Creating useful workbooks

As you may already know, I've been designing new workbook processes as I've explored the inner workings of emotional baggage on this blog. Any useful workflow for resolving emotional baggage has got to fit the many ways that baggage functions. Otherwise, the procedures will prove to be useless make-work that yields no beneficial results. Here are some of the challenges I've identified while I've been formulating workbook processes for the past two months:
  • Requisite variety: The field of cybernetics tells us that a system must be as complex as the range of variety in that system's environment. We need to pack our bags with enough different kinds of clothing to handle the different weather conditions where we're going. Emotional baggage has become increasingly complex in my understanding as I've explored so many different dynamics in it. This goal to match that complexity frames most solutions as "over-simplifications" while constantly calling for more nuances and interconnections.
  • Looking in the mirror: Anything we say about others may be talking about ourselves. Anything we see may reflect where we're coming from. Anything we try to fix in others may be the very thing that needs revision in ourselves. There are always these questions to consider, self awareness to factor in and self reference to own up to whenever we're thinking we can be helpful to others. This workbook has be looking at my own baggage regularly.
  • Creating effective solutions: It's very tempting to create problems when we're offering something that relieves symptoms of deeper problems. It's essential to solve for pattern rather than try to fix one part of a big problem. Effective solutions take effect comprehensively where isolated solutions create additional problems, backfire and feed the underlying problem. The workbook to alleviate baggage repeatedly appears to activate learners' baggage from factory schooling and shut down their vibrant growth process.
  • Freedom of choice: Cafeteria-style offerings let each individual "take what they need and leave the rest". Each learner serves as the best judge of their appetite, situation and next step. There is no forced-feeding or excessive conformity when learners can choose from an extensive menu of options. The offerings then function as tools for the learners' active use rather than content to be passively consumed. This workbook design struggles with offering a wide-ranging menu in a foreign language where the learners cannot sort out the options for themselves.
  • Helpful maps: When there are extensive offerings and countless interconnections, the complexity can overwhelm the learner. It's helpful to provide a map or narrative framework to organize their individual explorations. Rather than dictate a "one size fits all" sequence of exploration, individuals get equipped to recognize where they are on a map. This picture also gives them a sense of their progress from a previous position and choices to consider for their next move. Different designs for this workbook to resolve emotional baggage leaves the learners with so much to make up their own minds about, they can feel "lost without a compass" amidst a forest of mapped-out options.
  • Personal projects: When individuals are working on their personal projects, the formal structure provided allows for informal learning by each person. The learners get challenged to express themselves, follow their inner guidance, trust their personal motivations and respond to their unique situations. Their project turns out very differently from any other while fitting the parameters of the same project accomplished by each. This workbook has definitely given me a sense of working on a project, while withholding that experience from the future users of it.
  • Comforting closure: Leaving a procedure open for individual exploration and customization can also leave the learner hanging in limbo. The open system offers no closure unless there is a way to wrap up an open-ended process. When closure gets experienced, the learner gains a sense of accomplishment and confidence in his/her ability to do this again successfully. This workbook project has lacked closure for me and thus come from a place where others will share in the misfortune.
This has been a difficult list for me to write out, and thus very helpful. Like the writing about our personal baggage, past history and problems, the realizations come to mind slowly. The work of making the unconscious awareness conscious takes confidence and determination.

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