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Adapted from 1992 writing. Latest Update Oct. 2014






In this paper the terms ‘heal’ and ‘healing’ mean ‘to make whole’ as in connecting and integrating all aspects of being-in-the-world-well-with-others.



Pioneering Epochal Transforming Ways


Dr Neville Yeomans (1928-2000) pioneered epochal transforming ways through community mutual-help action for wellbeing.


Back in the 1960s and 1970s and onwards Neville used ‘Consciousness Raising’ Festivals, Celebratings, and Gatherings to support the evolving and extending of relational networking. (Neville spoke using verbs giving verbal form to living process in action rather than nouns collapsing passion to thing – hence ‘celebratings‘ rather than ‘celebration’)


An important aspect of Neville’s Way is looking for people who are naturally good at nurturing others. Neville called these folk, ‘natural nurturers’ without ever ‘thingifying’ them (turning them into a thing).


The following outlines ways of evolving networks of natural nurturers.


One glimpse into Neville’s Way is the free E-Book Coming to One’s Sense – By the Way


Examples of Natural Nurturers


Example One


From a felt desire to have play-friends for her young child, this natural nurturer finds another young mother who is also a self-starter and together they evolve:


o   A parents’ mutual support group

o   A Steiner influenced child-play group

o   A craft circle of parents making soft toys from felt for aiding storytelling

o   A cooperative that makes and sells felt-based soft toys for storytelling and other whimsical play items with an associated workshop space and child play area in a delightful tropical community market




The Tropical Market in Far North Queensland


When travelling in the area and wandering this Market the soft nurturing energy of this natural nurturer is felt from thirty or more metres away and after engaging, her story unfolds and the healer networking extends. In travels through East Asian Countries this sensing of natural nurturers among the throng of a market was a common experience and invariably these natural nurturers are open to engaging, sharing their stories and linking with other natural nurturers.


Example Two


Being hardly noticed in the background quietly nurturing and supporting others in everyday moments


Example Three


Acting as a nodal link person receiving news of what’s working well from many rumour lines and networks, and passing these on into other rumour lines to use and adapt if they want to – NN acting as a ‘node’ or ‘nodal’ person



Example Four


Experiencing some healing ways and stories and immediately gathering a group of her friends to share these experiences and possibly linking them to the person who shared the experiences


Example Five


Upon linking with a stressed couple who are experiencing challenges beyond this nurturer’s abilities, supporting this couple and linking them to another natural nurturer who has the abilities and desire to be a resource as well as linking them into a network of support people


Example Six


A quiet and shy mother who has found after many trials and errors a freshwater shrimps and sweet potato leaves combination that has her child well nourished where all the other mothers in the village have malnourished children




Example Seven


A person who regularly links with and supports people at the local little farmers market


st andrews market.jpg


Fostering Emergence of Natural Nurturer Networks in the Social Life World




o   Finding natural nurturers (NNs); encouraging them to share some of their stories, and some of the things they have initiated that worked and sharing some of their ways, especially with other NNs.


o   Connecting them with their own life experience, capacity and way - some NNs have a little sense of the value of themselves and what they do; confirming their value, their contributing and their potential for good.


o   Evolving possibilities for NNs to meet and talk and form friendships with other NNs.


o   Introducing NNs in everyday places, especially where people gather; particularly where people gather regularly. Examples are local village markets, coffee shops, and libraries.


o   Inviting NNs to small gatherings, parties, and celebrations (using Mingles as a model)


o   Using Festivals as opportunity to link NNs, link NNs to networks, and link NN Networks


In sharing the above set of processes with a wise elder woman in Vietnam she said that what she had just heard was what is sorely needed in the Vietnamese Countryside – where after over a hundred years of war, the elderly no longer know how to be grandparents, and adults do not know how to be parents, and the children do not know how to be children. These role competencies had been lost. The above processes hold forth potential for bringing all of this human experiential richness back into the countryside.









The black disk symbol (Sociogram 1) is used to depict a local wellbeing nurturer.



Sociogram 1


These nurturers are living among other locals depicted as in Sociogram 2.



Sociogram 2


The crosshatched disk symbol (Sociogram 3) is used to depict a non-local Laceweb enabler. Enablers, as their name implies, enable others to help themselves to be more able - towards wellbeing. Enablers may share micro-experiences of healing ways and ways that heal towards peace (what Neville termed ‘peacehealing’). 


