Judith Lowe - A 'Snapshot' profile
Judith Lowe was interviewed by Sian Pope
"Judith - ever growing, always changing - it somehow doesn't seem quite right to 'concretize' her attributes with this article, nevertheless...".
Judith Lowe - creative, passionate about people, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), brains, consciousness, and New Millennium London architecture - the Eye, the Globe, and Tate Modern. As a trainer she brings a particular quality of "aliveness" in its deepest sense. To her, the creative "stuff" of reality is what comes to light during interactions between people in the here and now. Participants love her dynamic style. There is a saying that "You can't step into the same river twice". Judith makes an art of getting into the river with you.
Combining her current favorite themes whilst leading a recent consultant development workshop, she cited an installation from Tate Modern - "I do, I undo, I redo" by Louise Bourgeois - as a metaphor to describe some of the elements involved in processing how we make sense of the world. Imagine climbing various 40-foot towers step by step, gaining different perspectives through height, gathering information through your own eyes and from strategically placed distorting mirrors. At the top you sit in a private place within a public arena; there may be someone else there with their own unique set of perspectives. Perhaps you discuss it. Perhaps you don't. Pay attention to how your perception forms and shifts, what happens when you play about on the interfaces between what you see and how you think.
Judith says "Given what seems to be a kind of default propensity to think that our own world is real and true, NLP as a field and as a technology emphasizes curiosity and exploration, offers us a way out of our "perceptual prison" (lovely though it often is) through the Map/Territory distinctions. This allows us to start from the interesting position of knowing that our experiences, perceptions, memories, cultural habits etc. are open to many types of re-interpretation and thus, potential for change."
She came to NLP having read Frogs into Princes by Bandler and Grinder, which clarified a lot of things she was working on at the time, gave her labels and frameworks, and introduced her to some ways of thinking that she found then, and now, liberating and exciting.
"NLP is really interesting in relation to planning, problem articulation and structured solution thinking. And there are other aspects. The best NLP helps you to accept who you are, enjoy yourself, and to keep growing and evolving. NLP is not going to make us Masters of our own Destiny. It's about bringing out more of people's potential, giving a sense of what's possible to each person. It's more about considering - what is it really like to be human? We still shout at our loved ones. The question is, - What do we do then? What kind of learning is occurring? What kind of new choices are available?"
She likes participants to be working with issues that are personal as well as business-oriented, convinced that getting in touch with family and friends is as important as team-building, and shares some of the same skill set. NLP is about systemic change, about thinking things through in different contexts. She feels strongly that what makes people excel at NLP is the life experience and orientation they already bring, rather than just their technical skills.
Her own training background spans a variety of different client groups in many different environments - factories, schools, television, as well as public sector and corporate business. Such a broad range of experience allows her to really appreciate and pace clients and participants. It also upholds another of her values - wisdom, in its broadest sense, which is sometimes defined in NLP as having multiple perspectives.
As Gregory Bateson put it, "Wisdom comes from sitting together and truthfully discussing our differences - without the intent to change them " For Judith too, NLP is as much something that can be done between friends over a cup of tea, as formally in a training environment. "As we realize how much of our experience is open to re-interpretation and change, it starts to become more and more possible to "model out" our own and other's inner worlds and explore similarities and differences. This seems to me to be worthwhile for its own sake, and is of course inherently about learning and change."
"This is modelling in a different sense. In NLP "modelling" more generally refers to "modelling excellence" - finding people in the world who have great strategies and approaches to achieving their outcomes. I like the way the very same tools, skills and approaches to modelling can be used in such a variety of ways - parenting skills, leadership, spelling, rapport. I've personally benefited hugely from the results of the modelling that was done by the co-developers of the field. I enjoy passing on the fruits of this, while, I hope, generating an enthusiasm for the modelling process itself by an attention to the skill set which you require in order to model."
She is fascinated by the mysteriousness of being human, and teaches NLP because she believes it can make a contribution to the way we understand and appreciate each other. "It seems to me that the possibilities in this field are infinite.
To think about this on a global scale might involve such projects as -
"How do you comfortably live alongside many different people and cultures, and genuinely celebrate and embrace diversity?""Is it possible to forgive people who have massacred your family and destroyed your village, and then live alongside them and rebuild community?""What would be really good influencing strategies for corporations who are polluting the rivers/cutting down the rainforests etc?" Maybe, more locally,"What does it take to bring up a confident, generous capable child?""What are the essential elements that create a good school?""How have some people weaned themselves off crime/drugs and made a positive contribution?""How do you have a whole, human kind of life, in a work and consumer oriented world?"
As well as deeply connecting with people's hearts, there is a wonderful lightness in her touch. Judith feels it is very important that people are having a good time in the training room and welcomes the spirit of laughter. "It's part of what I do naturally" she smiles. "Humor helps to build a sense of community and shared enjoyment, giving permission for people to make mistakes and learn without 'getting it wrong', And, it gives you a reframe, a reinterpretation, seeing something that is in a different context, so you get to see what else is possible. You don't have to take it all so seriously."
As a trainer Judith recognizes power in groups, seeing them as generative, creative, and multifaceted. She sets the frame for each member to be valued safely for their personal contribution, trusting that everyone contributes to the learning of all. She demonstrates this herself by taking a personal interest in each participant, ensuring that they feel at ease. She enthusiastically works with groups in difficulty, whether perhaps in conflict or resisting change. "All groups have within them all the resources needed to resolve conflict. If you can really get to the level of positive intention, take different perceptual positions and get people to look at themselves as a group, they can be touched, and reach a new starting point. The magic is in drawing out the real positive intent, discovering what is driving the difficulty, and doing it in an NLP way with rapport and respect."
Judith is the lead trainer on all of PPD's NLP Practitioner trainings. She also contributes the module on 'Beliefs and Values' for the Master Practitioner programme. "What I present there is profound belief change work, exploring deep assumptions about ourselves and our lives. It is part of setting up and continuing to discover how we create our own worlds, and the processes of generalization which can enrich or inhibit our actions. Beliefs are magically and delicately woven into the fabric of our reality."
Sian Pope has interviewed Judith Lowe. This article comes from her interactions with our dynamic, creative, 'Home grown' NLP Trainer. Sian is a personal development coach using NLP, business processes and a spiritual approach.