Archive for the ‘silence’ Category

Kufunda Gathering – part 8 of 10

Monday, November 29th, 2010

I’m sitting this Sunday morning at a different spot to write. I don’t need to include notes from flip charts, I’m sitting now at the fire pit which is central in the garden in the village. It is Sunday and you can feel that things are more quite; after all it is weekend. The rains – and power cuts – have been going on and you see the herbs and vegetables recovering and starting a new growing season. Also we, as participants in this gathering, will have some kind of new beginning when we leave tomorrow and head home again.


But let me link back with where I left you in the previous posting. After dinner we had organized a gifting circle. Much stuff is not easily available in Zimbabwe and money is scarce in the village. We had asked the village beforehand for a wish list and many had brought materials for projects, for the children, for the office etc. The fact of doing it all together, at a certain moment with all present made it a true gifting to the village as a whole and it felt better to me than giving it to individuals.

Dancing at gifting

Then followed a true dancing feast! The village had invited a mbira band (using thumb pianos) to celebrate the gifting and we – the Kufundees and all of us loved it! The energy was abundant and I was all sweaty when I walked to our little house where a few of us are staying.

(You see again Auntie Emma – over 70! – dancing energetically)


Saturday morning was inviting us to probably the same intensity as the night before, but contained in stillness and silence for the whole morning. We were guided into our bodies by Sarah and then send out into nature with the question: What is the next level of call? We all spread to be on our own, in deep listening. We were invited to bring something back – something that nature showed, or words and poems that had come up.

Creating the mural 1

Still in silence we arranged all our gifts in one big sculpture on the floor. It was amasing the beauty and depth we created together: pens were wrapped in curled seed pods to symbolize the old and the new… dried flowers together with words… traces of sand… lines of connections… impossible for me to describe… amazing beauty from the local nature… wisdom and visions received in this stillness… A proof of what listening can bring! As more and more people settled back in the circle, still in silence, a beautiful music track was played: Terra by the amazing male voices and harmonies of I Muvrini. It was the perfect thing in the right moment.


The afternoon was building on the same question, but this time a collective one: What is the next level of call, for us? We believe the coming together in this specific constellation of people has meaning beyond our individual purpose. That was what we wanted to reveal through a systemic constellation. Many, many elements were represented and it took a long time to let the dynamics between the different elements unfold until some kind of solution was reached. (no pictures here as everyone was totally engaged in the process)

I can only report back a few points that were striking me in the unfolding:
– In the activity of what was going on between Places, Sanctuary, Displaced places, That-what-is-dying and other elements, the Web of Relationships, the Earth and the Nomads were lying on the floor, at the side, not really part of what was happening. A lot of healing and right relationship dynamics needed to happen before attention could go there.

– What most surprised me was that Cellular Depth was represented. It spoke about the deep depletion in us and everywhere. She would team up with Ceremony later and the two stayed together till the end.


– At some point People-who-want-to-make-a-difference came into the picture, linking with the group of Places and Displaced places. Still things were missing to come to a point of collective relief. Later Community had come in, but had stepped out of the constellation because she didn’t feel needed; and nobody had noticed! Including myself as the constellator/fascilitator! It was only when People-who-want-to-make-a-difference addressed Community and stated “I need you” that things started to change. I think it means that we need time and attention to include our local communities in the work that we do.

– Another point that was fascinating was that many, really a lot of elements mentioned that they felt not invited. It was the case for Silence, for Money, Community and more. I wonder: Are we not clearly speaking our invitations for help and co-creation? Or are we all waiting for the others to step forward first? Is more courage needed here? I don’t have a clear answer here, but it reminds me of other constellations where the Force or Oneness stated that we could have asked anything from them, but we didn’t do it.

Pink flowers

– Interestingly Money showed up at a certain point. First she was trying to figure out what was going on. “How can I be of purpose to this nicey, nicey stuff?” In conversation with Places she became a bit interested, but didn’t want to loose her power. At some point she cried because what she saw was so ugly! especially looking at Cellular Depth, the deep depletion everywhere. She finally teamed up with Intention, which felt like a good combination. By that time she had expanded into more than Money, more like Resources in general.

– An overall observation in the whole unfolding of the constellation was that hardly anyone was aware of all the other elements. And yes, we were many – between 10 and 15 I think – and many dynamics were going on at once, but isn’t that the complexity of life itself and the time we are in? It was only the Witness who called at different times our attention to elements that were not in the focus. For me it was a deep reminder that we need our practices to keep training our witnessing muscle.

– As things didn’t unfold quickly I called in missing elements, and at some point Light and Love showed up. Before that the Divine had also appeared. In our conversations afterwards this Light and Love was named as our common purpose, the ultimate thing that is central to our efforts.

