The Art of Hosting

The Art of Humans Being – Explorations in Creating the New Economy

July 16-19, 2012 Essex Conference Center, Essex, MA

This was a second gathering in the series Art of Humans Being; this time around the theme of Explorations in Creating the New Economy. The Art of Humans Being is working with practices from both Art of Hosting and Women Moving the Edge. The gathering took place July, 16-19, 2012 at the Essex Conference Center, Essex, MA - USA.

Hosting team: Tenneson Woolf, Teresa Posakony, Judy Wallace, Susan McHenry and Ria Baeck.

Some AoHB 2012 Photos:  Tenneson’s - people and places, Ria’s Photos                            


Guiding Question

If the current shift in the economic and financial systems is an opportunity,

how will we repattern our ideas around money,

what we value and appreciate, and start living the new story?

July 17, Day 1 beginning at 3 PM

Harvest of check-in: What called you to be here?

From Ria:


My soul is yearning

            To add my voice to this intention.

My soul is yearning

            To end the battle of resources

My soul is yearning

            For fundamental truth about what is going on.

My soul is yearning

            To shift ‘there is not enough’.

My soul is yearning

            For sufficiency.

My soul is yearning

            To shift ‘more is better’; to stop insanity.

My soul is yearning

            To re-imagine from scratch.


Paradigmatic shift

            Is about collective innovation.

Paradigmatic shift

            Is about the value of kindness.

Paradigmatic shift

            Is about expanded consciousness.

Paradigmatic shift

            Is because of relationships.

Paradigmatic shift

            Is food justice.

Paradigmatic shift

            Is about more relationship with the feminine.

Paradigmatic shift

            Is about consciousness and systems.

Paradigmatic shift

            Is becoming more chrystaline.

Paradigmatic shift

            Is about always coming back to center.

Paradigmatic shift

            Is seeing the human systems and knowing we can change them.



            Is a chance to slow down.


            Is re-discovering…


            Is individual change feeding collective change.


            Is love that dissolves the fear, and creates more love.


The Wisdom Council is here in spirit and is us.

Can we join consciousness and action?

The soul of … is calling us.

Anything is possible.

Energetically something is seeded here.


In the box, outside the box...

A theme that was quite prominent in this gathering.

How to think - and act - outside the mainstream box of the current money and economic system.

Guiding question for the World Café conversation: What is shaking in you? What is shaking in the world you see?


July 17, 2012

Check-in Day 2: How we are already living the new story? 

How are we living the new story?  How does money stop this?

  • Be willing to listen, to risk, to stretch in new ways.
  • Like being in kindergarten for grad school
  • Pace and attention, how can organizations match a true human pace?
  • Money – what does it mean to earn, spend, gift, have, not have?
  • New Yorkers are birding in Central Park
  • Birds guiding our evolutionary leap
  • Re-Source, put intrinsic value back into the system
  • Daily contemplative practice
  • Gifting as a way of shifting
  • Listen to and follow the forward moving life energy
  • Follow my heart
  • Entrepreneurial eco-system – giving freely and it comes back in unexpected ways
  • Develop an economy around what humans really need – life giving compost
  • Artist of Being
  • Create a ramp for people getting off the main highway
  • Soul building – living life systems
  • Crate spaces for flow
  • Letting go of time and that relationship
  • Permission to rest
  • 97% is not visible
  • Re-story the invisible
  • Don’t have to be on the fast track to be successful
  • How to build a resilient life?
  • Find the tipping point
  • Live the gift
  • Vulnerability and gracious receiving – ride the edge
  • Release imprint of needing financial security
  • Bump the old story down a few notches
  • Flow is action
  • Loving kindness, letting love flow
  • Make something of the pain and anger of destruction
  • Coming here to talk about the new story
  • See the old and the new as a story, a game
  • Capitalism is a game.  Do you want to play or not? Play another story!
  • Being in the trauma of our story prevents us from our full potential
  • Can we come out of the trauma of ‘not enough’?


