Friday, January 27, 2006

being called to be a host


I just joined the open space sangha, thanks Wendy for the invitation you posted to OS list...I was part of the question circle at OSonOS this year and I enjoyed it very much. And thanks to it now I explore this wonderful blog that speaks to my heart...

wow, your question is quite a powerful one for me dear Wendy because I was actually “initiated” as a host at a magical place called Castle Borl where the art of hosting was also born! Story goes like that: a visionary by the name of Miha Pogacnik who founded Idriart starts being a guardian for this extraordinary space and offers it as a learning space to those who hears Castle Borl's ( summers of 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 one of the events hosted at this magical place was called “Open Space Learning Village” which turned out to be a catalyst, a cooking pot, a transformative space for many individuals and groups that gave birth to many ideas and initiatives such as art of hosting, such as learning centers...
I too found myself at this castle, first time in 2002, where I met open space for the first time...well that encounter obviously changed my life profoundly. It was the start of a longer, deeper, transforming process of opening up, self-exploration, facing fears, understanding freedom and community...I remember how terrified and lost I was in the first few days of open space, my body and my mind reacted so strongly, I contracted with fear that came with this immense freedom and space and not knowing what to do with myself...a lot of insecurity came up that I had to face...can you imagine I didn't even know how to ask questions at that point, I was coming out of such limited space with defined corners.
Then I slowly relaxed and enjoyed the magic rhythm of open space and the humor and interconnectedness that came along with it...
one crucial process that wonderfully complemented open space was the just occurred to me actually that the circle and open space are like the feminine and masculine energies that complement, balance, feed each other...
so running around Castle Borl in open space was the first time I deeply connected with myself and the world around me which is one after all...
It was a beautiful experience of a personal and collective transformation into higher consciousness and that is exactly what it means for me to host...
this experience of opening that helped me to find the power, strength, capability, love and care within me was the moment when I knew I was called to be a host...

here is the question that just appeared before me out of nowhere...
when is the time to let go?

Thank you for this beautiful space...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Motivation and doing what you love

Dear Raffi,

Can't stand it anymore that your question has sat here since my birthday and not had an answer. So here i go...we are a circle of two at this point with lots of empty chairs for anyone to join who wants to.

So, motivation and doing what i love...well, my breakthroughs have all come from putting myself deliberately into situations that i was afraid of and that i was unsure i could succeed at. In other words, purposely confronting fear.

I think of lack of motivation as resistance. And resistance is most often about fear. Every time i confront mine, i learn a bit more about it and me, and i am less in its grasp. I am starting to make fear and pain my friends because of all the things they can teach me. And if i want to live in open space (as i understand it) this is necessary, because it is so tempting and so much easier to shut down to difficult feelings (even the good ones, like the inexplicable and unreasonable way i love all of you) than it is to push through the terrifying, but oh-so-thin veil of fear/pain that stands in the way of opening to the next possibility.

And what were some of those lessons?

Let's see..there was spelunking at River Bend Cave on Vancouver Island (5-hour trip including a 20ft belly crawl through wet gravel and a three-storey free climb over a 7-storey drop--btw never climbed or caved before) where i learned that in order to discover the delights over the next horizon you have to let go and trust the rope.

Model Mugging intensive course--full contact self-defense--where i learned that there was an inviolable place inside and that in the end i could commit 100% to myself and never give up.

10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat -- There were so many deep learnings at this one...a highlight? how to observe and not react--a special kind of discipline that is very helpful for overcoming old patterns, inertia, and resistance.

Toronto Airport last August where i got on my scheduled plane to OSonOS Halifax despite the turmoil of the morning after the crash--i learned the value of calm yet direct persistence and just how much energy achieving even a small goal can take!

Art of Hosting - Bowen Island - sitting with my fears of inadequacy around doing what i love -- discovering that the veil *is* thin and that the shortest way out of suffering is through the centre of it all.

At the Art of Hosting, we were asked a question; this question was also a breakthrough for me, as it connected my calling with my doing, as i realized that for me Open Space is, at its deepest level, about the liberation of the human spirit.

