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So much of life is necessarily driven by the need for action and decisions, with one pressing priority overlapping with the next, that awareness of how we are doing what we are doing, the quality of the relationships with ourselves and others, tends to sink out of sight.

Reflexivity is a learnable capacity to notice how we are doing what we doing, to reflect on its quality and value and to be more able to choose how, and where, and with whom, we move in the world.

Is ‘reflexivity’ no more than a fancy name for learning from experience? Yes that's so, and… for me it is a quality of participation in its own right through which, while being fully engaged with whatever we are doing, we are able to notice the how of it. To notice that a conversation is stalling and that perhaps it is because we, or the other person, are hungry, tired, or bored, to notice that meeting after meeting begins with enthusiastic commitment but ends with dismay and frustration, and to notice that this probably because too many people are making speeches rather than taking part in a conversation.

Reflexivity is a way of distinguishing process from content how something is said as distinct from the words being used.

Reflexivity, awareness of process is a core skill of people who take a facilitative approach to group participation, or leadership, or psychopractice, and as you might suppose from other pages on livingfromlove it is an important ingredient in Action research.

Why then do I include it as an element from living from love? Without a capacity for reflexivity we are likely, even certain, to drift into being ‘on automatic’. Life decisions become too much driven by compulsive needs or inhibitions. Habit rules. Surprise is eliminated. The accurate tracking of ourselves and the beloved that the mutuality which loving and being loved requires is undermined. Love withers.

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This document was last modified on 2005-10-30 08:32:30.