GLOBAL SOCIAL WITNESSING
Be present – Feel what you see – Become a global witness
Global Social Witnessing is the human capacity to mindfully attend to global events with an embodied awareness, thereby creating an inner world space that mirrors and brings compassion to these events. We shift from being a mere bystander, mentally processing the latest news, to an active witness, responding from our bodies and hearts, as well as our minds. Global Social Witnessing teaches us to gently turn our attention towards rather than away from challenging events in the world.
In the Pocket Project, it is our understanding that unresolved systemic, multigenerational trauma delays the development of the human family, harms the natural world, and inhibits our higher evolution. Adequate healing and peace-building starts from our capacity to presence what is actually happening, both internally and externally. We consciously develop our ability to gain a more precise and embodied sense of relatedness to events in the outside world.
Through Global Social Witnessing, we relate to the cultural process and understand that the social body is developing through all of us. As human beings, we are a small movement within the bigger movement of the collective and of life itself. Through our presence and intentionality, we co-shape the events we witness.
An introduction to Global Social Witnessing by Thomas Hübl
During the Pocket Project Global Social Witnessing calls, we consciously create a sense of group coherence as we attune to world events together. Such a ‘we-space’ can be profoundly supportive for our own nervous systems to become more able to digest the energy and activation that arises as we touch on parts of the cultural experience.
We acknowledge the limits of our ability to relate, and then, gently, begin to expand them. Together, we learn how to experience challenging events in more attuned ways, and thus become global witnesses of our time. Practicing over time, Global Social Witnessing generates a more conscious holding community for events in the world – a subtle activism for healing, peace-building, and global citizenship.
Each of our Global Social Witnessing Calls will be dedicated to a particular topic, theme or event in the world. The calls will be led by senior Pocket Project Facilitators and will be free.
More information about Global Social Witnessing:
The Question of Guilt
At first glance, it looks as if the guilty party in an event such as an act of terrorism, an abuse scandal or an act of destruction of biodiversity, are those who have committed the offence. A few people are ‘the bad guys’, and the rest of the community sees themselves as 'innocent'. This is only partially true, however. If we take a closer look, we will find that each event is an expression of our culture as a whole.
When we are unable to embody in ourselves the events and news that we hear and read about, we cannot relate fully. The social body becomes insensitive and loses its compassion, immune strength and regenerative power. The witnessing consciousness within culture diminishes, thus becomes less conscious of its own inner processes and less able to self-correct.
Climate Change is a prime example for our struggle to course correct our global culture. Instead, unconscious actions determine or at least deeply influence the outcomes. The more precisely we learn to receive and attune to our own relation to the place, event, collective issue, the more love and space arises – precision is love.
The Individual Level
When we practice relational sensing - feeling into the inner life of another human being - we strengthen our ability for compassion. Compassion is not a cognitive process, but builds on our capacity to mirror the physical, emotional and mental experience of another within ourselves. The attunement to others creates a new radius of connectedness and inspiration and is the prerequisite for truly healing action. The difference between reactiveness and responsiveness lies in our ability to relate in an embodied way.
The Collective Level
The same applies to the collective context. If we can practice systems sensing - mapping within ourselves the processes that happen in society - we become mature and integrated citizens. Once I am able to create a physical, emotional and mental representation of events within myself, I can truly relate to them and find an appropriate (not reactive), creative action. When I need to dissociate from events and processes, I am unable to find a response that lives up to the potentiality of my unique contribution.
For example, when a terrorist attack occurs, many people feel overwhelmed and turn away. This can lead to reactions which create further fragmentation and polarisation in the system, and may grow into political tensions up to national or international levels. Reactions based on trauma re-create new traumatisation.
Our Past calls
WOMEN, LIFE & FREEDOM – A NEW VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF IRAN WITH SAYÉ YABANDEH, MAHYAR ZAUD & MARYAM SABZEVARI AUGUST 21, 2023
On September 17th, Iranians around the globe will mourn the anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, which sparked the current uprising. In this call, we brought our Witnessing capacity to the ongoing efforts, courage, and activism of the Iranian people and let them know that they are not alone. Standing with the women of Iran means supporting their rights to equality, freedom, and dignity.
Addressing the Legacy of Slavery – Going to the Roots in Sao Tome & Principe with Ankwetta B. Achaleke
JUNE 26, 2023
This call will take us to the Island country of Sao Tome & Principe, Africa’s second smallest country, to explore the multiple layers and deepen our awareness of how the wounds of slavery are still alive in us today. Ankwetta will share with us from her personal experience and invite us to an attunement to the impact the past has on our collective psyche today. Together, we will explore practical tools for healing and moving forward.
The Climate Crisis – Voices of Protection with Anne ROLFES & MATTHEW GREEN May 22, 2023
On the U.S. Gulf Coast, communities are standing up to stop planned fossil fuel mega-projects that threaten to destroy their local environment – while pushing the world closer to climate breakdown. By sensing into specific struggles in Louisiana and Texas, we explored how developing a greater awareness of our interconnectedness in the face of the climate crisis can empower meaningful action.