Lizard 2

– More to the end of the constellation People-who-wanted-to-make-a-Difference had find her way to Earth, surrounded by Footprints – Nomads etc., and this relationship Earth – People-who-… was surrounded by many others. People-who-… was crying hard… apologizing… crying more… feeling humble in Earth’s presence. People-who-… finally rested in the lap of What is Dying in the position of a mother giving birth – birthing the new. It was clear that pain needed to be named and shared before that could happen.

There was way more in this rich afternoon, and the almost full transcript is available, but I think the main points are here. My original trainer in constellation work said many times that constellations are the rituals of our time, and indeed, it felt like that, at least to me.

(pictures by Joanne de Nobriga or myself)

Lifting the Veil

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Yesterday we started preparing for our next Women Moving the Edge gathering, which will start this afternoon in the beautiful Essex Retreat Center.
As we are used to in our conference calls we started with a silence. Nobody decides how long this silence will be, but it lasts until someone picks up a talking piece and starts the sharing circle. It was a long silence and it centered our selves and brought us in this still place of non-judgment and connectedness.

Lisa, having been a participant in these gatherings for many times is now an apprentice in our hosting team and her questions gave us an opportunity to be more explicit about how we work and what is the purpose of different ways of our way of working.


I came out of the silence with just one expression: Lifting the Veil. At first I didn’t realize what it was about, but tying it back to the morning conversation I had with Judy I finished it to a sentence: Lifting the Veil from Night Consciousness.

I learned about the difference between Daytime Consciousness and Night Consciousness from my systemic constellation trainer Johannes Schmidt. He once showed me the difference. He stood up showing Daytime Consciousness by looking ahead, focusing a target and walk in that direction. Showing the Night Consciousness he turned himself, put a hand before his eyes and walked backwards – step by step – constantly sensing what would be his direction and not seeing where he was heading! It struck me!!! This felt indeed as I have been living my life since many years!

Using the synchronicity of the moment I read a piece from the latest issue of the Kosmos magazine that was in Judy’s house. We had been talking in previous conference calls about ‘re-patterning the energy in the chaos’. Here was an article by Aster Mira Patel – unknown to me – titled: As Our World Re-Shapes Itself. The author has lived since early childhood at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in India. This is the last bit of her article:
“… even as the ‘new’ grows in strength and visibility, the old persists as the interface… with much violence and a great difficulty of transition. A kind of ‘relatability’ between the two, a certain smoothness of transition, is not there.

We remember a few words of the Mother which are deeply significant: “Sri Aurobindo used to say: it is women that can build a bridge between the old world and the supramental world.”


The new world carries the signs of the growing presence of the ‘supramental’… in its movement towards a fuller manifestation. And women carry the great responsibility of becoming conscious of this transition, of this passage into the ‘new’ that is taking place… to be conscious of what is taking place and to seek to be part of this process.

Women have the power of ‘transmission’, which is a quality of the energy-field that is theirs. The power to retain and to hold that of the Purusha Consciousness. But the power to ‘transmit’ and to ‘transmute’ belongs to the consciousness of Shakti.

From the human to the divine – these are the steps of our journey. The women, as the human being, is to transcend the external personality and become the receptacle of the force of the Divine. The Force that, by its action, can bridge the gulf between the old and the new world… and can manifest the ‘new’ in the face of the resistances offered by the ‘old’.


As our world re-shapes itself, women have to be consciously part of this re-shaping. Their conscious energy caries the power of Love that alone can transmute and re-create. A many-sided effort, a suppleness of moment and action are the other attributes of great significance.

Such is the need of the hour and this is the action called for.”

I know that the ‘supramental’ is exactly this intuitive capacity, this Night Consciousness. Wondering what will be revealed in our days to come…

What is the feminine?

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Different than what I planned, but one week after we finished the fifth iteration of Women Moving the Edge I still find value in writing down the words that struck me, the new wise insights I got in the process.
The following words – pieces of sentences – should be read like a poem, with attention for the deeper meaning they carry. These are the words I noted down on Saturday morning (Jan 31), our first session after the welcome and check-in of the night before.


our emptiness
our silence
is not ‘absence of’
it is huge
it has meaning
it touches me
My whole solar plexus is expanding.
There is incredible strength
it can move mountains
it comes from within.

We make something to hold something else.

When I sense into the center, it feels as if we are pregnant.
What are the conditions that enable a fruitful pregnancy?
Being pregnant is about being. You can’t rush it.
Lying in bed was ‘doing something’.

Do I make sense when I am ‘useless’?
It is OK when it is related to others.

