Archive for the ‘listening’ Category

WMtE13 – Resonance in the field

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Checking my email during this gathering I was struck by the messages that would fit right in with what was happening in our field. So, one morning, or maybe after a break, I was reading them to the other participants. They speak about the listening, the silence and the stillness, the witnessing and even the cooking! For you to enjoy too!

Posted on Facebook by Yasuhiko Genku Kimura:

Every line of thought I pursued in coherent theory-making always revealed at the end its inherently nonsensical nature, for in the process of developing my thought my make-sense-ability also seemed to develop to a higher level. Every time echoing Ludwig Wittgenstein I utter the sentence, “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must pass over in silence” (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Proposition 7) and then restart a new line of thought. Thus the goal of thought disappears and the process becomes the purpose—the process of ever-deeper open engagement with Being, which is what Thinking is.

Posted by Hala, a dear friend of Women Moving the Edge, living in Lebanon:

the best words are the silent ones which express more fully what no word can express ~ it is in this expansive silence and gift that I close my day, which started with “preporate” – making me stop and feel that a new language is present to host our connections and relational fields ~ with deep gratitude to all who contributed, participated and joined physically or by heart in bringing life form celebration moments to nSite and moving me into this expansive silence and gift ~

And some more by Hala:

the fullness came through the fullness of the witnessing and the fullness of the collaborative cooking process, and the celebration of both by sharing moments of eating delicious foods collectively spread on the tables in the space

Witnessing, brilliance and radical amazement

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Some time ago I posted a question on my Facebook wall: “Sitting with this question: what makes witnessing so powerful? Is it because it links with our deepest soul?” A whole lot of answers came, and really nice ones.


The question had been fueled by recent experiences in some gatherings or learning events. One was were we did a listening circle – instead of speaking when you had the talking piece, now you were the one to listen to the others who would share what they saw was your precious gift. To me, it was a very special moment and someone said: This is even beyond Appreciative Inquiry! It was special because we could all touch a layer that we normally don’t give words to. It was about each others essence. I would say it was about and from the soul level. Also in the Immersion, a learning gathering around Living Wholeness the witnessing was very present.

Here are some of the answers that came on my FB page:
I have been sitting with this question as well 🙂 Some words from Alan Watts made me wonder if that’s a possible answer!
“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” ~ Alan Watts

Often I’m reminded that our anatomy doesn’t let us see our own beauty except in a mirror. We can do that for each other!

There is definitely something about being seen and heard – and maybe that is about the universe being seen and heard through each of us.

mirror neurons?

perhaps the gracefulness of not attempting to change but accepting something…

there’s also something about seeing and hearing ourselves within that process which makes it so potent for me too.

The Vedas talk about unmanifest Being splitting itself into Rishi, Devata and Chandas – the Knower, the Process of Knowing and the Known – in order that it might know itself. Witnessing is a practice of being consciously aware of all three to complete the trinity, rather than just focusing on the ‘Known’ …

Isn’t there a lot of wisdom in my friends? I really was surprised by the abundance of the answers, as this was more or less the first time I engaged myself in this way on Facebook!

Stitching the web of life together

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Since the last day of our Women Moving the Edge gathering, which is more than three weeks ago, finishing my harvest has been at the back of my mind all the time. But working life is always rather full after a week away, and these last four days I had a low level energy – not really sick, but not able to work in a ‘normal’ way. It was the time and energy needed to tend to my subtle energy levels.

So I went back to my notes and started at the beginning – the preparation day – the day before the start of the gathering, when the hosting team came together. We were hosted by Lisette in her house in Amsterdam. I’m always delighted how these old city houses have so many windows and light is pouring in all over! So different than the rural Flemish houses of that age with small windows.

The day started with some synchronicities. Judy had lived in Amsterdam (she now lives near Boston), somewhere in the nineties, and it turned out that the place where she had lived had been only a few houses away from Lisette’s! So she strolled around the neighborhood in the morning, trying to find back a spot that she had loved and she succeeded. The spot was the ‘Begijnhof’ of Amsterdam. The begijnen, are a local and feminine story; very Flemish. These ladies lived together in the 13th and 14th centuries, under no religious order, making their own rules and having a certain influence on society. Aren’t we like them? The beguines of the new life?

The guiding question for our gathering was: If the need of the world/Earth is an invitation to become fully ourselves, then what is our role as the evolving collective feminine? This is a high level question with no easy or immediate answers. We have noticed over our different gatherings that these questions keep working in us, and pieces of the answers show up later also.

In our check in, the first major theme was: How domesticated are we? How deep is society ingrained in us? And where is the wild feminine, the natural under these layers of socialisation? This linked in with books we were reading – like Women who Run with the Wolves and Rewilding the World. Are we prepared to let the natural come back into our lives? Who knows what will happen then? The Wild is the archetypal, the instinctual, the natural. It is not new; but it seems to us that more and more women are hearing its call. And through internet we can find each other and relate with one another.

