Archive for the ‘balance’ Category

Where we are heading

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

A few days ago I came across the blog called The Archdruid Report. To me he writes with a kind of presence, reality about where we are with our human civilisation.
This is the last paragraph of his blog post of today:

So many of us want things all one way or the other, all good or all evil, without the terrible ambivalence that pulses through all things human as inescapably as blood. So many of us want to see today’s civilization as humanity’s only hope or as ecocide incarnate, and long for a future that will be either the apotheosis or the final refutation of the present. It’s far less popular, and arguably far more difficult, to embrace that ambivalence and accept both the wonder and the immense tragedy of our time. Still, it seems to me that if we are to face up to the challenges of the future that’s bearing down on us, that difficult realization is an essential starting point.

… the wonder and the immense tragedy of our time…

I agree with the writer that not many people are able to face the tragedy of what is going on. Most people stay in happy denial, not even thinking of a tragedy. Recently, in many conversations, we talked about holding the pain of the past, and holding the pain of the land AND connecting this with holding the potential of the future. I’m well aware that this is not an easy thing to do; it asks a big stretch in our hearts and in our bodies. But to me it seems like nothing less is asked from us these days…

… the wonder and the immense tragedy of our time…

Ongoing spiral between Holding Space and Staying in Inquiry

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Just before lunch, on Saturday, the second day in our gathering Women Moving the Edge, my impulse was to speak about emptiness, speak about naming the feminine as ‘just being’. To me these are not the right words for what we are actually doing. It can be named more precise and explicit. And this has been my journey since a long time.
The so-called ‘emptiness’ is the holding space of the potential; indeed like a womb. It is an open space with no-thing in it, but it is a space that is ready to be of service to let new life unfold.
The ‘just being’ is like being pregnant. There isn’t much you can ‘do’ while being pregnant, but still a lot is happening! But the act of giving attention and care has value and importance.
Holding space – beyond being pregnant – is to be understood as holding space for your children to grow up. You want to support them so that they become their true self; you are holding space for that potential, although you don’t know what kind of person they are going to become.

This all let me to explaining more of my model and what holding space has to do with finding the right question and embracing a bigger complexity. Here is what I wrote on it earlier:
“At some point in our inquiry, it occurred to me to wonder why we (women) were always speaking about Source, and not about Spirit. It seemed obvious to us women that holding space had to do with Source, not with Spirit. But why? It got me thinking.


Following some impactful physical/energetic experiences, I realised that – for me – holding space is something that happens in my body. I don’t ‘do’ it, rather, it happens through me. It is as if my body is a vessel, through which I am able to hold space for potential to unfold. We are familiar with this idea of ‘potential unfolding’ when we think about raising our children. But now we were applying it to groups and organisations. Is it always future oriented? Again: why Source and not Spirit?

The more I contemplated it, the clearer it got. To my sensing, Spirit comes – somehow – from above, from somewhere away from here, while Source seems to be accessible from somewhere deep within. Source is like a seed, it holds potential, which can unfold into manifestation. But the full picture needed to include Spirit. So what was that about? What did it have to do with manifestation?


In my daily life, I understand Spirit as asking for distance, reflection, talking about, concepts… very different from potential! Spirit has focus and clarity. It seemed to me that the translation of Spirit into ‘the future that wants to emerge through us’ was to stay in the inquiry, to keep the questions open. It is the intention that some innovation will become possible.

Wasn’t that a beautiful couple: Holding Space for Potential to Manifest and Staying in Inquiry to discover new patterns? Isn’t the synergy of these two what we desperately need in our complex world with it’s huge challenges?”

Since I wrote this piece there is more to this model. In a conversation with Maria Scordialou, Sarah Whiteley and Judy Wallace, as preparation for our upcoming program The Edge of Collective Sourcing, we saw a new aspect in this model. This is what we saw:
Ongoing spiral between Holding Space and Staying in Inquiry creates New Wisdom
We realized the ongoing dynamic  – like a spiral going back and forth – between the level or depth of Sourcing and the level or depth/height of Awareness or Spirit.
The depth of the potential can only become accessible for manifestation and action when we are equally able to become aware of the intention or the clear purpose. This explains us the importance of finding the good guiding question(s). If our question comes from a higher level of awareness it will invite in a deeper possibility of sourcing. In this widened field of wisdom, through many cycles, new wisdom can be generated.

Embracing more Complexity

Related with this – and drawing it in the model – we realize that this dance between both poles in the spiral also relates to widening our reach in the manifest. The depth of sourcing and the height of the intention make sure that we can embrace more of the whole, which is so needed in dealing with the challenges of our time. “

Many of the participants were very happy to get this framework and to see their own role in holding the new paradigm. One participant said: “There is wholeness in the model. It is like an egg.”

