Archive for December, 2011


Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

seeing patterns,
seems to me like an intelligence to understand complexity.

I love this young guy and how he can talk so fast! And the imagery is just right.

like the coherence in living systems.



A right to insolvency. We’ll not pay the debt.

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

I’m posting some quotes from an article Collapse and Uprising in Europe:
The Right to Insolvency and the Disentanglement of the General Intellect’s Potency
, by Franco Berardi. I’m fascinated by what this Italian autonomist philosopher and media activist is writing. What follows are just a few quotes that give you an impression of what he is writing about.

A new concept is coming out from the fogs of the present situation: a right to insolvency. We’ll not pay the debt.

Try to imagine that all of a sudden we stop organizing daily life in terms of money and debt. Nothing would change in the concrete useful potentiality of society, in the contents of our knowledge, in our skills and ability to produce. We should imagine (and consequently organize) the disentanglement of the living potentiality of the general intellect from the capitalist Gestalt…

The concrete useful productive ability of the social body is forced to accept impoverishment in exchange for nothing.

But the present situation is paradoxical – simultaneously exciting and despairing. Capitalism has never been so close to the final collapse, but social solidarity has never been so far from our daily experience.

The combination of roots and being flexible

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

If you looked at our hosting and calling team for this Art of Hosting training in Berlin, you saw a bunch of young, creative, energetic people, two older ladies, and one in between. For me it represents the energy that I tried to understand in the Open Space session that I called and that was looking into the dynamic between ‘commitment to place’ and ‘being flexible’.

I told before that we learned in our preparation day that many people in Berlin are there, as part of being on a journey and for many it is not clear how long they are going to stay or that they will travel on. Having lived all my life within a radius of 20 to 30 km, that is kind of weird to me, although I have moved and changed houses and gardens a lot. I know a lot of these bright, energetic young people that are dedicated to make the world a better place, and I have always wondered how we could join forces and what was needed for that. So this was a next step in my inquiry.

In the conversation with the other participants in this conversation it became clear to me that my deeper intention for this dialogue was my sense that a lot of these young folks seem to miss something. Something that I have, that is so obvious and natural to me and that is hard to explain or to transfer to others.

One level of naming it is taking care of a place. With place we mean a lot of things here. It can be the building, the room we are using, but it can be our organization, our neighborhood, our community. Who realizes how much work it is to take care of a place? Who really appreciates it? Is it seen as ‘professional’ when we do that kind of work?

We realized that at the heart of commitment is a ‘saying yes!’, as we say in a relationship or a friendship. We give it energy, care, our love. We came to see that commitment has to do with roots. Again a concept that is difficult to explain to people who don’t have the experience of it.

We finished our conversation with the insights that whatever projects are going on somewhere, the best would be that the young, the energetic, the flexible people make a relation with the rooted ones, the ones who feel that they belong to that place. The synergy of these two energies would make that projects could fly and benefit from both energies.

I have to test that out. Please let me know if you have some experience in this domain.

How a systemic field can show itself

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

This is the second blog post from the recent Art of Hosting training in Berlin.

As is normally the case, somewhere half way through a workshop or a gathering some participants hit the groan zone. Many times the team does too! Conflict may arise. Facilitators, trainers or host are challenged by the participants. People hit the boundary of their identity or their beliefs an things get uncomfortable. It is good to know that it always happens and that it is normal. Learning, change or transformation implies always a widening of perspectives, a change in habits, an embracing of the old and the new into a new hole.

On the second day, just before lunch, this became visible and present in our circle around the topic of posting pictures or videos from our time together. Where would they go? Who could see them? What was the need for it? Could we just take pictures of the flipcharts and not of the people? The energy rose in the circle. The conversation became almost more of a heated discussion…

First I was surprised because in Belgium or international gatherings in the US I had seen less and less emotion and energy these last years around this topic. What was going on? Remembering the previous Art of Hosting training in Berlin over 2 years ago – with a strong call for more structure and explanation -; and a gathering with a small circle of AoH practitioners in Frankfurt 1,5 year ago – with a tension between paying attention to the pain of the German past and the longing to look into strengths and into the future – it suddenly became clear to me: something systemic was at play. These were not strange people, but the wider field of Berlin and Germany, with its history, was voiced through their words and concerns. We had to be aware of this and pay attention to it. It is not difficult to understand that ‘misuse of private information’ is a sensitive topic for Berlin and Germany.

A systemic constellation was proposed in the hosting team to look into this, but it didn’t feel right to give up the Knowledge Expedition that was planned, so it became just one of the options. Around 10 people showed up, and some more dropped by later. I’m not going to even try to report on the sequence of the constellation, but how I made sense of it after we had done it for +/- 45 min. As guiding question we wanted to have some clarity around the connection between Art of Hosting and what it stands for, and the field of Berlin and Germany.

What I saw as psychotherapist and constellator was different elements who represented traumatized reactions and then practitioners/peers who wanted to help, to connect etc. It didn’t work, not really. The representative of Berlin didn’t feel good, was sitting on the floor and didn’t feel connected to all other elements that came into the constellation. I noticed some charge in the wanting to connect, even some passive aggression, a wish ‘to poke’… Relating with the traumatized – and notice I use the word relating instead of the word connecting – needs a very gentle and soft approach. Basically you can just be present with trauma and pain. Present in your self next to the other; maybe with not much exchange. Respecting the distance the other needs to feel at ease.

At the end we shared some insights and one participants spoke it quite clearly: This is not about fixing anything; this is not about changing other people, this is about being with what is.

Later I wondered if there needs to be more knowledge in the global AoH community of how to relate with deep (collective) pain and trauma. At least some more knowledge and understanding about it would be good. Some people just need more space to process lots of people and lots of conversations. They are not backing out, they are taking care for themselves. And ‘difficult’ people may not only hold a personal background that explains there behavior, it might be that the collective field is working through them, and we need to integrate and embrace that; in our circle and in the collective wisdom we aim for.