The Art of Hosting

The ARTS of being present, of working with mates, of inviting, of harvesting, of sensing the river below the river...

is sometimes best described in poems...

Please share what you find useful in your practice of hosting and harvesting!

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When you know what you are doing

When your gifts match the purpose

when the call is strong

and the questions are electric


when the people need it

when purpose swirls amongst us

the invisible leader,

the blurry shepherd, 

nipping at our heels

and tilting the floor...


when the time is right

and the world is facing you full on


when the complexity is overwhelming

and the elusive answers die in the field of despair


when you stare at an empty circle 

and every face begs for certainty

and your knees shake with the trembling

that comes with the deepest not knowing.



and only then.


it will work.


Chris (Corrigan)

This is a favorite for calling in space once people are in the room--it leads to a powerful check-in question: what is the step that is yours to take, that you perhaps don't want to take... Google David Whyte and you will be amazed at all the poetry out there. His prose books on bringing arts into the corporate setting as a change agent are powerful tools as well.

Christina B.


Start close in


Start close in,

don’t take the second step

or the third,

start with the first


close in,

the step

you don’t want to take.


Start with

the ground

you know,

the pale ground

beneath your feet,

your own

way of starting

the conversation.


Start with your own


give up on other

people’s questions,

don’t let them

smother something



To find

another’s voice,


your own voice,

wait until

that voice

becomes a

private ear


to another.


Start right now

take a small step

you can call your own

don’t follow

someone else’s

heroics, be humble

and focused,

start close in,

don’t mistake

that other

for your own.


Start close in,

don’t take the second step

or the third,

start with the first


close in,

the step

you don’t want to take.



David Whyte


Thanks Christina for posting this here!

I had read it before, but as it goes, forgot about it; now it is back in my memory and ready to be used!

Here's one that came on an email today:


I Am The Decisive Element


I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element.

It is my personal approach that creates the climate.

 It is my daily mood that makes the weather.

I possess the tremendous power to make a life miserable or joyous.

 I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.

I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal.


In situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de escalated

And a person humanised or de humanised.  

 If we treat people as they are, we make them worse.

If we treat people as they ought to be, we can help them become what they are capable to being.




An extract "Always Coming Home", by Ursula LeGuin

What works for words may not work for things, and to say that because two sayings that contradict each other cannot both be true is not to say that opposites do not exist.
The word is not the thing; word and thing have each their own way.
It is true that a town is made of stone, clay, and wood; it is true that a town is made of people. These words do not deny each other at all.
It is true that a bird's way and the wind blowing make a feather fall; it is true that finding the feather in my way I understand that it has fallen for me. Those words deny each other in part.
It is true that everything that is must be as it is, and that nothing is but the play of illusion upon the void; it is true that everything is and it is true that nothing is. These words deny each other wholly.
The world of our life is the weaving that holds them together while holding them apart.
The world is the bridge between the walls of a canyon, the banks of a river in an abyss, and words are the birds that fly across and across. They cannot be in two places at the same time. But they can cross and come back.
It takes all one's life long to cross the bridge to the other side. But the birds fly back and forth across the canyon, singing and speaking from one side to the other.

- Always Coming Home, Ursula LeGuin


I would love to live

Like a river flows

Carried by the surprise

Of its own unfolding.

- John O'Donohue

If you never searched for truth, come with us
And you will become a seeker.
If you were never a musician, come with us
And you will find your music.
You may posses immense wealth, come with us
An you will become a beggar of love.
You may think yourself a master, come with us
And love will turn you in to a servant.
If you have lost your spirit, come with us
Take off your silk dress, put on our rough cloak, and we will bring you back to life.

In our gathering, one candle lights hundreds
We will light your path and give you courage,
so you will open like a flower
and join in our joyous laughter.
Plant the seed of truth, and watch it grow
and when it spreads it's branches,
come with us, and sit under the blossoms.
There, your eyes will open to the secret of truth.
~ Rumi

I have a few well used, labeled, "dog-eared" books and authors/poets to whom I always turn:

Teaching with Fire: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Teach (ed: Intrator & Scribner)

Leading from Within: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Lead (ed:Intratror & Scribner)

Perseverance (Wheatley)

Love Songs from God  (Levinsky) featuring the poems of mystics Rumi, Hafez, Meister Ekhardt etc

To Bless the Space Between Us (O'Donohue)

Meditations from the Mat

Mary Oliver, David Whyte


A poem by David White, shared as Christmas gift over the emaillist, by Caitlin:

The Winter of Listening

No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every living thing.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire,

what disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.

What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

Even with the summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.

All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say.

All those years
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard.

All those years
how easily
you can belong
to everything
simply by listening.

And the slow
of remembering
how everything
is born from
an opposite
and miraculous
Silence and winter
has led me to that

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own. 

~  David Whyte  ~
(The House of Belonging)

Offered by Rose Gordon on the emaillist:

This one is one of my favorites, speaking to the understanding and knowing that comes through channels beyond thought; by Machado.
Last night As I Was Sleeping
Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

                                 Translated by Robert Bly

Extract from Paulo Coelho's Warrior of the Light: A Manual

Warriors of light keep the spark in their eyes.

They are in the world, are part of other people’s lives, and began their journey without a rucksack and sandals. They are often cowards. They don’t always act right.

Warriors of light suffer over useless things, have some petty attitudes, and at times feel they are incapable of growing. They frequently believe they are unworthy of any blessing or miracle.

Warriors of light are not always sure what they are doing here. Often they stay up all night thinking that their lives have no meaning.

Every warrior of light has felt the fear of joining in battle. Every warrior of light has once lost faith in the future.

Every warrior of light has once trodden a path that was not his/her. Every warrior of light has once felt that he/she was not a warrior of light. Every warrior of light has once failed in his/her spiritual obligations.

That is what makes them warriors of light; because they have has been through all this and have not lost the hope of becoming better.

That is why they are warriors of light.
Because they make mistakes.
Because they wonder.
Because they look for a reason – and they will certainly find one.

Shared from Jasenka Gojsic via the AoH list:

...I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903

in Letters to a Young Poet

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