Respectful Disagreement

My friend Amanda Fenton, with whom I’m hosting The Circle Way practicum in a week, wrote recently about some of her learnings on respectful disagreement.

I love it that Amanda takes on the issue of consensus amidst dialogic practice. Just because we talk, and listen, in good ways, doesn’t mean that we will agree or get our way. But it’s different to have that disagreement with real opportunity to be heard than to have disagreement “resolved” with imposition of power.

I think what happens in the best of processes, is that we welcome an understanding to come forward, and in so doing, we’ve built or improved fundamental relationship that in fact can stand in integrity with disagreement.

Amanda’s post is worth a read. Give it a go.

The Need To Tell Our Stories

It is fundamentally human to do so. Tell our stories that is.

It is social glue — with more than 140 characters or two short paragraphs. It is the way that we share experience. “Tell us about your weekend. What’s been happening with your family? Your job? Your garden? Did you watch last night’s episode?”

Or, it was (I would say is) part of ceremony. “Tell us what you have seen. Tell us of the great beyond.” I can imagine those times sitting round the fire. Listening as if life depended on it.

Ah, there it is — perhaps life depends on it, this telling of our stories, and this listening to others tell their stories. Not just social nicety, though I like that too. Nothing wrong with a passing remark about last nights’ ball game. Not just chit chat, filler before moving to the next moment of isolation. Smile. Check.

Our lives depend on the stories we tell ourselves and each other. It takes friends, company, good listeners, and good challengers to help make sense of them. I’m introverted enough to not always want to be out loud. But at some point, our lives our meant to be lived in some community. It is where sense-making is tested, where systems of imagination scale.

In ten days I will be hosting The Circle Way Practicum with a friend and colleague that I really respect — Amanda Fenton. Together we will host a group of 22 people over six days to develop the ability and recall the memory of telling our stories. We will work in large group and in smaller groups of sixish. We will invoke with others a basic process for listening, for presensing, for letting go, and for calling forth — story. “What’s it like to be you? What has your attention? What is important to you? Is there a crossroads you feel you are at?”

With minimal structure, a clear purpose, a real curiosity, and the invocation of story, I believe we can change the world. Grow it back to one that practices engagement and story, evolving the edges of who we are and what we dream possible.

Thank you Charles LaFond, a great story inviter and teller, for inspiring this post.

Emergence and The Circle Way

Last week I wrote, “Emergence is the Game.” It’s been been helpful to encourage people with this perspective. Most of the people I work with are hungry for it. They want good facilitation and good meetings. But they also want what is underneath that. A disposition to emergence (be a part of; see; welcome; be surprised by; be inspired by, etc.) is one significant part of the underneath.

I rewrote some of that post into a “News” piece, Emergence and The Circle Way, on The Circle Way Practicum website that Amanda Fenton and I are using for the upcoming August 17-22, 2016 gathering. It is a bit more explicit about the connection to The Circle Way, which continues to open me up to emergence, that feeling of flow.

There’s also some other really good articles there that Amanda and I have posted that people have been telling us they appreciate. Peek, and reach out to us. Better, join us in August. Last call goes until July 25th ish.