Archive for June, 2009

Themes for the future

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

I owed you the last bit of the gathering Art of hosting Meaning in Place; here it is…

The gathering after the gathering – when some participants stay on a few days – is known for bringing out more wisdom and insights as the experience is being digested and consolidating within people. It is just interesting to see that the unfolding of the conversations reflect exactly the three points we gathered in the debrief of the hosting team.

I’m not sure how it happened, because we didn’t have intentional conversations about it, but for my self I got – finally – a deeper understanding of the real importance of the trans-generational, in the perspective of evolution.

I have been exploring this topic with the intergenerational gathering of Pioneers of Change last September, but as I noticed at that time, there wasn’t anything that really ‘got’ me. A few months later deeper insights settled during the conversations in Women Moving the Edge4. It was clear then that the generations can offer their core qualities to each other. The young having the courage to step easily into new and innovative projects, the older having the holding and grounding capacities. I didn’t do much with this insight, only that we invited daughters into WMtE5, with amazing results! Anna, being 14 years old, came up with amazing wise insights at many points in our gathering.

The new bit of insight for me now is that it is not enough to help each other out, but that a real synergy of these core qualities is needed if we want to get ready for the times to come. That’s why I want to use the word trans-generational instead of inter-generational. We need to go beyond the linking of the generations, into a creative blending of different qualities; in service of the world, humanity and evolution.

Conscious Closure
As we move into a new paradigm, many old structures or organizations will have to die in some way or another to be able to let the new emerge. Not just new structures, but totally different kind of structures. I would name it as how to let organization die in a way that new organisms can take over.


In this gathering, Vanessa Reid, was excited about this topic and talked from her own experience of tending an organization in this dying process. She used the Eco-cycle to explain her point, and told us that in any biological ecosystem there is ‘creative destruction’ going on at some point, be it a fire or a big, old tree falling down and clearing some space for new life to sprout. Many of our (big) organizations are too good at maintaining the structure and hardly have an open space for new initiatives to come up.
It reminded me also of the story of Edveeje, a woman in the Boston area, who had build with her co-director an organization to support the sustainability movement in Cape Ann. At some point they realized this form – the organization – was not the right vehicle to support their purpose, so they dismantled it after two years of building up!
These stories of conscious closure brought back into my awareness one of the topics in the Art of Hosting training, late December ’08 in The Netherlands. Peter Merry, one of the hosts, harvested some of the nuggets of this conversation. Here are some: “We realised the deep truth in dying every moment to live the next one. We understood the need for conscious choice in every moment, in which we choose to bring one path to life, and allow a number of other potential paths to die. We felt the importance of honouring what has been, and where we choose not to go.”

The theme of old and new story-fields was brought into the gathering by Mary-Alice Arthur, living in New-Zeeland. She had been exploring this topic for many years, but only now found the ‘audience’ who could understand her. Through the questions we asked her, more and more insights and wisdom would show up in her.

From old to new Story Field

Her starting point is that a story-field is made up by stories – of course – but going from the archetypes and the myths, over the cultural stories of why we do things, who are the heroes etc. to anecdotes and all the conversations that are happening. She distinguishes the story-holders, which can be from the old story-field or from the new; they can act in a re-active way or in a pro-active way. Story-holders are different from story-catchers and different from story-makers. Story-catchers are able to read the field, they sense what is going on, they can mirror back what is going on to the participants; much like a good harvester I suppose. Story-makers are people who interact with the field; they co-create. All these functions are brought together by the story-weavers; which then can result in establishing a new story-field.
Through this explanation and exploration I understood much better why harvesting conversations is so valuable and so needed. It gave a clearer framework for what I am doing a lot of times: capturing conversations, write down nuggets of new insights, thinking about how others could get what was said…

… and reading a lot about what is going on in the world; as I did a lot today!