Last Saturday, through the Salt Lake Center for Engaging Community, I offered a half-day workshop on Open Space Technology with our local community. I wondered if four hours would be enough to get a helpful taste of learning about OST and of experiencing OST. It was. Quite remarkably delicious actually.
We moved our way from Welcome to Check-in. There was an immediate deepening and group appreciation as people shared stories of why they choose to come. I offered a few resource books — some of Harrison Owen’s books (Wave Rider, and Expanding Our Now), but also others that help set a broader context for using OST (Peggy Holman – Engaging Emergence; Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea – The Circle Way; Roger Lewin — Complexity; Margaret Wheatley – Turning to One Another, and A Simpler Way; Paulo Coelho – Life; Fritjof Capra, David Steindl-Rast – Belonging to the Universe). We moved our way into a one-round experience of OST just 25 minutes — Why talk? Of course we talked about the 4 Principles, the Law of Mobility, and Passion / Responsibility. I loved the feedback from this short round and harvest, offered by Erin Gilmore — “25 minutes; 100 gems.”
The harvest was in the form of simple Haiku:
From the group, “How do you deal with problems like negativity taking over?”
Feel it. Don’t fix it.
What I’m afraid of controls me.
Not swayed by crazy.
It vibrates from me.
What is the practice here now?
Open to deep space.
From the group, “How do we include the heart in our talk?”
Heart is present when
it is lov’d and unveiled.
Spirit feeling open.
And from the group, “…even when others don’t see the value?”
Unite and conquer.
Honoring the old and new.
Speaking our shared truths.
After a short break, we spent 45 minutes teaching and telling stories on a few basics to help each of us in our practice. 1) Preparation and Invitation, 2) Needed Physical Set-Up, 3) Beginning and Open Space, 4) Principles, The Law of Mobility, Passion & Responsibility, 5) The Host’s Job, and 6) Harvesting.
And then a checkout asking people to name a bit of how the learning today changes what they do.
All in all, a great half day. A reminder to me of the power of the process, even when done in a very short time frame.