How is Hosting Different?

A couple of months ago, just after cohosting an Art of Hosting training on Vancouver Island, I had a follow-up call with Paula Beltgens. Paula was one of the convenors, on the calling and design team. She is a practitioner of change with boatloads of experience. I wanted to know — was really curious — about how she felt the experience of “hosting” was different from other work she has been a part of. And I wanted to hear it particularly from someone who has done a lot of design work. A few of these gems and our exploration are below. Thank you Paula.

-a sustained intimacy
-added authenticity that came from taking a breath (pacing), conversation (the continued anchor of turning to one another), varied use of methods (large group, small group, personal — varied energy with a bit of sequencing over the four days), and ability to change (adapting real time in to change design)
-not concrete planning months in advance, but instead, real time creation from an anchoring set of principles
-keeping it playful
-inviting people to bring something important to them (objects) that helped bring themselves forward into the training
-a very organic feel in hosting rather than so mechanical
-it wasn’t hierarchical — suggestions were welcome (all as teachers / colearners)
-seamlessness in handoffs amongst the core team (five of us)
-loving presence (all are welcome and all parts of people welcomed)
-big levels of participation, coached, and sometimes with simple subtlety
-less attention on group guidelines — working from the assumption that it as already safe and living appreciatively with that
-use of graphics (for this one we had a friend and colleague as graphic illustrator, Colleen Stevenson to add to what is already a common practice of harvesting and designing with pictures, colors — great mediums for inviting people to show up differently)
-sacredness of checking in, engaging and inviting spirit, heart, and mind
-powerful alliance of the hosting team, trusting each other with simple eye contact

I find these points really helpful to reflect upon. And good learning forward from one hosting team to others. Perhaps supplemented also with the simple naming up front that some of this language and application is not what people are accustomed to. Naming it up front helps people to relax into the intention of the new.

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