Archive for the ‘ecosystem of conversations’ Category

Ecosystem and simplicity

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

There are two ideas or experiences very present to me now. One is the notion of ‘being an ecosystem of conversations’. This is very much how I identify myself these days as I see myself as a constant interweaving of different conversations. They all are kind of related, they build on each other, they weave concepts and ideas closer together or weave a new color in. The cloth that is woven is never finished, keeps on changing and becomes wider, bigger and deeper.
And this doesn’t only happen for myself, it also happens in the collective I’m most related to. Mostly women, I notice now.
WMtE7 yellowleaves smallTo take the notion of ecosystem as the main identification means I drop more and more any attachment to form; or maybe better to say: any attachment to stable form. What I am seeking for these days is dynamic balance. There is nothing linear in that, but it is an always moving in many directions and levels.

A second notion that is very present with me is simplicity. Not for the sake of itself, but as a necessity to come to a way of living that is really life-affirming. It is probably not a simplicity in technology – I think we will need a lot of innovation in this area – but a simplicity in processes and relationships. I think it is the simplicity of self-organisation and emergence: just enough design to let it happen, and not too much.
WMtE7 leaves smallIt makes me return to gardening: learn to make good compost to nurture your soil; observe what happens anyway and build on that. Gardening is kind of simple when you work in synergy with nature. The really complex processes are done by nature itself, we can only improve the conditions where these processes can thrive and where they have enough resilience to respond to different circumstances. It seems to me that a lot of our planning in linear time (chronos) makes things complicated and build up a lot of stress. It is weird to say maybe, but there is simplicity in trusting synchronicity, trusting the experienced timing (kairos), trusting the mystery of life itself.

The Earth road

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Poem From Women Moving the Edge, a string of sharings by all of us, noted down by Maria.

We are physically walking along
With our bodies
We can sense and feel the way ahead
The masculine that protects
Looking for that within ourselves
And in others
What does it protect?
The Feminine Being informed by the ancestors
And the young ones
Give over to what we are birthing
Our youngins have so much
To teach us
Lets make space for them
To teach us the future
Listening and sensing and feeling
What is around us
Is it sufficient for us now?
And listening to the trees
The birds and the leaves
Helping us to listen

I realise that I touch people
I don’t have to be part
Of an ‘edgy’ organisation
I make a difference

Surrender, Surrender
To who we are
I have to get that, I am
Already doing it

I walked the woods backwards
Feeling the strength at my back
I walked it backwards twice!
And I did not fall

The simple and the explicit
The touching and being held
The simple gestures of touching

The question is:
Is staying disconnected an option?
Because it is uncomfortable
For a few moments to connect?

I am not really ready to find anything
I am still in the inquiry
Still in a place of seeking

Why am I afraid?
Because women in my time
Were burning bras, hating men
I did not want to be part of this

Yes, it is about us being powerful
About us being out there
And touching men, touching women
Out there, in the space we want
To act upon

Have we lost something?
I know there is a deeper level
We do not have to drop it
We touched it and left, touched it and left

For me the real feminine is to
Stay in that connection all the time:
To stay present to your body and senses
To contain your attachments
To ego, or to whatever

We are just beginning to see
How much we are living in the masculine
– Not to say that we are doing a bad job –
Our track in consciousness of the masculine
Is so deep
The new track is hardly visible
And it needs all our consciousness
What is the subtle that calls my awareness?
Allowing the silence
So much noise
So many words

They will not heal us
Only when they are connected
We hardly touched what is
Connection to Source

So much to discover deep inside us
Inner wisdom, inner knowing
As Priestesses we need to bring it out
It is still there

The Feminine is about collectiveness
Holding the Whole
The only way we can nurture
Ourselves back to this
– Not just as feminists – is to come together
As women
It is needed, it is necessary
As far as I know
All Priestesses, all Witches
Have come together
In Circles to hold the Source

To get a physical experience
Of how it is to be in
Feminine Energy
We are overwhelmed with the masculine
How we work, our cities, our buildings

It is only fair to get a physical
Experience of the Feminine

We are more knowledgeable
About Zen
We need to be in experience
Be in the body
Be in the layers of the body
Then use our consciousness

