SACRED SPACE – AND ITS RELEVANCE TO WORK, LIFE AND PURPOSE.
PERSONAL CHANGE AT LIFES MILESTONES
Robert L. Moore is a psychoanalyst who has written extensively about the concept of sacred and profane space. In his work, he suggests that sacred space is a space in which we can experience the divine, while profane space is a space in which we experience the ordinary and mundane. He argues that both types of space are necessary, and that they can help us to understand our own spiritual identity and our place in the world. He further suggests that both sacred and profane spaces can be used to promote personal growth and transformation.
Moore’s theory of transition describes the process of spiritual development in four distinct phases. These phases are:
1. Separation (i.e. the emergence of individual identity),
2. Initiation (i.e. the development of one’s spiritual identity),
3. Transformation (i.e. the maturity of one’s spiritual identity), and
4. Integration (i.e. the integration of one’s spiritual identity with one’s life and environment).
These phases are seen as necessary steps in the development of spiritual identity, and they provide a framework for understanding how one can move towards a more fulfilling life.
Here are some extracts from his book…
a) During the middle phase of grief the grief process people no longer experience the world in their normal way and they do not go back to experiencing it in a normal way until their time of grieving is over… It is not good to remain indefinitely in the transitional world of sacred space the ego does not function well in the transitional middle phase.
b) Ancient individuals found the centre through ritual and they often projected it on physical locations like Mount Sinai for example. Most people consider some privileged places quantitatively different from other places such as their birthplace or the scenes of first love.
c) Teenagers branded as having adolescent identity disorder or sometimes from reality any suffering from improper initiation experiences
I am interested in this personal transition process, notably at life’s key milestones adolescent, adulthood, midlife etc.
APPLICATION TO CORPORATE CHANGE
I am interested in personal and corporate change management and so inevitably am interested in the 4 phases above and how they relate to corporate change.
Kurt Lewin’s theory of change proposes three distinct phases of change:
1. Unfreezing (i.e. recognizing and discarding old ways of thinking and doing),
2. Change (i.e. developing and implementing new ways of thinking and doing), and
3. Refreezing (i.e. solidifying and sustaining the new ways of thinking and doing).
This theory suggests that change is a process that involves recognizing, discarding, and implementing new ways of thinking and doing in order to achieve goals.
Kubler-Ross’s grief curve is a model which describes the stages of grief that an individual experiences in response to a significant loss. The five stages of the grief curve are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages are not necessarily linear and may be experienced in any order. The model suggests that by recognizing and accepting the emotions associated with grief, an individual can eventually come to terms with the loss and move forward.
We can see obvious similarities yet so often when people embark on corporate change management they seldom think of it as personal change, and I suspect fail when they attempt to change the organisation without facilitating profound change within the people.
It seems to me that corporate change management could be more effective if it better understood personal transitions and key elements of transformation, including this concept of Sacred Space and Ritual Process which separate, facilitate and contain change from the every-day.
We see attempts with corporate away-days and outward bound leadership development. However these only work if they are properly managed. One description I have heard is the idea of a pressure cooker or baking. The heat, pressure and containment has to be right to effect change. Too much or too little and the results disappoint or dissipate.
Notes from The Archetype of Initiation: Sacred Space, Ritual Process, and Personal Transformation by Robert L. Moore
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