In the Crack between the Worlds – Ukraine & Russia with Manda Johnson & Robert Buxbaum April 24, 2023
The war in Ukraine did not just start in 2022 – it has been a reality of both countries for hundreds of years. There are Ukrainians, especially in the Eastern and Southern regions, who’s only option was to go to school in Russian. Today, many of them are struggling to regain their own language and culture. There are Russians who struggle with their country’s role in this conflict, many of whom have chosen to live elsewhere. We invited both Ukrainian and Russian voices to share about the inner and outer struggle to continue to relate.
The Collective Trauma of Germany – Flight-Displacement-Reconciliation with Sabine Langer, Roland Remus, Susha Wolters & Jürgen Wölfl April 3, 2023
We dedicated this evening to the topic of flight, expulsion and resettlement in German history and wanted to explore our own family stories with the participants. We introduced the project “Zuflucht-Zuversicht-Zukunft”, and the resulting documentary film “Zuflucht-Zuversicht-Zukunft | Essenrode – 12 Kriegskinder erzählen”.
Missile attacks in Ukraine – Safety in Community? with members from GEN Ukraine March 27, 2023
A year has passed after the full scale invasion in Ukraine started. The war had brought and is still bringing the human and moral losses, problems with gas, heating, and electricity. We invited people from Global Ecovillage Network Ukraine to share and reflect on how is it for them to sustain a war-life balance in the eco-village environment.
Women in Afghanistan – Life under Taliban Rule with Spozhmay O. February 27, 2023
After the change of power in Kabul took place in December 2021, the Pocket Project and its community supported one of our members, Spozhmay O. to continue to follow her dreams of healing for Afghanistan by fleeing the country and working on her PhD. During this call, Spozhmay shared updates of the life of her mother, sisters and students who were/are still in Kabul under Taliban rule.
Turkey-Syria Earthquake – Presence with the Shock of Disaster with Begüm Erenler & Oya Ataman February 20, 2023
A week and a half after the earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, the number of those killed has risen to more than 42,000. The rescue phase of operations were “coming to a close”, with the focus switching to caring for survivors, many of whom have lost everything, including their loved ones. We came together to bring our witnessing presence to a disaster of such magnitude and spread our care and compassion to our Turkish and Syrian friends.
Women, Life & Freedom- A New Vision for the Future of Iran with Jasmin Behrouzi & Mahyar Zaud January 30, 2023
In response to the acute situation in Iran, and to requests from our community, and most especially, many members of the Iranian diaspora, we invited to join us in offering space and care to the situation in Iran where courage called and is calling citizens to stand up for women, life and freedom.
Winter in Ukraine – Subzero Temperatures without Heating for Millions with Daria Yemets & Kosha Joubert December 5, 2022
The World Health Organisation has said that the lives of millions will be under threat this winter in Ukraine. Half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is now either damaged or destroyed, and 10 million are currently without power. We invited to this call to expand our witnessing awareness to feel the unbearable reality of what is happening and extend our care to our friends who are currently in Ukraine.
Mixed Ancestries – Building Bridges Between Worlds with Laura Calderón de la Barca & Katherine Poco Enders August 29, 2022
This call will offered a slow, embodied exploration of the experience of living with the inheritance of the challenges and opportunities of an Indigenous-European mixed-race ancestry.
Ukraine – Collective Presence in a Situation of War July 25, 2022
In times of war and existential threat, the feelings of fear, stress, isolation and fragmentation can become overwhelming. In this call, we offered space for Ukrainian participants of our trauma-informed leadership course to be seen, heard and witnessed by our larger community with the wish that our witnessing presence may provide sustenance, relatedness and togetherness.
Footprints of Colonialism – Looted Artefacts with Sonita Mbah & Kosha Joubert June 27, 2022
Currently, over 95% of African artefacts are in ownership of private collections and world museums, waiting to find their way home. We sensed into the story this tells us about the European and African past. And explored how these artefacts continue to shape today’s postcolonial society.
Anti Semitism with Robin Alfred & David Sherman May 23, 2022
Anti–Semitism is based on stereotypes and myths that target Jews as a people, their religious practices and beliefs, and the Jewish State of Israel. Robin Alfred & David Sherman invited to this call to bring presence to the topic of Anti-semitism and explore it in an embodied way.
Trauma Integration & Resilience in Eastern DRCongo – Women’s Talking Circles in a Situation of Ongoing War with Mushagalusa Fadhili Smith APRIL 25, 2022
While the world’s media and the global attention is focussed on the atrocities of the war in Ukraine, wars elsewhere are ongoing and no less painful. We are moving our attention not away from Ukraine, but including the ongoing war in Congo and the effects it has on communities, and, most especially, women in communities.