Let the words come out
From the deep layers, not the minds
And the grandmothers sit around us
Three, four, five circles
Just lean back!
They hold us
Lean back!
Life is happening anyway
Just sense how it wants to be born
Which muscle you have to stretch or release
Evolution is happening anyway
Get out of the way
Rest in silence

I know that when I sit in circles like this
And this is not the first
Then when we are ready
Source vibrates out of the centre
It’s a resonance
I can move from it, speak from it, act from it
But unless I am open
And those that gather
Can contain resonance
It is lost
Until the presence is ready again

I have no doubt
That Source appears
When there are men and women
But there is a quality that emerges with women
Because Source is deeply feminine
There have been times throughout history
Delphi, Witches, 8 million women burned
Because they held power of self
They were connected to this
This was perceived as dangerous

There is a reverence to embodying
And the noise is so, it is everywhere
The static, the confusion
For me, I guess, in this moment
I am understanding the reason I came here
It is to reconnect to the brilliance that is
This energy called Source
To plug myself in again
And to witness others into that to

The other name of Source
Is Home
Not good enough to just know it exists
And feel it from time to time
We have to act from it
And invite it into places without question

I am feeling so much pain
In my body
Can we dance?

And we did!

Not just any talk is a conversation

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

In Women Moving the Edge we had lots and lots of real deep conversations. It is better to call them dialogues; and it were true generative dialogues. I want to share this with you, which was sent to me during these days:

roses opening...

Not just any talk is conversation,

not any talk raises consciousness.

A subject can be talked to death,

a person talked to sleep.
Good conversation has an edge:

it opens your eyes to something,

it quickens your ears.

And good conversation reverberates:

it keeps on talking in your mind later in the day;

the next day, you find yourself still conversing with what was said.

The reverberation afterward is the very raising of consciousness.

Your mind has been moved,

you are at another level with your reflections.

James Hillman

Art of Hosting as Operating System

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Regular users know that I am involved with The Art of Hosting, be it the art in itself or its community. It is the art of designing and facilitating meaningful conversations in whatever community – school – organisation they ask for it or are willing to engage with each other in ‘a road less travelled’.

Recently Ravi Tangri posted an interesting conversation on YouTube (in three parts) in which Phil Cass and Toke Møller tell the story of how these meaningful conversations came into being in the health care system in Columbus Ohio. It is really an amazing story and a very good example for other places and other areas of life.

In Columbus, Ohio, the question started around how to build an affordable and sustainable health care system in their region. Some time later they were asking themselves: What is a health care system for? and recently they had conversations about What is Health? I am in awe for Phill and all the others who are breaking new ground with something as simple as deep conversations…

Please take a look here. As I mentioned before, the whole story is in three episodes.

And Ravi did more! He looked around all over YouTube and gathered all video’s related to meaningful conversations. If you are interested, here is more!

Everything exists only in conversation

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

“Everything exists only in conversation.” This is the quote one of the facilitators of Youth at Risk, started his pre-course day with. Sitting in front of him were 21 young boys and girls, on average 17 years old. Not easy stuff! I was sitting in the back of the big room, with a lot of other volunteers who make this program possible.
Not every ‘thing’ exists in conversation, but ‘I’ exist also only in conversation! For most of the people this is a totally inner conversation – between me and myself – but what if I can embrace this quote as: I exists only in the conversations I have with other people? Then who was I yesterday when I listened to this facilitator, and who was I a few hours ago in conversation with Pierre, his wife and two of his friends?

Then where does I exist? Where is the conversation happening? In myself? In the others (too)? Or is the conversation happening in the ‘in-between-ness’; in this empty void? Which is according to Ervin Lazlo, not empty at all, but full of energy.

Are we shaping this energy between us through our conversations?

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!

Birthing of new communities

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Yesterday evening six of us gathered in Brussels to celebrate George’s birthday. Of course that couldn’t happen without some deep, inspiring conversations! George wanted to look beyond the circles that were born during this last year and which hold all a lot of potential: What is the deeper pattern that speaks through all of them?

