Deborah Boyar joined the Waking Down community in 1998, and passed through her awakening transition in 1999. Her approach to Trillium Awakening is deeply informed by her training in Somatic Experiencing, her interest in Integral philosophy, and her experience as a devotee of Adi Da. Since 2003, she has served as a Senior Teacher in this path. With Ron Ambes, Hillary Davis, and Krishna Gauci, Deborah co-founded the Institute for Awakened Mutuality in 2005. In 2010, she helped introduce Holacracy to the Teachers Circle, and has served as Secretary of its Operating Circle since that time.
What attracted you to this work? Deborah:
The human element. I was struck by how people genuinely cared about each other. The conversations and connections truly touched my heart. I had become accustomed to privileging transcendental consciousness, and to devaluing feelings. I'm continually blown away by this aspect of our work, and how different it is from any other I've encountered. Fax:
Give us an idea of your teaching style. What do you draw upon when you teach as a prime mover of your direction as a teacher? I know you have a background in Somatic Experiencing. Deborah:
I feel awakening is a very natural process, and I'm here to support that. I don't have a dharmic orientation; I don't discourse or offer talks. I admire when teachers do that, but it's not natural to me. My focus is on listening and supporting people's integration and balance. I'm very attuned to what is happening in our nervous systems, and I aspire to stay within that range of their resilience. My aim is to connect with people, and offer a true experience of being understood. I feel carried along by the impact of all those who have taught and held me, and somehow that skill, wisdom, and generosity get filtered through my own temperament and personality. In my early years of teaching, I was particularly interested in uncovering parts that were hidden, repressed, or rejected, and facilitating their expression. This was also a feature of my own journey at that time. Now, my focus seems to be natural integration of the three dimensions of this path-awakening, embodiment, and mutuality. Fax:
You and Sandra have published an article in the book Cohering the Integral We Space
. How do you feel that Trillium work enlivens "we space" through our various modes of interaction, such as personal sessions and group sittings? Deborah:
I think it builds a natural capacity to listen beneath the words, to listen in an embodied way, and to respond accordingly. There's a richer sense of we through this embodied listening. I think the Trillium space helps people feel comfortable and welcome, and there's a natural readiness to explore, to play, because we feel safer to begin with. "We space" is a given in this work, and matures quite organically as we go along. Exercises can enhance it or help us notice it, but it's already a given. It's there to begin with. Fax:
Where do you feel we are organizationally compared to previous years? Deborah:
I see growing pains, and some potential to shift from an individualistic "Green" culture-hyperfeminine might be another term to describe it-toward a more integral culture. Organizationally, Holacracy has been a driver of this, but the shift is gradual, and not yet integrated throughout our teachers circle, much less our community. Fax:
How have you been weathering this organizational transition? Deborah:
Personally, I have felt the need to pull back from being actively involved. After the Grievance process, I've been physically less able to embody and transmute people's emotions, as had been required through the significant leadership role I held in guiding the organization through that transition. Although we had a structure and format for the process, it wasn't widely respected, and was actively challenged at the highest levels. I couldn't contain the intensity of emotion that was channeled. I'm a pretty introverted, sensitive person, and I've become far more so since that time. I gave more than was healthy for me within in a context that was more chaotic than my system could tolerate. Fax:
What did you learn, in hindsight? Deborah:
I've come to feel that the outcome was inevitable, and already trending. The pathway might have been smoother had I been more skilled and robust, and had there been a different quality in the overall culture. I think the initial cultural impetus of this work-to find our humanity, discover what we are feeling, and work to express-is such an important finding. But it got overdone to the point of being debilitating, and was, frankly, abused and used in divisive ways. Fax:
What do you see as most important to energize this Trillium work right now? Deborah:
I think it would be important to clarify a structure for our culture, where each person participating in the work belongs-their responsibilities, their rights, their limits, their range-so that a healthier sense of boundaries and engagement could emerge.
I see a lot of positive energy coming in from the newer teachers-they are so capable and accomplished, and have wonderful skill sets. Change takes place pretty slowly, but when our teachers circle is more populated by the newer figures, the unhealthy cultural baggage and imprints we have inherited will be less influential. The healing tincture of time will allow more positive memories to emerge, and more gratitude will be felt. I notice some of this happening in me. Fax:
Thank you, Deborah, for your comprehensive insights, clarity, honesty, heart, and years of service and leadership in this work.