The Ukraine Crisis – Cultivating Global Social Witnessing in the Face of War with Thomas Hübl March 28, 2022
While for many of us, the first acute shock about the war has shifted into adaptation, we continued to deepen our contemplative practice to ground and presence the arising voices.
The Ukraine Crisis – East-West Fractures & A Fragile Peace FEBRUARY 28, 2022
The war in Ukraine is a collective trauma resurgence in Europe, painfully resurfacing the unintegrated wounds of past conflicts. In our worldwide community we explored how we can activate our collective immune system to meet the challenges of this moment on both the inner and outer levels.
Global Social Witnessing Introduction with Thomas Huebl – Mindfully Attending our World
February 7, 2022
Thomas Hübl was offering a 60 min overview of the basic principles of the practice of Global Social Witnessing, the human capacity to mindfully attend to global events with an embodied awareness. Together, we create an inner world space that mirrors and brings compassion to these events – now is the time to refine and deepen this practice.
The Marshall Fire, The most destructive Wildfire in Colorado’s history – Global Social Witnessing Practice with Thomas Huebl
FEBRUARY 7, 2022
On December 30th, 2021, the most destructive wildfire in the Colorado’s history devastated two Boulder County neighborhoods, Superior and Louisville. Extreme drought conditions and high winds ignited the fires’ rapid movement throughout these densely populated neighborhoods. One death is confirmed and another person still missing. A total of 1084 homes were destroyed. Many people lost their beloved pets. Nearly 50,000 people were under evacuation orders and approximately 30,000 people have been displaced by the fires.
Philippines Super Typhoon Rai – From Climate Ambition to Climate Vulnerability
january 24, 2022
On December 16, 2021, Supertyphoon Rai (local name Odette) escalated to a category 5 storm as it entered the Philippines. More than six million people woke up to massive devastation, among them almost 400 dead, 600,000 displaced, and 712,000 with their homes damaged and their landscapes ravaged. This scale of devastation and the corresponding shock will take years to recover – how to heal when a future of more climate emergencies is predicted for this climate vulnerable region? How can our community presence the grief of recurrent loss?
Accompanying Spozhmay o. on her Journey to Safety
September 13 & 27, 2021
Spozhmay worked with the Pocket Project to bring knowledge about collective trauma to Afghanistan. With the change of power in Kabul, she had to flee the country, for her own safety, but also, in order to continue to follow her dreams of healing for Afghanistan.
The Pocket Project supports Spozhmay to complete her PhD on healing collective trauma in Canada.
Facilitators & Guests
Laura Calderón De Le Barca
Katherine E. Poco-Enders
David Sherman’s work as a coach, strategist, and group facilitator advances for positive change in the world. He focusses on business and social sectors including large-scale multi-sector initiatives. Themes include recreating leadership, cooperation, and creating regenerative value. David participates in Thomas Hübl’s North American Core Group and Pocket Project. During the first Pocket Project training he realized that much of the resistance to change that he has experienced throughout his working career are aftereffects of trauma. He has participated in multiple winter retreats in Israel and has connected to his Jewish lineage including Chasidic roots and Chabad relatives throughout Israel and the world.
Mushagalusa Fadhili Smith
is a young congolese healing-centered Peacebuilder working with the Green String Network-Kenya through Women’s talking circles to support communities affected by long-term wars in the Eastern part of the DRCongo. He was born and grew up in a small village called Kamanyola in the Eastern DRCongo, South-Kivu province/ Ruzizi plain near Rwanda and Burundi borders. In 1994, just after the Rwandan genocide when he was 4 years old, millions of Rwandan refugees flooded into the Eastern DRCongo and most of these refugees were perpetrators of the genocide often referred to as FDLR, which is the the source of the first crises in Eastern DRCongo that have cost lives of many of his relatives and continue to cost lives of innocents people.
Since 1994 Mushagalusa has lived through recurrent wars, daily insecurity and killings and the peace process continues to be fragile and elusive. Since his childhood his dream was to become a leader in Dispute Resolution and contribute to the lasting peace in the Eastern DRCongo and support people he sees suffering in his community through humanitarian actions. Despite difficulties he achieved his studies at the Université Évangélique en Afrique in Bukavu/ School of Peace and Development. He is committed to working with communities torn by the trauma of war and is supporting the Democratic Republic of Congo to prevent future violence through a trauma-informed approach.
30. January 2023, 8-9.30pm Berlin
9-10.30pm Kyiv/ 2-3.30pm NYC / 11-12.30noon LA
Women, Life & Freedom: A New Vision for the Future of Iran with Jasmin Behrouzi, Mahyar Zaud and Kosha Joubert
(in English with Farsi, Ukrainian & German translation)
27. February 2023, 8-9.30pm Berlin
9-10.30pm Kyiv/ 2-3.30pm NYC / 11-12.30noon LA
Women in Afghanistan – Life under Taliban Rule
(in English with Ukrainian & German translation)