Fri 4 Mar 2016 8:25AM

What kind of modalities do we present in an Authentic Relating Festival?

RSL Ragnhild Shanina Leinum Public Seen by 253

(I posted this in our "First planning meeting event" on FB some days ago, and was asked to move it to this platform, so here it is:)

Hi all,
Thanks for yesterday meeting!
I´m aware of that many reflections have been coming up after our meeting. I still have questions and concerns about what kind of modalities we bring in to an Authentic Relating Festival? At some point I always like to "brake frames", open up for the new.

And at the same time I´m not totally at ease with all the different modalities that now are suggested to come in under the umbrella name Authentic Relating. Like Blindfolddance.....Contact Impro...Tai Chi....etc. I love these practices as I also love 5 Rhythms and other similar body/dance modalities. But we can go on and on....and to me it gets very close to be a kind of more broad festival (maybe with a common theme of personal growth rather then Authentic Relating).

At some point I appreciate, respect the frames that the term/brand "Authentic Relating" currently are holding. I have an idea of what it contains, like I have an idea what it contains when I hear of the category "Martial Arts".

So, I guess I feel protective of not water out "Authentic Relating" too much.
(I didn´t use "Authentic Relating" in my own workshop descriptions before I had finished the Circling Facilitator training, due to respect for that this is a term/brand "Authentic World" in the US has created for their teachings and activities).

I personally prefer do create/participate in a festival that is more "sharp" maybe not more than 5-6 different modalities. Then I assume, we have a chance to deepen more together, rather than surfing around, tasting a little here and a little there.

There are so many of that types of festivals with all the different modalities mixed like "Ängsbacka", "Mundekulla", Solhälla" "Møn" and "Thorup"....etc. I´ve been to most of them.


Peter Munthe-Kaas Fri 4 Mar 2016 3:06PM

Cool. Thanks for moving it here :)

I notice that I feel challenged by the concerns you are voicing here as it goes into the core of my wishes for this festival and for an authentic denmark community in general. It makes me tense up and i notice a feeling of protectiveness towards this yet unborn child - as if this is a controversy that could damage it.

One of my main motivations for doing this festival (and setting up authenticdenmark.com) is to gather alot of different practices (or modalities), that are dealing with the same kinds of being authentic in the world together with others - be it mainly through mind, body or spirit. So for me, the whole intention of the festival has been (and is) to connect and combine a variety of practices - In other words I desire what you call the "broad" festival, but I still find that "authentic relating" is a really good framing.

I personally find that "authenticity" and "authentic relating" (regardless of history) are really good umbrella terms for what we are doing in these practices. I dont share the same respect as you for the "brand" of authentic relating, rather this is for me very much about taking communal ownership over the terminology around authenticity instead of limiting it to particular practices, teachers and dogma - and getting it "out there". Fore me, there seems to be a lot of people who are working within this field of autenticity right now, and I sooo want us to connect and share our love and experiences in and around these practices - and for me that also means letting go of what i consider to be rather dogmatic limitations regarding form.

I do however agree that not everything fits into this umbrella term, but I also strongly believe (as I mentioned at the first meeting) that this has a lot more to do with the intention of the teacher than it has with the practice in itself - for example you can do dancing or larping with an authentic relating mindset or you can do it as excercise or entertainment. Thus, my approach would be to look into what it is that people will be doing at the festival, not so much in terms of the practics, but in terms of their intention.

Are they, or do they want to work with authentic relating through their practice? If so, I would welcome them to the community. So, im definitly for an inclusive (if not all-inclusive) approach here.

Right now, my feeling is that all the people who have been invited to co-create the festival shares this "authentic relating" mindset and that this could be the beginning of something new and wonderful, focused around a common interest or goal - the authenticy in relationship.

On a more practical note I imagine that around 10 different practices will be represented at the festival. But that is based only on the people that we have connected with to co-create the festival so far and that I imagine that we will find a couple more as we go along.

I wonder which 5-6 modalities of practices you would suggest Shanina and what you see contained in "authentic relating"?

I also wonder what those of you who are not comming from a background in Circling or Authentic relating games think about this?


Liv Fabricius Sat 5 Mar 2016 4:43PM

I am one of those without a Circling / Authentic games background ;)

To me personally the term doesn't mean anything specific - I just deal with it from my understanding of the seperate words Authentic + Relating.