Principles for a new system of exchange – the Money Game

One of the things that emerged in the design of our second day was a game around money and exchange. The elements of the game were: some newly created Essex Dollars (in the form of stones and smaller and longer leaves), some stuff to sell (on little pieces of paper) and each person’s unique gift written on a colorful paper and taped on our chest. Off we went into the game! Soon enough we figured out we could create more little pieces of paper - to sell or exchange - more related with our unique gifts.


Out of this game we tried to come up with principles for a new system of exchange. We realized that the principles we got out of this game, were not really new, but is was more about re-awakening to what we already know:

  • –        value your unique gift
  • –        come to an exchange and pay what dignifies the work and creates sustainability for all
  • relationship - or care or love - is key in the exchange – and exchange creates    relationship
  • –        purchase from a place of connection
  • –        flow matters and creates abundance
  • –        for exchange we don’t need money
  • –        trust there will be more opportunities
  • –        urgency for somebody matters
  • –        there is responsibility beyond the mere transaction
  • –        value varies for different people


After Lunch:

In the Box, outside the Box

Inspiring stories around de-programming around money...

by Ria, David and Adam…


–        the book The Future of Money, by Bernard Lietaer

–        what to choose, to believe? the busy-ness or natural rhythm?

–        the flourishing of Europe, between the years 1000 and 1300, because two systems of money were in place - one was re-coining every 5 to 6 years, with something like 25% value taken off... the consequence being that everyone spent as much as possible in long-lasting projects: art, buildings, mills etc. physical height of women was higher than now!

–        Subtle sensing, forward moving, where am I drawn, my passion, not running to make enough money.  Working a lot and yet not busy.

–        Be in the natural rhythm.

–        The box of “I am to provide all my money” is way too small.

–        Gifts are outside what is imagined. Lots of good stories outside the mainstream box.

–        Allurement – follow the juice.  Others will want to follow.  Live the model. 



–        Supportive parents, conscientious objector, Quaker circles.  Worked for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

–        Then film, outdoors, NH and Maine

–        Cooperative household in NH began a long history of cooperative living and sharing.

–        Relocalization, mimicking eco-systems

–        Photosynthesis – grabs light

–        Conscious of consciousness – our breakthrough.  How will we bridge our animal nature and being conscious of consciousness to do incredible things with each other.

–        Meaning gives life.  We don’t live by bread alone.

–        Confucius on wealth: “There is a chief way for the production of wealth, namely, that the producers be many and that the mere consumers be few, that the artisan mass be energetic and the consumers temperate."

–        trusting the universe and not the single-loop of one-to-one transactions.

–        Buckminster Fuller's description of wealth: "Wealth is our organized capability to cope effectively with the environment in sustaining our healthy regeneration and decreasing both the physical and metaphysical restrictions of the forward days of our lives."

–        Consciousness of consciousness can be seen as production...



–        Disassociated for 30 years

–        Nuclear power plants, army officer, based in Europe.  As commander watching protestors arrested.  Began to feel kinship with those on the other side of the fence.

–        Homeopathic years.  Broke my heart and busted open the armor.  Activated life path immune system. 

–        Montreal Protocol to ban CFC’s. Ozone hole affected all of us – in all our interest to pay attention.  Taxes allowed alternatives to be made.  The seeds of the next transformation are always present – like Marxist priests in India.

–        Unconfuse oneself through Not Knowing.

–        10 community circles – they feed and give nourishment.  When you have an edge, establish a dialogue circle to explore it.

–         Subtle sensing – to live soul contract.

–        EASE  Business wants to leave social movements out, but this has not worked.    Includes funding pools, 1/3 global, 1/3 local, 1/3 EASE.  Fund the grass roots and the top of the grass.

–        Organizations can work together and not start a new organization.  Funding pools have to flow their money.  



Then moving into little groups of three or four, each sharing personal stories, in and out of the box, what’s moving in you?


