The Space of On — Art of Hosting Money

Arrived in Denver, Colorado today to meet with a wonderful hosting team. Martin Siesta from New Jersey, Elizabeth Jetton from Georgia, and Dick Wagner from Colorado are all financial planners. They are dear hearts, they know there industry, and they have a deep commitment to exploring the unknowns of the economic paradigm. Dear friends Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea are here from PeerSpirit — it is always such an opening and gift to work with them. Teresa Posakony and I are here as pattern keepers of the Art of Hosting.

Today was a day of simply checking in. It was the work of gathering in circle so that we could say a few words to each other. Yes, a social space to check in, and some dinner together, a short walk away to Pho on Sixth. It was the activating of a center, the creating of a hearth that I was looking for. Christina rang the bells and invited the spirit of creating good in the world through our work. I offered the questions — what are you most excited about for this gathering? What do you need to show up in the way you want too? From the moment that Dick spoke, the first to speak, of money as a way of connecting people in a society, and then followed by Elizabeth, sharing some of the consciousness shift that we are in, I felt the working field become very present.

Other inspired words and invitations were spoken and felt in that circle. The sense of quest. The hope of community. Bold actions. Activating energy fields. The gift of dark times and the next levels of “yes.” Each and all noticed from telling a few stories together in response to the questions. They are the beginning, a container, that now gives us a lot of freedom in our design for the next day.

“On,” or a particular level of “on” begins with a good checkin. And as I sit with this feeling of “on” now, that we will carry into design, I keep hearing Elizabeth’s words — “we might just create a new profession this week.” When “on” arrives, those kind of words get very real. It is inspiring and worth a good breath too.

Car Ride Full of Stories with Murray — Meeting in Our Humanity

Last week I cohosted a learning event, Conversational Leadership — Builiding Relationships that Matter, with colleagues and friends, Lauri Prest, Anne Symes, and others. When complete, I needed a ride from Kingston, Ontario to Ottawa so that I could catch a flight. Murray Hillier, a participant, was headed that way and offered a lift. Together we were delighted to have the two hour ride for some bonus time together. Murray works in the area of mental health. He is a clinical nurse practitioner, an educator, and a former paramedic. I loved Murray immediately in the workshop because of his love of questions and stories. In our ride, I felt the gift of building on the time together in our workshop, and the gift of sharing stories from our lives and work. A few of those gifts are below.

“If you take the breath away, you die.” A model that Lauri and I shared at the workshop was around divergence and convergence. It is a model that invites the need to slow down. To breath into our work. It is a challenge to the pattern that many of us live in that is primarily focused on efficiency. That efficiency, though a good intention and good practice, often has us unintentionally feeling out of breath. “Breath is life’s blood. When we are in fear, or panic, often we hyperventilate,” Murray shared. “In this, we lose breath, the very thing we need to feed our brain and other parts of our body to be well.” The breath that we need to expand what we can see as choices isn’t there. “Shallow breath. Shallow thoughts.” This reminds me further of what good friend and hosting colleague, Janice Stieber Rous, has taught me — most people aren’t breathing. She is very experienced in integrating energetic and physical wellness.

Mental Wellness Days — Murray shared another story about mental wellness days that links to overall wellness. In an organization he was a part of, a new program began with gave employees six mental wellness days per year. There was no particular need that had to be named. No illness. No justification. Just six days for mental wellness. The days couldn’t be banked. Murray shared how at the end of the year only 1/2 of the days were actually used. However, sickness had decreased substantially — I think he said 66%. Yes, there is a relationship between our physical wellness and our mental wellness, and I would add, our spiritual wellness, our intellectual wellness, and, and, and…. I’m grateful to Murray for the stories of wholeness and wellness — it is really what I feel my work is, all of us, who are working as group process artists and faciltators.

Murray had more — stories of brutal honesty that he had to share as a paramedic with people who were facing death. People who he was treating, asking if this was it — was this the end, and have to tell them yes. If I were to name a common thread in all of it, they were stories of meeting in our humanity.