It feels weird for me to use a term that means something specific to some people and change the meaning of it. For 2 main reasons:

  1. I respect those in the field (in this case Shanina) who have a feeling that it will make a professional term be used to something different. For me that is kind of being in competition with the specific field about the meaning of something that they put a lot of effort in too... Doesn't feel fair.

  2. If it means something specific to a whole world wide community of people, it seems a little confusing to use the same term for describing something else. Of cause, no one kind of owns Authentic or Relating or the combination of the 2, but with all the 1000 and 1000 of names that we could come up with - it seems wierd to take a name that is already "taken" = have a specific meaning.

So I guess that means that I think that if this is a issue for some - we should either adopt the now used "definition" or find a name that doesn't have that kind of conflict in it. I mean if the intention is something a bit broader than normally meant by Authentic Relating - but still more specific than some other festivals that embraces kind of everything, can't we come up with a name that embraces that without the conflict that seems to be in the name Authentic Relating??? I don't think it is too late to change!?

On the other hand it is a good name with Authentic Relating - it tells me straight away what that should be about, more or less or at least some quality of what that probably is...

But that kind of still leaves me with the question of what does fit and what doesn't? Maybe we need to co-create a definition or sharpen our shared understanding and intention when it comes to what the festival and Authentic Denmark is really about - to be able to better pin point what fits and what doesn't??

Not sure what kind of answer this is in the end - but at least it is some reflections and some feedback - so that will have to do ;)


Andreas Wolf Sun 6 Mar 2016 8:07PM

@shanina: thank you so much for bringing this up! I love this discussion! I expect that this will be ongoing and we'll learn so much on the way...

Your alertness is very valuable @shanina and I can understand that you're of course much more loyal to the people having coined the term, as you actually have met them... we will need your wisdom on the way!

I'm getting curious now: Is there maybe already a more sharp definition for Authentic Relating made by Authentic World?


Andreas Wolf Sun 6 Mar 2016 8:24PM

I resonate in general with Peter's comment that many practices seem to fit the term, when the teacher directs the intention of the participants in a certain way.

Core for me to an Authentic Relating practise is that the person practising gets invited to:

  1. ... observe/focuse on/include her/his whole self (body, mind, spirit) and stays in this awareness
  2. ... while seeking out for and holding connection (of any kind: body/mind/spirit) with others
  3. ... aims for recognising the authentic self of the other

So the bow goes for me all the way from your authentic self, over the connection, to the other authentic self (eventually breaking down boundaries between two seemingly indepent individuals, bringing them in one higher unity).

For me the festival is a first try to identify more practices & teachers who operate from that stance.

Wideness is therefore a pre-requisite, in order to learn more about what we really mean. I guess that we will partly fail in 2016. But my assumption and hope would be that Authentic Relating Fest 2017 will then have an even stronger focus on the core.

I would even hope and believe that the work on identifying more practices, is something the Authentic World people might deeply appreciate and embrace...

But hey, instead of having assumptions and narratives about what we believe: Should we not just invite one/some of the people behind Authentic World in this discussion here and learn together with them? Anyone you think could be up for that, @shanina?


Peter Munthe-Kaas Wed 9 Mar 2016 2:30PM

I have been thinking a bit about this and my feeling is that it would be nice to ask everyone who are contributing to the festival, the webpage and the facebook to reflect a bit on how their practice goes into the field of authentic relating.


Andreas Wolf Wed 9 Mar 2016 3:55PM

In regard to the festival I see it as no real problem, to encompass a lot of techniques, with some having a very strong authentic relating core, and others only containing elements...
... it's actually even a bonus, because it allows participants to focus and de-focus.

In regard to the Authentic Denmark project I believe that it might be purposeful to make on the homepage very clear that some techniques are typically known as authentic relating practices (Circling, Authentic Relating Games).

On top of that the homepage should state that Authentic Denmark has set itself the goal to discover and explore other practices, and in special certain teachers of those practices, which strive for authentic relating. It should be mentioned that it's possible to facilitate e.g. a Tai Chi class without putting the focus on authentic relating, but certain teachers might be interested in exactly that and develop their own methods for it. On the homepage it should get much clearer, that we don't call any form of the practise "authentic". It should rather be in a style of testimonials from the teacher, where, as @petermunthekaas suggests, the teachers become very explicit about how they see the match.

This description could act as kind of an "entry ticket" to post events on the Authentic Denmark Facebook page...

What do you think @shanina @petermunthekaas ?


