Inner Transition is an approach pioneered within the Transition movement that emphasises the need for inner work to accompany efforts to achieve outer change in the physical world.
What is Inner Transition?
According to the Transition Network website:
The success of the Transition movement may well rest on whether we can create a culture that truly supports a balance between inner and outer change. Inner Transition is about connection – with ourselves, others and the natural world. Inner Transition is about creating healthy culture at all levels of scale – our own personal culture, our group culture and the culture within communities, movements, the world and ecosystems more generally.
At a personal level...
Inner Transition is an exploration of the processes and phenomena going on within ourselves that shape how we do Transition. The nature of our relationship with our inner life determines how able we are to make the practical lifestyle, relational and cultural changes needed for Transition – as well bringing precious depth, texture and meaning into our everyday lives. Inner Transition supports us to choose healthier more resilient, connected and caring ways of being and acting in the world. By liberating us from our habitual and addictive tendencies, our identity politics and cultural conditioning, Inner Transition supports us to experience our inseparability and inter-dependence in the world – and therefore to make choices based on the needs of ourselves, others and the natural world. Through this we become more and more able to bring our head, hands and heart into alignment – making the practical changes needed for Transition to feel so much more easeful.
At a group level...
Inner Transition helps us become aware of the roles we play in groups and what is needed for healthy collaborative groups. It supports us to understand what it really means to collaborate so that we can transform our groups to be become optimally effective, creative, innovative, nourished and transformative.
While at movement level...
Inner Transition reminds us that a Whole Systems approach includes our inner life and our inter-dependence with nature. This systemic approach highlights how the success of the Transition movement – and the human species – seems contingent on us cultivating what Sophy Banks, Inner Transiton pioneer, calls Healthy Human Culture and what Looby MacNamara and Jon Young have called Cultural Emergence – where abundance, gratitude, care and connection are part of our everyday culture and which supports to us to understand how the process of change happens and to feel happier with less.
In the following video, Inner Transition founder Sophy Banks discusses the concept.
The Need for Inner Transition
According to the Transition Network website:
When we consider the scale of the challenges we as humanity currently face, more and more of us are realising the imperative to include inner emotional and psychological dimensions in the work we are doing – both in terms of supporting the effectiveness of our work and in resourcing us to meet the feelings and sense of helplessness that often goes hand in hand with the reality of what is unfolding in our world today. If we accept that our inner and outer worlds are entwined, making an outer systemic change must also involve some kind of inner shift. If we accept that the outer world is influenced by our diverse and respective worldviews (yours’ and mine versus Donald’s for example) then it follows that we cannot create a truly different external world without getting to know and making changes within our inner landscape. Inner Transition draws on and connects with a diversity of models, areas of study and cultural traditions. Inner Transition is all about supporting each of us to embrace what is true for us in each moment – which means Inner Transition feels and looks differently for everyone. And for some people Inner Transition feels problematic and can elicit strong feelings of frustration and/ or fear; these feelings are all welcome within the territory of Inner Transition.
Themes of Inner Transition
The Transition Network website identifies eleven key themes of Inner Transition:
- Wellbeing and human need
- Burnout to Balance
- Celebration, appreciation, and gratitude
- Healthy Groups
- Finding Peace within conflict
- Difference, diversity, power and inclusion
- Understanding Change
- Nature connection
- Working with shadow and the unconscious
- Spirituality and connections with faith groups
History of Inner Transition
The Transition Network website lists the following key dates in the history of Inner Transition:
- 2006: Hilary Prentice launched a ‘psychology of change’ theme group within the newly-formed Transition Town Totnes initiative.
- 2007: Hilary Prentice and Sophy Banks co-founded Transition Network’s Inner Transition strand, which Sophy Banks coordinated until 2015.
- 2016 onwards: Sophy passed the Inner Transition torch to Claire Milne, who became Inner Transition International Coordinator in January 2016. Claire’s priority is coordinating and supporting the integration of Inner Transition into Transition initiatives around the world, as well as reaching out to communities, movements, organisations, projects, groups and individuals who are already on a strong inner journey and who are ripe for marrying this with more practical engagement in the world.
In the following video, made by Transition Network, Sophy Banks and Hilary Prentice discuss the history of Inner Transition.
Research on Inner Transition
Prentice, H., 2012. “Heart and soul”: Inner and outer in the Transition Movement, in: Rust, M.-J., Totten, N. (Eds.), Vital Signs: Psychological Responses to Ecological Crisis. Karnac, London, p. 175+. Power, C., 2016. The Integrity of Process: Is Inner Transition Sufficient? Journal of Social and Political Psychology 4, 347–363.
- https://transitionnetwork.org/about-the-movement/what-is-transition/inner/. Accessed October 22nd 2018.
- https://transitionnetwork.org/about-the-movement/what-is-transition/inner/inner-transition-totnes/. Accessed October 22nd 2018.
- https://transitionnetwork.org/about-the-movement/what-is-transition/inner/themes-inner-transition/. Accessed October 22nd 2018.
- https://transitionnetwork.org/about-the-movement/what-is-transition/inner/history-inner-transition/. Accessed October 22nd 2018.