Wednesday, November 30, 2005

bursting open

"If you're really listening, if you're awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold ever-more wonders."

—Andrew Harvey, The Return of the Mother

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The facilitator as Artist

There has been a long thread running on the OSList lately about whether those who Open Space call ourselves facilitators or what. Many fessed up and declared that we feel uncomfortable with the term, but that we often continue to use it, because clients/sponsors understand it.

“If the group is an art form of the future, then convening groups is an artistry we must cultivate to fully harvest the promise of the future.”
Jacob Needleman, Centered on the Edge

This quote arrived in my Art of Hosting package and on the heels of re-reading, for the first time in ages, Eric Maisel's, Fearless Creating. Which had got me thinking about myself as an artist again. So much of his description of the artistic process reflects the practices of open space.

So i am offering this up to you all for consideration. The facilitator as Artist. Artist in the creative sense and Artist in the alchemical sense as well--taking the common stuff of the Now, that which Is, and with Artful intent mixing it in the crucible of chaos. Then dancing on the edge of the feather of uncertainty, with only the lodestone of faith in those present as a guide, and gently holding the energetic flame beneath until something new emerges.

During a recent three-day OS, i had the opportunity to observe myself in this light and wonder about the metaphor. Here are the results of this initial wondering: artistic medium: the quantum stuff of chaos, the emergent field; artist's tools: OST and other dialogic methods, personal preparation/spiritual practice, creativity and design, energy awareness/work; the work of art: the liberation of the human spirit. (Which i believe, like all works of Art, is not of the Artist, but comes through the Artist. The Artist as conduit for the expression of Spirit in the material world.)

So i'm going to play with being a facilitator-Artist for a while and wait for the next bold thing to emerge--i can already feel the field of potentiality swirling...[grin]

cross-posted to wordgravity

Monday, November 14, 2005

Beyond News and 11/11

Whilst I wrote the post below today to open up a blog Beyond News, I feel it's relevant here too. As is the other great question on my mind over the weeknd, how do we forever search Peter Drucker's advice and implement its practice. If there are open space alumni who believe his life work's connects with ours, why not form a flash email discussion with me at and we can report back to this blog any considerations we form.

When you come to reflect on it, news is a very slippery information flow

It seems most valuable when instanataneous but that means no time for analytical reflection.
Worse knowledge mapmakers believe news has no transparent meaning without being connected to other contexts from history and of the future's human possibilities

News is therefore very
risky to make a leadership decision with, unless you have the great fortitude to revisit decisions made at time of news to question if the news and so your decision wasn't wholly correct. This is more importnat the bigger the global system a leader's judgement influnce. A system that is hugely purposeful and may have involved decades of investment of money and knowledge opwrk, may be turned viciously into self-destruction mode by one wrong decision. Yet sometimes the news media asks you to make decisions in such time frames.

My father wrote for
The Economist for nearly 40 years. He counted himself lucky that there was only one deadline for judging what to print per week. He didnt know how serious daily papers could judge news events carefully, let alone tv anchormen. From 1984's research of Death of Distance he foresaw how the internet would challenge every 20th C mass media's notion of its worth. Ten yeras earlier he had started telling stories on how entrepreneurial revolutionaries must protyect themselves from image-making excesses by knowing the deepest reality-making of their innovative purposes and ensuring that they discovered investors who susstianed their innovation -the very opposite of some global accounting's built to flip concultancy

As someone whose life's research of local societies in every hemisphere has come to heroise transparent conflict resolution facilitators, I believe Beyond News has many implications - that are at least worth
open space question rehearsals before any to be great leader gets rushes of certainty about any value multiplying context, the more so it is one with globally diverse views that need deep democractising or simpol mediation around the people's globe, or organising democracy. If you have a context that impacts all of the world's people that seems not to be getting the news consideration it merits, do tell me at . I commit to narrowcasting through 2000 people in my inbox from over 50 countries and across 100 Club of Cities to try and find a few people who want to snap with your concern

One other starting proposition, and a very contrarian one for this media. I am interested in co-editing blogs that are timeless, questioning a context through the future history of time not providing instatantaneous posts. If there's a topic of human interest that you feel merits a timeless blog approach, please do propose it - chris macrae subject- my timeless nomination is...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

cross-posting. . .

This is just my humble opinion but I would prefer that folks in this group blog do not post their comments BOTH on the OSListserve and here. The duplication is enervating. Twice now I've come over here to blog and lost my energy when I saw that something I had just read on the listserv was duplicated here.

I believe the long-term community-building potential of this blog would be enhanced if we aspired to avoid cross-posting.

But hey, that's just me.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Kairos and OST

I posted this on the OSlist and I bring it here as it is definitely about being in open space.

