A Querencetic Life: Enacting Source

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Mack, Heidi
Transformative , Learning , Querencia , Authenticity , Querencetic , Complexity , Hermeneutics
As a psychotherapist, my work with thousands of clients over the last two decades has illuminated a theme––when there is a misalignment between one’s values and beliefs and one’s lived experience, dis-ease, discomfort, dissonance and self-alienation take hold. The corollary often being true: An authentic life––living closely aligned with one’s beliefs and values––promotes experiences of health and happiness. Psychological research supports the notion that well-being and happiness are products of living authentically (Brown, Ryan, Laguardia, & Rawsthorne, 2005; Kernis & Goldman, 2006; Wood, Linley, Maltby, Baliousis, & Joseph, 2008). This qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological study was a response to my curiosity about the practice of living an aligned life and answered the overarching question: “What is the experience of the conscious practice of authenticity?” with the sub-question: “How does the conscious practice of authenticity relate to transformative learning?” Relevant literature is reviewed in the areas of transformative learning, authenticity, and complexity thinking: particularly the quality of emergence represented in the methodological orientation of the hermeneutic circle. Data collection strategies including interviews, an experiential component of “in the moment” recording, researcher field notes in the form of a commonplace book, and a web-based forum, as well as close readings of relevant literature. Data interpretation was based on a six stage integrative and creative hermeneutic analysis (adapted from Ajjiwa & Higgs, 2007). The stages of interpretation were (1) immersion, (2) understanding, (3) abstraction, (4) synthesis and theme development, (5) illumination and illustration of the phenomenon, (6) integration and critique. The research findings introduced the terms querencia (home or source in a person) and querencetic living (living from one’s inner source or knowing). The findings indicate that querencetic living generates wellness, happiness and peace and is comprised of four parts: 1) knowing our querencia (values, beliefs, needs, feelings), 2) being attuned to our querencia, 3) trusting our knowing/not knowing/changing knowing and 4) enacting our querencia through voice and action. The nature of our querencia is emergent (ever-changing and fluid) where our relationship to our querencia (being attuned, trusting and enacting) is unbending.
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