-          The Real Wealth of Nations, by Rianne Eisler: from dominator to partnership relations

-          From The Soul of Money, by Lynne Twist: the surprise of sufficiency and the lie of scarcity

-          Releasing myself from the box... I can see what is.


Collective illumination Day 2:


At the end of our second day – our first full day together – there was an invitation to step back from all individual learnings and insights, and maybe confusion and chaos stirred through the many stories shared, so many new viewpoints brought in. Stepping back from the personal and individual and stepping into the perspective of the collective:


What can we now see – collectively – that we didn’t see before?


This isn’t an exercise that is easily done, as it is a new capacity we are developing as humans. But let’s try and use the practice of the circle – taking the talking piece when we feel quaked to talk, and putting it back in the middle when we have finished our sharing.


Here are some of the nuggets of this collective sensing:

Re-patterning goes on, on the cellular level.

Ecological systems are the model.

We see the exhausting of the current system and we are longing for the new system.

From the life-stories that were told in the circle: There is nowhere you can be, that you were not meant to be.

Metaphors as containers of meaning.

Our stance is: being authentic, take risks, in a constant quest, open to what might be…

“Unconfuse oneself through not-knowing.”

We all hold a different piece of what we all know

The collective is always there.

The importance of art – and the artist who creates – in the new story.

What is a practical-out-of-the-box step?

There is no not-whole.

The new model around money seems to be splitting up in exchange – and bringing relationship and heart back into it – wealth, which seems to be the common wealth, the commons – and meaning, or the collective wisdom we can find when being in a collective inquiry.


Day 3 July 18

Quotes from day 2, as harvested by Carole, and read as we opened:


Unconfuse oneself through not-knowing.

Awareness changes our actions.

There is nowhere where you’re not meant to be.

We keep holding onto the box. (Gifts come in boxes.)

Pay what creates integrity, dignifies the work and provides sustainability for us both.

The quality of asking is directly proportional to the quality of giving.

What if I didn’t have that cushion?

We are Source… RE-SOURCING…

MYTH: consumption is balm, is patriotic.

The lightning hits and the metaphor blossoms.

We all know a different piece of what we all know and are trying to make it known.

Be present. Be curious.


Morning Check–In Harvest Poem by Sharon


Where Are We Today?

Ah…looking back at quotes

From our notes---listen in

“There’re gifts in boxes.”

Deep sleep, filled now with joy and openness.

We’re in the middle

Will we turn a corner? Return to questions?

What? How? I’m curious—

Struggling…with words, phrases

Gifts again, gifts – not sharing

How are we talking about what we’re about?

Where is the seat of wisdom?

In curiosity

In simplicity

In presence

In stillness,

In gratitude

In anticipation

In energy


Center connecting

Group share of caring

What if everyone led from a place of care and heart?

What else? Don’t know! That’s okay.


Remembering yesterday

Box talk, completeness

Touched by others

An amazing walk, 6 a.m. transformation

Tired! Heavy!

Too hot to sleep

But shifting and energy, too.


Quivering… Together? In collective?

That’s the “I” coming together with the “we”

Now this! Now that!

Together in circle and with our center

Rich conversation

We’re in the bonus!


The Work of Byron Katie:

Hosting yourself First

De-programming, un-scripting our beliefs, our stresses around money

Following the guidelines of questions, sub-questions, and turnarounds on pp. 72 and 73 of the Resource Book, we clustered in pairs, inside and out, to be present to and listen to one another.  


Silence – beginning in circle next to the pond

With a new pathway now accessible via the alignment of our sun with the Great Central Sun, mid-day is the zenith of greatest access.  Honoring the Silence, sensing what has not been known or possible before, we spent nearly an hour in sacred and silent space – each finding their place or way of contemplation, ever aware of our collective presence.  Beckoned by the bell, then the sound of the flute, we concluded in circle giving a word or phrase that held the essence.    