Another line in the conversation was about the movement, the transition from the Piscean age – where all sorts of parent-child relationships can be found in society – to the Aquarian age, where relationships are made out of true partnerships. We can understand true partnerships between humans, but how does this translate with the Earth, and with this archetypal level we talked about before? We were bringing in information from others’ books (Co-Creative Science from Machaelle Small Wright and Return of the Feminine and the World Soul by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee) and from our own experience to allow a new picture to form in our minds, hearts and bodies. We know that woman – or, rather, the feminine in every human being – has a natural tendency or capacity to be in direct communication with nature and the Earth. From that inner experience we have a deep sense of what is in balance with both inner and outer environment. True partnership with Earth, or with nature, then seems to be that we can use our human free will to choose for this overall balance, instead of the current ruling paradigm of separation and fragmentation. We have the free will to choose ever more balance, on all levels of our existence. We seem to get to a lived experience of the oneness of humanity and the Earth.

I have to tell you that this clarity wasn’t present our conversation then. It is now, by re-reading my notes and those of Helen, that I am able to give some coherence to what we were speaking on that day.

So, a deeper partnership with Earth seems somehow feasible and understandable, but how to understand a true partnership with this wild, natural, archetypal level of the feminine? And as we put it in our guiding question: a true partnership with the collective feminine?

From the Spirit-Source model that I developed to understand how emergence can happen, we know there are many layers between the existing potential and the manifest. The archetypal level is one of these deep layers, way below the manifest form of our daily life. Because it is an energetic level – it can be translated into the multitude of forms that we know exist on our planet (and maybe beyond?) – I understand the archetypal as a blueprint level and most likely such a blueprint exists for the feminine and for the collective feminine. Now, because our consciousness evolves, and we can make different choices than our ancestors, the forms that can become manifest out of this archetype evolve too. And because everything is reciprocal you could say that we influence the archetypal blueprint too.

This was a shocking realization for me! If this is true – and I can’t see why it wouldn’t be – then it leaves me, and us, with a huge responsibility! What we choose now has a huge influence on what will come after us, because we will, in one way or the other, change the blueprint out of which the multitude of forms will be generated over time. Do we really dare to move this edge of consciousness? There is a lot of power – at least influence – in this. Are we sure our intentions are clear and without ego? Moving the edge of consciousness is not a small thing!

Looking back at it now, I realise even more deeply that this mutual influence is going on all the time, and has been going on for ages – whether we are conscious of it or not. So my and our power or influence doesn’t grow, it is just that our understanding of the consequences of our choices is growing. My power is not greater than before, but now I can choose to apply it in a more conscious way.

On the other hand, there is also so comfort in all this. If we understand the nature of these archetypal and other energetic levels that exist before something becomes ‘real’ on the manifest level of time and space, then we don’t have to worry about how things will emerge. All these energy levels – some call them deva’s and nature spirits – will do their job! We just need to set our clear intention and co-create with these subtle levels along the way! For me that is a big relief. I/we don’t have to do it alone! Of course – for a good understanding – we never did have to do it alone, but most of us didn’t realise that. We were so trapped in our power position as the ‘highest evolved being’ that we blanked out all these other layers. Probably what we need to do more is to listen more deeply to the information that these layers are sending us.

Being in conversation about this, listening ever more deeply to what was arising in the middle of our circle, I suddenly reached a level of these subtle layers that I hadn’t reached before. I saw in my mind’s eye a huge web, a kind of irregular woven fabric that was in many, many places completely torn and broken. It looked like a woolen fabric eaten by the moths, no pattern to discover, but broken in many places. I recognized this as the archetypal energy level of connectedness and of collectives. These holes where made by fragmented thoughts, over and over again. Thoughts about ‘me, me, me’ – about separation – all influence this energetic level, which then starts to die off, to decompose.

I realized why we need to come together in circles, over and over again: because it is only these kinds of collectives that can heal again this fabric of being a collective, of being in connection with all of humanity, all of earth and all of nature – probably all of existence. At that moment I understood the deep meaning of the web of life, I understood the many stories, myths and fairy tales about weaving, knitting, mending, stitching… all images about restoring the connective tissue in the greater web of life.

Coming together, as a collective, for the sake of darning the energetic fabric of the collective and keeping it strong; that is probably what women’s circles have done through the ages, consciously or not. This is what we need to do now too. Even as fully individuated individuals, we need to do that now. So these circles, these collectives are no longer about conformity. Rather, we are looking at a collective of fully conscious beings bringing their intention and attention together for the sake of the whole of life. We have a role to play in bringing forward that collective potential.

Some questions about health and wealth

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

How do forest health and wealth create each other?
Do they ask permission from the sun to use its rays?
How could they?

