The Art of Hosting

Hi all!

Just received a posting from a facilitation group that included the “Actor’s Vow”, with the opening:  “In my mind, one of the most powerful gifts a facilitator brings to a group is his/her willingness to be transparent about what they see and feel going on in their group. This, and a willingness to make mistakes with the good intention of helping everyone move forward together. In this spirit I offer you The Actors’ Vow, a short poem passed on to me by my friend and co-facilitator of the Facilitator's Studio, Rachael West. While this vow is meant for actors, it seems to me to be perfectly appropriate for facilitators, leaders, and well, just about anyone with the desire to live life to the fullest.” 

Here it is:

The Actors’ Vow 

I will take my rightful place on the stage
And I will be myself.

I am not a cosmic orphan
I have no reason to be timid.

I will respond as I feel; awkwardly, vulgarly,
But respond.

I will have my throat open.
I will have my heart open.
I will be vulnerable.

I may have anything or everything the world
Has to offer, but the thing
I need most, and want most, is to be myself.

I will admit rejection, admit pain, admit
Shame, admit outrage, admit anything and
Everything that happens to me.

The best and most human parts of me are
Those I have inhabited and hidden from
The world.

I will work on it.
I will raise my voice.
I will be heard. 

Mary Alice

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Posted by Janie Leask <> to the list on 6 September 2011:


“The Circle has healing power. In the Circle, we are all equal. When in the Circle, no one is in front of you. No one is behind you. No one is above you. No one is below you. The Sacred Circle is designed to create unity. The Hoop of Life is also a circle. On this hoop there is a place for every species, every race, every tree and every plant. It is this completeness of Life that must be respected in order to bring about health on this planet."

~Dave Chief, Oglala Lakota~


And from the Irish poet and philosopher, John O'Donohue:


BEANNACHT (Gaelic for blessing)


On the day when

the weight deadens

on your shoulders

and you stumble,

may the clay dance

to balance you.


And when your eyes

freeze behind

the grey window

and the ghost of loss

gets in to you,

may a flock of colours,

indigo, red, green,

and azure blue

come to awaken in you

a meadow of delight.


When the canvas frays

in the currach of thought

and a stain of ocean

blackens beneath you,

may there come across the waters

a path of yellow moonlight

to bring you safely home.


May the nourishment of the earth be yours,

may the clarity of light be yours,

may the fluency of the ocean be yours,

may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow

wind work these words

of love around you,

an invisible cloak

to mind your life.



 The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
~Wendell Berry

The more
power you have,
the more people will listen respectfully
to your story.
listening to some one’s story is a way
of empowering them, of validating
their intrinsic worth
as a human being.
~ Kay Pranis

I Believe In All That Has Never Yet Been Spoken, by Rainer Maria Rilke

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.

I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
The way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing current,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one every has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

It Is I Who Must Begin

It is I who must begin.
Once I begin, once I try —
here and now,
right where I am,
not excusing myself
by saying that things
would be easier elsewhere,
without grand speeches and
ostentatious gestures,
but all the more persistently
— to live in harmony
with the “voice of Being,” as I
understand it within myself
— as soon as I begin that,
I suddenly discover,
to my surprise, that
I am neither the only one,
nor the first,
nor the most important one
to have set out
upon the road.

Whether all is really lost
or not depends entirely on
whether of nor I am lost.

        -- Vaclav Havel

For a New Beginning


In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.


For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.


It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.


Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.


Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life's desire.


Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.


~ John O'Donohue ~


(To Bless the Space Between Us)

My harvest after co-hosting a weekend workshop on Storytelling & Harvesting with Chris Corrigan & Jerry Nagel:


I will keep the fire in my heart

With the bright face of the moon as my witness
Friends, I promise you
That I will keep the fire in my heart.
I will lean into that fire
Even if it melts the soles of my shoes
Even if it singes my hair and blackens my fingers
I will not stop
For our humanity is at stake.
There, in the centre of the fire, there where we have always met
Are the embers the wise ones have sheltered on our behalf.
What we have always known, long in the forgetting
Is rising through the flames again.
It takes those of us who are the firekeepers,
Who are the rocksitters, who have the circle in our blood and bone
To make the shape that calls the others home.
We have hidden the patterns in our stories, our poems, our songs
In the deepest parts of our being.
And we will speak, we will sing, we will dance our way
Even now the plazas beckon.  Even now the squares call out
For life lived in its fullest expression.
You who have been solitary, you who have been alone
Remember this word:

Imagination is the most powerful and under utilised organ in the collective body of the human family.


If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth, will Save you;
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
What you Do Not bring forth with destroy you...
- From the Gnostic Gospels attributed to Christ

Leadership is the transmission of Aliveness in a relational field...
(excerpt from Leadership Collaboratory for the Social Emergence Era...A Living Systems learning lab)

I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible.
To loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
To live
So that which came to me as seed,
goes to the next as blossom.
And that which came to me as a
goes on as fruit. 


-- Dawna Markova

Live the questions now

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke
as once I heard and something that I choose to believe:
"Questions point to the future, and answers point to the past..."

So when we live through to the answer - as the end of the quote says - the question will not be relevant anymore as guide and a new questions arises. And if we focus on killing the question by desperately answering it in the present, we are losing the chance we get from that question of serving us all together to enter into a new dimension of existence...

Thank you for this, a truly wonderful reminder!
Dey Dos

Hi all. I have discovered the Letters to a Young Poet by RM Rilke only last summer and it is such a great leadership read! Timeless indeed.

On the topic of what is timeless, I shared this one to open a facilitated session and it was conducive to a good conversation about the times we are living in.

"After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. There is movement, but it is not brought about by force. The upper trigram K'un is characterized by devotion; thus the
movement is natural, arising spontaneously. For this reason the transformation of the old becomes easy. The old is discarded and the new is introduced. Both measures accord with the time; therefore no harm results."
- I Ching

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