A good car ride. Good friendship. Good learning. And a few great tips on supporting our shared love of our daughters :). All about wellness.

What Do We Know Now About Leadership In A Self-Organizing World?

This was a question that Teresa Posakony and I carried deliberately at the learning conference, Leadership in a Self-Organizing World (see also previous blog post on this event).

Below are three levels of harvest from this question:

1. Teresa hosted a circle in open space on the third day. These two embedded photos capture some of the discussion. The notes below are in response to a check-out circle on “How do we talk about this?”

Saturday, 3:00 (Teresa, Tenneson, Gabriel, Diana, Henri, Jim, Shiloh, Ashley, Roosey, Tom, Diana, Christy and more………. – Tell real stories of amazing stuff that we wouldn’t have expected – Be in the practice of listening, hearing, and symbolizing – Assume that everything we need to know is right here – Name it as participant organized – they own the responsibility and can point to “somebody did it” – Relationship between hearing the story and self-organizing change – Clear intention, purpose context…people can self-organize to create – Experience it – Ask powerful questions – How would you like to access the true potential of your organization – Focus on the work we have to do, the real need and purpose. Then be thoughtful and choiceful about how to get about it. – Reflection of nature & Body…words and images – Follow the energy of yes! – Use vocabulary to understand and engage – Be in the life energy – how to serve the larger whole. – Cultivate genuine curiosity and authentic response – Welcome people home…to the best of what we know and in connection with what is alive already

2. The last convergence exercise we did on the fourth and last day was with the full group. The intention was to see another glimpse of what was important in the group. Innovative process hosted by Peggy Holman. Each of us wrote the one principle we thought was most important for leaders in a self-organizing world. The cards included everything from simple principles to larger sets of ideas. We exchanged cards randomly with other participants and then stopped to rank points between two cards. Then random exchange. Then ranking. We did this through five cycles and totalled the points. The top responses are here:

1. One never knows the power of an idea/vision until shared with others who have similar passions. (27)
2T. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. “Leaders” are not self ordained. They are recognized by their contributions and response to a calling from deep within to commit their life to contributing to the greater good. (26)
2T. Clarity I now have: *So many labels! * To participate in a Self Organizing World means truly owning up to allowing each person (including myself) freedom to express their passions about the subject * to be fully present and mindful within myself and within the group. (26)
4. Be yourself. (25)
5. In a Self Organizing World: I bring my whole self my dream passion each moment presence, and allow others the same grace. (24)
6. Provides a space where each person can speak her/his truth and offer his/her gifts. (23.5)
7T. Leadership in a self-organizing world – means…We all lead and we know when it is our time to lead by listening to our body and spirit – when it calls out our gift. (22)
7T. Creating contexts that help life-energy find itself, manifest, serve itself, and evolve – at all levels including self, group, community, social system, and planet – with decreasing violence, toxicity, and waste. (22)
9T. You must be a vital self-organizing system in order to lead, serve, and host the ever unfurling nature of a self-organizing world. In this breathing, beating, crumbling, and constellating living world – we love and lead into dynamic tension of living and dying – sending and receiving – leading from in front or behind. True leadership is authentically living expressing just that. (21)
9T. The power of connection to nature remaining in its stillness so that all that needs to show up shows up, with flow of a river. (21)
9T. Open Space is a way that nature organizes itself. I also see that the container is the “how” of the system. It would take longer time periods to deal with certain grievances at a more root level than others. Truly what is needed for humanity currently is “root” responses to personal and collective trauma. (21)
9T. My insight: Hierarchies arise, serve, disolve, reorganize. Leaders can relax and allow their role to present itself – be free of the burden of the acknowledged leader role. It takes an integrated “anima” to be a effective leader in a self-organizing world. (21)
9T. LSOW is allowing and nurturing passion. (21)
9T. Convene in curiosity to remember and create together choices. Trust first next steps. (21)

3. I asked about a dozen people (thanks to each of them) the same questions on the 3rd and 4th days with this context. Assume the world is self-organizing. Assume there is such a thing as leadership. Knowing that these are both meaningful conversations that invite more attention, what you would you name as the most important principle for a leader to be effective in a self-organizing world? Those reponses are below.

