The Art of Hosting

Today, a dear and trusted friend voiced a concern of me having posted the video of the UKIP MEP, Nigel Farage – a  UK public servant who’s political party, according to Google is ‘Libertarian, non-racist party seeking Britain's withdrawal from the European Union.’


I replied,  “Yes, I (we) know he is of the Right.  He simply offers a (strong) perspective. I am not aiming to ‘profile’ him as such, neither do I get overexcited or concerned about his ‘radical’ nature.  Yet he is a voice that somehow speaks in opposition to and counter-balances some of the opinion of ‘others’, who are causing Greece and its people much pain…” 


It’s interesting they are against Europe (the word derived from the Greek word Eurōpē (Ευρώπη) often voiced as “the one that sees”…perhaps Nigel’s perspective might transform the emptiness of the current term and practice.

Perhaps also it would be helpful if I qualify my addition of this video to the Ning.  I hear your caution and welcome it...”




What I value – and why I chose to post the video - is that, for me, Nigel was speaking his truth - and in the current climate offers a fundamentally different perspective to others.  Whether I believe his viewpoint or not, I honour it.  I know his ‘radical’ perspective will wave a red flag to many – and perhaps even his perspective is fundamentally wrong - but for me, his (and others) voice of ‘truth’ holds the possibility of catalyzing the discovery of what I/we DO believe – even if counter to his/there’s.


There is immense power when we ‘speak our truth’ – not the truth, but our truth.  It represents our belief, our sense of somethingour opinionour passion.  The challenge is not to get stuck in ‘our truth’, become ‘opinionated’ or become unable to hear other ‘truths’, especially those in polar opposition to our own.  Can we sit in the space of many truths?  Can we find the balance point between them?  And, what happens if 'a truth' IS fundamentally ‘wrong’ – ethically, morally, societally?  What happens then?




I remember going to Israel for the first time in March 2005 and in the final circle check-out with 25 or so people – people’s of the conflict, plus many Internationals – I heard an entire kaleidoscope of ‘truths’ - multi-levelled, contradictory truths.  It was the first time I recognised the power and presence of many truths co-existing.  All voices held a truth The first point of balance was being willing to hear them all – in this case, possible because of the safety and trust we had cultivated in a two-day hosted process.  These qualities, plus the willingness to share and be vulnerable, enabled the space to stay open, in what, culturally and traditionally would normally have collapsed, if indeed started at all. The second was to allow the many truths to catalyze and coalesce into new collective intelligence - the unwavering unity of humanity and the desire for peace.


Only just last week – one of the participants from this very time, 6 years ago - was one of the core hosts of the 1000 table world café in Israel – another living testimony that the space of many truths remains alive - and the call to co-create newness is widely being sought by many.


Holding space for the many truths to co-exist is perhaps the prerequisite for the generation of new collective intelligence, in fact, a core condition.  Without it, we generate more of the same, or at worst, nothing at all.  Our truths and opinions remain diverged and polarised and we retreat into our opinion ‘camps’, shooting perspectives from arms length – with the possibility of cultivating new collective intelligence diminishing to nothing.




This interaction over the innocuous act offering out this video, and then receiving a dear friend’s cautionary advice has been a deeply significant experience for me.  I have seen more as a result of my own practice of speaking my truth - of which this, and indeed all my writing is an act of.  With this I have also become conscious of my deeper motivation to act in the first place.  And I know that to be true of my friend too.


I still believe we need to hear these ‘radical’ perspectives – especially now.  And, we need the processes in which we can individually and collectively hold the tension between these ‘truths’ – in the pursuit of opening the space for interaction, that will transform and illuminate the balance point between them - so that new collective intelligence can be generated.  This is, in part, also the reason why I was called to write this blog – since the polarities reside in me too…and I wish to seek the wholeness of my own knowing – acknowledging always that the truths may remain distinct and unintegrated.  Yet, this time, I seem to be have been able to hold the paradox of both - and generated newness and consciousness.


Crucially, the act of uncovering motivations and deeply held assumptions underpinning these radical perspectives needs to be tended with inordinate sensitivity, as this is perhaps where the tru(th) power resides – often unknown, more often too distant for us to travel to – yet if questioned generatively is a journey of discovering our own ‘radical’ roots.


And…as I said, some things are just wrong.  How do we hold space for these too?

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Replies to This Conversation

yes, welcoming the other eases the worries, soothes the tension

when they are so like us - right minded, high principled, unsullied, cooperative, and speaking our language - seeking our truth too


yes, welcoming the Other

asks much more

holding lightly

without expectation

not committed to any certain pre-known outcome, even a noble one

may even require we (I) learn a new register, to play a new instrument, or to recognise the limitations of our (my) vocabulary

let's fail together, lets get lost - let's find something we didn't know before

hopefully listen something into speech

I love this phrase: "let's fail together, lets get lost - let's find something we didn't know before"!


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