Protecting the sky is protecting life.
Is protecting the earth at the same time,
joining vision with practicality?

What is the currency of forest wealth?
What is the currency of atmospheric health?
Where is their point of co-creation?

How do the other elements come to play?
For example, how does water live in,
And give life to the forest?

Is it two-timing the sky?

Is generosity the currency of organizational wealth?
How do peace and creativity yield a culture of abundance?
How does that fundamental richness emerge as generosity?

Is generosity the virtue that produces peace? Really?

Jim Drescher – Windhorse Farm

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!

We are living the future now

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

It is Saturday now, after our morning break, and the room is silent. Everybody is just doing what they are doing: resting, in various positions, or drawing in silence. Nobody told us to do so, we are true to ourselves, in this moment. This morning we, as the hosting team, gave all leadership back to the group as a whole. We are still holding space, but we are not providing the others with techniques or tools or…

Words appear on flipcharts: Radical Authenticity. Swiftness, Preciseness, Love. On another flipchart: Be this Body!

This morning we struggled our way away from talking and concepts to this space of collective presence: present to ourselves in this moment, in this body, now, together.

Yesterday, we decorated the room with our questions on flipcharts, the letters wrapped up in colors and drawings. I used yesterday evening these colors too when harvesting our collective wisdom. We started our gathering with a circle sharing our answers about: What is my individual edge now? Flowing into a World Caf around the question: What do we hear through the individual stories about our collective edge here? This is my harvest from this conversation.

It was deep, it was touching, it was fascinating!
What happened, and the speed with which we got at this point of collective presence supported my sense that every gathering is contributing to a new groove in consciousness. And the more we go there, the easier it gets for the next ones to step into that path. This is exactly the purpose of doing this: to lay these tracks in a secure and precise way, sensing our way into it.
Sense and act, sense and act, sense and act…
This question just appeared on the wall: Is humanity ready for Crone’s wisdom? It is related to a sentence spoken before by someone else: Humanity is just growing up. It puts our experiences in the bigger picture of evolution.

During the break someone laid out a roll of paper on the ground, somehow representing a timeline from our ancestors, through us, to the future generations. It shows some words and sentences, some colors, some curly lines. Open to others to fill in, to add their colors, their words, their part.

Writing and sensing all this, the sentence comes to me:
We are doing/being the future now.
or even better,
We are living the future, now.

This is not a group of women ‘just doing their own thing’. The intention with which we are here – to move the edge of collective presence – makes all the difference in the world. We live in this paradox of ‘moving the edge’ and ‘being present in this moment’. To me we are learning to be present, and slowly move into presencing.

Borders of identity…

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

This second day nobody stepped forward to be the facilitation team. I opened the circle with ringing the bell, and asking people to settle into the silence. Then I spoke about ‘listening to the middle’. Can we speak from Source, instead from our personality? Take the time so that you can speak from the unknown, the unformed inside yourself. Take the talking piece only when you feel the urge from deep within, and not for re-acting on what was said before by somebody else.

I give here the conversation more or less as how it was, without the names of who was speaking. (This might not be interesting for someone outside the AoH community…)

* How open is the space in the Art of Hosting community? What can be new patterns, or maybe beyond that?

* What if there is a structure, a hierarchy in the Art of Hosting that is holding it back? Do we need stewards, who wants them? There is fussiness about who are the stewards… maybe there is too much being held in order to keep its integrity… What needs to be held and what needs to let go?

no, woven from newspapers!

* I saw a cauldron – basket – container, a deep one; and the word ‘lineage’. I feel that at the heart of what we do is piecing back our lineage, stitching it together, stitch by stitch. It has to do with Europe; the ancient indigenous lineage. It was dis-connected from the land, and this spread all over the world, with capitalism and imperialism as its vehicles. What is it that we are stitching together? The Learning Centers are like the cauldron… the creating of these places, the sensing into what is going to happen here? This is part of the ancient practices.
If you have been to Tibet there you find a lineage that has not been broken. The Buddhist lineage is very intact; ours is not. Many ancient wise people were killed and many simple practices went with them. What is build in into the pattern of Art of Hosting has something about this stitching together, to do that in whatever way to manifest it together. It is a DNA-transmission thing. The dominant world still needs to know Who is the leader? Why do we need one person to be named, why can’t it be the community?
The lineage we stitch together is not the “one leader”, but the “all leader”. Learning Centers are the centers were that can be amplified, ‘baptized’… maybe I saw the font…

* I heard three things inside of me: the first was the fountain of love; it wants to come out in the things I am doing. The second …; the third: keeping the space open in my mind.

