Overnight News

This summer while working with Amanda Fenton over the course of three successive gatherings in three weeks of time, we developed a really helpful and easy rhythm of designing that included what we began to call, “Overnight News.”

Amanda and I cohosted The Circle Way Practicum on Whidbey Island. Then a two-day workshop on The Circle Way in Brisbane, Australia for Uniting Care Community (seen above). Then another Circle Way Practicum in Australia’s Northern New South Wales.

Design for such events is never a formula. Though we work from an overarching template, there is always significant parts that are customized depending on who the participants are and how the gathering is unfolding. Often, a good chunk of that customizing comes from huddling in the evening, and then sleeping on the design, and then welcoming insights that have come over night when not thinking about it. Thus the “overnight news” naming.

We human beings are accustomed to trying pretty hard at things, aren’t we. Many of us have the upbringings that value a good work ethic, tenacity, and getting things done. It’s part of a larger culture that so values speed and efficiency. Even such good values and commitments can lead us astray from a different kind of entrance that challenges what my Mom used to tell me was “trying to hard.” I’d fret over things. Overthink things. Try so hard that I’d just befuddle myself. It was all super well-intended. However, what was missing in that was enough memory and trust that less focus can often lead to more clarity, and even swiftness.

With Amanda, it was such a nice rhythm. Get clear enough on what our design was for the next day. Then retreat to our respective sleeping spaces. Then huddle in the morning to share what settled, or what improvements we each woke with. Sometimes that meant changing the order slightly. Sometimes that meant removing a piece. Sometimes it meant something wholly new. Sometimes it meant a clear yes to go with what we had that came from a bit of rest. Each evening / morning we’d repeat this.

I know that there are many styles for learning. I know that I’m expressing a kind of preference in naming the overnight news. Fair enough. But one of the patterns underneath that I so value is the disposition that welcomes insights to arrive quite naturally rather than feeling need to always chase them or maneuver them into reality. Life, and spirit I’d say, wants to partner with us. And one of the ways that happens, I’ve learned, is through overnight news.