Reflections on the time we are within
by Rebecca Crane
CMRP like many organisations is in transition as the economic and political climate are changing, and we are exploring ways of preserving valuable services in challenging times. This piece offers some information on how this is unfolding and some reflections on the process. Rather than wait for partial information to leak out, I wanted to brief you on our current thinking.
CMRP sits within a university which is facing financial challenges associated with government funding, Brexit effects and multiple other factors. Alongside other parts of the university, CMRP is under scrutiny as the university seeks to establish a secure future. The university sits within a wider social political context which is facing its own deep systemic challenges. Ultimately, I have come to see that each of these contexts are running in ways that are not sustainable in the longer term. As a society we are moving through a transitional time. Inevitably, we are often operating along the lines of the old order whilst a new order is coming into being, though it is sometimes uncertain how that new order will emerge.
The challenge for all of us is to discover what might be needed of us in order to create structures and organisations at all levels in society that are financially, environmentally and humanly sustainable. It is incumbent on us to do what we can at the level of CMRP to create an organisational context that is as much in this direction as possible, within the constraints that exist because the organisational conditions around us are struggling with their own transitional issues. We need to do this to preserve the immense value that CMRP provides to the mindfulness community and wider society. If the world order is changing we cannot wholly rely on learning from how we have done things in the past. We have to stretch our minds to envision an emerging future and live into that new reality.
On a pragmatic level, the likely direction that we are travelling in is for elements of our Continuing Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) programme (including the Teacher Training Pathway), to be licensed by the university to an external operation in ways that preserve its value, quality, and ongoing development, in service of the wider community. We are thus currently exploring the potential for the programme to be delivered through the Mindfulness Network CiC. This would enable continuity for the programme, continuity of the Bangor University/CMRP link, and freedom to deliver the programme in ways that are more responsive and flexible to conditions around us. Our Teacher Training Retreats and workshops would thus be delivered within the context of Mindfulness Network CiC whilst receiving certification and quality assurance from Bangor University. This would not be a simple transfer, and it is asking the Mindfulness Network CIC to examine its own operations and remit in some considerable detail. Meanwhile, the Masters programme and our research will continue to be situated within the university, with links to the CPPD arm as there are strong interconnections. A clear message that has come to CMRP from the university is the immense value it places on our activity, and its keenness to preserve the wider services that CMRP currently offers, even if that means exploring new ways of delivery.
Using transition to refresh ourselves
Our aspiration is to use this transitional time to recalibrate: to take a fresh look at our intentionality, our aspirations and how these translate into the practical necessities of everyday business. One of the key assets of CMRP is that our staff group are trained to look internally at their own process. We are excited about the possibility in this challenging time of using this asset to enable us to really honestly look at our blind spots, and through this to create deeper understanding of the systemic issues within the organisation which could hinder or enable us to flourish going forward. Maybe one of the challenges of our time more generally is to bend our habituated beam of attending judgementally to the flaws of the structures and systems we are part of, and turn it back on ourselves individually and collectively and see how we are creating and contributing to our own organisational realities. Out of that reflection, insights should follow - a bit like mindfulness in the organisational field.
A significant part of our aspiration going forward is to continue to connect to, support and be part of a global network of mindfulness practitioners. A key way through which our collective work can influence the world is for each one of us to do our local work whilst sensing the connectivity to the wider context within which we sit. Friends of Bangor are doing wonderful work in enabling this connectivity between us. We are immensely grateful for this important contribution and for the heartful support as we move through the inevitable pains which accompany transitional changing times.
Thankyou for the work each of you is offering into the world. I recognise that this piece will probably raise as many questions for you as it answers! As our situation unfolds we will provide you with more information as it becomes available. If you have views that may help us navigate this transition, please share them with us.
Publication date: 13 December 2017