When time is collapsing

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

Some weeks ago I told a good friend that I want to live in the energy or space or field where I can always ‘act in an instant’. This ‘acting in an instant’ is used by Otto Scharmer in his Theory U. It describes how you can be totally aligned in your self with your thinking, your emotions, and your actions and at the same time also be in harmony with your environment and third in resonance with the future that is emerging through you.


So, it is not following some instincts, or giving in to your longings. To me it is an alignment of your personality and your soul. In my experience it is a way of being totally alive. I guess it is like a bud of a flower, opening itself up more and more, step-by-step – a better word here is unfolding.
The difference between myself and the flower bud is that I get excited, and the flower is ‘just growing’? Or maybe the flower is always excited?

Why do I feel excited? Most likely because I wasn’t fully alive before. I was holding back a lot, I was silent, I didn’t take myself serious and many more ways of being ‘normal’ and ‘obedient’ instead of being fully alive.

Acting in an instant, it feels so good! The days and moments that it happens follow each other quicker and quicker. As if time collapses! There isn’t much scheduled in my calendar, which makes it possible to act in the now: to finish tasks right away; to take steps ‘one conference call at a time’, no big projects are figured out into detail, which then need to be accomplished, but a sensing of ‘right time, right space, right people’.

If time collapses, then space should collapse too. I can see glimpses of it in the ease of conference and Skype calls connecting people easily across the globe, in sending text messages from Belgium to Israel, but I am wondering,
if the time-space continuum really collapses can I disappear from here and appear right next to you???

Inclusive perspective

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

Below is the prologue of a book called: Tsawalk: A Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview. It is written by Umeek, and the story is from his great-grantfather Keesta. ‘Heshook-ish tsawalk’ means: everything is one, a perspective that is inclusive of all reality, both physical and metaphysical. I referred to this story in a previous blog entry – as I recalled it – but here is the right version:

Every protocol had been observed between the whaling chief and the spirit of the whale. Keesta had thrown the harpoon, and the whale had accepted it, had grabbed and held onto the harpoon according to the agreement they had made through prayers and petitions. Harmony prevailed, whaler and whale were one, heshook-ish tsawalk.

All of a sudden something went wrong, some disharmony arose, some disunity intruded, and the whale turned and began to tow Keesta and his paddlers straight off shore. Keesta took inventory. Everyone in the whaling canoe remained true to the protocols: cleansed, purified, and in harmony. Prayer songs intensified. Still, the great whale refused to turn toward the beach, heading straight off shore. Keesta and the paddlers had kept true to their agreements, and now there seemed nothing left to do except to cut the atlu, the rope attached to the whale.

Keesta took his knife, and as he moved to cut the rope, Ah-up-wha-eek (Wren in English; Winterkoninkje in Nederlands) landed on the whale and spoke to Keesta: “Tell the whale to go back to where it was harpooned.” Keesta spoke to the whale, and immediately the great whale turned accourding to the word of Wren, the little brown bird, and returned to where it was first harpooned, and there it died.

After the whale had been towed ashore, Keesta discovered, as he had suspected, that the disharmony and disunity had intruded at home. When his wife had heard that the whale had taken the harpoon, she had roused herself and prematurely broken away from her ritual in order to make welcome preparations. At the point when she began to go about her life in disharmony from the rest was exactly when the great whale had begun to tow Keesta and his paddlers off shore.

Two energies integrating

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Recently I wrote some thoughts and experiences about the question I was holding for a long time: What am I doing when I am holding space?
Quickly it become a much deeper quest, involving the concepts of Spirit and Source. I’m trying here to uncover the core qualities and core functions of each in our daily life. More precise: to unearth what this could mean for the world that we all wish to come into manifestation.

This is not an easy task, as so many concepts and ideas in our language are made to separate. Using them to convey meaning about wholeness make me look for other – for myself more familiar – tools, like making drawings or reside in contemplation, but the level of share-ability is quite low here. So back to language and writing and making the best out of it.

I tend to see Spirit somewhere high out there and I experience Source as something deep within. Watch my words here: I see’ Spirit and I ‘experience’ Source. Maybe this is only valid for me, but other people tend to go with it. So, let’s stick to it for a while.

If we draw them on a blank sheet of paper, Spirit sits on top of it, and Source takes the bottom position. Then what is in the middle? I name it ‘the real world’; the world in space and time that we see as the manifested world with its three dimensions. Then draw a circle connecting Spirit and Source, because somewhere they are One. That is ever harder to express in words and I leave that to others. Remember: my inquiry is about understanding ‘holding space’.

