Chrysalis work involves the creation of safe, sacred “containers” in which individuals, groups and systems can transform themselves and the systems they inhabit. The nature of these “containers” varies as needed to best fit the players and the situation. Chrysalis work is not new. AA’s 12-step program, spiritual retreats, on-going therapy sessions, etc., can be seen as forms of chrysalis work.

Chrysalis work varies dramatically as a function of the size, complexity and nature of the social form involved. Well-designed and executed chrysalis work is best measured by examining the generative nature and duration of its ripple effects — through time and across boundaries. Chrysalis work —

  • Creates constructive ripples that endure and spread
  • Is life-giving and life-evolving — a “fusion energy” generator
  • Evokes Spirit and feeds the Soul — is grounded in Nature — feeds on spaciousness and beauty — involves healing and “wholing”
  • Provides ample opportunity for all voices to be heard — feels spacious and unrushed
  • Challenges participants to step into their special genius — to quest for and to experiment with discovering the work that is theirs to do.
  • Tends to be recursive and cumulative — involves ongoing learning and action in a way that is organic rather than mechanistic
  • Serves as hospice for what’s needing to die and midwife to what’s ready to be born — supports individuals and systems in shedding old patterns/structures/beliefs that no longer serve, and create openings for the new to emerge
  • Involves telling our evolving stories — again and again
  • Produces magical irreversible shifts at one or more levels of system
  • Does not replace existing systems — it enlivens and evolves them.
Social metamorphosis, like nature’s metamorphosis, takes the time it takes. Thus trying to force chrysalis work into today’s frenetic A-work time/space frames is a recipe for failure.

In undertaking organizational or regional metamorphosis we are pioneering new chrysalis work territory. The GALE Approach offers a high level vision that begins to describe some of the added challenges and opportunities involved in more complex chrysalis work.

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