Bowen Island Art of Hosting, Last Day


Endings matter. Closings to events and trainings matter, though I like the way that one participant spoke this appreciatively — “it was less training; it was more tribing.”

A team of four of us created a closing to this Art of Hosting that included poetry, remembrances (written on the colored circular paper that you see in the middle of this photo — each wrote, placed them in the shape of the salmon at the center of the room, and then was invited to take one home written by another). Then an expression of gratitude from each, song, a collective blowing out the candle. And then great hugs.

Just enough ceremony to seal the time together. Not with more information. Just with feeling.

With gratitude to this group and the time together, in one of my favorite places in the world, and cohosting team, Chris Corrigan, Caitlin Frost, Teresa Posakony, and Amanda Fenton.


Bowen Island Art of Hosting, Day 3


One of the things that I love about the art of hosting is the mix of teachings, practice (as in developing ones’ craft), experiencing community, application, and just plain fun.

Above, this is Caitlin Frost adding to a teach, the model of which, Two Loops, is taped out on the floor. It’s a teach on living systems being birthed, and eventually dying. It’s a model on working with emergence and how it can scale. It’s a challenge to all of us to be in the dynamic reality of creating and letting go.




Bowen Island Art of Hosting, Day 2


The view from the causeway, near Bowen Island Lodge, British Columbia. This is where we started our day, the group of 50 of us, where we watched a Bald Eagle and Chum Salmon. Caitlin Frost shared with us, “these salmon returning to spawn, were born in 2013 — some of have been as far as Japan in their journey.”

Great beginning to big journey here.

The Gift of Projection


It’s Psych 101 material to learn about projection. The act of overlaying personal inner thought (attribution, motive, sense-making, fear, accusation, etc.) to another person’s behavior or thought. That person must be butting in line because he wants to get ahead of the others. Surely, right? Oops, it turns out that he was meeting his aging mother in the line and he was returning from parking the car so that she wouldn’t have to walk far. Oh, umm, right.

Projection is a concept you can learn in five minutes, but then you deepen that learning and awareness for a lifetime. A bit like juggling. My friend Chris (that’s him above from eight years ago) has demonstrated a few times teaching someone to juggle in such a short time. But you know there is no ceiling on how much more refined and complicated your juggling can become. So it is with projection also. It’s not whether you project that is the question for most of us. It’s how much and how aware can we become of the nuancing of our projections. That’s not 101. It’s likely not 505 either. That’s wizard school.

In a recent aha of learning my own projections (which, in a way, I wanted to deny), I stumbled into them through personal journalling. I was writing in the most honest way that I could, my assessment of someone that I’m close to but have been really feeling frustrated about. I wrote down a bunch of stuff. My story. My perceptions. “She doesn’t appreciate me.” “She is not committed.” “She is abandoning our work together.” “She is distracted by other things.”

It could be that what I wrote was true. In some way, I’m sure it all was. But my writing wasn’t for the purpose of completely clarifying that truth. It wasn’t about reduction. Some things, regardless of our great efforts, are meant to remain at least, some part, mystery.

My writing didn’t stop there. With each of the statements, the inner thoughts that I was overlaying on this person, I challenged myself to turn the projection onto me. It doesn’t mean that the first assessments weren’t right. It just means that there is more territory that is helpful to explore. Caitlin Frost is one of my key teachers in this area — her work with Byron Katie is brilliant and very thoughtful. Is there a part of ME that doesn’t appreciate her (the one I was writing about)? Is there a part of ME that is not committed? Is there a part of ME that is abandoning or wants to abandon our work together? Is there a part of ME that is distracted by too many other things?

The answers to these questions for me were clear. Of course, there was a part of me that was all of that. Not “maybe.” Not, “well, I’d have to stretch really hard to find it.” It was obvious. Duh! Yes.

Now, I’m not sure everybody goes to that layer of truth telling in public or in private journalling. It takes a unique ability to be in the multiplicity of views, seeing and owning partial truth in all of the complexity. It definitely takes more than a yes / no orientation. Binary doesn’t work in projection work (though, in truth, I recognize there is a part of me that would be comforted by such binary simplicity).

So, aha. There was some important clarity for me. And not reformed from malice. Oops, it turns out there is a part of me that can relate to wanting to cut to the front of the line. There is also a part of me that relates to wanting to take care of the aging people in my life. And there is a part of me that relates to feeling a bit embarrassed, but still going for it, hoping others will understand when I go right to the front of the line.

Can you see the kicker in this? For me, any of the projections that I so conveniently blanket on to others, are already in me. All of them. Not just the flattering things. But just some of the ugly, bitchy things. This doesn’t mean I’m always any of those things. I’m not always an ass. But if I’m honest, I can relate to being an ass, or even wanting to be sometimes.

The gift of projection is that it creates gateway to seeing more of our interiors — this applies to groups seeing more of their interior also — and more of the internal, often impulse sense-making brains that we have. It’s impressive, right. In seeing those interiors, and in recognizing the “all of that is in me too” parts, ugly, shadowy projections can transform into massive gift of clarity and compassion.

From 101 to wizard school — projections.