Archive for the ‘Axladitsa’ Category

Five great principles – Prepare to get political

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Reposting my Facebook message here:

Nice blog post by somebody I didn’t know before (thanks Sheri!) and great five principles he describes from his field of work, but something to keep in mind for all of us:
Stay niche (aka be unique),
Embrace wickedness (I love that one!),
Edit out the genius stuff (it must be understandble by your grandparents);
Be a Breathing Space and last one:
Prepare to get political (in a new sense, I would add).

And a place where these principles are at play: on the squares in Spain and Greece. You can read reports from people who were in Athens yesterday. Good stuff is happening, and it is different than what the ‘normal’ media are telling.

Walk Out Walk On Song

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Recently a new book was published – my copy is still on its way – written by Meg Wheatley and Deborah Frieze: Walk Out Walk On. They wrote stories about many friends and people that I know of, so I can highly recommend this book (even I haven’t read it yet); and you can check out the website that is build around it to check for yourself!

The writers asked another friend to write a song about it; and that is what Tim Merry did. This is what he writes:

Here is a song Marc and I wrote to to support Meg Wheatley’s and Deborah Frieze’s new book. It will also accompany an RSA video coming out soon.

In this era of increasingly complex problems and shrinking resources, can we find meaningful and enduring solutions to the challenges we face today as individuals, communities and nations?

In Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now, Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze invite you on a learning journey to seven communities around the world to meet people who have walked out of limiting beliefs and assumptions and walked on to create healthy and resilient communities. These Walk Outs who Walk On use their ingenuity and caring to figure out how to work with what they have to create what they need.

– By the bestselling author of Leadership and the New Science and Turning to One Another

– Provides an intimate experience of how seven different communities took on intractable problems by working together in new and different ways

– Immerses the reader in the experience of each community through stories, essays, first-person accounts and over 100 color photos

The cellular depth

Friday, July 30th, 2010

In between my time here in the Art of Humans Being, I read the blog of Sarah Whiteley, over at the Axladitsa Ning site… so linking in with the theme of our gathering here in Essex. Here is part of her writing:

Through the tender witnessing, I realised to my utter horror that I had contributed to the oil spill – and that my need for fossil fuels was now destroying vast expanses of wild nature around the planet. And, I could not see a way of re-patterning my consumption, my… certainly not in the short-term… to the degree that was necessary. I faced the fact that this natural disaster was a “we did this”… not a “they did this…” and, so too I was guilty of playing my part in the systemic destruction of our Home.

It seemed clear to me that I must take the necessary preparatory steps and secure for the heavy seas – now so imminent – and not wait passively for when the big seas arrived and created chaos and destruction; that I too was feeling my own despair – and certainly times of empowerment, but now it was a time to feel another deeper level of despair; and that I too was the windsurfer out in the sea, without skill or a life vest. What skills and capacities did I now need – to not endanger myself, or others, through incompetence or recklessness?

The Feminine Blind spot

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Since a few weeks I haven been wondering why the need I perceive in men/masculine – as they are holding so much in the world ‘out there’ – and the offer and skill of women/feminine to witness and hold that, is not gelling, is not coming to a fruitful synergy (yet?). It all made me wonder if we – women/feminine – have a collective blind spot that keeps us away from our real power? Power, as I understand it here, in the sense of full contribution to life itself.

As sometimes is the case for me, giving language to the question itself, elicit almost immediately the answer. This came from me from that deeper inner well: “The blind spot is that we have inner knowing, and our mind doesn’t know.”

Immersion Jackie

I understand this inner knowing as a connection – through subtle sensing – into the realms of the invisible, the intangible and the non-human parts of our reality. Inner knowing is not something weird, but a reality that is mostly ignored in our mainstream culture, although unconsciously it guides our choices and all serendipity and synchronicity in life.

