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Thread: Metaphors needed for 'the clean community'

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    Default Metaphors needed for 'the clean community'

    Penny and I have been asked to write a short chapter on 'The Clean Community' for a new book, Innovations in NLP. It will be an anthology edited by Michael Hall and Shelle Rose Charvet.

    Belatedly I've had the idea of asking people who might consider themselves part of the community for a metaphor (duh!) I hope to include a number of examples in the chapter.

    The catch, the deadline for our submission is the end of March. So I need immediate responses. If you have a moment, could you post a short answer to the question:
    The clean community is like what?
    Thanks in advance


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    Thank you to everyone who sent me their metaphor for the clean community.

    I was delighted with the two dozen responses. Obviously only a few will get into the short chapter. As well as the book's two editors, there are the publisher's editors, so we'll see what ends up being published. Anyway, I thought I would list all the metaphors I received for posterity (grouped into some broad categories).

    The clean community is like ...

    a fresh-leafed youngish oak tree, rooted in age-old wisdom, with a very strong life-force, engaged in finding its shape, its height and its reach, sometimes gawky or teenager-ish, but solid, flexible and robust for all that, growing and maturing all the time. It harbours and feeds a variety of creatures and provides wood that is long-lived, extraordinarily useful and very beautiful.

    a flower with many interlocking petals that drinks from the purest source and has a thousand different insects of many colours, settling and visiting and buzzing in its aura.

    a bed of summer-flowering plants, none identical, some with wildly varying and clashing shades of flowers, but as a whole, very attractive. It calls you to linger, engage and enjoy.

    a garden with some well tended parts and others that are wilder. Some plants grow and some die away. Some plants are planted and others are self seeded. There is a compost heap for changing dead and discarded material, with time and turning over, into nurturing soil to feed the plants. There are flowers, fruit, vegetables and herbs to be eaten, enjoyed and spicing up my life. Birds, bees, cats, slugs and snails and other wild life live in and visit the garden. Some bring things from outside the garden, enriching the area.

    a benign mycelium or fungus or gossip or virus spreading outwards from a centre - but without the 'nasty' overtones! - something growing and spreading benignly. A meme. Perhaps even a sort of 'gospel' ('Gods's spell?) - 'Good news'.

    a co-operative gardening club whose seeds and plant stock are nurtured and developed. Those which bear fruit are shared generously for others to develop and grow.

    a bamboo forest. Bamboos grow in many different environments and are very adaptable. they shoot off in many directions. Bamboo is strong and flexible and are used for many different ways, : food, fabric, utensils, furniture, ladders, houses, etc...
    a treasure trove

    a fruit machine/one-armed bandit that has gone wrong – it pays a jackpot to you nearly every time you pull the handle

    a big ring doughnut with plenty of substance to explore, being able to roam over and under and all around, and in the middle there is space which you can choose to explore, imagine what might be there, could be there or just ignore for the time being

    one of the most enlightening, unfinished, unbound manuscripts which keeps pouring its richness to whoever accepts to work on it with "I don't know" whispered in the ear. Very few have got hold of a full chapter of the original manuscript,a few more have got a paragraph or two which they may regard as a whole and most now have got readily available (rewritten?) copies.
    a gathering of kindred spirits, more numerous, and more kindred than I believed it was possible to wish for.

    Christmas for a child – filled with riches and delights and surprises.

    a BBQ - we're all involved in creating similar ambience - self-generated change, self-modelling, wisdom in the system etc however we do it in slightly different ways and when the community is working at it's best it's like a fantastic BBQ; space for vegetarians, a wide variety of vegetable kebabs, a salad table, exotic fish dishes, marinaded meat, everyday sausages etc - a sense of camaraderie and enjoyment and joy in the world.
    (When it's at it's worst someone pours their fish sauce over everyone's food or invites a load of people with false expectations claiming there will be romping in the jacuzzi, or someone starts complaining that they were bringing the lamb and everyone knows the lamb dishes belong to them and they should have been involved etc., or there are 5 different BBQ's in different locations and no one knows the others are happening....)
    coming home to the perfect family, full of love, fun, respect and growth.

    a very large family. Penny and James are the mum and dad, David, the wise granddad. My peers are like brothers and sisters or cousins (depending on how close they are to me) and some of the people I have trained are like the kids in the family, who need a bit of guidance. I don't think there are any grandchildren - yet, although I'm aware that there are plenty of people who know about CL from one of the 'kids' so I am not sure how I am defining who is in the family and who isn't. As in my real family there are people I get on with better than others, and there are some I hardly speak to. It is the job of this family to safeguard the family 'jewels' and to hand them down from generation to generation. As well as the jewels themselves (CL, SyM, CS, EK) there are also all the family stories about the times we've had together, which are also handed sown and which are added to as time goes on. When someone in the family is in trouble, others come to their aid. There is a lot of support to be had. There are also 'boundaries' and if you step over these then you are regarded as a bit of a 'black sheep' of the family. As well as the James and Penny branch of the family, there are other branches. Sometimes a distant family member traces me on Facebook or similar. The family tree is growing all the time.

    a peleton. We are all individual riders trying to make the distance and we know that we need to collaborate to go quicker. Sometimes we make a breakaway group but the likelihood is that we stay with the pack, because the group moves faster. The collaboration is unspoken and the turn taking at the front is systematic and fair. There are hierarchies and teams within the peleton who are competing but this only serves to drive the motivation and effort of the group.

    There is a curious kind of humility and service in 'Clean' at its best - so perhaps something like the Franciscans. (Though the idea of David as St Francis takes a bit of getting used to!) Of course there can be negative metaphors as well - it can sometimes get a bit sect-like. Do you know that wonderful card that shows two Crusader Knights on horseback (seen as if you are looking upwards as from a pedestrian's viewpoint) and one is saying to the other: "Doesn't it make life so much easier when you know that you are always right!". There is occasionally a whiff of that.
    a network of points of light that send out shafts of brightness that connect across and around the world, sparking together as they meet, forming fireworks, small and large, for the delight and insight of those involved.

    a fourth kind of power relation: not sovereign, not disciplinary, not auto-repressive, but shared, mutual, and independently exercised.

    Aboriginal Dreamtime, where the deep timeless inner knowing combines with ‘emergent knowledge’ and all wisdom and understanding are shared in an active community. A community where there is full respect, support and honour for everyone.

    an abundant spring of healing water that flows and seeks new terrain.

    one of the main squares of a large cosmopolitan city where people enjoy gathering. Some people go there regularly, some others come once in a while, and there are often new comers. It is welcoming, open, and accessible to all, and very enriching.
    The planned launch of Innovations in NLP, by Crown House Publishing, is 19th November 2011 at the London NLP Conference.

    Thanks for your help and your speedy replies.

    P.S. Penny and I were also invited to write a longer chapter on Symbolic Modelling and Clean Language for the same book. We decided to see if we could describe a paired-down version of our model which we called Symbolic Modelling Lite. (‘Lite’ in this sense does not mean fewer calories but uses the metaphor of fully-functioning computer software aimed at entry-level users. Extra features require an upgrade and a more skillful operator.)
    Last edited by JamesLawley; 02 April 2011 at 01:44 PM.

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