What we saw were different communities on different practices – the how – (Art of Hosting on Art of Hosting, World Cafe Stewards, Collective Intelligence Conveners, Women Moving the Edge, …) and different places – the where – (Rivendell, Hazelwood, Kufunda, Heerlijckyt, …). We also see emerging a next level in group formation. They differ from the communities above. They are not gathered around one practice but around a calling in the world. The members of these new communities have different competences and different practices, and they are all present and centered in themselves. They know their individual place in the world. The synergy of these individuals can make a lot happen in the world!

This afternoon this conversation went on with Amy Lenzo, who is a steward of the World Café Community. She raised the same question: “What is this where the World Café is part of?” She also said: “In the mean time the different communities need to evolve and strengthen and be nurtured. Nevertheless, if it is an inward looking thing, we missed something! We need to look outward and link with others.” It reminded me of one of the principles of the Art of Hosting: ‘Find your mates’.

As a constellator (a facilitator of systemic constellations) it is fascinating to see how all this is about ‘finding the right place’; first for the individuals, then for the communities around the different practices, and also for Europe and other continents and cultures. What is the role or the gift of Europe in the world?
Each of us has a part to play – on every level. It is important that we know that place and then reach outwards. In partnering and coming to another level of working together we make the overall field stronger. We will need this for the time to come, when we are called to challenging tasks and difficult places.

Unravel the depths of the masculine and feminine

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Since Moving the Edge in March 2006, David Reis and my self, had regular Skype conversations. They were always deep inspiring and gave us both an energising feeling. Today again, before the call, we wondered what we were going to talk about… this is what happened:

Silence – silence – silence …

Ria: Working yesterday on Women Moving the Edge. Reading Andrew Cohen’s “liberation without a face”. He says: Real enlightenment means: gender doesn’t matter any more. Thinking of our idea last time of doing a Couples workshop. What does Andrew’s concept mean in daily life? It is a big jump from daily life.

David: It’ true; it is a big jump. Only a few will make the jump. I wonder if Andrew is in the masculine perspective of enlightenment. The spiritual teacher of my wife is very aware of men and women’s difference. He and his partner, a remarkable woman, they have been exploring this a lot. I wonder if Andrew is right. Anyway: there need to be some bridges and we need to meet where people are.
* Last gathering in my spiritual community went very well. Description of the context we are in: different than before. Organization changed, the leadership changed; my position is changed and will finish in Sept. The rise of the feminine was mentioned in the previous years, but now was the first time that we really looked at it. Before, it was ignored.
* Creation works on the principle of sexuality. When we looked at it: the feminine can only show up when there is a safe place. Gender is not the main issue here. The masculine is the embodiment of love: designed to create a safe space for the feminine; that’s the partnership. It allows forms of live to appear. In the Tao: first the one, then the two; then you have the three; then the ten thousand things. The feminine and the masculine are both part of the One. Each dynamic carries a different quality, aspect of the One.
The feminine and the masculine are expressions of the One; all other forms are then the three.
* In the gathering: it was liberating for the women; also for the men: getting rid of the mistrust! Now: space for the trust. In one of the groups, equally balanced by gender, many times different women would bring forth a strong intuition – like needing more art. Once I acknowledged the strong emotion in it. Then she talked about the importance of drawing, collages, dance, and music: that what cannot be said through words.

One of my women friends says: Talking is a masculine activity.

The fear is that the feminine will become dominant; which is not true. The feminine need to arise, because the conditions are right for it now. Right now the context is not safe for the feminine. The true masculine need to become forward; instead of the shadow of the masculine.

You said: “The feminine cannot come forward if it is not safe.” I’m wondering: If I am really centered in myself, do I need the men/masculine to hold the space?

