, worthwhile projects and energy healing.

d) 3 years with The Ashland Institute (TAI), a non profit organization founded by a community of long-term friends, with the purpose of building authentic community through learning skills of creative communication and "honoring the direction of a mysterious and unknown river" (Mindell).

e) TAI has centered attention on such fields as Dialogue, mentoring, energy healing and programs like the Essential Self work of David La Chapelle, convening groups of men and women who wish to live at the cutting edge of personal growth.

What is it about the work in this field that excites you and connects you to your own deepest self?

Alicia Bramlett, filmmaker, writes "The Red Thread is the element found in every layer, section and cycle of a project that draws the whole together with unity and harmony. The red thread is the connection between the parts of, and within, the project. Unity comes from the uninterrupted presence of the red thread. Harmony is achieved when the red thread is woven into multiple layers of a project from the birth of the concept throughout the planning, execution and all the parts between."

The red thread has a lot to do with PRESENCE - from one who has a sense of the whole, an appreciation of the parts, a profound openness to letting meaning unfold and who can hold all of that in a loving, firm and intentional embrace. In my view, the ability to nurture this overall field is what can allow the flowering of collective wisdom. I am given to becoming a more substantial presence.

Please provide a brief storyline or snapshot of what brought you to this work.

Ever since I was a teen, I was convinced that the human world I lived in was out of alignment with the natural order. I committed myself to opening to that inherent order and to working with others of like mind. The evolution of the Emissary "body" over four decades, seeking to honor an organic, non manipulative process, saw a remarkable picture unfold. This showed me that such an innocent approach can work - and the innate lines of force behind the scenes can be trusted. My father was an excellent mentor in this.

Unfortunately the shadows in the human condition are less than trustworthy. My stance, along with thousands of others, was to focus on what was wholesome and true. But being street-wise about the misaligned human state in myself and others is crucial also. A firm position in this regard came later in life, after a number of crises and betrayals. Further, I learned that all creative cycles not only begin, grow and mature, but also healthily end, so that further evolution can happen. Being willing to let die what was good in its season, is as important as giving birth to the new. This theme is important to me these days.

How would you like to be available to others in this field? What would be a meaningful connection? Are you available to talk with others? What contribution might you be able to make?

I am available as an Elder counselor and as an energy practitioner (see TAI website). Connect by phone, letter, email. Visit my home town of Ashland, Oregon, which is in itself an unusually coherent community, carrying an atmosphere conducive to the emergence of unusual wisdom!


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