The Art of Hosting

Recently in the final check out of a circle conversation, I was framed as having been ‘…in the background’.  The others in the circle were each thanked by name for offering such insight in the conversations…


What’s the big fuss about, you might ask?  Remember, Power in Making Tea…?  Its tricky business being in the space of holding all that goes on in the foreground, and that those of us ‘back stage’ could be deemed less important, or even immaterial.  Certainly, we’re less visible – and maybe that’s where the tension lies.  Our mastery is simply unseen – and therefore often, misunderstood.


Remembering my theatre days with the family - my Dad, Auntie Biddy, Uncle Keith, Grandpa, my sister Ginia and brother Mark, were all on stage – with all but us children taking the leading roles.  Mum was playing the piano in the ‘pit’, with the rest of the orchestra and Grandma was the Director.  But this onstage role was not my preferred option, even though from the age of three, I with Mark and Ginia were Whitby’s version of the Von Trapp Family Singers…and we were good!


So slowly I retreated into the wings and hosted the props department, assisting the actors entering stage left of stage right with ‘things’ – be it a glass, a dagger or anything else that animated the play appropriately.  So, in reality, I was more comfortable in the background – and in fact I placed myself well, to be of best service.


Yet, crucial to the health of the theatre company – and the power of the performance – was that all roles were seen as vital for the show to go on.  Even the back stage manager was heartily pushed on stage on final performance night to receive his just deserved applause.  It was as if this witnessing allowed us again and again to take our places of power to enable the whole performance to unfold – and most importantly, for the stage actors to give of their best.


It is therefore heartening to honour the gifts of one another too – and perhaps the edge, is being able to see all of them, including the ones less visible.


I too believe that all these aspects found in a theatre company also reside in each of us – not just as we form different constellations.  So it is important that we recognise our own field nature – sometimes without the need for recognition or applause – and simply know where our power-preference and presence exists.  Sometime, though it is not always easy to do…!


So I am grateful for the edge that I understood in the recent call…and the gift of insight offered – now, centre stage…!




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Comment by Susan Cerato on March 7, 2011 at 2:45am
Ah, yes....fellow thespian and also mother of one...worked costume design...And, I find it interesting the number of my contacts who are or have been involved in theatre...and/or are teachers.  Over time I've thought that there surely must be some reason for this beyond like attracting like...and perhaps it is to use those talents to work with the young ones so mislabeled and over-medicated...misunderstood and maligned.  I know that they are the geniuses and that our entire evolution has them leading the way.  How can we use what we know to smooth the way?
Comment by Mary Alice Arthur on March 7, 2011 at 1:54am
A-ha -- a fellow thespian and also wardrobe & prop mistress here!  We are only just beginning to see the ways that we are all connected, to be sensitive to how each and every one of us is contributing to the whole.  I am reminded what it requires to be conscious on this level, especially as our western world has put so much focus on foreground and centrestage what calls the loudest.  But it would be the frogs, the bees and the other small players in the ecosystem who are the voices for how healthy it really is.  This by way of saying I SEE YOU and THANK YOU for finding your voice.
Comment by Susan Cerato on March 4, 2011 at 4:49pm isn't often that I come here...but, your email contained so much drawing power that I relinquished...stayed away from the other work calling me...and I read your and on the "Burning" piece.  There is so much here about learning..about understanding of self..about proper place..and about living and working in soul alignment.  I just wanted to say that I see the beautiful you in these words...and I honor that.



Comment by Augusto Cuginotti on March 4, 2011 at 2:30pm

Beautiful, Sarah - this is essence to the art.

The way we place ourselves in a place of service and the (not) need for recognition speaks to me as I see myself serving when I invite the backstage to stage. Your sharing reminded me that a coupe of weeks ago I was writing a person I did not know personally recognising his very inspiring work through books he wrote - he is an educator, and this is a bit of it:


Dear XX,

Just finished 2 of your books and I'm writing to thank you for your work.  
Just thought it would be nice to share - my life as someone who hosts learning (more recently as a teacher) taught me that although we do not seek recognition (as in to be praised), sometimes the unexpected ones can show we are in the right direction.
All the best,

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