* What comes to me are two directions – movements. One is defining the borders of identity – the membrane… maybe that is what we are doing. The other one is opening up, letting come. Also something about speaking to the ghost – the elephants – there seems to be something unspoken. Maybe that is part of finding the identity… I think one of the ghosts I have to speak about is: not being quiet sure how I fit in here; having been only in one training… blocks me here… where is my ground? I see also the many possibilities in the AoH… it is just about being who we are…

* I am busy with the metaphor of olive harvest. We are shaking with the different branches… a little bit of confusion.
I don’t feel a hierarchy here in this circle… maybe it is outside this group… talking about something outside us, doesn’t speak to me… what about my personal leadership? the values I stand for?
The AoH is not a tree that has to be cut down, because it is just starting to grow – it needs to grow it’s second layer. What inspires me is Nature, and what we can learn from it… now it is dark inside, and the light is outside.

At that very moment the sun starts to come through the clouds, while it has been raining and a grey sky since the morning. Panaoiti, the Greek friend and neighbor calls that they are going to harvest some olives… we are almost ready to help him.

* I am at the edge of the AoH community. It was born out of the collective, and now some people get more jobs out of it… hierarchy?… Open Space has ‘elders’… What does ‘growing legs’ mean? More people… more trainings… more …??? Is something blocking this?

* Lots of stories and ideas while people were talking; but I wanted to speak from Source. What comes back is a grandmother story. She tells her grandson “There is a fight in my heart, grandson.” He then asks:” Who is fighting then in your heart?” “Two wolves are fighting in my heart.” “Who is going to win?” the grandson asks. “That depends on the whom I am feeding.”

* I am not here for Art of Hosting, for me it is about harvesting, about Learning Centers; about being here. AoH doesn’t define me. It is rich, useful and gives words to many things, but AoH is not the destination, but it is feeding us, as a way to go forwards. I want to visit the other centers and the other people… I feel it is right to be here, because something is happening…

* From the beginning of this conversation I had a lot of pain in my heart and it becomes heavier; and it is not only from me! I don’t want it to be ignored. We should do something with ‘the ghosts’, it is heavy and it is closing my heart… it is difficult. Maybe some kind of offering…

Judith and Lieven at lunch

Then we organized ourselves to help Panaoiti and his mom in harvesting the olives. We walked to the neighbor’s land, helped them a few hours, and then had a picnic lunch between the olive trees.

Collective leadership

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

Like in the first Women Moving the Edge by lunchtime it was time for us, facilitators, to lean back and give the leadership to the whole group. Meantime it was pouring rain outside, so much so that we couldn’t even see the trees on the other side of the grass field.

And what did we do? If I would give a bullet list of all the different activities you could never understand the depth of what happened. We had some silence, there was conversation, we did a presencing-movement exercise; we danced ‘the Temple dance’; we sat in circle again. There was the sound of the big crystal bowl, we made sound and music together…

But I can’t hardly describe what happened in us and in between us. First it was named as a not-knowing, and later also as a not-talking… but then, what is it?
We seem to listen, to tune into, to sense…
into what?
the delicate, the subtle, the fine, the intangible…


It seems to be possible to access – in our bodies – the unformed, the unmanifest…
the sound of silence…


collective silence…

suddenly it was there:

a connected silence;

a tangible in-between space;

a sacred space;

a space full of possibilities;

a generative space…

Grace had arrived! The We is pregnant!
And you know what? Rain stopped, the mist was gone, we could see again the trees and the whole environment!

Amazing Grace

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

For people who read my postings on the gathering Women Moving the Edge, you might remember that the closing of this event went in total flow!

What I didn’t know is that Helen captured the sound of it. She names it: “A little fuzzy inspiration from the women at the edge.” You can listen to it, it only takes a few minutes…

It links with one of our insights. Question was: What is the transformative dynamic that we experienced here?

The answer was: A community that has the willingness to be called into presence, and the practice to tune into the notes of grace…

Artful Leadership

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Sitting outside in my garden on this summerlike Spring evening, the fragrance of a special apple three fills my nose. How abundant nature is! The three is full, full of uncountable little white flowers, spreading its smell with no holding back.

I just finished reading the book Artful Leadership by Michael Jones. The subtitle is: Awakening the Commons of the Imagination. The first chapter is called: A Walk in the Park; The Personal and Social Artistry of Leadership. It says:

In times of uncertainty
we need to look to the spaces between
for order and coherence –
to gifts, beauty, grace, voice and wholeness –
what may be called the commons of the imagination.
Awakening to the presence of the commons
in both the personal and the public imagination
is our new art form.
It is also the leader’s new work.

For me it is a book of great inspiration. I made notes on almost every page! You have to read if you are more or less interested in Leadership for the future. It holds equal value as the book Presence, by Otto Scharmer and his colleagues. Michael, being a musician, and knowing a lot about writers, poets etc. can give beautiful words, poems and quotes to what will be essential qualities for all of us, and leaders in particular.I enjoyed reading it, as much as enjoying the smell and the view of my neighbour’s apple three.