And so, i want to pass the question from that circle on to you:

What was the moment you knew you were called to Host?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Short reflection on Insight and Transformation

When i am not-busy holding space, i often find myself wondering about why/how this wonderful thing called Open Space is working. Some of the pieces that have surfaced for me include the invitation/intention of calling forth attention, the deepening concentration during the day, and sustained collective effort. A passage in Thich Nhat Hahn's, "Taming the Tiger Within", caught my eye yesterday and seems to me to be related to what is happening in an Open Space event:

The energy of mindfulness contains the energy of concentration as well as the energy of insight. Concentration helps you to focus on just one thing. With concentration, the energy of looking becomes more powerful. Because of that, it can make a breakthrough that is insight. Insight always has the power of liberating you. If mindfulness is there, and you know how to keep mindfulness alive, concentration will be there, too. If you know how to keep concentration alive, insight will come also. So mindfulness recognizes, embraces, and relieves. Mindfulness helps us look deeply in order to gain insight. Insight is the liberating factor. It is what frees us and allows transformation to happen.

Monday, January 23, 2006

open space lunch-hour

Why not! A cafe is a 60-minute format you could convene in your lunch break inside or outside a corporation!

I know we have to give up some of the goals of open space and gain other connections- which do you see as trading in or out?

A cafe invites people to join in round one specific but organsiation-wide challenge that you feel passionately about

By choosing to lead te issue you become the centre of its social network

As long as it is systemically connected to building higher trust relationships of everyone around the company and its vision, why wouldn't you be premitted to unse intranet, internal weblogs or other online modes to host a co-creation idea aligned with the company and in people's lunchtime?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

An answer

Thanks for your invitation.
I think the latest post to my OS blog contains the answer to your question.

San Diego, California

Jan. 2006

To continue the relay, my question:

What have been the breakthroughs in your life in motivating yourself, especially around doing things you love?

(Wendy, if that isn't a wicked question, I'll eat my hat)


Friday, January 13, 2006

Invitation to Play--An Inquiry Circle in the Sangha

Hello friends,

I thought for the New Year, we might try a bit of an experiment. I wondered if we could try to host an inquiry circle (a la Lisa Heft) here at the Sangha. It was very powerful in person in Halifax, and i hoped we might be able to capture some of that here--or at least see what happens.

The basic guidelines are as follows: The first person poses a question. The next person in the circle answers it and then asks the next question. This continues until it reaches round the circle to the person who posed the original question.

Here in the Sangha, it will look like this: If you want to answer the question and ask the next question (taking your place in the circle) you write a response and post it (you have to be quick here or someone may beat you to it--that's part of the fun). If you missed out on being the first to tackle the question, post your response as a comment and keep a look out for your next turn. I'd like to request that each of us leave space for others to take their seats in the circle after we have responded once.

If you are not already registered as a member of the Sangha and you want to answer a question and pose the next one, you have two choices: You can email me at the link on the right and ask to join, or you can email me your contribution and I will post it on your behalf.

So, let's get the ball rolling with a wicked one...

What is your experience of Spirit and Open Space?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

250 open space projects for 9 to 13 year olds

We've started 250 parallel ones at

This is how- do come and hold one of the 250 spaces if it sounds worth trying to you
Mail me at that you want an invite. Its not a lot of work nominating one topic, as the example below illustrates

Imagine a 5 year diary started for a 9 year old today but to be completed as if it was 250 topics - one a week; each one they can add their own learnings to through the 5 years

what sorts of topics should we by inviting them to discover

one example is sport- my nine year old's happens to be swimming but it could be almost anything; if I were a journalist asking her some questions to start her diary off, I feel I should ask:
work did you have to do to become as good as anyone of my age and in my town at this sport?

Did I enjoy being confident that I could be as good as anyone at something?

What else might I want to try next to be as good at?

What other questions would be more fun to write some answers while I am 9 to 13 and about swimming?

Hope this is clear. I am looking for another 249 subjects that open space so every 9 to 13 year child could enjoy write up their own learning curve on many of them; and I rather assume that if and when all schools permit kids to convene their open space cafes in their lunch breaks, some of the 250 topics we choose will match what the kids would choose for other kids with the chnace to reflect back on 9 to 13

Finally, I dont want to reinvent the wheel. If someone is already doing ninenow, please tell me. However I do think this needs to be generated by families and kids so we can free up teachers from the examination modes bossy governments adccidentally chain our kids learning in until there is no open space left. I also strongly believe that as well as failing our kids by not introducing them to open space they are failing to train them in how to use the net to find their own mentors through life and help others do likewise - this open practice is outlined here