David’s writing during this time in silence outdoors:

Life covers the ground,

but where the flow or pool is too much

Life occupies them.

Surfaces proliferate,

changing the climate,

giving the elements more to do.

They come to work each day.

More is do-able.

Some fly together

in globular swarms.

Some fly alone,

along lines.

Some are food for others.

All fall into the flow.

For what do we delay?

Flowers dot surprisingly, calling

attention, declaring


Why do we look away?

Some other flow makes sense.


Judy’s writing during the Silence

The breeze across dimensions

Living in the winds

That shift and transform.


The trees hold me, touch me

Seeding, grounding, birthing

As they seem to say


“Continue to gather in circles

Continue to ask.

And include us,

Notice us.


Inter-dimensional gateways are open.

Money has no role.

Flow, the freedom of currency,

Is like a moving pathway here.”


How might we experience flow?

“The invisible, non-physical

Nourishes the material.

Nourishment, Inter-dimensional, flow.”


It takes all of us,

The full spectrum of humanness,

Of connection,

Of perspective.


“Be with the Not Knowing

Continue to ask.

Ask us, Listen, Notice

Thank you for being here.”


Day 3 Afternoon  July 18

Open Space: How is the new nudging you?


Some of the sessions posted:

-          Time Bank and its potential

-          Reasonable shared living as I age

-          Deeper understanding of Steiner's Threefolding Model

  • The area of Economy
  • The area of Polity – Governance
  • The area of Culture - that needs to guide the values of Economy and Polity; maybe creating new forms...
  • All in dynamic balance, each doing what it is best in.

-          If not trapped by form(s)... what freedom?

  • Can't change? Bullshit!
  • How to maintain connection to movement while experimenting and learning with form?

-          Secrets and myths around money

-          Large-scale collaborations to shift systems


Check-out - convergence after Open Space - Day 3

For the convergence of the Open space in the afternoon, we decided not to do the classical telling back of what happened in the different little groups, but we asked all participants to come with one gem from our time together. It was a rich tapestry…

Tenneson did some rapping-on-the-spot, and the chorus said: Can’t change? Bull shit! (it is true that old systems die slowly, but the new story can emerge!)

This also holds on the personal level. It is possible to un-script yourself and get rid of all stress around money, survival etc.

From the conversation around Myths of Money: there are lots of Secrets and Shame around money, around what we earn, what we need, what we don’t have etc. – many unspoken needs around that. And the wondering: does the younger generation hold the same myths as the older generation (as those present here)?

If not trapped by forms, what freedom? How to keep connection to movement, while experimenting with form(s)? Like pruning a tree, while the stem is the consolidation of what came before.

The personal is systemic… It starts with me! Guess what? It’s me that has to let go of fear around money first!

Models can help us, and there are always more to explore! And it goes with an invitation to listen more to the subtle.

The model of threefolding (building on the work of R.Steiner): the area of economy, where exchange of goods and services happen; the area of culture, where meaning gets made by the community; the area of polity, where governance should happen around our commons – common wealth. It is about a dynamic balance between those three areas; not about one imposing its values on the other domains. People, working more in the culture domain, should realize their own strength and offer that in co-creation with the other domains.


What if we would see local food and local production as part of the culture? There are such words as: horti-culture, agri-culture, perma-culture… What if there is a place for local economy, held by the local community and using a local currency, next to the global and trans-local economy using a global currency? (yin and yang currencies as named by Bernard Lietaer)


More in the realm of culture: one of us realized that Art is not something frivolous, but it does matter! Somebody else realized that the local community has power! And: local initiatives like Time Bank need to spread the story more so that it can travel wide…


Let go of shame around aging and being in need – what if offering help, taking care of each other and collaboration would become the new standards (again)?


And let’s use our ingenuity – and not leave it to the business people!


July 19 - Last morning – Day4: Framing and sharing by Tenneson:

It might just be OK to be a human being.

