Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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15 Dec 2010

Seeking your stories about Transition Training…

Training for Transition - Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN: May 22-23 2010.

I am midway through doing one of final few remaining ‘ingredients of Transition’, this one on Transition Training, but it is all looking rather dry and boring and is rather bereft of your stories and anecdotes which are the things that bring them to life.  So, I would love to hear your stories: why did your initiative organise a Transition Training?  Why did you go on one?  How did it help your initiative?  What surprised you about it?  How did it change your understanding of Transition? (Thanks to Transition US’s Flickr set for this pic).

Comments are now closed on this site, please visit Rob Hopkins' blog at Transition Network to read new posts and take part in discussions.


Antony Melville
15 Dec 5:38pm

My training included going out for lunch on the Sunday with Trevor and finding there is still a functioning eel and mash house in Chapel market, and that jellied eels taste pretty good with the right amount of vinegar.
But the most powerful moment was the Joanna Macy exercise reporting from the future. That kind of visioning creates the deep commitment that keeps me going in the face of recalcitrant practicalities.

Andrew Gillett
15 Dec 5:46pm

When I did the training, I felt too much time was spent on things like role-playing exercises, and too little time was spent on the practicalities of running a Transition group. I’m afraid I didn’t get much out of it.

15 Dec 6:02pm

Hi Rob, Valerie from Omagh here. Myself and Marella Fyffe attended a TTraining in Dublin Oct 2008. In January it will be 2 years since our very first event, which was a slow food Sunday, and had a great start with 50 people turn up. When we got down to the business of film screenings of the Powerdown programme, numbers gradually got smaller, , but what emerged from that was our core group. Like most Transition tales, we have a had a mixed ride of highs, and not so highs, and long uphill grinds, and times when you have to get off to take a breather. We organised a Transition Training and held it at the beginning of October this year. I had no expectations of the gathering/training, but it was brilliant, and totally surprising in many ways. IT was great to get a refresher myself, it was fantastic that 8 of our own members took part, also great others from Ireland came to Omagh, and ensuing networking. Great to be inspired with fresh ideas. But for me the best thing is that it really affirmed what we had spent that last two years doing. As the facilitators went through the steps / ingredients, I found myself thinking ,’Oh, we did that,’ , and “Yes we did that ‘ and ‘We did that too !’ At the start I was feeling a little bit disheartened, and felt like we had spent a long time going no where fast, as we had gone about the process pretty much back to front…, but this really helped me to see that we had actually completed many of the steps without really appreciating it, and actulay achieved an awful lot. It REALLY strengthened our group to have members attend the training, and have a much fuller understanding of the process in action, ( the same was for a Permaculture Weekend Training we ran ) was great to actually work, play and learn together as a group. I found that some members participated with the other facilitators, in a way that they would probably have objected to if I had made the same request ! Which was brilliant especially regarding a bit of Heart and Soul end of things : ). Also inspired us to Hold our latest and very successful Christmas Oooby this Saturday, It was a fantastic success. Also your recent video was helpful to get idea across and Sorry a bit rambly, feel free to edit Thanks for all the support, and amazing unflagging enthusiasm and inspiration. Have a lovely Christmas Valerie

Jo Homan
15 Dec 9:13pm

I organised the training in our area in Spring 2009 – quite stressful to run but it was worth it. Some of the connections made on that weekend, with people from nearby groups and with people on the steering group have lasted well. I think we all felt empowered by doing the hard core peak oil work and yes, the Macy exercises were excellent. May East was quite keen on the touchy feely stuff that I am now more comfortable doing – at the time I was a bit embarrassed. I remember getting the giggles with Tanya and Martyn when she was getting us to say ‘cheaty meaty’ and strike ourselves. I got alot out of the forward visioning exercise but some people found it really hard (describing themselves as lacking in imagination) and subsequently organised walks around our area to provide a springboard for visioning.
Ann Lamot had lots of useful anecdotes about event organising and was very reassuring about the barriers we were already experiencing.
I’d quite like more people from my group to go through this training but the cost and childcare have deterred people.

Trish Knox
16 Dec 1:15am

I’d like to tell the story of how the Transition Discussion series effected some of the members of Transition Woodinville, USA: This week in our sixth discussion one woman said that she is off of her anti-depressants and now hopeful because she no longer feels alone. Another woman expressed gratitude for her dad, 90-years old, who taught her many of the skills on the list. She too has dealt with depression but is now more hopeful. Another woman expressed delight in having people in her home and that she is re-nergized in all aspects of her daily life. These stories of inner transition give weight to our Heart and Soul journey individually and collectively.

Judy Skog
16 Dec 3:29am

I was trained in Stelle, IL, USA (an intentional community) in the spring of 2009. I am a heart and soul kind of person, and I really liked the Joanna Macy exercises that we did. A big highlight for me was Sunday afternoon when we had a conference call with someone from Sand Point, Idaho, which already had an Initiative going. Also the food was great! A friend and I had driven down from Madison, WI (a 3-4 hour drive), and we stayed at a wonderful Bed and Breakfast nearby. Because there is really nothing near Stelle, our group had lunch at the B&B and the food was amazing.

