The Art of Hosting

On the face of it, its hard not to lose heart.  Yet, in a sense, the situation here in Greece is getting more real – with the deeper layers of culture exposed through the events these past months.  It has informed our conversations within our local field here and shown the nature of the real challenges ahead.

So we, Anthi, Odysseas, Maria and I met these past weekend – sensing into the call for our work here – now.

It is taking slow, deliberate effort and regular connection – both in person and virtually – exploring the edges of our own passions, trust, safety, fears – our own operating systems, practices, forms, blind spots, wounds.  Also, and importantly, we are sharing knowledge of cultural nuance of place and people – as indigenous citizens and ‘others’ who now see this land as home.  Perhaps we are prototyping the learning journey necessary to re-weave the fabric of a highly creative, powerfully influential, proud and relational people – now shamed and demanded to conform – and as a result, losing hope in themselves and their own abilities to re-balance their own lives – a wound that runs deep.

Within our conversations as a four, I am beginning to understand the interrelated issues at hand, captured in their bold essences here: an organising pattern that has not changed since Byzantine times; an underlying, debilitating fear of creativity and innovation – unless expressed in pre-defined, socially acceptable forms; a weakened, almost obsolete sense of self-author-ity; a preference for monological interaction; a monopoly/biopoly political power-base between two dynasties; dysfunctional social/educational systems that control its citizens via corrupted ‘operators’ and monolithic bureaucracies; a history seeped in the fear and reality of the collaboration of others consistently dictating measures that aim to override the natural; a religious state that governs its people.

And yet, throughout history, these are a people who have created immense beauty and grace through the artistry, songs, architecture, democracy – whose home is the magnificant, pristine, abundant nature.  They have had the ability to be in strong relationships that have kept the deeper social fabric strong, resilient and for the most part, intact.  Yet, somewhere in time, evolution became disconnected and the people started fearing the power of learning – started fearing the foreign, the foreigner, the unknown – the mystery.

And so in the recent days in Syntagma – where the two ‘distinct’ camps of people power – the Left chanting in front of parliament and the People’s Council hosting monologic-style democracy, not too dissimilar from the official ruling powers, clothed in riot gear, a priest who chanted his prayers until unceremoniously moved on and the eventual degeneration into chamos, until the clamp-down through force and again, the people dissipate into the clusters, trying to find the next best step.  Yet, doing something is reconnecting the fragmentation of the dream to reality. For now, there are no arenas to explore the options.  And close by, the historical default that hangs menacingly low, ready to close the door of possibility once again: the change that civil unrest escalates into civil war.

And beyond these acts and actors…what?  How do we harness the innate life force that exists here – and thrives when beyond its own geography, yet craves it’s home always?

Yet – the re-patterning time is here – and we are doing our best to position ourselves.  Not that it will be easy – but the sense of futility is seeping into the hearts of many.  Hope is dimming and fear is increasing.  And yet, hope and the deep love of this land and people is easily ignited when inspired with beauty – when mystery is made manifest.  Maybe this is the crack – and the doorway to re-claim and re-frame the new world.

There are many who still believe its right to keep doing something – perhaps they will be the ones who will be willing to sense into the new – and the unknown.  Better to act, than fall asleep again.

In tangible terms, we are planning a virtual global world café at the end of September and will send the invite shortly.  We are looking at venues to try out a monthly evening conversation space and in December, calling a three day gathering on systemic change and also hosting a one day conference – both hopefully part of an established conference here.  So all is not lost.


See Video from events in Syntagma Square, on 3rd September, 2011

Read also Witness.  Chronicle.  Share. – the personal, collective and universal story inspired from Syntagma Square


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Comment by Kathy Jourdain on September 7, 2011 at 6:41am
Powerful storytelling.  Beautifully done.  Speaking the tensions at play and the vulnerability that seeps through both hope and fear.  Thank you for keeping this unfolding present in our awareness.  I look forward to the virtual global world cafe invitation.  I love that you are in this place responding to the call in you.  I love you all from the deepest places in me and hold space for you and what you do there in my awareness every day.

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