Stephen started of an interesting conversation, with a challenging question - April 24, 2012
The recent conversation string about Proaction cafe has inspired me to write about a topic that has been on my mind recently. In my view conversations that matter are critical to social change, and individual growth and change, which is one of the reasons AoH is so important to me. AoH is wonderful in creating collective intelligence / wisdom and the methodologies are great for working with groups to do just that.
So in response to the question "What is missing?" in AoH I wonder about methodologies for one-to-one conversations? I regard these potentially as conversations that matter a very great deal, possibly especially at the individual growth and change level.
It seems to me that many of the principles of group conversations apply in just the same way: Presence, consciousness, centredness, compassion, powerful questions and the magnificent light of shadow all exist.
We have been doing a lot of work on mentoring over the past few years, and now we've developed a model of hosting powerful conversations within that sort of relationship. The work is basically a synthesis of some ideas we've learned from others and some of our own ideas. It is early days and it is not a beautifully refined methodology at this stage.
With the exception of Circle, which I see as more of a pattern, or archetype, than a methodology, there seems to be little attention to one-on-one conversations in AoH. I am in awe of the power of Circle in these conversations and have been having some lovely conversations with Ann and Christina about it. They have shared some powerful stories about their recent work with in Sydney.
If there is interest I'd be happy to share our thinking, but I didn't want to presume about some ruminations that might be merely of interest to a few of us living far away "down under".
Immediately some comments, questions followed:
And some days later there was more shared, asked, wondered...
I also do beleive there is value in offering one to one conversations in the flow of AoH, we have also included quite a bit both for setting the tone for deep listening and also for deeper personal inquiry in the holding and embracing attention, awareness of the other.
The Circle as a core principle and its wholeness for the whole of the group is extremely important to be able to generate the strong and inspiring "cauldron" we tend to create. In our last AoH-Training we also included along this line Bohm's Dialogue, which I am in favour of, and also a 2-hour practice of the The Way of the Council and both seem to have a strong response. I wonder why? And my feeling is that for some people in the space and intensity of the table conversations (World Café - ProActionCafé) it is less obvious to notice the energy field and personal awareness??...
Dear all, dear Stephen,
and still some more!
Hi Steve and Mates world wide, from a longstanding lurker in Adelaide, Australia. Here is an idea to consider about a methodology for ‘one-to-one conversation’ for which you and others have expressed yearning. It is just getting under way and is still deliberately under the radar, with no social media connections as yet. Could this complement other practices of AoH to do with group processes for large scale social change and with face-to-face encounters? I would welcome your comments and speculations. ‘You arrive, are welcomed by the host and others, mix informally and order your food. When this is ready to be served you find someone you don’t know and have your meal together. How does this sound to you as a way to have an interesting and fun time?' I refer to a new way of socialising in which the precepts of AoH are to the fore in practice and in principle. This, through a format which I call Conversare is hosted social gatherings in public places such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, community centres. The purpose is purely to enjoy lively and enriching conversation. There is nothing to ‘do’, no problems to resolve, no focus on results, no strategy to consider. The core activity is having a meal, in pairs, with a stranger (with opportunity to mix informally before and after with others also). All that is asked of participants is that they give of themselves in a spirit of curiosity and interest in 'the other.’ Knowing that by doing this, as is everyone else, they are contributing to the ‘emergings’ – remarkable and often unexpected they may be - of each one-off event. See Feedback
Underpinning this enterprise is that: . we, the human species, are 'in this together.' At Conversare events people from any 'tribe' or allegiance interact respectfully with others. With the starting point of ‘whenever we treat each other well good things happen.’ I sense there is not widespread appreciation - at least not consciously expressed - of this ‘other side’ the Golden Rule. Have you ever come across anybody who denied the validity of this notion? . here is a way in which people can and do talk to each other face-to-face. For as you are no doubtless aware, there are many reasons for why this does not happen. Sherry Turkle’s careful observations and analysis reported in her essay The Flight From Conversation gives an insight into a technological dimension of this. Among others are demographics (the ‘greying’ of the population, the rapid rise of single person dwellings), social isolation and associated loneliness arising from the design of cities, the market-driven nature of society … The 'trial testing' was done in Hong Kong. The second such event in Australia is scheduled for Monday in a pub near where I live, in the south west corner of the city of Adelaide. The publican and many of the local residents are community minded people. See Forthcoming Events A poke around the blog may give you a sense of the background and developments to date. I wonder if you see potential applications of the idea wherever you live on this little planet, 3rd from the sun? Can you imagine the kinds of people who would welcome access to such a resource in their local neighbourhoods? Perhaps starting with those who are disenchanted with ‘insubstantial facebook connectivity.’ <grin> Go well Take risks Alan ---------------- Hello everyone!
I’ve been watching this thread and felt a response rise in me: “There is nothing missing from Art of Hosting!”
If Art of Hosting is a practice, and not a set of tools, then it is up to each of us to bring what we need to the practice. What do I need to do to be able to host myself well? How can I be a great participant and support others to be as well? What do I need to strengthen and presence for myself to be able to host conversations with others? What do we need to strengthen and presence together? What is it that supports communities of practice and learning to flourish? Where can I/we be a solid support to that and a passionate co-learner in the field?
In fact, what does it take to co-create and enliven the fields of practice, thought and action that will create the positive shifts humanity is capable of now as well as those needed on the planet?
The field itself is wide open to what each of us bring, and indeed, we wouldn’t be a learning community or be committed to stewarding if we didn’t value what each of us is stewarding on behalf of the whole. That’s why there are so many flavours of inquiry and practice out there in our wider community. I know it has been joyful for me to see how my love and practice of story has meshed into Art of Hosting work, and how much the community helps me to form my work and my commitment going forward.
Now if we are focusing on Art of Hosting as a 3 day training, there isn’t room to bring everything. There needs to be some common foundation for us all to begin with. Already we’re trying to pack in a lot! And it depends who is on the hosting team as to what else gets focused on. I was strongly reminded of how important the foundations are as 3 of us — who had never worked in this constellation before, some of us who had never worked together before — had a recent engagement with a new and challenging client with a very bureaucratic structure. The group marvelled at how seamlessly we seemed to be in the work together. We knew it was because we had enough common practice to step in well together, even though the ground kept shifting.
I think the next level of Art of Hosting will be found where the edge of our practice meets the needs the world throws at us. It will be at the intersection of who we are and what we practice and the ground we can hold for others, as well as in the application of what we know. Where’s that edge? Well, that’s something I want to talk about in Slovenia. Who’s joining me?
Your response strongly resonates with my sense of co-creating, collaborating and co-sensing among those who gather.
Hierarchy and dependency can emerge when the practice and methodologies are exchanged for a program or a set of tools.
As I am on the way to the #balle2012, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I am focused upon practices that lead to shared values, collaborative resourcing and sustainable communities.
Shalom, peace, Salaam to all,
and more was shared...
Well said, Mary-Alice.