For me Spirit and Source is like the first couple that came out of the One. The first paradox was created with them. Related are: light and darkness, yin and yang, inward and outward, masculine and feminine, …
But back to holding space, and more specific within the context of facilitating or hosting a group conversation. I wrote recently: “When I am holding space, I connect in my body with the unmanifest potential of this person, this group or this place. It asks for an emptiness and a deep stillness inside to be able to carry this potential. Maybe it is better to say to be a container for it, and I mean it in a very physical way. I open my body to be this container in service of something that wants or can become manifest.” In short: I hold the energy container in my body, in which the potential can unfold. But much like many failed experiments with non-authoritarian education, something is missing if we want to see the unfolding of the potential in ‘real’ time. Holding Space asks for its counterpart of keeping the intention or the focus. But this focus or intention can’t be closed or fixed, otherwise there is no room for unfolding. So I suggest to use ‘Stay in Inquiry’.

In my drawing I write now: Stay in Inquiry below Spirit, and Holding Space above Source, and I connect them also with a circle.

Looks good, but I am not satisfied. The distance between the two circles is too big for me. How does Source becomes Holding Space? How does Spirit becomes Stay in Inquiry? What is Source providing when going in the direction of the real world? What is it’s first level of manifestation (that I can distinguish)?

When I put myself in the shoes of Source I experience unlimited Potential. That makes a lot of sense to me. What is then it’s counterpart on the side of Spirit? How shows Spirit itself to the real world? I am inclined to name that Inspiration. Now we can draw the third circle within the two previous ones.

For me it was highly revealing how this map – so far – fits together. Because later on I want to dive deeper into the lower part of these circles, which hasn’t been receiving much focus, as most of us pay attention to the real world and the real phenomena. But there is more!

The ancient and contemporary spirituality practices give you a quiet detailed map how to go on these different steps towards Spirit and up to Oneness. But my whole focus of exploring this is to get a sense of the lower part and its different steps, to finally see a more full picture. And we will see that it tells us more about the collective than the individual.

In trying to write this article I had to blend the two different energies also in myself. This is not a theoretical writing. I am somehow used to write ‘from inside’, to access my inner wisdom, through writing, regarding important questions and issues. This means that my mind doesn’t have ideas before the words come on the paper. But now, here, I want to convey some of its wisdom to you, to others. So there is now knowing in my memory, and still I want the freshness of accessing new inner wisdom too. Can I stay in touch with the inner wisdom and still write a coherent piece, understandable for people who want to?

It seems like mixing oil and water. Being an inward person, the integration needs to happen – first – in my body, in my energy. Writing from inner knowing has no time delay, I only know it when it is written down, not before. Writing from memory goes the other way round: first knowing, then writing. Difficult mix. But women are known for being good at multi-tasking, so there must be a way!

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!

Second day in Women Moving the Edge

Monday, March 5th, 2007

Blogentry by Judy

What is behind the shadow? The long held and suppressed multiple ways of women knowing. The natural ways that have been suppressed in consciousness – from Witch hunts, the Inquisition, and our own permission. The wisdom of the body, of the womb, of ritual, ceremony, intuition and of the mental and feeling natures.
And now … And now we can begin to rediscover from this level of consciousness, we can create new ways of knowing from this place integrating all, bringing a wholeness to knowing, a new stage on the evolutionary spiral. From the interval, the space between, in time and between us, we can bring forward these sensing organs, nurture this as if a baby in the womb, that is being birthed through us. We have the power to co-create, to co-discover, to nurture, to bring something greater into being, into the world, to change the world.
Comfort Zone and beyond What is ego still holding on to, how do I still make myself feel safe? Is there fear – yes in the not-knowing, in the nothingness, in the fear of being lost. And yet I know that beyond the ego self is the Self, the one who has no fear, no past or future, no need for anything except to be in fullness, in now, and to emerge. No need for comfort as there is no fear. It is really the One, a Collective Self. The only me that is there is an instrument of how this Collective Self will move in the world, through this human consciousness.
The Circle Being So how can we as a circle of women co-create access to this Self? Are there practices that can take us there? How are death, emptiness, the womb, rebirth, nurturance all connected? Who is the She, the Collective She? How can being in a state of inquiry be liberating, safe in a way, free of all limitations, beyond the fears, pain, holding back of the ego self. Is the long held and dwelt upon pain and suffering a comfort zone? I am exhausted from the pain and fear of pain that lives within me. Can I allow what pulls and attracts me to be the draw, at least to the next level of safety and comfort? Can I be in the chaos that surrounds and infuses this journey? With the not-knowing. I am so used to knowing, to the comfort of mental models. Can I move to this frontier? Can we?

