Presencing Prof-Essence

Learning Journey u.lab 2016: September 15, 2016: Presencing Prof-Essence

Although I’m now retired (but actually re-firing!) the past week or so has found me in ‘back-to-school’ mode, re-engaging with an extraordinary ‘mooc’ – a massive open online course

I first engaged with this course in its previous iteration, last Fall, while in Scotland. This course is a very big deal in Scotland right now (there is a discrete  U Lab Scotland ‘supplement’ to the main course – delivered by MIT through edX). This Fall my experience of the course will be from Canada, from my current home base in North Saanich, BC. I hope to focus more on this particualr experience in future posts – as I sense into the new course ‘field’ that I expect to be tilling in coming weeks and months. For now I will simply indicate that….

I am particularly interested in the course because of the focus on transformation – especially in relation to my ongoing interest in transformational professional learning. I have already set an intention of sorts for myself in relation to the course, building on the presencing that is central to the U Theory that underlies the course (NB while the focus is on presencing the course is equally concerned with its counter-point, absencing). Because of my ‘professional’ learning interests, my intention revolves around ‘enabling the presencing of prof-essence via professional-self design’. This would be one’s ‘professional essence-in-action’, borne out of one’s heightened awareness of this potential dimension in anyone who identifies as ‘professional’.

Such ‘prof-essence’ is for aware individuals to design themselves – and with like-minded, like-hearted, and like-willing others – as an engine of transformation, as a manifestation of their transformency, as their leadership in action. The u.lab involves experimenting with development of capacity for ‘leadership from the emerging future’. The professional-self design I have in mind would seek to ‘source’ the requisite leadership to help actualize the wellbeing that WE – the highest achievable collective – seek to will into existence. Not simply through the work of our minds, but also – and perhaps moreso – from the centre of our hearts and the depths of our souls.

I am conceiving ‘prof-essence’ as three professional ‘makings’ at work, each encompassing a key transformation: praxis (personal – from ‘me’ to ‘I’, from small self to large Self); ethos (interpersonal – from ‘I’ to ‘We’); and poiesis (trans-personal – from ‘We’ to ‘All of Us (beyond ‘them and us’)’. The associated ‘self-design’ engages several elements, each of which might be perceived to contribute to one’s ‘prof-essence’. The elements include consideration of various ‘pairings’, ‘standings’, ‘settings’ and ‘transformings’ – which I will seek to address at greater length in the course of the course. For now I will simply mention that the ‘pairings’ entail an effort to cultivate particular awareness of, and a particular intent to align: self and service; soul and role; spirit and purpose (one more ‘inner’; the other more ‘outer’).

These ‘makings’ are further conceived as part of a larger ‘whole-making’ endeavour, aligning with a wellbeing imperative – as the bottom-line, and highest aspiration – closing the divides, in greater integrations of integrated-ness – on our insides, and integration-ability – on our outsides. The ensuing wholeness may be envisaged as an integration of the classic virtues – goodness, truth and beauty, in a movement devoted to ‘ever-more-whole-making’. The emerging future I am willing – as our existential ‘pull’ – might therefore be an infinitely compounding G.T.B. … perhaps G~T~Bn ….

[If you are curious about the course, check it out at:

And for a quick ‘taste’, sample the short mini-course designed for curious u.lab ‘newbies’: The latter can be completed in around two hours]

Exploring the Inner Ledges of Knowing


[In 2014 TEDx Victoria invited folks to address ‘The Pursuit of Knowledge’, and I surprised myself by dreaming up an offering. It was not selected for presentation at the time, but I came across it again recently, and find that many aspects are still alive for me.

 I have been hoping for some time to experiment with having a web-site presence, and tackling some blogging – and my idea back then, for a focus, is still vibrating. It seems to want to get out – some inner goings-on that want to come out into the light of day. Here’s my opening out-coming… my coming-out, into the blogosphere. I’m curious about any curiosity this sparks in you]

Out-comes and In-goes: Exploring the Inner Ledges of Knowing

I have a curiosity about the pursuit of a particular type of knowledge – self-knowledge. The scope of the pursuit is through ‘inner work’. This places ‘it’ squarely in the realm of consciousness, as a complement to ‘outer work’ in the realm of concrete form. The operative motivation is in service of greater ‘integrated-ness’ (on the ‘inside’ – our inside) and greater integration-ability (on the outside – our exterior world).

I have a particular interest in ‘off-the-ledge’ (outside the box) ways of knowing and being, that stretch the notion of knowledge and related conceptions of understanding, especially through more ‘integral’ framings, that privilege whole-making.

Consider. Knowledge can seem to be mostly or mainly about outcomes – about what emerges from a linear inquiry process – essentially and/or especially objective in essence, and often having the quality of being certified by a scientific method framing. But what about the inner workings – the inside-goings-on – that may determine the evident outcomes?

Consider further. Knowledge is as much subjective and inter-subjective as it is objective and inter-objective. The pursuit of such inner self-knowledge, about the worlds of I and We, merits as much consideration as the pursuit of knowledge about the worlds of It and Its. And pursuit of knowledge about the past and the present needs to be matched by the pursuit of knowledge about the future.

Suggestion. New dispositions are needed to pursue such expanded forms of knowledge, to achieve the necessary comfort and capacity to sufficiently engage new horizons… to go out on limbs that are ledges – at the edges of knowing and at the interface with the unknown. An inner self-knowledge disposition favours the mobilization of novel perspectives – to help peer over the ledge: outcomes and ingoes; in-sights and out-of-sights; under-standing and over-standing; inner-standing and outer-standing.

Privileging the future, as much as the past or present, also invokes new inquiry territory – the cause-effect of the conventional scientific method becomes the pause-potential of a post-conventional orientation; thinking and doing are complemented by presencing and enacting, and a prime concern with being and becoming. The transformational power of pause beckons (another blog – to come).

Hypothesis. Knowledge is not the preserve of a remote institution, nor something produced by an inanimate process. It is fundamentally subjective and inter-subjective. Each of us possesses an amazing instrument – our selves (ideally our Selves) – gauging qualities and quantities, with sensitivity and sensibility. Each of us possesses a vast consciousness, full of discoveries to come – a source of unimaginable growth and development. Each of us is part of a wider field – of mutual resonance, alignment and synchronicity – that can feed us… knowledge-in-the-making, to be pursued.

Tweet-meat. Knowledge represents out-comes that depend on in-goes – inside-goings-on, that we also need to more consciously pursue – at the ledge of our knowing.