The last training gave me a fresh perspective on Amjam.

The participants and I are largely acting irrespective of each other. 

I felt this in the training in a section focused on caring or being cared for.

In that exercise, what people did around me seemed shockingly irrelevant.

Since then I have been seeing something of the irrespective in my relationships with participants.

Its as though the participant and I are two trains going in very different directions. On different tracks.

What I took as signals that we were on the same track, I now question.

Often what made me assume we were on the same track was what I thought was a correlation of my actions and the response I saw.

However, In looking more closely over the last few months since the training, I see those responses are occurring irrespective of my actions.

This raises two points for me.

  • How closely have I really been paying attention over the past 20 years?
  • The participants have been more interested in something other than what I have been doing!

The etymology for a number of words seemed to illumine something of what now seems to me to have been happening. I list them at the end.

One of the most striking comes from the etymology of irrespective. 

“not observing or noting with attention.” 

This neatly describes the dynamic that I realise some of the participants and I have shared in our relationships.

I have n’t seen what was going on. 

I have not noted with attention. 

I was “regardless” of the participant. The participants were also “regardless” of me.

We are in different worlds.

This has been a shock. I am still reeling from the tremors.

However, this has prompted me to look closer. To stay looking longer. To listen more. 

This is an uncomfortable experience. 

Acknowledging what is really happening, or not happening, between me and the participant is at times painful.

I notice the urge to do something, to look away. I notice the strong pull to hook up with my fellow facilitators. So much easier to be on the same page. On the same planet.

This is daunting. I don’t know where it will lead. I don’t know if it will lead anywhere.

On the other hand, it would be sad if I kept on doing what I had already done for the last 20 years!


irrespective (adj.) 

1620s (implied in irrespectively), “disrespectful,” from assimilated form of in- (1) “not, opposite of” + respective in its sense of “regardful.” Meaning “without taking account of particular circumstances or conditions” had developed by 1690s, from the notion of “not observing or noting with attention.” In modern use it tends to be adverbial, in irrespective of, a use attested by c. 1800.

regard (n.) 

mid-14c., “a consideration; a judgment,” from Old French regard, from regarder “take notice of,” from re-, intensive prefix + garder “look, heed,” from Germanic (see guard (n.)). Meanings “a look, appearance; respect, esteem, favor, kindly feeling which springs from a consideration of estimable qualities” all recorded late 14c. Phrase in regard to is from mid-15c. (Chaucer uses at regard of).

regard (v.) 

mid-14c., “consider” (that something is so), from Middle French regarder “to look at,” from regard (see regard (n.)). Meaning “look upon, observe” is from 1520s, as is that of “observe a certain respect toward.” Related: Regarded; regarding.

respect (n.) 

late 14c., “relationship, relation; regard, consideration,” from Old French respect and directly from Latin respectus “regard, a looking at,” literally “act of looking back (or often) at one,” noun use of past participle of respicere “look back at, regard, consider,” from re- “back” (see re-) + specere “look at” (seescope (n.1)). Meanings “feeling of esteem excited by actions or attributes of someone or something; courteous or considerate treatment due to personal worth or power” are from 1580s, as is sense of “point, particular feature.”

respect (v.) 

1540s, “to regard,” from Middle French respecter “look back; respect; delay,” from Latin respectere, frequentative of respicere (seerespect (n.). Meaning “treat with deferential regard or esteem” is from 1550s. Sense of “refrain from injuring” is from 1620s. Meaning “have reference to” is from 1560s. Related:Respected; respecting. 

To respect the person was “show undue bias toward (or against) based on regard for the outward circumstances of a person;” hencerespecter of persons, usually with negative, from Acts x:34, in the 1611 translation.

regardless (adj.) 

“indifferent,” 1590s, from regard (n.) + -less. Elliptical for “regardless of consequences, expenses, etc.,” from 1872.