From Lisa: Time off

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

I had to come across the ocean to find time to BE. It is something I know well, “take time to balance” and yet, I raced around fitting in the last email and phone call before the taxi came pick me up for the airport. Off to a conference for women’s leadership.

And what was I expecting? Certainly a break form the frenzy, yeah! I needed it. To my surprise, even the taxi cab became a place of respite. The half hour drive was a silent relaxation to space for me and the plane ride was the same. Ahh. Rest.

What do leaders need is the question that was posed. If I am putting on a conference series for leaders then we need to know what it is they lack and what we can provide. Rest, reflection time. Support in coming into their own inner wisdom something few of us seem to be able to fit in these days.

This was confirmed to me, I reflect back, by the gentleman standing on the airport check-in line. He was off to chair a conference in Florida, something he has done for several years. His colleagues, government workers in the telecommunication industry, needed to get way, be treated well, some golf, some lobster dinners and lots of meetings, he said.

And yet, what he waxed poetically about for most of our conversation, which was long because the airport on a Friday night was bursting with people, was a month long program he took ten years ago.
It was the best time of his life, he said. A time way for holistic leadership training. Holistic. He reminisced at how this training filled his life for a year or so and then he felt he needed a refresher.

Although he keeps birdseed in his office to at least symbolize that he wants to take time out to literally feed the birds during his busy day as a time in nature to recoup some energy, he rarely does it. He KNOWS that time is important, Even a ten minute respite. I suggest he tell his 700 colleagues in Florida this week to take ten minutes of quiet time during their lunch break. He laughs. They would rather be on their blackberry’s . I tease him, “Right! So tell them to put them down and go hang out in the sunshine. You will be in Florida. They will be so much more creative when they come back”.

We will see. I hope he does it. And for me. I hope I do it more often as well. I am grateful to be among the women here at this intimate conference as we dance, play, eat, dialogue and find time to be, together and alone in our stillness. To allow our own unique creative juices to flow freely, once again. How easy it is to forget to nourish the soil, our own bodies and minds, so they can grow ever more feely and deeply and creatively.

Our start

Saturday, March 3rd, 2007

Fascinating, this start with 9 women who didn’t know each other before, and after a few hours we feel connected as if we knew each other since a long time.

We started with dancing to be present in our bodies, we went into silence without anybody saying to do it, and we had a moving, deep and inspiring check-in. One of ‘our’ words that came up: edgy stuff.

We did a harvest right after we heard all the stories of what was present to us, and some themes already came up.

There was fascination about how quick we had been able in establishing this intimate field. We realised that the more we bring ourselves on the edge in a group, it becomes quicker and faster for other groups to do it too. Maybe to come together intentionally as women we can birth a bigger, better and healthier field!

Another line: the whole thing is about being in the process; we get it and then we loose it again. But the process in itself is empowering and we can enjoy the search, because there is no fixed destination.

Somebody spoke about death and rebirth; and the full moon meditation we did in the evening had this as main theme too. Death is part of life, and can be a door to a deeper wisdom.

What lit up in listening to all the stories was the quality of needing each other. Marianne said: “Aloneness, or singularity, is essential in this field. Without that there is no meeting, no touching possible.” This struck me really deep. I saw in an instant that I need the collective to be able to go deeper in myself, to become more me; not in the personality-sense but as in a deeper dying of the ego.

After the full moon meditation Judy sent us to bed with a question, related to the moon eclips: “What is it in us, that is behind the shadow, that wants to emerge?”

Complex and nuanced energies

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

Some people say that I’m super cool, even super cold. Some of my friends and family are complaining that I don’t tell them the usual stories of being hurt, or that I don’t call them enough when they might be ill. When I heard this complaint for the first time, it was a real chock. Yes indeed, my behavior and talking is cool. But I think ik is not cold, but still. Quiet.

Emotional exchange and relationships are in the centre of many women’s lifes. We are good at it. It makes us good mothers, good nurses, good wifes, good friends. It makes us fight for peace and justice. It stimulates us to take responsibility for communities and life-affirming actions. But sometimes there is too much of the good stuff – emotions – and is the relationship too much in the centre, instead of in service of what we want to co-create.

My experience is that it is difficult for women to see this imbalance. And of course it is true: the world needs a lot more care for the matters of the heart. Too much focus and emphasis on matter creates imbalance and a lot of suffering. But too much attention for sharing emotions is not the solution.

The question seems to be how to integrate complex and nuanced energies.