Over the summer and fall, I was unsuccessful in starting an initiative (my friend had other major fish to fry, so I was a committee of 1).

Then another friend, who went to the first training in Boulder, CO suggested that we sponsor a training in Wisconsin. We found a wonderful location in a converted fish hatchery half-way between Madison (capitol city) and Milwaukee (largest city). We marketed heavily to Madison and Milwaukee, and also to Jefferson County (which has a very active sustainability group called Sustain Jefferson). And we trained 50 people from those 3 areas plus a smattering of folks from other places. We had a core group to start an Initiative in Madison. Milwaukee already had something going, but now they had folks trained and committed.

And, once again, I really got a lot out of the Joanna Macy exercises we did in the 2nd training. I also really liked the videos we watched Saturday night. I like Greening the Desert, and the Farm for the Future was amazing and wonderful.

I am Polly Practical, so I liked more practical exercises, rather than theory. Although a little permaculture is good. (and I highly, highly recommend people take permaculture training–this will make much more sense!)

gold schmuck
16 Dec 1:49pm

thanks for the great blog transition really makes you happy and spares us from the loneliness of this busy city life..

Nicole Brammy
16 Dec 2:32pm

As an initiative of not even a years duration and already flagging a little energy as a core group Transition Training was organised not just for our pioneering initiative in South Australia but for other interested individuals too.
As an existing initiative we had no trouble in securing funding for all our places from our local council but still many found the time commitment away from children and families a strain.
The difficulty in finding a beautiful and engaging place to hold the weekend in our own area meant we ended up travelling over an hour away which made it even harder.

Children were invited to attend for free and whilst this meant that we had a nice small group of pretty independent 8-11 year olds mingling with us intermittently, and my nappy free babe in arms which prompted much interest -reskilling in action- , it was hard to include the more demanding in-betweens.

We found the Joanna Macy work very rewarding and came away definitely wanting for more heart and soul but are still a little unsure how to facilitate that.
Will definitely follow up with more sessions this year and hopefully define it more to the needs of our existing group? and will be asking council again for funding and encouraging council staff to join in this time.

Nick Osborne
17 Dec 7:15pm

I am a member of the Transition Training Pool in the UK and have delivered the training around the UK and also in Brazil last summer, and have many stories to tell about it as I’m sure many other trainers do.

One of the things which stands out for me about the Transition Training is how it can take people on a journey. I have seen a number of people start the training in a fairly desolate place, feeling despair, depression and a real lack of positivity about the situation we find ourselves in.

And I have seen these people go on a journey through the context issues of Peak Oil, Climate Change & Social Justice, the Transition model as a response to these, visioning a positive future, awareness raising & engaging the community, working with group dynamics, exploring the underlying beliefs of the industrial growth system and the psychology of change, experiencing some of Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects, learning about and practicing Open Space Technology and then looking forward to next steps… and come to a much more positive place at the end of the weekend, feeling more connected, hopeful, motivated and inspired to take action. It is a very humbling thing to experience and be a part of people going through that kind of shift.

Another thing which stands out for me is how for some people, the penny drops about ‘Inner Transition’, and some seem to ‘get it’ that for Transition to be an effective form of social transformation, it requires more than change in our behaviour and us taking action in our communities, How it also requires inner work by each of us to transform our own (largely conditioned) assumptions, beliefs and emotional habits which so powerfully shape our behaviours and culture.

Another thing is the commonality of responses I have witnessed in people from many different countries, ages and walks of life. Seeing so many positive, constructive and creative human response to our predicament from so many diverse people in so many different places gives me hope about the future!

That will do for now from me.

David Lyons
19 Dec 12:10pm

I did my training March 2009 in London and have not really kept in touch with people on that course…we have all been too busy.

As with many others I was most moved by the Joanna Macy work but could also sympathise with those people that could not engage with it – one chap refused to take part! It is part of our work to balance the heart&soul side of our work with the pragmatic objective approach to engaging the community in increasing resilience. I feel my own initiative has concentrated very strongly on the businesslike objective side (with some successes!) but ‘turned off’ some of the people who could have helped connect the inner transition to the resilience work (I am probably partly to blame for this!).

I am struggling to get anyone in my group to agree to go on the looks like the mostly likely route will be proposing funding by the group and or pledgebank and nominating someone (he says…’could I just do one day?’…. …. ‘no we will have paid for 2!’)

For those doing their training in Islington I would recommend going beyond the Eel and Mash shop in Chapel Market to the Indian Veg restaurant – a very reasonable buffet in a friendly place where the proprietor (‘Safa’) is sympathetic to the transition movement and stocks Positive News.

Haddenham in Transition