Evolution of NACAD

Phases in the development of NACAD   by Hugh Smiley

Below is a brief and partial history of the past development and current phase of the New AndaLuz Centre for Authentic Dialogue including the Korason Method for Authentic Voice (KM):

Age 8-12: on my grandparents farm on the Bruce Peninsula: a fascination with sound, especially voice and its effects. Experimentation with various vocal sounds & utterances, including forest, field and rooftop intoning of prayers.

Age 7-18: Learning the language of (communicating through) music (vibration & frequency): study of piano, harmony, theory, history, composition. Also (teaching) clarinet and singing with guitar.

Age 18-28: Learning languages (French, Spanish & Guarani). University studies in Political Science & Economics of Developing Countries. Being informed through many metaphysical & esoteric studies, the practice of meditation and the Consultation (Authentic Dialogue) process for problem-solving within Baha’i relationships, institutions & communities.

Age 27-33: in Paraguay, living among indigenous communities. Learning and communicating entirely in Spanish & Guarani (the indigenous language). Intensive experimentation with voice & sound, study of the Kabbalah, inspiration from Baha’i Sacred Writings. Collaborating with  aboriginal communities in the evolution of local social, economic & governmental institutions. Serving on national Baha’i institutions. Learning to listen deeply to nature. Beginning of development of KM and its application to individuals for the healing of physical pain, stress and anxiety.

Studied massage (communicating with the somatic level) and in 1979, on the return to Canada, met Ron Kurtz, creator of the the Hakomi Method for somatic psychotherapy & mindfulness based assisted self-study (enhancing inter- and intra-personal dialogue).

Age 33-59: Training in Hakomi, Reflexology and other healing modalities. Private psychotherapy and bodywork practice in Toronto. Began teaching Shaman Song workshops and developing levels of the Korason Method for Authentic Voice & Dialogue. 1988-96: bought and directed Heartsong Hill, a 50-acre wooded retreat centre high on a hill above the shores of Georgian Bay. Many workshops there including trainings, fasting retreats and sweat lodges with First Nations teachers.

Age 59-62: Graduated in Peace & Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto. Learning some Arabic and becoming increasingly aware of the urgent need for better means of communication, not only for conflict resolution and more effective decision-making, but also (as a therapist) for the healing of trauma and PTSD.

AD with Shahab NGO in Cairo, Egypt

2005-07: Awarded a grant from U. of T. to study the practice of dialogue within Egyptian

NGOs. On three one-month visits to Cairo, offered workshops for 5 groups (mid- & upper-management), using the Hakomi and Korason Methods, on how dialogue was carried out within their organizations.

2007: Brainstorming #1 on NACAD. In the palatial home of the Canadian Ambassador, co-hosted by the latter and the Egyptian Minster of Foreign Affairs for the Americas. 22 representatives of various institutions (business, educational, religious, NGOs) attended with great enthusiasm for establishing a Centre for Authentic Dialogue in Egypt. The name Al-Andalus Al-Jadida (New Anda-Luz) was chosen. See: Background.

2008-2015: Deepening of the Korason Method. Created and co-directed Hakomi Ontario as, resource centre for the teaching of Hakomi in Toronto and beyond. Facilitating workshops and retreats in Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia, Brazil, Paraguay, Germany, Spain, Egypt, the US & Canada, introducing many to the principles, methods and techniques of relational mindfulness, authentic voice & authentic dialogue.

May, 2016: Brainstorming #2. 16 people from 4 countries met in Toronto to chart a new organizational phase for NACAD.
Sept., 2016: Brainstorming # 3. Another 16 gathered near Frankfort, Germany to experience and consult re Authentic Dialogue and envision possibilities for NACAD in Europe.

2nd NACAD brainstorming conference: Toronto, 2016

With the able & brilliant collaboration of Bettina Clark (Germany), Yaakov Schneid (Canada), Kim Smiley (Belize) and Aaron Craelius (US), a fertile and co-creative period of organizational development and the initiation of the NELSOZ (NACAD Experiential Learning Sessions on Zoom) – a powerful online vehicle for studying and practicing what we came to understand as Authentic Dialogue.  All 5 of us, along with several others, took turns facilitating biweekly sessions using various methods, with attendees from North, Central & South America, Africa, Europe and East Asia. Toward the latter part of this latest phase, Feb Paquera (Philippines) joined the team bringing great enthusiasm and energy.

NACAD’s services were always free and volunteer-based. I am so grateful for the precious time and energy we all have dedicated to this journey. For myself, as with others, priorities have shifted to family, health and business concerns.  The NELSOZ is on sabbatical indefinitely; NACAD seems to have come to a natural resting place, for now at least. Those closely involved with its evolution have benefitted from valuable learning and experience, some of which has been carried forth into various projects, organizations and professional endeavours as well as deeper, authentic relationships with self and others. 

Personally, I am now further integrating the Hakomi & Korason Methods with content from somatic meditation, AD and healing through sound & music – creating ‘containers’ through which this work, emerging into the teaching & practice of Agni: the Yoga of Fire & the Spiritual Heart can best be learned, enjoyed and applied. Currently a biweekly Mindful Circle Online provides a vehicle for this forward step. Are you interested to participate in this work?  Let me know via email if and when you’d like to begin. 

There will be occasional workshops – in Ontario, and perhaps Nelson, BC & Russia in the Spring, but I’ll be focusing more with online resources (so leaving a smaller ecological footprint). The NACADialog website and the Centre for Authentic Dialogue Facebook Group will remain intact for anyone who might visit. I will soon start writing a short monthly blog on themes (including AD) hopefully inspiring, entertaining, healing and helpful.  Contact me if you’d like to receive it via email.  Also will start creating some “Interviews with Amazing People” videos for YouTube.

Authentic Dialogue – for conflict resolution, better decision-making and the healing from trauma – more than ever, at this crucial time in history, is urgently needed. My hope is that each of us will embody the heart of AD in our relationships, work and service – inspiring others and manifesting leadership in this area.

Warm wishes    – Hugh