Tales from Marguerite

Hosting today in Pembroke, Ontario. We are about to head into the third day together with a focus on “getting to work in the journey.” The group is alive. Very well connected. Very oppened to relationship with each other. Their work will look different today than it would have on the 27th — the level of community is much more than seems possible in such a short time.

One story that I loved from yesterday was from Sister Alice. She is a long time administrator and leader of the Marguerite Centre, which is where we are meeting. We invited her to tell us a bit of the story of this place so that we could know more of where we are. What she told in 5 minutes was grounding, insightful, and delightful.

This Marguerite Centre used to be a home for the sisters of the order. This included many older sisters, between 80 and 95 years old. Sister Alice described how they had moved in here expecting to live their full lives here and to die here. The Order knew that they would need to move into a new place across the street in order to give the care that they needed to the sisters, as well as shift the Centre into a place that can host groups like us and produce some revenue. Sister Alice described the need to let go of the old so that the new could be born. She described in an inspiring way these principles of working with the women:

1. Asking the question, “What gives?” And invitation to relationship and to understand in a shared way.
2. Get them involved. It was commical the way she described this. They held circles. Not “committees.” “Those women are old enough to not want any more committees so we called them circles.”
3. End with ritual. When the move was eventually happening, their was invitation for each sister to take an object from the old place and carry forward the symbol to the new place.

These three little steps feel like great guideposts for working with change. I love it when these just show up in the context of telling a story. They are real, simple, and to the core.

Sister Alice reflected a bit further. “I’ve never seen such life. They trusted and became alive because of those circles. They were called to be alive.” She told of talking with some that were resisting. “You may be old but you aren’t too old to think!”

It was a tale of calling forth that comes from the freedom to let go. Was beautiful to hear.

Art of Hosting Design — From Engage Interact

From colleagues Tim Merry, Tatiana Glad and others. These questions are really strong and created breakthrough thinking for all involved.

Day One – Protection
What is sacred to me?
What am I protecting?
What time is it for me and my world? What do I wish to protect in myself and the world?
How does protection show up in hosting?
What is hosting protecting?
Day Two – Death and Hospicing
What is ready to die in me and my world?
What do we know about hosting death?
What are our questions about hosting graceful passage?
What beliefs hold me back from my full potential as a host and human?
Day Three – Hosting Emergence – the new
What is emerging here? What is emerging everywhere?
What is the new I commit to support in myself and life?
How do we host emergence?
How can we host space invaders?
Day Four – Bridging and Illuminating
How capable is humanity of dealing with intense and rapid change?
What do I want to share with others?
What is the path I am building as I walk it?
What is the bridge (in me and life) between the old and the new?

The Unprecedented Unknown

I was listening into an invitation phone call yesterday. It was a beautifully hosted. It was friends and possible participants exploring an Art of Hosting event in June that is focused on this core question:

What is dying and what is being born in a world where capitalism is being transformed and wealth redefined?

Some of these possible participants were asking why it would be important to be at the event. The spoken needs ranged everything from desparate for “practical tools for the trenches” to much needed “philosophical reeavaluation of the financial and wealth paradigm.”

As I listened, a core question became clear to me that underlies the specifics of the financial questions.

How do we face the unprecedented unknown?
As leaders?
As participants?
Or for this specific context, as professionals from this particular field of financial planning?

My bias is that we are “facing an unprecedented unknown.” (health care, food and sustainability, education…). I find this helpful to name. It helps name the need for why a project or an initiative matters. For why pioneering efforts matter. For why pioneering process matters.

Learning surfacing through Art of Hosting, Berkana and other groups supporting engagement is that the “how” of “facing unprecedented unknowns” is found in community. This is what I am learning. This is what leading practitioners are sharing. This is what academians are reporting.

More specifically in the “how” is the importance of colearning (think of this as core competency to adapt) in community. And real work that people care about. And relationships that are real and close enough to endure and thrive in the knowing and the not knowing that most certainly shows up in unprecedented unknowns.

Christina Baldwin has been a great example of a “namer” for me. She names what is going on so that we can have choice of what to do with it. It is my learning that naming the magnitude of unknown helps people focus beyond the tools and tricks. It takes us into the core competency needed of creating the new together, gathered in community.

Invoking Emergence in Times of Uncertainty

This is one of the best posts / articles I’ve read in a long time on emergence. Peggy Holman, the author, has a unique gift of giving voice and applying it in practice.

I love her story — transforming a prison system where the leader must work with both the tradition needs of a board and yet the visionary needs of the system.

I lover her description of emergence, including the qualities of the new that show up when connected. “Mom’s nose, Dad’s eyes, but still something unique in and of itself.”

I love the three questions she asks to invoke the emergence of the new…

1. How do we disrupt coherence compassionately?
2. How do we engage dissonance creatively?
3. How do we realize novelty wisely?

Her post is here. Enjoy