It is this subtle sensing that ultimately ties us, humans, back with nature and Earth. It is a relationship that goes much deeper than sustainability. A better concept is thrivability – where ALL that exists can thrive. Ultimately it is regenerative in its nature when we let our actions be grounded by this wisdom.

Immersion Jürgen

In the systemic constellation we did in the Immersion around the topic of what is the need in the world and how it relates with us and our masteries, the Wounded Healer was one of the main characters. He seemed to have a lot of power and was holding a lot, but he was also very stiff, rigid and not flexible or fluent. It was only when he connected with the Grandmothers energy that he could relax in his body and starting to breath a little deeper. After that had happened – and of course much more happened in the constellation – he was able to turn to Earth itself and saying “Sorry”, on her request. That gave the final relief in the constellation.

Having this story in my mind and still wondering about the feminine blind spot I asked myself: what is the Wounded Healer in us, women? This was the answer that came up: “We, as humans, can’t make it happen; we need to co-create with nature.” So, if I tie this all together then we need to become conscious and explicit about our relationship with nature and the invisible in order to co-create with these forces and energies – back into thrivability of humans and the earth. It seems to me, the feminine has to offer these capacities to the masculine, and can also ask the masculine to protect these skills in service of the wholeness of humans and earth; life itself.

What do you think about these matters?

(The people on the pictures were participants in the Immersion, and were representing the Wounded Healer and the Grandmothers.)

Drinking tea with grandma

Friday, June 4th, 2010

This was the title of my Open Space session, here in Axladitsa in the program Immersion. (now some three weeks ago) Of course everybody laughed when I announced it. But I had a sense that I had a lot of my life’s experience to offer to many of these people who are doing such great work in the world. Later I found out that I am the oldest person here; and after all, I am a real grandmother with a granddaughter of 9 months! (see picture!)

Two young women immediately showed up, before my tea was ready. They carried questions about Feminine Power. These bright young ladies ask themselves what is the New Feminine? They have been educated, they have work with great responsibilities and they want to do it differently than mainstream governance, politics, economics etc. But looking back at femininsm of the sixties, seventies or eighties, they don’t find inspiration or support that fits their situation.

We talked about the pitfall that many women fall into as they haven’t learned the difference between being good at relations and emotions – but easily getting overwhelmed by it or disempowered – and the more impersonal stance in these matters. This would mean to take care, but staying grounded and centered, even when great pain or big chaos shows up. It would also mean that women need to develop the language to speak about the topics of relationships and what they are sensing in order to become very explicit so that they can be understood.

Interestingly a man showed up to drink tea with us and he joined the conversation. This turned to a deep inquiry about the different qualities of the feminine and the masculine. I was reminded of a quote of a native grandmother somewhere: Men hold the love and women hold the knowledge; that is how it should be. I remember how it turned my understanding upside down when hearing it for the first time, and now it showed itself again.

Mahmoud and Riva

We recognised that indeed the masculine has a great heart, and always wants to find solutions for the problems at hand. We were wondering if asking for help and protection was one of the new skills the new feminine has to integrate back – independent women as we all are?!? What if we would do this in service of the earth and life itself?

Probably the more feminine skills of sensing and relationship need to be used (more) in sensing things like right timing and alignment with the whole of the context we find ourselves in; including the Earth and the invisible and intangible.

Drinking tea at the little table in front of the house spilled over to the next days and generated more deep conversations… and for myself, being a grandmother who shares bits of her journey whenever needed, seemed to fit my mastery! I was surprised with that, but it feels very right and very comfortable. In our ‘debrief’ of the gathering yesterday it was recognised that ‘grandmothers holding the rim’ seemed very important for gatherings who want to be life affirming. More to be explored later I guess.

Signs from nature

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

This post was written during the Immersion, a gathering/program regarding Living Wholeness, that happened a few weeks ago in Axladitsa, Greece.

I realise more and more how I am connecting back to the worlds of the subtle, the invisible, the natural… and slowly – very slowly – the experience is dripping into my Western mindset that I am (and we are) totally interdependent with these worlds.

