Luea Ritter has worked as artistic director and organiser for a number of arts organisations, and founded and co-curated several festivals both nationally and internationally. An interest in translation and exchange processes between people, teams and communities has led to parallel work as a systemic constellation practitioner, coach, facilitator, and most recently workshop host in the Dragon Dreaming workshops held at FoAM Brussels. From 2013 she became increasingly fascinated by processes of transition, which has led to a year-long macrotransiency at FoAM. I talked to Luea briefly, just after she’d arrived back from some illuminating weeks at Findhorn, about her experiences as a “transient in transition.”
FoAM’s macrotransiency programme dovetailed very nicely with Luea’s own journey. It has been a great space and opportunity for taking time to bring all her experiences and thoughts together and for delving into a wide, under-researched field of interest. Recognition and support of the process from the outside were very good to have. Opening up to “a very fragile space, or process, and seeing that it’s understood and acknowledged, is very nourishing,” she says. FoAM itself being in transition (indeed, having as its very raison d’être liminality and transformation) meant that “the people here know what I’m talking about” and could give her a gentle push towards making things concrete, without necessarily demanding a finished product.
Luea became interested in the idea of “transition” for very personal reasons. In 2013 she experienced a “complete life shift,” precipitating an inner journey lasting several months. It emerged from a sense that there were several different tracks in her life, all partly aligned but running in parallel, perhaps coming together inwardly, but remaining disparate in her outward practice. The tension built up until it no longer felt possible to keep these many tracks apart, and she found herself entering a space of complete unknowing and surrender, where “everything fell away.” It was not an anxious or confused state but one in which she remained centred throughout, and used her personal experience as an “instrument” of exploration. She now feels she’s moved into a new cycle, still closely related to the journey begun last year, but with more focus on reflection and distillation – developing the insights gained through her personal journey in wider and more concrete contexts.
She sees this new phase as a threshold. Having actually lived a range of experiences and ideas in the previous year, now is the time to collect and harvest something tangible to take back out to the world. She seeks to understand through experience how transition cycles really work – to develop a deep knowledge of how they operate, and also how other people describe them. (David Bohm, Joseph Jaborowski, as well as Otto Scharmer and his “Theory U” are significant influences.) She asks: “how can there be a space of transition, where transformations on personal, emotional, mental, physical, work, whatever levels can occur – and how do you deal with that? How can you be resilient enough to hold that space? In order to use that energy, what kind of containers are supportive, inside and also between the inside and outside, in order to use the full potential?” Transition is not just a movement from A to B – it includes a strong transformative potential as well. An immediate image that comes to mind of the relationship between transition and transformation, and what happens in the space in between them, is that “transition is the whole journey, in which there are always moments of transformation.”
The biggest challenge in this is to take what she’s felt, experienced and understood and “put that in an understandable concrete context.” Luea feels she’s only beginning to explore “how to connect my inner perception of life … with the outer world” – and this constitutes her own biggest cycle of transition. “Being more distant and finding a strategy that fits for me is a huge learning curve,” she notes. Not having an academic background is both an advantage and disadvantage here: while she is free of the often claustrophobic confines of received academic opinion, she hasn’t had practical exposure to the process of structured thinking within a defined context that is part of academic discipline.
To tackle this head-on, she’s decided to write a book – which she wants to bring to a certain stage of concreteness this year in 2014. At Findhorn she had many talks and discussions with interested people, which affirmed the value of what she’s been learning. Thus it makes sense to write a book bringing her experiences and insights together, as there is a “collective knowledge but not yet a collective attitude in practice” of the realm she’s been exploring. As well as this, she’s interested in collaborating with FoAM on further initiatives such as Hosting Craft, where there was lots of overlap which she would “love to deepen more.” However, she feels there’s no rush – just a sense that there are potentials waiting to be “intensified” at the right time and place in the future.