A Team Member Leaves Human Systems
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A Team Member Leaves Human Systems

by Nathan Vanderpool

Review from Caroline Goethel:

"The ritual Nathan designed for me leaving a great job and team was a very powerful experience and a beautiful gift. I felt deeply seen and appreciated by my former team members. The ritual instilled a sense of leaving my workplace with grace in me. I was left feeling more ready to move into a new professional endeavor. Nathan's rituals are imbued with meaning and beauty whilst sparking with creativity".

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OVERVIEW

When someone leaves a close-knit team, those who will remain often struggle to process the emotional and interpersonal impact of the change. Having cake and sharing a few stories about working together can feel empty and formulaic. So in early 2020, when a member of the Human Systems team (Caroline Goethel) decided to leave the organization and train as a facilitator for shamanic vision quests, I interviewed the team and created a custom ritual to mark this momentous occasion.

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CUSTOM RITUAL

🌳 PERSONAL VALUE

Honoring Connection: explore the complexity of what you and your community have done together, the relationships that have evolved, and the hopes you have for the future.

Phase 1: Memories, Appreciations, and Visions

We all start in the middle hugging Caro, and we hum a low tone. Each of us walks to a different place in the forrest, visible to each other, but far enough away to be inaudible. Caro then comes to see us, one by one. We don't tell her that's what she is supposed to do. Eventually she figures it out. When she visits, each person gives her:

1) a memory of time together that they will carry with them 2) a value that they have learned from spending time with Caro 3) a vision of something(s) they would really like to do with her in the future 4) a small stone — to be held between the two people's hands as they hum energy into it

This continues until Caro has visited all four people, at which point, we all return to the center for Phase 2.

Phase 2: Caro Visits from the Future

Caro sits down and the four of us sit across from her. Serge makes tea and Nathan lights incense/sage. Joe explains to us that Caro has come back from a beautiful future, and we each get one question to ask her about how life is for her in 5 years. After the questions are over, and the answers provided, we finish the tea in silence. Serge invites Caro to see her way back into that future (eyes close). All of us sit quietly, leaving Caro alone with her thoughts. After a few minutes, we begin Phase 3.

Phase 3: Music and Wishes

Anne leads Caro in a whispered blessing that is not ours to give, but that's all around her, in trees, wind and nature. And, more than anywhere else, in herself. We start singing "You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor.

The music continues on guitar as Nathan says that we have a final gift for her: 3 wishes from the HS crew. She can use them at any time to have our combined powers help her in any way she needs. Maybe she needs a badass crew for the Fusion 2021. Maybe she is pregnant and needs a new-mother-life redesign. Maybe she is in a Turkish prison and needs help breaking out. Whatever she wishes, with enough lead time, we will be there for her.

We sing "You've Got a Friend" all together, hug, and begin to howl like wild animals (until we don't).

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