"...In epistemology, and more specifically, the sociology of knowledge, reflexivity refers to circular relationships between cause and effect, especially as embedded in human belief structures."
Reflexive Communication was developed by composer Keren Rosenbaum as part of her ongoing musical quest to find a language that would accurately articulate her philosophy and practice. Its practice has evolved through many channels; one channel being Reflex Ensemble’s ground-breaking performances of her work, which became known as Reflexive Music. Reflex language originated out Rosenbaum’s need to communicate with musicians and other performers her particular mindset around music that includes composing the senses, and composing communities.
Parallel to the ensemble's work, she began composing specific scores built around active listening and a deep body/mind connection. These scores served to create a framework for innovative communication that started to interest professionals in various arenas farther afield from the arts - in education, therapy, entrepreneurship - organizations that shared an interest in new forms of communication skills.
Reflex language includes instructions and practices that bring awareness to the present moment. It amplifies sensations and builds a perspective of music and musicianship based on an individual and their relationship to the surroundings. A Reflexive Mindset creates sustainable playfulness, a quality that supports productivity, resilience and a sense of meaning within the daily. Students practice to embody this language so that it becomes as natural as a reflex. The immediate trust it establishes forms inclusive cultures and comprises a sense of community.
Reflex Communication Skills are practiced within the framework we call an Active Listening Playground (ALP) using the ALP Tools. ALP originated as the "performative stage" for performing Reflexive Music and developed as the set up (Time-Space-Conditions) required to practice and perform. Over the years, practicing Reflexive Communication has become known to spark creativity, resilience, flexibility, inner growth, a feel described by many as: "coming back to my senses".
As we engage in Reflexive Communication we expand our perspective on reality. We combine in real-time the ability to be active listeners, composers, conductors & producers of our reality. Life can be understood from inside its multi-layered continuous pulsing, where the balance between noise/melody, dissonance/consonance is forming a new trust and transforms our reality into a Reflexive Reality engaged, thrilling and enlivening.
Once we start practicing and performing this balance, we find ourselves activated; we become aware of triggers from within, and triggers from without, we begin to experience time itself as material to play with. We hold the looseness, we let go and pull back simultaneously. We begin to listen in a circular progression. "Listening to myself listening to myself listening to you/me/world listening to myself listening to..."
It is in that exact moments we are able to make sense of the situation while keeping on the situation alive and moving. We develop our sense of gravity and lightness, our ability to process information on many levels and create unexpected outcomes in real-time. We deconstruct and reconstruct the present in real-time. We can begin to experience all the senses diffusing into a much bigger sum than its parts. We engage in a new awareness and become empathetic to everything but still be in full production.
This state of ongoing "DoBeiDoBe" is powerful and an ability to connect endless parts both of self and others, hence compose various parts into one moving body. Composing Community and act together while maintaining each part individuality. I like to think of it as A Democracy of Dictators" in we function as both leaders and followers at the same time and the present is our “treat” to practice what we create out of it.
Reflexive Listening also known as Empathic listening or Active Listening, is a way of listening and responding to self and others with greater understanding and trust. The ability to listen with empathy is the difference between "interacting" to "really communicating".
When we listen empathetically we can sense ourselves as being the speaker we listen to. We put ourselves in their place and we experience to the point of embodying what they are truly feeling.
We do not stop with understanding what they are saying (Sympathetic Listening) we also feel why and from where what they say emerges. Developing empathetic/reflexive/active listening requires an open mind and honesty. We need to actively engage, free of judgment, identifying and embracing our confusions while provoking mistakes safely for us and others in order to bring communication to a new level.