Neville defined ‘micro-experiences’ as personally sensing some behaviour and noticing the resultant transforming change in our body - such that we have embodied understanding of new ways of behaving and responding and change towards wellness.[1] Learning is typically by personally experiencing using the healing way on self and others and noticing difference that makes a difference.



Sociogram 3


The darker crosshatched disk symbol (Sociogram.4) is used to depict a local Laceweb enabler.

Sociogram 4



Typically, co-learning takes place. That is, as a person shares healing ways for others to experience and embody, the sharer also receives insights and understandings back from these recipients; hence, lines in the sociograms represent a two-way flow of healing sharings. Typically what flows between people are rumours – rumours of micro-experiences and actions that work. Typically the ‘author’ of the rumour is not disclosed. It does not matter. At times it does matter that the ‘author’ is not disclosed – in contexts where healers are harassed or worse.


Recall that Neville associated increases in uncertainty and rumour as a feature of cultures in decline, with innovation emerging at the edges of the old system.[2]


The next set of six sociograms (5a to 5f) depicts the start-up of the network.


Sociogram 5a



The dark line between two locals in Sociogram 5a represents a two-way flow of healing sharings and that these sharings have been adapted to local healing ways. That is, non-local enablers may share with locals many of the micro-experiences that they have received from other places and cultures. The local(s) may adapt these micro-experiences to the local healing ways. They may then pass these ‘localized’ healings on to other locals.


Sociogram 5b depicts an enabler sharing healing ways with three locals. In this example, let's assume different micro-experiences are passed on to each of the three locals.


Sociogram 5b

Let us say the three locals in Figure 5b each receive 3 healing ways from the enabler. They then adapt them to local healing ways. Figure 5c depicts these three locals then passing these micro-experiences on to each other.


Sociogram 5c

In this example (5c), each local receives six healing ways via other locals - that is, three from each of the other two locals. They each receive three healing ways directly from the enabler. That is, they are receiving more from locals than from the enabler. Of course, each of the ways in this example was originally passed on by the enabler.

This process means that locals are receiving twice as much from other locals and these sharings are adapted to local way. Locals become the primary source for shared ways. The enabler is in the background.

The Sharing of Micro-Experiences Among Locals - A Summary

·         Locals adapt micro-experiences to local nurturing ways

·         Locals pass on their new skills to each other

·         In this way locals become a resource to each other

·         No local becomes a 'font of all wisdom'

·         Locals may begin to take on the enabler role

·         The enabler is not seen as the 'font of all wisdom' either

·         As the local healing network strengthens, the enabler becomes even more invisible

Figure 5d depicts one of the three locals linking and sharing with two other locals.


Sociogram 5d

The sharing of healing ways may have some or all of the following features:

·         Takes place as people go about their everyday life

·         No one is 'in charge', though everyone may have a say

·         Shared accountability for unfolding action

·         Global multidirectional communicating and co-learning

·         Sharing micro-experiences and the healing/nurturing role

·         Enacting of local wisdoms about 'what works'

·         What 'fits' may be repeated, shared and consensually validated

·         Healing actions resonant with traditional indigenous ways

·         The use of organic processes - the survival of the fitting

·         Knowing includes the ever tentative unfolding happenings from moment to moment

·         Organic roles - orchestrating, enabling and the like

Sociograms 5e and 5f depict the progressive building up of a chain of linked people with sharings going back and forward along the chain.



Sociogram 5e

. soc05

Sociogram 5f



Sociogram 6 depicts a further link. The enabler is now interacting with three locals and one of these three has links to a chain of four, and one other link. Experiences passed from the enabler may flow through this network system.


Sociogram 6



In Sociograms 7 and 8 the local who commenced the chain makes links firstly with the second, and then the fourth person in the chain. This may have the effect of enriching the speed, flow and feedback of healing ways micro-experiences. In Sociogram 8 a link has also been made between one of the original three locals and the new local not in the chain. The healing network is beginning to expand in mutual support.



Sociogram 7



Sociogram 8


Further links have been made in Sociogram 9 so that now, the local that started the chain is directly linked to every member of the chain. The chain is also linked into the original three via the other new member. Notice that the enabler’s links to the three continue with the lighter links signifying that the micro-experiences the enabler is sharing originate outside the local culture. The enabler is in a two-way co-mentoring/co-learning flow and is receiving feedback from the three locals about how the healing ways they are receiving from the enabler are being adapted locally.

