Archive for April, 2007

The World Café and the world as café

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

What might be possible if, just for one day, people throughout a city engaged in conversations about the questions that matter most to them?

And what if they were joined by others from nearby cities and countries—indeed, by people from around the world—who would take the possibilities that emerged in those conversations back to their own communities?

That’s precisely what is happening in Dresden, Germany on May 3, the first day of a three-day gathering that truly models the “World as Café” at a local and regional level.

This is how Tom Hurley starts his article on the upcoming World Café Europe event, which will go on through May 4 and 5. I will join this international community of conversation hosts; and more: I will blog about it. Not on this blog – although you will find a link here – but on the blog that is set up special to report to the world what is going on there in Dresden.

I’m happy that my joint activity with Rainer of Pro Action Café in Brussels has led me to take part in this international event. If you happen to live in Belgium and want to drop by in one of these cafés you are more than welcome!

Being a Belgian myself, I make sure there is always a good lunch available!

Artful Leadership

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Sitting outside in my garden on this summerlike Spring evening, the fragrance of a special apple three fills my nose. How abundant nature is! The three is full, full of uncountable little white flowers, spreading its smell with no holding back.

I just finished reading the book Artful Leadership by Michael Jones. The subtitle is: Awakening the Commons of the Imagination. The first chapter is called: A Walk in the Park; The Personal and Social Artistry of Leadership. It says:

In times of uncertainty
we need to look to the spaces between
for order and coherence –
to gifts, beauty, grace, voice and wholeness –
what may be called the commons of the imagination.
Awakening to the presence of the commons
in both the personal and the public imagination
is our new art form.
It is also the leader’s new work.

For me it is a book of great inspiration. I made notes on almost every page! You have to read if you are more or less interested in Leadership for the future. It holds equal value as the book Presence, by Otto Scharmer and his colleagues. Michael, being a musician, and knowing a lot about writers, poets etc. can give beautiful words, poems and quotes to what will be essential qualities for all of us, and leaders in particular.I enjoyed reading it, as much as enjoying the smell and the view of my neighbour’s apple three.

Dancing presence

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

I’m slowly coming back into ‘normal’ life after a 3,5 day dancing workshop. It was an international 5 Rhythms workshop, named ‘Journey into Trance’, led by Jonathan Horan.

Coming back to ‘normal’ life doesn’t mean that I am stiff or that I am longing for more dance, but it means that I’m really changed by the workshop and I don’t want the old habits to take over! It is amazing what dancing with attention and awareness can do!

I knew it, and some years ago I took a lot of workshops – covering a lot of life-themes – and then I stopped. Don’t know why; it just happened. It supported my personal development in many, many ways. The most important thing was that it gave my pleasure and spontaneity back! This workshop and how it was designed, and also my level of how I stepped in went beyond this. What Jonathan named Trance, was what we name in other circles as ‘not-knowing’. It has nothing to do with a trance, like when taking drugs and one part of you is off the world. Trance is there when you are totally in the moment, when you are not dancing, but the dance is coming through you! It are heavenly moments when you are so fluid and open that you are able to follow your body – no thoughts or fears in the way – and what your body is doing is just amazing!

Because of the theme we danced a lot on ‘chaos’ music – the one with a heavy and quick beat. One of the guidelines throughout the workshop was to follow the repetitions that your body makes. As you follow through them, it will finally result in some healing motions: a self-healing of the body. One moment in this chaos music, I was lying in the floor, very sensitive and attentive to what happened in my body. I had already ‘worked’ with releasing some tension in my lower belly, but now – everytime I wanted to get up on my feet – I could sense a slight anxiety in my upper chest. Of course I could step over it, and just return to my ‘normal’ way of dancing, but I was here to do something else. So I followed my body, the opening up of my chest in a very, very slow way; on every side surrounded by people dancing and jumping in all kinds of ways! The anxiety was slightly above my stomach, causing some little nausea. Millimeter by millimeter I opened my chest by opening my left arm. And suddenly tears were in my eyes, I could cry for the many times I was supposed to be bigger than I was, and I ‘stood up’ with some fear blocked in my body for almost 50 years!

There were a lot of moments like this, and I was happy with the few guidelines that were provided. They were right on the spot and not too much, and they spoke about great wisdom. So here I am with a much softer body, a much deeper relaxation inside.

An important insight I got – another gift that dancing gives to me – is that this embodied presence will be so needed in the future, especially for leaders. One moment of big chaos, turmoil and screaming, when more or less all 70 participants were struggling with their own blockages to come to a deeper place of surrender, I felt myself dancing in this quick beat but with total silence inside of me. Immediately I ‘saw’ how important this would become for the future! Complexity and chaos will increase in our world and we will need bodies that are capable of being totally in this chaos and still have the capacity to act and think out of stillness. Not being re-acting out of our own hidden and unconscious fears, hiding away somewhere deep in our bodily tissue.

Once again, I was in awe for the beautiful, spiritual practice that the 5 Rhythms can be. I want to end with one quote from Gabrielle Roth (the mother of Jonathan), the inventor – founder of this beautiful map:

“Anything outside the breath is ego.”

A good thing to do…

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

Thanks Chris Corrigan for this link! I love it!

Would love to see this happen in my train tomorrow…