The intention set for the gathering is working on the invisible level.

Be together, be in relationship – it is OK to hang out together. 

The designer thought of should’s… wanting more… is this the deeply ingrained ‘there is not enough’, ‘more is better’?

We have just begun in this exploration. How can we get more in?

Not focusing on the projects… but on the heart of being in the projects…

I declared myself complete.

I want to reclaim the freedom that I am enough.

What rests untouched?

What are practices in this time and this world?


From the film Fixing the Future (shown the night before co-sponsored by Time Bank at the Cape Ann Cinema)


There are new projects happening!

Seeing the people in their success stories was great.

Acknowledge and celebrate every step! Just create something and move forward!

The little experiments and success stories are starting to get connected.

There is an enormous amount of hope out there.

The tone of the film is: Isn’t this reasonable? Doesn’t it make a lot of sense?


Check –in:  pairs for deep check-in and now into the circle.


There was shooting pain in my body hearing news from the banks – no integrity, no accountability.

I think the world is crying for integrity and for accountability.

These stories come out. It is a process.

I’m exited about the world! Positive vibrations, resonance is rippling out.

Because we are feeding the field, we are making a difference.


"We are nature working." By David Eggleton

Working, we are


Working, we relate,


We are working naturally.

Relating we are


Relating, we work


Relating and working,

we are nature working


Humans Being, Humans Seeing - Rap poem by Tenneson

Acknowledge. Celebrate.



Just create something.

Move it forward, toward


Networks. Alliances.

New finances.


Show up. There’s a job.

No robbin’


Each other, humans being.

Humans seeing.


From the heart.

That’s the start.


Complexity. Beyond hexity.

Beyond trances.


Spark, spark, spark, spark.

Hark to the spark.


Isn’t this reasonable!

Clever things for the all of us.


No stall for us,

but a fall for us.


Humans being, humans seeing.

Humans being, humans seeing.


The world is crying for integrity.



People are saying whoa!

Citizens awakening to whoa.


And saying be reasonable

in our season of able.


Any object contemplated upon

opens a new organ of perception.


Humans being, humans seeing.

Humans being, humans seeing.



Systemic Constellation -  What are we now seeing around the New Economy?

This was a very open, emergent constellation in which Ria, as the constellator let the elements present themselves, through the inner sensing of the participants. As always, a lot happened and there is a lot to learn, which is not all captured here. These are Ria’s notes from the debrief with a bit of context so that people not present can understand (and small edits from Judy).


An element that showed up, and that Ria hadn’t seen before in any other constellation, was ‘Systemic Numbness’. This was a powerful element in the constellation and started off as a barrier between the elements of People and the Earth and a few other related elements. At some point People could recognize Systemic Numbness as part of them, and just saw Systemic Numbness for what it was; but then People’s attention was drawn to the next thing to show up and Systemic Numbness took its old stance re-establishing itself again.


People, during the whole constellation, were quite confused.  People would turn attention to every new element that showed up, trying to link elements here and there, which did not really work out. People learned in the whole process that they were not solving anything, but that they needed to connect and empathize with the other elements.


Someone said in the debrief: There is a grey darkness, and things start to change like a red rose that comes through the asphalt. The constellation felt kind of stuck for a long time. People was confused, and Scorched Earth was lying on the floor, accompanied only by Seed and Beauty. Earth didn’t feel very alive, Seed felt cold to the bone… And there was the Military-Industrial Complex always somewhere at the side, not being bothered by much. Children had come in, and were soon connected with Access through an element that was named Blind spot. They were a strong threesome. In the end it was Children who took the Military Industrial Complex into the circle, and they looked all together at Earth,  Seed, and Beauty.


The Elders came in at some point, thinking they could save the Children. This was not true. Children were doing there own thing – and were pretty strong. Elders then went over to Earth to replenish her and work together with Beauty. Then later Elders left the constellation thinking they were no longer needed.


