Nuggets From Kern Beare's Call

Posted by Chris Johnnidis on Aug 18, 2019
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Last Saturday, we had the privilege of hosting Awakin Call with Kern Beare.

Kern Beare is the founder of Pop the Bubble, a personal initiative born in the wake of the 2016 election to help heal our national divide. “Tucked inside my cozy Silicon Valley ‘bubble,’ I'd become disconnected, oblivious to the experiences of millions of my fellow citizens,” Kern said. So with his 23-year-old son, Kern mapped out a cross-country route to Washington D.C. to talk with people of different backgrounds. Following their one-month, cross-country “conversation road trip”, they gained vital insights around our relationships with one another, and the need to develop radical new skills to heal our nation. With these learnings in mind, Kern created a free, half-day workshop to help participants gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics that turn conversations into conflicts, and to look "beyond" our personal story to access more easily and deeply our innate capacity for connection, creativity and collaboration.

Below are some of the nuggets from the call that stood out for me ...
  • “How could you talk to those people?” was a striking response after listening tour, but also coupled with feedback that most folks *wanted* to engage those with political differences, but had fears. Thus arose workshop, “Difficult Conversations.”
  • Human survival instincts of fight, flee, or freeze — “moderately more sophisticated than an alligator’s.”
  • Framed three corresponding points to keep in mind for "difficult conversations":
    1) Willingness to prioritize the relationship over being right.
    2) Ability to see beyond your story. i.e. sense of self not dependent on personal story.
    3) Transform resistance into response. ("If not stuck in resistant, what plethora of options might I be able to see?")
  • Dialogue as practice to help us expand our sense of self.
  • “Who are we? Where are we? What are we to do?” We’re born into a culture that gives us default answers--before we have any idea that we’ve been given answers!
  • The way the brain stores information is a lot like the way we build a house—everything is connected to everything else.
  • Can think of deeply held beliefs like that—if you remove a deeply held belief, it could be like removing a load-bearing wall.
  • “Default mode network”—region in brain, most active when we’re at rest and thinking about ourselves.
  • Why does one want to protect the story self? Often a wound, trauma behind it.
  • Need to create new neural pathways for different patterns.
  • When we’re in resistance to someone, ask yourself, “how am I like you?”
  • Process-oreinted--if process is right, then outcome takes care of itself.
  • Tip for engaging in difficult conversation with someone who is challenging for you? "Accept the person for who they are … to the point where you don’t need them to change."
  • Our need to control, reduces the other person’s agency, in turn causes fear, and when in fear you’re not thinking.
  • 5 word summary? :) Listen well, and end well.
Lots of gratitude to all the behind-the-scenes volunteers that made this call happen!

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