Sociogram 9



Sociogram 10


In Sociogram 10, the fourth person in the chain has linked with the first and second person in the chain.


These further links may have the potential to:


·         increase and strengthen the diversity in healing ways in use as people share their differing experience

·         increase the intrinsic bonding within the network

·         increase the availability of potential support

·         increase the store of micro-experience in the network and relational communicating about embodied experience

·         increase the potential for self-organizing in the network

·         increase the potential for emergence in the network

·         increase the embodied unconscious use of Cultural Keyline


In Sociogram 11 the local natural nurturer who has been evolving the network is depicted as evolving into a local enabler.


This enabler role may emerge over time in any one in the network. Further linking have been made. The expanding network has potential for both unifying experience and enrichment through diversity.



Sociogram 11


Now the ‘web’ like structure of the linking is emerging.


When Neville got started in each of Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Atherton Tablelands, and around Darwin, Neville was the one initiating almost all of the linking. He said that this was a very slow process. In sociograms 6 to 11, the enabler has only made links with the original three locals.  It may be that further links are made between the enabler and others in the network.  It is not however necessary. In some contexts the links between locals may increase ahead of the links between locals and non-local enablers.


It will be noted that by Sociogram 11, the outside enabler may have become a relatively invisible figure. I am told by my overseas links that this is the experience in East Asia and Oceania contexts. The non-local enabler may continue to share micro-experiences with the original locals. By now most of the healing ways adapted to local context may be received from locals.


In the contexts that Neville energized in the Australian Far North, most of the natural nurturers had a close connexion to Neville.


Healing micro-experiences may be combined and adapted as appropriate to people, place and context.


Over 30 years of experience has demonstrated that:


·         these processes may be self-enriching

·         people may be intuitively innovative

·         micro-experiences may be readily and easily passed between cultures and adjusted and be adapted to local context


To go back in time, while the local network depicted in the preceding series of sociograms has been emerging, the enabler may have been enabling, supporting, mentoring/co-mentoring and linking with one or more other enablers who are in turn linking with other locals not known to the local network mentioned above.


Sociogram 12 depicts such a linking. While this second enabler is also linking with three locals, it may be any small number. Typically, these linkings start out small.

Sociogram 12


Sociograms 12 to 17 depict the evolving of this second network. The sequence may differ, though many of the characteristics of the first network emerge. Linked chains of people may emerge. Further linking strengthens the number of people available to each other for mutual sharing and support.


Sociogram 13



Sociogram 14



Sociogram 15



Sociogram 16



Sociogram 17



Sociogram 18


Sociogram 19 depicts later links being made between the two local networks and the local enabler in the first network links the two local networks. As these links are extended, the two networks may merge to be one expanded network.



Sociogram 19


There is always the possibility that local healers may position themselves such that they generate links to other local healers without linking the locals to each other. In this way any local doing this may become the one all the others rely on.


Sociogram 20 shows the original network of eight locals and underneath, another eight locals where seven locals only have one link and that link is with the local in the centre. There are differences in the structure and dynamic between the original network and this later form of linking - what has been described as integrated and dispersed networks.[3]



Sociogram 20 - Integrated network (above) Dispersed network (below)


This second pattern (the dispersed network with a nodal person in the middle linking rumour lines is prevalent throughout the Laceweb in South East Asia where the safety and integrity of the natural nurturers is under threat. This is discussed later. The August 2004 gathering in the Philippines countryside shifted the network from dispersed to integrated. These integrated network members are themselves typically nodal people in one or more different dispersed networks.


Experience has shown that the integrated network with the multiple cross linkings has many advantages such as:


·         Members have multiple people to call on for support

·         The flow of information tends to be fast and rich

·         The diversity enriches the micro-experiences being shared

·         It is possible to get cross-checks on others’ outcomes

·         Folk may receive rumours of how ways have been adjusted and adapted in differing contexts


Inma Networks in the Atherton Tablelands is a paper detailing the fifty year rollout of dispersed and integrated networks, gatherings and festivals in the Atherton Tablelands Region.





So far we have only depicted the links between enablers (non-local and local) and local healers and nurturers. Typically, these local natural nurturers are regularly being approached by local family, friends, and others for nurturing. As well, nurturers tend, as a matter of course, to reach out to support others as they go about everyday life. Sociogram 21 depicts three other locals (shown as the striated circles) that have links with one of the healers. Typically, each of the healers has a number of locals that seek out their support from time to time. As healers pass on healing ways to locals that enable them to help themselves, often these other locals emerge as healers and start to merge with the wider healing network.