Rowan and the rock
(the picture is from some years ago, but the same beach!) I remembered having this feeling a lot of times last year when working in the garden. So many times that I questioned myself what it was and the answer came in the form of the book Cocreative Science, where the author describes how she cocreates together with what she calls devas and nature spirits. I first had to go beyond my childish ideas of dwarfs and elfs to understand these ‘beings’ in terms of energies and fields, which then make a lot of sense to me.

So I checked in with this being/energy/field, and my sense was that the spirit of this beach was quite happy with me being there and there seemed to be a connection with a spot on the beach where Axladitsa folks many times have gathered. I remembered that Jacki had collected some garbage from the beach a few days ago, and I did too; as it is my habit anyway. It seemed to me that I made this beach-being stronger by doing this.

Immersion flowers

Then there are the snakes and the lizards. We are approaching in our current program here the invisible and the unconscious, the subterranean as it is called in our map. Three days ago I noticed the skin of a snake tied into the little brick wall in our groups space. Interesting… Then on Wednesday I noticed a snake, tied in a strongly shaped knot around what I could later recognise as a lizard. I stopped and watched it for some time. Had the snake of transformation ourselves in her grip? I noticed the lizard being still for long minutes, then suddenly moving… it seemed to have gained some more freedom… I walked on to get something out of my tent.

Later that night we drew Tarot cards to get clarity about where we were in the process of our gathering; and in the end asked personal messages about our shadows and what is holding us back. In having this conversation some energy was released, something opened up.

Much to my surprise this morning, at the well, a lizard without a tail showed itself to me… I’m not saying this was the same lizard I saw before, but somehow interesting!

More snakes would show itself over the next days to other participants in the gathering; and to my great, great surprise; when I returned to the well in the evening, I noticed the tail of the lizard in the grass! If you would ever try to find a tail of a lizard laying in the grass…

Is this just metaphor?
Or is some deeper interconnection going on?
Can I get into the experience of how this is all interconnected, mutually shaping each other?
Can I really move myself in the awareness that I – we as humans – are mirrored in what we do and what we go through in the other realms; subtle and invisible, or as visible as snakes and lizards?

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!

Mystery, Mastery, Artistry

Friday, May 29th, 2009
Mystery - Mastery

Last bit of our journey here together, the harvest of the open space sessions and the final closing. Three words jump out: Mystery, Mastery and Artistry.

Mystery… how to describe?
Can we reach the Mystery through Mastery?
Mystery of our individual being in the world, mastery of the subtle arts, which then allows us to grow to a collective mastery, a mastery of the collective being.The use of arts seems to come more to the foreground in our inquiries, as are stories. Indeed, people were using color and paint in their notebooks, and in the conversations.

Announcement of Open Space session

Really beautiful pages I saw all around. Both arts and stories are related with our embodied presence. And both are easy ways in to let people participate in. It brings us easily from I to we. When mastery comes in, it goes even beyond the We! Collective intelligence, collective wisdom and collective being shows up.You will notice that the people-place relationship in its surface form had more or less disappeared. As we noticed in another session the areas of life: I, We and profession/vocation are collapsing into one whole, into wholeness. So also the people and place collapsed into how we are as human beings in the world – in a new way.

The importance of stories and the weaving of them into a story-field was not really new to me, but I realized that this is a big part of what I do! I weave the stories that hear and that I am part of in order to show the new meaning that is arising in many different places. I imagine the new storyfield to be an inspiring possibility and opportunity for people who feel the dis-ease of the old story.

In service of the whole
In service of evolution



Mystery – Life – Reverence

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Halfway during our gathering, the morning of the third day.