You need to have the masculine in yourself. The nature of the masculine is to create space, to create borders; to set the quality. Something glimpses here…. the field in which the masculine can be present is in the womb of the world… difficult to talk about… the feminine is also there… a perspective of 100% masculine and 100% feminine… as a gliding scale… nothing is totally 100% … they overlap always… we all have both… if the masculine and the feminine is in the One, then everybody has both in them! That is why the man can create a context, like a womb! Looking at the dynamic of thinking, women were designed to … to inseminate men with a seed of thought. They are catalysing a topic or a tread of thinking, for further insemination. In plants, in weed seed, masculine… and feminine…

One of the basic ideas from Macro-biotics is: If the form is feminine, the core is masculine energy; and vice versa. It is in everything. When the form comes as masculine, the content is feminine. Best words here: Form and energy (not content).

In the thinking of our group: we talk about a unified body of people. Humanity is designed to be the Body of Love. Body=feminine, Love= masculine.
Masculine and feminine is in every holon. Humanity, as being receptive to Love/Life, is feminine.
* In the gathering the women were visibly relaxed. They said: “We were able to bring the Earth in.”; which never happened before. Before it was all about Spirit; and frustrating the natural flow.
* Basic is: Honor the process of emergence. It opens up different ways that women and men can show up in the gathering. One man talked about a ‘spiritual oasis’; that the group can be like that. Not an organizational function, but embodying the Truth of Love. Being an oasis in the desert of the culture. Giving room for emergence instead of designing the focus beforehand. The role of Leadership changes: it is acknowledging what is emerging: what is emerging in form and what is emerging in spirit. What are the essences that are crossing over … for that to happen everybody is responsible for spirit, for listening for what is in the middle. That’s the key: everybody is responsible for doing that! Everybody is a leader! It shifts from leader-follower, to all leaders following the movement in spirit.

I like to call this Collective leadership.

In our group the son of the initiator started the collect. Leadership, but shadow elements came out.

What I hear is that your group becomes adult now. When the initiator starts a movement like that, all the other ones start as being a child, regarding this spiritual focus of course. Then everyone in the movement has to grow up. In the teen-age years, fights start. You can see the development in a many-years-perspective.

As that happens (the movement becomes adult), the old form passes away. When maturity happens, new patterns of relationships happen. It shifts into trust and each one will embody what is theirs to do. Then the role of leadership also changes: from giving direction and instruction to coordination.

Not just coordination. It is about holding the field … and more… It’s not giving directions or directives, but somehow holding direction; becoming more mature maybe. It is like when you raise your children. When they are 6 or 8 you give directives. When they are 16 or 18 you hold direction.

Yes, I actively look for direction! Looking into what is in the midst; and what people are saying. Then looking for the connection and speaking it as it develops.

Maybe we are growing mature as human beings, instead of quarrelling all over the place.
* Back to Women Moving the Edge. Our conversation confirms what I have been holding. What you spoke about the woman speaking about art, music, etc. In MtE in March, I was holding that perspective. Somehow it got some form – through one of the women participants, but not enough.
* The other point: for women to step out into the world with real feminine qualities, they need to master their masculine qualities also. Like knowing their boundaries, where to do it and where not to do it. Being able to create their own safe space. In a way: being in control of yourself of your own re-actions: as compared to being controlling. Able to MASTER your reactions, able to withhold reactions that go into fights. If you see it comes to fight, you just drop the line of conversation. And not being hurt by it! Many times when you go with the feminine quality in the world, many don’t see it, laugh or fight with it. However, you can outgrow being hurt by that.

It takes the women out of the role of the victim; and of the perpetrator!
If the women come out like this, the men have to relate differently. The men, who are less mature and are still treating women in these shadow ways, will have to come to terms with women who don’t fight. Surprising! Women in developing this masculine side, they don’t develop the shadow masculine side; which we see so much in business context.

David Deida says that the masculine at the core is: holding consciousness and presence; the feminine at the core is embodying love.

We were both surprised and energized by this beautiful and inspiring dialogue! I hope you enjoy it too!

Starting and looking back

Sunday, April 3rd, 2005
Connections. Connectedness. Interconnectedness.We are an ecosystem of conversations.We connect in meaning.

I will use this blog to express myself, to show myself as an ecosystem of thoughts and conversations.

My hope is that it has some value in the ecosystem that you are.

I will start my blog with entries I wrote some time ago, but which have still some value – at least to me. They were published on sites that died, or where never published. Now they will be here for a bigger audience.

With love,