As Systemic Numbness, the invitational quality of People at some point was nice. There was some melting there. But Systemic Numbness is not going away; stubbornness is in the system, built in.


Many participants in the constellation mentioned that the ideas they had in their head – the ‘ought to’ – didn’t match with the bodily feelings while representing. But there was always another pathway that opened; we could always rely on: what is the next impulse? The future will probably unfold quite differently than we think!


Children was probably not only representing children but also the next generation. Children was very clear that People and Numbness needed to look at each other and connect. Children reported that they had no fear, no shame and great clarity about what needed to happen, who should say what, etc.


The element Possibilities wanted everyone to wake up, but it didn’t turn out like that. Possibilities needed Blind spot, and became more comfortable there over time. Then Possibilities became more curious instead of knowing what needed to happen. Blind spot was somewhat quiet in the constellation, but turned out to be essential. Later someone mentioned that it was interesting to have a blind spot, instead of a ‘bad’ element. The insight here was that by relating we can transcend the blind spot.


There was also the element of Passion, who wanted to go everywhere; also wanting People and Numbness to connect. Elders tried to connect with Passion, which didn’t work out.


Ria’s observations:  From my experiences in other constellations I would say that Earth was not as bad as I used to see her. She was there, present, not vibrant, but she didn’t seem to suffer so much. She was happy that some elements were with her, and stayed with her (Beauty, Seed and Elders) She became quite annoyed that People needed so much time to get to some clarity. The really new thing for me was Seed who was definitely not in a good shape and needed attention.


Earth felt a relief as Children started speaking, which was very clear.


From early on in the constellation somebody stepped up to represent the Military-Industrial Complex. This had not been mentioned earlier in our conversations; but he realized that this element isn’t about life at all. In the beginning there was a connection with Systemic Numbness, but as Military Industrial Complex later engaged more with People and other elements,  the Complex would move and take a more invisible place in the whole constellation. In the end, it was Children who took the Complex into the circle – quite firm – and that became the final picture of this constellation. We were reminded that there is an enormous organizing capacity and lots of resources in the Military Industrial Complex. Not realizing that is actually part of our collective blind spot. What we now need is a full spectrum seeing!


In the debrief one person sitting on the rim said he had wanted to be Water (but didn’t), to create flow and nourishment for everyone who wanted it. He could have smoothed things out.


It was also observed how not all levels of wisdom were recognized by People – children and elders especially.  And why did Elders leave?  Not needed? Seems part of the system.


Everyone was quite taken by this unfolding constellation; each taking in different insights and lots to percolate over the coming weeks and months. Judy felt that as we opened into this whole constellation experience that something in the greater field of consciousness cracked open; something changed on the energetic plane around systemic numbness.


After the debrief there were 10 min left to close our time together, which Teresa beautifully hosted.


Wordle from Tenneson offered as part of our harvest


I Am Living the New Story


kindergarden to grad school


I’m doing what I’m doing, like this candle

pace and attention

intention first

artists of being

follow the forward moving energy

cold pizza in front of the TV; we never do that

time bank in our community

food deserts

do we pay for his life

a ramp for the off highwaying

lend more muscle

live like frederick; poems are contributions

paradigm is already there

i offer pictures

need to talk about it; witness it

resourcing; redoing source

strange partnerships that make sense

three raptors not getting their food

see the old and new as story; game

creating spaces to get in the flow

what if it weren’t true that we were in danger

values possibility

releasing obsession with time



gracious receiving

our waste to compost

resourcing of people is the new gold

use more creativity

asking the questions

human being first

resilient life

putting out; give energy to a few actions

permission to rest and not apologize

follow energy of the gift

can I do it without a cushion

invest pain and anger to making something good

common well being in all of life

flow begins to happen

shame of excess

layaway; not credit

turn to the invisible

energy to be loving kindness

enjoy now

share story of our our species; vulnerability


ecosystems view

alternatives with kids

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