As hosting team we had the sense that going deeper was what was needed, both in the group to get to the next level of meaning and between the people and the land.
Instead of the individual walk in silence we walked the flow of the water on the land – literally. Hearing the story of riverbeds drying out earlier than it used to be (maybe because neighbors have drill-holed?), the well that was full with debris and wood, a flood that changed the road and so much more. Impressive was to realize how much power – in the form of electricity – to pump up the water from the well we need for our comfort of having running water! Later in the day Jacki from Kufunda, would tell that they have to draw all the water they use in their center by hand.
How far are we removed from what it really takes… better: from what we really take from the Earth, in so many different forms, and with so little respect, gratitude and awareness. Next to the well we shared a short time in silence and the messages that we received while listening to the land.

We then settled for a circle around the question: What is the most meaningful thing for me that I am holding in my place -here or at home – at this time?

It was an amazing string of beautiful gems, guided by our explicit invitation to listen with wonder, to listen – as water – to the deepest levels, and introduced by calling in the four directions.

Most meaningful for me – and part of the invitation to the others – is the building of a new human capacity: to listen, to speak, and to act as an ecosystem. To be a collective being with many ears, hearts, minds and bodies that can be of service to nay question, issue or opportunity at hand.

Harvest of Generative Circle3

As Maria said, a lot of us are trying, struggling and experimenting with bringing the mystery back into our lives; not in the old forms with white robes, many bells or lots of incense but in a new way. But if you don’t connect with the mystery – with Life – in a gentle way then it disappears. More and more during the day we realized that we need the Subtle Arts to be able to see more, to listen deeper, get deeper insights…

Mystery. . . . .   Life . . . . .
Cycle of life and death
Balancing the grounding of a new project while pulling back to be present for a new baby….

Harvest of Generative Circle8

And Ritual

Where is my home? Of consciousness?

Honoring my ancestors, because my own story is too small.

The Earth is tired. We have to Re-awaken our Guardianship, which means: Stick with it, no matter what! And still be non-attached.

Again the subtle arts:
The story of the Wounded King,

From old to new Story Field

The owl that calls at night,

The night consciousness

Claiming old wisdoms in new ways
Focus on the unexpected
What feels right?
What is right timing?

Communication is bigger than conversation

We change from being story-holders of the old story to story-makers of the new. Then a new story-field will arise.

My place is where I am.

Depending on the Earth

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

There we were on the second day of our gathering. Again a beautiful, sunny Greek Spring day. As we had decided, we started – after framing the day – with connecting with the land; a half hour alone in silence. We were offered to pick a Tarot Card as inspiration, and off we went.

The Star

The funny thing is that ‘the Tarot’ is a language that I never can remember. My card was The Star. Not bothered what books or masters would tell about it, I used my creative expression to draw the card in my dairy. I saw an angel and a reflection of the star into the water. I understood them as subtle energies, and an invitation to use more of them in my life.

We were then invited to a World Café to look together into the emerging patterns we could notice in our field of inquiry about people and place relationship. It was a deep conversation, difficult to capture… but I will give it a try here.

Chaos, distraction, stuck energy, loss of meaning… it asks for a simplicity that allows a holding of the complexity. Then meaning – meaning in place – can emerge. We would need the science of natural rhythm and the science of subtle sensing to be able to receive messages – both from the land and ourselves. The point is to go beyond separateness, to an embodiment of the vibration of the land. Then we are living in true partnership with Earth, in wholeness.

Again and again, silence was named as a condition to come into this conversation with the land.

Another line in the conversation was about death, endings, the shit, the dirty… and the need to re-integrate, re-weave it into our lives. Because we have separated it out, but it belongs to us, to Earth, to our lives.
One question: How is standing in the shit a sacred act?

Suddenly there was a burst of energy in the harvesting circle. There was a call for action! Let’s do something here, on the land! Is it time for action?
Is it right relationship to be on the land and not contributing to the growing of the food?

Of course these was much, much more…
Sacred in the ordinary, the ordinary in the sacred/rituals
Balancing individual and community
The giving and receiving with the land

And a deep recognition:
Our lives,
being alive depends on the land, on the Earth.