So, what exactly is Face It Now? What is the ‘It’ that I propose we should face?
The ‘It’ in Face It Now is the Boundary, our personal boundary that is… or the frontier, limit, edge, border…. Our personal boundary area is always active. Some of our boundary experiences we like, others we don´t and yet others we are not even aware of. Face It Now considers our personal boundary area to be the source of who we are, of our growth, our Self Development. This development, then, includes the joy of crossing our personal boundary again and again and dwelling in the pleasure of achievement, as well as the hurt and pain we may experience in confronting the differences, challenges and conflicts on our personal ‘edge’. And not least, the boundary activity that is hidden to us and which makes us act on automatic pilot shapes us whether we want it or not.
I consider our personal boundary area to be a treasure box, a source to be used to find out who we are. And this boundary area and source is nothing less than our personal space of conflicts. Face It Now is a point of view, an attitude: It is not the conflict we should avoid, but the violence.
AWARENESS is a key word for the attitude of Face It Now; first of all Self Awareness in order to become aware of Others. We know Others only to the degree we know Ourselves. And for this we need to be confronted with what and who that are Different from ourselves – even if we don´t like it.
The Face It Now (FIN) website has come about alongside my writing of a book, already long in the making, about the meaning of conflict. For this I am exploring the differences between the paradigm that argues that conflict must be prevented for the sake of peace and quiet, and the paradigm that considers conflict – the activity taking place at any boundary – to be the driving force behind all development.
CHALLENGES – Apart from the challenging adventures that we plan deliberately, challenges often pop up when least expected – and we tend to fall over because they interrupt our lives. Plans are good, but if they are too rigid and we identify with these, then we are in for emotional hurt and pain if they get challenged. Most of us also have an idea – or plan – about how to react if we get challenged, and most of us know by experience how difficult it is to instruct those emotions at all. In my opinion, emotions should be instructed only in emergencies, to prevent violence. Emotions are active in our personal boundary area and they need challenges to mature, a chance to ‘grow up’ – and that depends on experience rather than instruction. A child naturally has immature emotions, so it is easier for us to face a child’s tantrum. In the adult world, however, similar outbursts of rage, which I consider a symptom of delayed emotional development, may escalate into a chain of abuse if it causes an equally immature reaction from another person. In my opinion, then, this escalation of abuse which involves more people than the originator, will be a lost chance of emotional learning for everyone involved: being aware and feeling the hurt and pain of challenge without ‘hitting back’. In other words, accepting the experience of being out of the comfort zone, acknowledging that ‘I feel hurt and I am suffering’ teaches the emotions involved to ‘mature’, to become less inclined to automatically hit back when challenged, and based on that, perhaps inventing a new way to approach similar situations in the future. This is the work of moving boundaries and fostering Self Development.
In-between these few lines which in no way justifies the very arduous task of moving personal boundaries, lie huge discussions of such as freedom of speech and what violence is and is not. I discuss these issues in my book, and also the general lack of Self-awareness when it comes to our personal boundary.
In my experience and research I find there are also simpler ways to approach the ‘It’ than to encounter it under extreme and unexpected challenges. On this website, therefore, I propose that we do more activities that are not pre-planned! On the various pages you will find more about what the attitude of Face It Now stands for and also how I try to put it into practice in daily life. As an example, you will find that I work with fabric, making such as dolls and clothes, without pre-designing them; just go, cut, sew, turn, add… I am not saying this is the right way to make clothes and dolls, just that it suits me and that it can be used as a way to exercise the ability to become more flexible and dynamic and prepared when the unexpected turns up.
Models on Self-development
There is no shortage of models on Self-development advising us how to become ˈwholeˈ or ˈunitedˈ human beings, models based on certain criteria considered by the creator to be ‘good’. Face It Now, or FIN, is also a model on Self-development but it offers no such criteria, you’ll need to find them yourself through your own experiences.
DIFFERENCES – Fin is about triggering Self-awareness by keeping an eye on our own reactions and what we react to in our daily lives – at home, at work, at school, travelling, alone, among friends and family and strangers… any situation. When we react it’s because our senses have been alerted, which means we have been instantly brought into what I also call our Personal space of Differences or our Personal Boundary area. If our senses could not recognize differences, then we would not react in the first place!
Our Boundary area, or Personal space of Differences, is a busy place – and a personal treasure box. It holds the key to who we are now and who we potentially may become. ˈDifferencesˈ are not things and people, they are our personal experiences of personally perceived contrasts between our own Self and the Other thing or person or situation; our personal border area that is. Some of these experiences we enjoy, others we dislike while others frighten us, even make us panic.
When we choose something we like, for example a peanut cookie, we are in control of our reactions – at least we like to think so – because we already know that the ˈmeˈ or ˈIˈ enjoy the taste of peanut cookies (which sameness we are able to differentiate because we also know other tastes). We do the same in relation to, say, choice of friends. Now, if this friend is a human being (it could be … a dog!), the choice has often come about because “we have sooo much in common”. But human beings are less reliable than peanut cookies, and we ARE all different. So when and if the differences appear we have the choices of, say, stop and think, get shocked and hide in our shell, yell and kick. Too often there is no time to think before our automatic pilot sets our personal handling process in motion. Nobody is exempt from this ˈmechanismˈ; it applies regardless of race and class, politics and religion, it ignores ethical and moral systems and any notion of ˈgood and badˈ. And – it applies in equal measure to the heads of state in war, and their peace mediators, as it applies to you and me.
This is the space where Face It Now (FIN) belongs. A most delicate space for sure, and the one in question in all the talk about non-violence, nicely packaged and presented in summits and conferences – as if we could just make up our minds to act non-violently. These talks rarely or never refer to the raw and often painful fight raging in our Personal space of Differences, not to mention that this personal boundary area also is a treasure box! And yet, these talks on non-violence are not offensive, they are just incomplete. Offence, however, lies at the heart of the highly esteemed ˈconflict preventionˈ. If a conflict is to be prevented then the differences creating the conflict will go too. This is the same as to say that if you and I have different opinions this should be prevented (for the sake of peace!), or if you have an internal fight between differences in your personal boundary area this should be prevented too; read: suppressed. On another scale, when peoples and nations suffering from injustice, hunger, and poverty are rattling their weapons in order to be heard, and then being silenced by the elite in the name of ˈconflict preventionˈ, then their argument is silenced too.
Sashana Askjellerud ©
(more on Differences next page:)