Archive for the ‘harvesting’ Category

Autumn harvest

Friday, October 8th, 2010

From one of my friends…

I felt the call to share this with you… feeling like it is a beautiful description fo the harvest and reminding me that no accident that we are harvesting our work now (from Women Moving the Edge) – in this autumn harvesting energy. I hope you enjoy… from one of my teachers Richard Heckler of the Strozzi Institute. I find myself full of longing to be with real food and women creating the next form of fruit to jam…. ugh! That longing!

Here is what she send along; pictures are mine, taken on Genesis Farm – a great place to be!

Let The Arrow Fly


A nickel-plated summer sky, gloomy and cool, finally opens to an unrelenting sun. Bingo! Everything ripens at once. Yellow squash, beans, zucchini, arugula, lemon cucumbers, blackberries, watermelon, roma tomatoes, cantaloupe melon, lettuce, and chard are the bright headliners in the garden. I also collect the windfall from the pear, apple, plum, and peach trees and give them to my neighbor Amy. They return as applesauce and jam. There is plenty enough for both of us. Fingernail dirt and sparkling glass canning jars, reciprocity is well remembered when the jam spreads resplendent on morning toast.

I return to the orchard and harvest the remaining fruit. The ground is wet from the night’s dew and the mourning doves break from the top branches and fly to the dojo roof. I ramble through the trees first shaking the larger branches and see what falls. Then I eyeball their color, cup them in my hand and feel if they’re keen to surrender their relationship with the mother tree. Each piece of fruit is different; their unique timeline of sun, water, the biology of photosynthesis, and the Great Mystery all factor into their readiness to be plucked into a new life. As I wander from tree to tree it occurs to me that, besides simply harvesting fruit, I’m engaging with the questions: “What is being ready?” “How do we know that something is ready to come to a new form?” This is not the ready of, “I’m dressed and ready to go.” But, more in the theme of the Old Testament author who says in Ecclesiastes, “There is a season for all things. There is a right time for everything.”


What is the right time to harvest the fruits of our actions? What is the moment to surrender? What is it that longs to come to form? What yearns to be released into a new life?

If I wait too long the fruit falls bruised, immediately settled by squatter ants and yellow jackets. If I force them off the stem, they’re hard and without the sugar load that makes them what they are. When we force something we’re usually ahead of ourselves and off center, acting out of self-interest and fear; if we hesitate or procrastinate our fear drives us to inattention and we don’t heed what is required and the harvest is lost.

what do you see?

Perhaps our part in evolution may be simply to attune to what has now come to fruition and is to be harvested. Yes, there are certain logical predictors of this but if we wholly rely on our mental decision-making we will lose the wisdom of a vaster intelligence. In kyudo, the Japanese art of archery, the moment of releasing the arrow is called hanarai. This is the result of ai or harmony. It is the moment where the fully drawn bow, in synchronization with the body and spirit of the archer, can no longer contain the energy of the union position, and the arrow is spontaneously released. The release or surrender then is naturally birthed from ai. A legendary kyudo Master said, “When the time is right, the arrow flies, as a fruit falls from a tree.” The arrow flies simply because it is what must occur next. It is a poetic completion of dignity and daring.

The deep inner wisdom that tells us when to take action and how to do it skillfully is part of the path of mastery. Feeling and sensing the current of energy that moves through us is the doorway to contact that wisdom. This requires that we listen deeply to the impulses, images, and streamings that are part of our livingness. Take a moment and walk through your inner garden and feel and sense what has ripened in you and can now be harvested; notice what has not yet come to maturity – needing more time to develop. See what can be composted to enrich your future visions. Hanarai!

Take It Easy, But Take It

Elements for the New Story

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Third day in our learnIng gathering. We started with some singing and then moved to some excersises that were inspired by the systemic constellation work. First it was a relating to our highest potential – life’s work – soul – higher self; all in silence and using the body to sense the nuances and try new things out.

Then we did a collective sensing in how we relate with The New Story. As intro we used a poem, written by a dear friend living in Greece, and these days confronted with the reality of living without oil and what then comes to a halt. Again all happened in silence, and being aware of the many subtle ways that we know. What follows here are the nuggest spoken in a circle about what we learned, new insights we got, out of this last constellation; either on elements of the new story or how to relate with it.

I advice you to read it slowly, letting time between each line; maybe read it twice as we did in the circle this morning.


Expansion and flexibiity
Opennes and uncertainty of direction
Potential and bodies reaching for each other; no sense of what the new story is.
There is an opening between humanity and the source; the connection is beginning.
Role of attraction and allurement; of beauty; and the attraction of the trees.
Opening out.
Wicked cool! Wicked friends! Cool!
The light coming through the leaves and looking at the ground. The trees are solid.
I am the Earth, the old and the new story. I want respect.
Slowing and noticing.