Sociogram 21




Enablers are also part of an enabling network. Sociogram 22 depicts the original enabler’s links to the Laceweb enabler network.


Sociogram 22


After a time, the network may start to link more widely into the wider local community and extend through a number of surrounding villages (settlements/towns) with links to more distant places. The healing network starts to enable self-healing among the local communities. More and more people discover that they can change their wellbeing as depicted in Sociogram 23.  Nurturers begin to identify other nurturers living in their area with whom they have not yet established links.



Sociogram 23


After a time, whole villages (settlements/towns) may enter cultural healing action as depicted in Sociogram 24. The triangular symbol represents a dwelling and the three rings of dwellings depict three villages located in reasonable close walking distance from each other.



Sociogram 24


Note the differing patterns of transfer depicted in Sociogram 24.


At the top right:


·         an integrated support network

·         an isolated link

·         a dispersed chain linking 5 people


At bottom right:


·         one nodal person is a source for five separate others in a dispersed network


After a time, locals may evolve as enablers and so further assist in the spreading of cultural healing action.


At other times there may be campout festivals, celebrations, and gatherings of enablers, nurturers and other locals from a number of villages (settlements/towns). These may last for days with diverse and spontaneous cultural healing action occurring.


An example of this was the Small Island Coastal and Estuarine People Gathering Celebration on the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland Australia in June 1994.[4]





Sociogram 25 below depicts the network shown in Sociogram 24 after they have gathered together in a healing festival - what Neville[5] called a HealFest. ConFest is a classic example of what Neville was passionately interested in. Neville played a major role in the five festivals that led up to the first ConFest.


Typically such gatherings create opportunities for a sudden large increase in linking. You may note that the people in the lower right of Sociogram 25 who had relied on the central person, have now met up with each other and formed into a mutually supporting net. This network has linked with the enabler to their left and into that little network. The network on the upper left has also made further linkings and one salient person has made many linkings throughout the other networks. All of this linking may hold forth promise for further enriching. Just as the nature of the system covalent bonding at the molecular level determines system properties such as transparency, malleability, conductance, brittleness and strength, so the nature of bonding links determine healing network characteristics (refer Neville’s poetic desert web metaphor mentioned earlier). As well, this opportunity to personally relate face to face tends to increase the flow of information through the networks of networks.

Sociogram 25


All of the foregoing depicts the forms of networks Neville was evolving in the Australia Top End.



Healing Networking in Dangerous Times and Places


Through SE Asia, sometimes an intercultural enabler may set up links with healers who do not want information about themselves, their links, or their Laceweb involvement known to anyone else. Where torture is used for social control, healing the tortured is deemed by the torturers as a subversive activity. Consequently, throughout parts of the Region, Laceweb linking operates on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.


Neville never revealed his overseas links to me as I had no need to know. Many of the people involved want to keep a very low profile. Some healers are wanted dead by dominant elements in the areas they live in; as stated, healing may be deemed by some the ultimate subversive act. Someone else revealing a Laceweb person’s details to another person without that person’s permission would typically mean that the link with the betrayer would be severed permanently. This limited knowing of who is involved is not a weakness; it is a strength. It is isomorphic with neural networks where only four adjacent connections are typically activated as things fly along the neural pathways; like the brain, information may travel very quickly.


In the Laceweb there can be very long chains where healers know only between two and five people in the chain. In these dangerous contexts, no one can find out the ‘member list’ in order to undermine the movement. The list does not exist. No one knows more than a few of the others involved.


An enabler may set up links with a number of these ‘anonymous’ healers. Each of these may have ‘trust’ links with between one or as many as four or five people along ‘rumour lines’.


Sociogram 26 depicts such a rumour line where each of the link-people has a small group of healers they know in their local area.


Each of these sets of other local healers is not known to any of the others in the rumour line. Each segment (and the whole rumour line) is self organising.


Sociogram 26 - Rumours network linking

small healing groups at different locations



Considerable portions of the Laceweb throughout the East Asia Oceania Region take this form. The larger black circles depict the healing people who pass on the healing rumours backwards and forwards to healers in other localities. 


As shown in Sociogram 26 there are small groups of healers in the different locations.