I often think of OST as a means of creating conditions that assist individuals in greater listening to self and to others... expanding awareness and deepening connection. A friend recently wrote to me, teaching me about the word Kairos:
"Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the "right or opportune moment". It is now used in theology to describe the qualitative form of time. In rhetoric kairos is "a passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved." (E. C. White, Kaironomia p. 13)"
Living my life in Open Space has really intensified my awareness and recognition of kairos. The principles and law are my little friends, whispering sweet encouragement into my ears, reminding me that what is of essence arises at the right time, it is only myself that must rest into patience and acceptance. OST has helped me recognize the "right or opportune moment" when it is present, whenever it starts is the right time, when it's over, it's over. Listening for the wisdom emerging in the group, listening for what needs to be spoken has helped tune me into that passing instant when an opening appears, and the law of two feet, taking responsibility for what I love, drives me in with guided forcefulness.
"In The Interpretation of History, Lutheran theologian Paul Tillich (August 20, 1886 – October 22, 1965) was a German-American theologian and Christian existentialist philosopher made prominent use of the term. For him, the kairoi are those crises in history which create an opportunity for, and indeed demand, an existential decision by the human subject."
It is my sense that this is what so many of us Open Space facilitators are sniffing out. Our attention is awake and attuned to the aromas of crises in history which create an opportunity for, and indeed demand, an existential decision by the human subject. From my perception so many of you not only acknowledge and honor these moments but at the same time, open and hold the space for as many individuals as possible to rise to this occasion. You open space, creating a container within which people are ready and listening, and at the right and opportune moment they gracefully embody and move forth with their existential decision.

I give thanks for each of you and for the living entity of Open Space, sharing its gifts with the world.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

New to site and OS

thanks, Wendy, for sending this invite- I met Wendy last week at the Art of Hosting workshop in Bowen Island, Vancouver. What a beautiful space to learn how to 'open space'- and more! I'm somewhat new to this technology- still getting feet wet, etc. I love to learn by reading, doing and observing. To that point, in addition to getting to know people here in the online community, I'd love to meet some people doing this work in the Boston or New England area- and wondering if and where you are out there? If someone knows of people in this area (I live 40 minutes outside of Boston), i'd love the contacts and any info.

Many thanks- looking forward to learning with you all - in what I see is a very generous community. ( my work is Organizational consulting and coaching- working mostly in corporate settings- wanting to move to less traditional, more places of personal value for me- . Also work with individuals and teams.)

Lenore Mewton

Monday, November 07, 2005

all roads lead to open being

I'm just cogitating over something Chris Macrae (sp?) wrote about the need to increase people's opportunities to be introduced to open space. While acknowledging that the gold standard of a three day open space is a good ideal, Chris makes a good case for brief open spaces. I agree, generally speaking, that it is always better to have open space than to not have it and if short experiences are what is possible, then that is great. Any open space is better than none.

But, more and more, I believe that in order to really 'know' open space, to 'be' in open space most effectively, people need not just three day open space events but multiple exposure to three day open space events. As work teams exist in an environment that openly embraces the principles of OS, they become ever more deeply aligned, tapping into collective wisdom that is always greater than the individual. The more adept a group becomes at flying in inner alignment, the greater they become.

I believe the world really, really, really needs people to be discovering the power of collectively aligning ourselves inwardly.

I think OST needs to move way, way beyond being seen as a meeting methodology or a strategic planning tool or an action planning tool. I think OST is a brilliant team building tool. I believe that any organization that sincerely wishes to tap the highest and best wisdom of its members will aspire to do all of their collaborations in a conscious embrace of the principles of open space.

Friday, November 04, 2005

things really fly

Harrison on "Afterfeelings"
...The key to effective facilitation in OS is authenticity -- that sort of focused presence that comes when an individual really knows and accepts themselves, warts and all. All the rest, I find to be interesting, but pretty inconsequential. Which I guess is why we can make all sorts of "mistakes" and everything turns out just fine. "Mistakes" as in skipping a principle, fumbling the Law, etc. However, getting to authenticity is no mean feat, and there are millions of ways to go. So I think it is true, anybody with a good head and good heart can "do it." But there is more, because it may well take you a lifetime (or more) to do it well. There is practice (or maybe A Practice) involved. And the reason is pretty straight forward.

When you intentionally place yourself in the midst of the intense crucible of human emotions, thoughts, hatreds, anxieties, hopes, fears, expectations that often (always?) show up in an Open Space -- going in without deep personal preparation is a one way ticket to suicide. At least that has been my experience. The folks will probably get along just fine (they usually do), but you will find that your soul is fried. And here, Paul, I think you have it just right in terms of the possibility of ego getting in the way. God help you if you ever think that YOU ARE IN CHARGE! Being totally present and absolutely invisible may be an impossible ideal, but the closer we come to that state, the better things work for us (as facilitators) and the group.

And when we get it right, or as close to "right" as we can on that particular day, the total experience can be euphoric, not to say ecstatic. Things really fly! At the conclusion we have the opportunity to experience ourselves at our fullest -- when everything we could be becomes actual, at least for that moment...

originally uploaded by CB Photography
under the Creative Commons license