– stay open — don’t get stuck in a time suck
– keep dropping seeds — don’t get freaked out about what you can’t do
– remember you already are leading in a self-organizing world
– be bold, listen, and do
– fully manifest and make room for others to fully manifest too
– give people a place to tell their story (until the sun comes up and it is a new day)
– practice letting go and welcoming a discerning stance
– be deliberate in witnessing what is happening, sometimes not through voice
– create a safe place in the transition (grief work is birth work)
– put a ball into play and then be a participant
– pay attention to the field
– speak a best guess of what is arising
– be bold, and then surrender
– be grounded
– work with the spirit of invitation
– name the question clearly
– be a steward of shared intention
– tend to the social fabric of community
– tune in / center
– welcome and invite diverse voice
– welcome disruption as gifts
– give shared attention to task, process, and relationships
– reenlist in the love affair with tension

Leadership in a Self-Organizing World — 90 Practitioners Gathered

Last week I was in Leavenworth, WA for a learning conference, Leadership in a Self-Organizing World. Berkana was co-sponsor — another event to support the needed exploring and forms for these times. The place was beautiful. Gigantic pines. Icicle River running alongside the conference space and at the feet of Sleeping Lady, the mountain after which the conference center is named. A harvest video is here, including some beautiful shots of the land. Amazing people there. I particularly found it helpful to be with some old friends and feel the sense of meeting each other even more deeply — the times are calling us to be in our deepest relations and creations together.

The gathering was held largely in Open Space format. Harrions Owen and Anne Stadler were there, people who really helped give Open Space its early shape, conditions, and practice. Peggy Holman was a core host — her work is thoughtful and exquisite. Anne is among the most beautiful souls I’ve ever come to know. She is elegant, full of grace, lives from such a beautiful place of joy. Harrison is direct, has a cowboy’s straight-talking edge, and spoke with simplicty. Below are a few of the gifts I got through this listening with Harrison, including added ways to talk about the principles and laws.

– What can we do together that we can’t do alone? The invitation was for each of us and all of us to take our practice to next levels in the reality of a self-organizing world. It was an invitation to get to the “what’s possible” in the companionship of many that are pioneering.

– This time is one of the most exciting times in history. It is a time where many recognize we are beyond bullshit and that we have to be honest with each other. Harrison spoke of “a whole mess of people” who are scared now and having fits. It’s time for us to get lit up and go to the edge and beyond.

– There is a difference between doing something wrong and doing the wrong thing. The former presumes we have the right paradigm and just need to learn. The latter asserts we need a new way of thinking.

– There is no such thing as an closed system. A closed system is a mythology born in Newtonian science and perpetuated through many traditions of management and control. “Managerialism is the greatest evil and hypocracy of the 20th century,” speaks Brian Bainbridge, a dear elder parish leader and consultant from Australia. “In my parish, they no longer ask, ‘what do you want us to do?’ That question has evaporated.” Brian is leading with a different principle — that open systems seek deeper meaning and fitness. They do this or they collapse and make way for the emergence of other systems.

– Open Space as a format came to Harrison over two maratinis and 20 minutes. It was a simple as naming areas of care, opening a market place and then getting to work with no advance planning needed and no facilitation of groups.

– From Harrison’s book, Wave Rider, naming that surfers are not in charge of the wave. They are curious, go with the flow, see opportunities, work with invitation and appreciation.

– The focus is on the reality of self-organization, what has been happenign for 13 billion years.

– Everyone, every organization, every community will have bumps, hills, valleys and what have yous. Create a way for people so share what they have passion for and then take some responsibility. Create a nexus for caring that is real passion and real responsibility.

– Whoever comes are the right people. Why? Because they care. “I’d rather have 3 people who care — that’s gorgeous — than 50 that don’t give a damn.” Structure contrains spirit.

– On the law of 2 feet — when feet stop moving, and organization dies. We need to keep the grief working in organizations because it helps us get to the next that is needed. “Give people a place to say ‘o shit’ with vigor.”