We are feeling creatures that think, not thinking creatures that feel

feeling and dance

“Although many of us think of ourselves as thinking creatures that feel, biologically we are feeling creatures that think.”

Jill Bolte Taylor

Recently I was at an amazing two-day collaborative event, Basecamp.London. Each participant chose a “challenge” to be part of. I chose to be part of the Diversity and Inclusion table.

Little did I know how strongly I would FEEL a massive learning around both Diversity and Inclusion.

Each group was assigned an answer to provide a different lens for the group. For us, this was particularly profound given we were looking at Diversity and Inclusion. Our artist was a dancer who is also dyslexic.

As we went through the usual method of defining words, using words, lots of words, our artist noted she didn’t feel included. At one stage, then, we worked as a group to define some keywords (such as Diversity, Inclusion) through movement. This was very new to me as a method, yet it worked, clear and cohesive themes emerged.

However, one member of our group really struggled with using movement. As we finished the movement piece, the artist asked how they felt. They expressed their sentiments of feeling disengaged, uncomfortable, even excluded.

The artist then paused before saying, gently and clearly “this is how I feel when people only use words”. Wow. This was the moment of the two-day event for me. I truly felt what it means to be diverse and to feel excluded.

Oh, and an earlier and very detailed (and wordy!) post is: “Stop thinking your way to decisions!“. That post takes readers through how we use both THINKING and FEELING to work through and make decisions on problems at the three different levels of SIMPLE, COMPLICATED, COMPLEX. I encourage you to review it fully as it captures key processes I have come to understand that may serve you in decision making.

The post begins with the quote from the top of this post today, then continues:

As leaders, whether we do this ourselves, in collaboration with others, or by creating an environment for the right questions to be asked and answered, we are responsible for solving problems.

However, in all my experience, we only use one part of our human ability to solve problems, and that is by THINKING.

What if, as per the quote above, we recognise instead that at least as large a part of our ability to process information comes from FEELING?

The learning through working with that brilliant dancer recently was around the power of Diversity and Inclusion.

I truly felt and still feel it deeply. It is an embodied learning, no words are necessary, it is “in me”.

Also published on Medium.