Number 1 is a nodal person with links to other parts of the Laceweb. Number 1 knows 2, 3, 4 and 5.


Numbers 4, 5 and 6 know each other.


Numbers 6, 7 and 8 know each other.


Typically, no one knows more than 4 or 5 people in the chain.



Sociogram 27 - A dispersed network with a nodal link person in the middle



The healer in the middle in Sociogram 27 is a nodal person and a key energizer in passing rumours from one segment of a network into many other rumour lines linking local small networks. The other larger dots denote significant people in that they are the one in a rumour line that links to the nodal person. Sustaining this link enables each rumour line to pass on rumours into other rumour lines and receive rumours from other rumour lines via the nodal person.


Often a nodal person is experienced in intercultural interfacing and widely trusted within different cultural contexts, and able to pass on the healing ways from one cultural rumour line into the rumour line of another culture. I met such a person at a gathering in Cairns, Australia who was a natural nurturer accepted by many warring factions during the Bougainville conflict. Another Bougainville person with a similar background came down to Melbourne and engaged in co-learning with me and other Laceweb folk during 2012. Refer the paper Intercultural Interfacing between Complementary Ways.


Any of the little local networks may have potential to expand in the local area by locating other natural nurturers, or by so enriching others in their self-healing that they also become enablers and natural nurturers. The above sociograms are idealized in the linear nature of some of the lines; this was only for ease of drawing. Lines do not represent locality relationships; the links may jump between different places in the Region.


While these linkings are between caring enablers and natural nurturers, Neville spoke of there been misunderstandings from time to time that cause people to sever links. Neville would from time to time tell me not to contact certain ones till he lets me know things have been ‘cleared up’.


The Sharing of Micro-experiences Among Locals - A Reviewing


The following lists Cultural Keyline aspects of the above Laceweb action:


·         Nothing happens unless locals want it to happen

·         Enablers using all of their sensing of and attending to the local social topography outlined in Chapter Eight page 466 in Cultural Keyline

·         Interacting with the surrounding cultural locality as a living system

·         Enabling others to tap into personal and interpersonal psychosocial and other wellness and resilience resources using the following processes (refer By the Way):


o   Enablers sharing healing micro-experiences

o   Locals adapting micro-experiences to local nurturing ways

o   Locals passing on their new micro-experiences to each other


·         In engaging and relating in the above ways locals may become resources to each other

·         No local becomes a ‘font of all wisdom’

·         Locals may be engaging in the enabler role or beginning to take on this role

·         Enablers are not seen as the ‘font of all wisdom’

·         As the local healing network strengthens, the enabler may become more in the background

·         Networking may respond to perturbing action by enablers

·         Networking may be emergent and self-organising

·         Folk tap into the local free energy – the self starters

·         Locals may take on or extend their local enabler roles

·         Locals may use naturalistic inquiry and iterative action research

·         Nurturing may take place as people go about their everyday life

·         Nurturers may use local knowings in responding to themes conducive to coherence in the local social topography

·         The sharing may be self-organizing

·         No one is ‘in charge’, although everyone involved may have a say

·         There may be shared accountability for unfolding action

·         Global multidirectional social, cultural and intercultural communicating and co-learning may occur among those involved - following Terry Widders’ remarks to Franklin[6] 

·         There may be the sharing of embodied micro-experiences and the healing/nurturing role

·         Nurturing may be an intrinsic aspect of cultural locality

·         There may be the enacting of local wisdoms about ‘what works’

·         What ‘fits’ may be repeated, shared and consensually validated

·         Healing actions may be resonant with traditional Indigenous ways

·         The use of organic processes - the survival of the fitting

·         Knowing may include the ever tentative unfolding action

·         Organic roles - orchestrating, enabling and the like

·         Healing actions that work may be passed on as rumours that may be validated by action


All of the above is occurring in the East Asia Oceania Australasia Region. From commentators like Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest new forms of social and relational movements are a Global phenomenon



Laceweb Home Page


ConFest and the Next 250 Years


Realising Human Potential




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[1] Refer references to Feldenkrais in ‘By the Way’ (Spencer, 2012).

[2] Refer (Yeomans, N. 1971c).

[3] Refer (Cutler 1984, p. 253-266).

[4] Refer (Roberts and Widders 1994).

[5] Dec, 1993.

[6] Refer (Franklin 1995, p. 59).