Creative tension between opposites. Is humanity ready? It does not have to be big.
Spirits are here to guide us. Learn to ask and listen.
The call of the great wild cosmos.
Aware of pressure.
Each of us connecting to the earth, and the rest of the universe, and each of us seeking each other.
Being open to receive source.
Like a kid in a candy store: curiousity, playfulness and so much to discover.
It doesn’t seem incidentical that we are passing time (a little clock being the talking piece); counter clockwise.
People trying to connect in many different ways.
Lots of energy and potential and conversations and relationships.
Receiving the trees, guarding the forest; knowing there is no away.
Wonder, awe and curiousity.
Aware of being a small node in a vast system.
When you turn the clock face over there are stars.
Attention to the shifting whole.


Friday, July 30th, 2010

Collages from our experience in nature… the invitation was to listen to nature. This was the overall question: What is it that humanity needs to remember in order to rewild, repattern and restory?













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!

Day of Peace

Friday, September 21st, 2007
...het barst open...
Today, September 21, is the time that Summer becomes Autumn. Sunny day though, here in Belgium. And the harvest of apples, pears, nuts and grapes started off three weeks ahead of time…
And it is also the UN International Day of Peace. For me I don’t focus on the big world peace, but on my own personal peace. In this regard this quote is just perfect:
“The art of peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the art of peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter.”
Ushiba Sensai, founder of the martial art of Aikido, in “The Art of Peace”

Gathering some little clues…

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

In the Art of Hosting community more and more attention goes to the Art of Harvesting. In email exchanges these last few days I saw some good, useful stuff and some challenging questions.

A beautiful, nice and simple presentation was made by Cris Corrigan for one of his clients, but it can be inspiring for all of us: What else could harvest be?

Last week I sent out an invitation for a follow-up day from the last Art of Hosting training in Belgium. I stated my own learning as: “How to design a gathering like this that will feed into the next step, in the best possible way?” I really don’t have a clue, it is on the edge of knowing and not-knowing…

Simone answered with some more questions: “There are a few questions about harvesting, with which I have been sitting many years now: Can the harvest become something that just naturally emerges from a gathering? If yes how? How can harvesting the outcome of a gathering become a natural, joyful and creative task? …

Hilde Vandormael responded: “Isn’t it so, that the harvesting is there, all the time, as we are witnesses of our lives? How to become aware?”

Also for the workshop Women Moving the Edge, early March, we are confronted with this question. How to design this gathering not only for the days we are actually together but also for afterwards? What is the harvest that we want? What format will serve our purpose best? How to integrate harvest on the spot?

Last a little harvest jewell by Lenore Mewton :
“Harvesting is reaping the simple elegance and wisdom of our souls and hearts—- leading to inspired action.

Harvest of this Art of Hosting

Monday, January 15th, 2007

What was emerging in this Art of Hosting?
What is emerging for the future?

In the debrief of this workshop by our diverse hosting team (in age, in culture and different parts of the world) we came to see some patterns that will nurture the future of the hosting trainings. First of all, because it is very close to my heart, we see that the hosting ourselves, or the ‘be present’ became more in the centre of the training. Every day there were two opportunities to train for individual practice, Aikido or meditation. ‘Hosting yourself and others’ was the theme of our second day. As presencing exercise participants were asked to walk the circle – in silence – which was very intense and meaningful. It invited everybody to show themselves in an authentic way and becoming comfortable in a circle of human beings. Toke called it: weaving humanity back into the field. Because of this little training we saw a lot of new hosts walking the circle in confidence, whether for opening space or for the opening or closing of the day.

Another point of the new design was that there was a teaching about the Chaordic Path on the first day, as part of the theme of the day: What is this? This created a safe environment, a good container, for all participants as they understood that being in chaos and feeling uncertain was part of the path to go. It was a collective meaning making and became part of the language for everyone.

What we see afterwards is that the stories of the eight little helpers, combined with the Kufunda story and later the teaching on the five breaths, combined with the story of the Health Care Systems in Columbus, Ohio – even if they are about large scale change, which can be very far from the actual day-to-day experience of some participants – actually it gave a story of hope! One of the participants said: “This gives me hope for my country!”

The Flow Game was used on the last day as a converging tool, which worked out in a good way. Participants had a safe environment and some focused time for their own, personal question. This was a good preparation to make the bridge to their own situation in life.

We saw a very strong closing of the three days where there was first a longer poem, then the invitation for everyone to write a little, reflective poem and then to sign up for commitments we are going to take in the future. The speaking out of some of these commitments in front of the whole group was a very powerful ending.

In our collective looking back we came to see that there is, within the Art of Hosting, the Art of Design and the Art of Harvesting. In an open space session we saw that harvesting is actually about reflecting back the process, the learning or change that happened; and not about what was said or done. The use of metaphors, pictures, poems, important quotes and testimonies is a good way of making a creative presentation instead of a dry report. What is needed in the future is probably that in the preparation both a facilitation and a harvesting team is set. They can both invite apprentices to train on the spot.

In our hosting team we see that in the future the Art of Hosting can become a 5-day training – or even longer – with more time for individual practice and good, explicit teachings. Maybe it becomes the Art of Hosting Life, or the Art of being hosted by Life; as we see within ourselves and within the Kufunda community here that all areas of life need to be included if we use Art of Hosting as an operating system for meaningful communities.

As a last point we see that a follow-up gathering or the start of Art of Hosting Practitioners Circles can or will be the next level of the Art of Hosting training(s).