Peter Munthe-Kaas Wed 9 Mar 2016 5:50PM

In general i really like what you are writing @andreaswolf

I think it would be great to describe on the webpage that some practices are not traditionally (whatever that means in this case) considered to be authentic relating practices and what we want to achieve by bringing together people and practices who work in this field.

My preference would be to do so in a general description (like a vision for the authentic denmark project) rather than the other option i see, which would be to split the list of practices into "real" and "not real" AR practices.

Also I feel like we should stop using tai chi as the example as I find it rather hard to see how tai chi would be relevant, even though I have practiced it for long and love to do so. I know that some people have developed push-hands into some sort of relating practice, but the onces i have heard of are in Switzerland and not really relevant at this time :)


Ragnhild Shanina Leinum Wed 9 Mar 2016 9:13PM

Hi, thanks for your comments, everyone!

I have meanwhile postet the question of "What kind of modalities do you consider as "Authentic Relating" practices?" in a worldwide "Authentic Relating Facilitators forum" on Facebook.

I both told about our festival, of bringing various modalities there and also asked what they think of using "Authentic Relating" as a umbrella term on a webpage and eventually fb-page.

I´ve never discussed this before and had no idea of how my colleagues relate to the term, so it was intersting for me to hear their perspectives. Several of the leading people in the Circling and AR field responded. To make it short here:

There were a common agreement on:
Bringing in other kindred activities like Contact Impro etc. is fine and fun for a festival! For having a variety of activities where they all to some degree have an intention for the participants to train staying in the present moment/ connect.
They would NOT present the other activities as Authentic Relating. They would call them for what they are.

For instance: "Now, we will present "Social Presencing Theater!".

(When they do big Authentic Relating Retreats in Austin, Texas, they come back to Circling over and over after the other activities, to keep on deepening.) I like the idea of having a "red thread". I´m not sure if / how it eventually could work in our festival.)

There were a common agreement on:
NOT using "Authentic Relating" as an umbrella name for all kindred activities. Both, because it will lead to confusion since AR has been a term used for some specific activities for almost 20 years now, and for many people it actually has a specific meaning and content. And that the term will be watered out.

I share the perspectives above. Meaning; I´m open for having various other kindred activities (discussed by us) for the festival, but not call them Authentic Relating activities.

I have an analogy that might be useful:
So if a group wanted to make a festival /webpage for various types of Circles that have in common that they in some way have sharings. It could be: Cacao Ceremony Circles, Women´s Circles, Men´s Circles, Sharing Circles, Gift Circles, Circling Circles etc.

To call it "Circling Festival" would rather be confusing since Circling already has a specific meaning and content - even if it might be a great name!

I have been thinking the same as @andreaswolf, that we can both for the festival and for the webpage write a description of the background of AR, and what our intention is around creating the festival/webpage is.

For the festival, I think we can find agreement for what kind of activities we would like to have.

When it comes to the webpage/ Fb page, I dont´t think it will work that we create a definition for "Authentic Relating Activities". When it´s getting bigger, I don´t believe we will be able to check out all kind of activities and all teachers intentions if it matches our "Authentic Relating" definition. Who is there to do that job, eventually....?

So what about calling it: Authentic Activities & Authentic Activities Calendar?

I´m aware of that Peter and Andreas have seen my post in the AR forum on FB, because of their "likes". And I assume that both of you have read the whole conversation there? Right?

I´ll wrap up by acknowledging what I sense as a drive and fire in you, Peter - the desire to get this out to people and for having various groups/people to meet each other.


Peter Munthe-Kaas Wed 9 Mar 2016 10:44PM

I share the notion that I would present "social precensing theather" as that and not as "authentic relating"...the same goes for larp, improvised partner dancing and so on...I would however say that it is a practice that deals with authentic relating (ie. "authentic relating practices")...for me there is a distinction here.

Anyways. I am not so much interested in the "authentic relating" brand/term, but rather in "Authentic Denmark" as an organization/movement that can promote authentic activities/practices in Denmark.

My feeling/idea would be do describe the origins of authentic relating on the website/facebook (maybe even create a "history" or "origins" section) and then go on to describing the intention of bringing together people who are interested in these and similar practices, thus distinguishing authentic denmark from the authentic relating (and authentic world) brand while presenting the intention.

The larger question might be if we share this intention.

I also want to point out that right now we decide what is included in that organization/movement and that I imagine that even thought it will grow, that we will still have that opportunity to co-create the development :)