Recently, I dropped the word class from my CI vocabulary, feeling that the word lab is a better fit. Culturally, class implies that there is something to taught and learned. Lab implies a process experimentation and discovery. CI exists, uniquely, as an ongoing, unfolding exploration. I find that profound and have spent my CI career puzzling over how best to facilitate that process. People come to a class with conditioned expectations to obey the leader and get it right. I prefer the word lab because it suggests showing up in curiosity to explore and discover.
I also have dropped the word teacher when it refers to myself, but enjoy it when referring to the participants. My role as facilitator is to jump start investigations by offering structures to explore, relationally. I find it more accurate and empowering to own that we, each, are our own inner teacher, student, etc… I want people in the room to be in charge of their experience, to show up in their fullness and complexity, so that we can explore what it means to be comfortable with our inherent diversity. My hypothesis is that it is fully possible to be unified by the fact of our diversity. Historically, that has not been the case. I strive to create a lab in which to explore the possibility of a more inclusive paradigm, one in which each we can feel connected by our curiosity about what is and what is possible. Our hardcore conditioning is to adapt ourselves to fit in, to forsake our freedom in order to belong. I experience CI as a paradigm that reveals the possibility to be free and to belong. To that end it feels important to examine the words I use to describe it and not assume that any words I use will necessarily communicate my intent.
I’m also considering swapping the word jam for lab. As CI grows in the world it needs our careful tending to maintain it as the unique alternative that it is. It needs those involved to have their voices, so that we, together, can move beyond the habits of our conditioning into mutual well-being. No small task.