Smith, Lakeesha Renee
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Adulthood can be described as a time of negotiating a range of demands and complex roles and life tasks that cross multiple, overlapping domains of experience for which there are no definitive guidelines or training. These demands are compounded by the complex, ever-changing environments and circumstances of the 21st century. Adults are frequently required to develop expanded capacities that require not only new skills and behavior, but also new ways of knowing; however, many adults struggle with this. As a result, adult development and learning are key concerns in a variety of disciplines and for adults themselves. The purpose of this action research case study was to explore the experience and facilitation of the evolution of consciousness in adults using the methodology of collaborative developmental action inquiry (CDAI). I convened and served as the primary researcher and facilitator for a group of seven women (myself included) who met virtually for 12 months to explore our own evolution of consciousness. We collected data at the first-, second-, and third-person levels, including pre- and post-group interviews, group meeting audio recordings, member post-meeting reflections, member journal entries, and my own researcher memos. We also measured our current stage of development using the validated Global Leadership Profile. Data were collected and analyzed using a post-qualitative research approach that was eclectic, emergent, and congruent with the CDAI method. From these data, key learnings and insights emerged suggesting that intentional community is necessary for development; vertical development should not be privileged over horizontal development; and individuals have different “center of gravity” action logics from which they act, and sometimes make meaning, in different situations and contexts, as an involuntary default. Furthermore, CDAI serves as a useful liberating method for evolution of consciousness; and intentional facilitation and friendship are crucial for enacting CDAI in communities of inquiry and practice. This inquiry serves as a useful illustration of CDAI in a non-organizational context and offers important suggestions for the development and facilitation of intentional communities of inquiry and practice seeking to support adult development. The inquiry also contributes to the literature around constructive-developmental theory and action research.