Being pregnant, my body knew exactly what to do! It taught me! It was making some magic. How subtle it is to let your body teach you!

We can be pregnant of so many things!

It was the process of what was to come.
The body knows.
Now – Here – This.

The emptiness has meaning.
The house and the walls are there to share with each other.

I am curious…
The way of our body…
My body wants to be touched.

The nothing is full of something.
I love to be in the silence with you.
I love when we slow down.
A golden silence.

When we slow down, we go down. And what becomes possible is joy!
“And she gave him her joy at what he had created.”

The feminine has been on a long journey. What is the feminine?

When Shekinah comes back the 23rd letter will appear.
The holding has value.
I named it and claimed it.
Shekinah is back.


The feminine is bonding together… weaving under and over… to create a beautiful piece.
Perchta, the Goddess of Weaving and Knitting…

If we can’t name it, how can they know? I can’t be pregnant without his seed.
“… she lived with him and gave Form to his creative Word”
We can’t blame them for not seeing it.
Men are happy to take care of women being pregnant.
Holding space for our own femininity.

You are pregnant or not; you can’t be a little bit pregnant! We can’t be a little bit feminine.

So positive.
So much potential.

Either you give us the stage, or we take it! Dancing, singing, joy, little stories, jokes…
We are in separate cars on the same road.
Nobody is to blame, not myself, not the men, nobody. Honoring instead of blaming.


Our attempts for innovation are welcome!

Keeping Quiet

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Keeping Quiet – A Callarse
Pablo Neruda

Rose Lotus Lady by Charlotte Backman

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

This one time upon the earth,
let’s not speak any language,
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be a delicious moment,
without hurry, without locomotives,
all of us would be together
in a sudden uneasiness.

The fishermen in the cold sea
would do no harm to the whales
and the peasant gathering salt
would look at his torn hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars of gas, wars of fire,
victories without survivors,
would put on clean clothing
and would walk alongside their brothers
in the shade, without doing a thing.

What I want shouldn’t be confused
with final inactivity:
life alone is what matters,
I want nothing to do with death.

If we weren’t unanimous
about keeping our lives so much in motion,

if we could do nothing for once,
perhaps a great silence would
interrupt this sadness,
this never understanding ourselves
and threatening ourselves with death,
perhaps the earth is teaching us
when everything seems to be dead
and then everything is alive.

Now I will count to twelve
and you keep quiet and I’ll go.

(painting sent by a friend in Copenhagen, which is now on her wall; painted by Charlotte Backman)

Speaking from Source

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Speaking from Source… what exactly does it mean?

At different times in our gathering I sensed that something wanted to be said – through one of us – and then I would hand over a talking stone to her. On this fourth day of Women Moving the Edge it happened again, and I supported Lisette in doing so. She could masterly describe how her thoughts would try to get her attention, instead of letting the words coming ‘through her’.

In our preparation before the gathering I named it in this way: “We have learned a lot in the world of Spirit, of concepts, of reflection, of meditation, of meaning making; but the world of the experiences, the subtle knowing, the subtle sensing… the phenomena, the experience of a phenomenon has had much, much less attention in our culture. … Goethe said: “Every phenomena, well contemplated upon, opens a new sensing organ in us.” That is the new what I am looking for. … There is a way of speaking, that is directly linked with your body, or the phenomenon of that moment.

What we did so far was: we have an experience and then we can reflect back ‘on it’, or we can make meaning ‘out of it’, or we can speak ‘about it’. And what we are doing now is: we can speak in that moment. There is a possibility – like when we are at the bottom of the U – that it happens in the same instant, that we are both at the same time: we are in the experience and we talk about it.”

This is what Lisette said:
I’m not somewhere else.
I’m in your body.
Live me, Be me as I am.
I am this glow.
Feel me I am always there.
Allow me to be there.
Allow me to show you the way.
Allow me to teach you there’s always a next step and live me by taking that next step.
I am right here. I guard you, I support you, I live in you.
It’s not big deal. I’m just life. Don’t make it too holy! It happens
anyway. I’ll find my way. I’ll have my way with you! I always do.

What is ‘holding space’?

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Since this summer I’m holding the question of: What is it exactly that I’m doing when I say that I am holding space?

Many in the Art of Hosting community, and other facilitators, nod their heads when we speak of holding space. They/we seem to understand, but I have never heard anybody explain it. Different experiences in the last months made me aware of some aspects, and I want to share them with you.

First there is the story as told by Chris Corrigan from a native Canadian tribe. In a little village fishermen set out to go on a whale hunt. It becomes a very difficult journey, as they first lose track of the whale and almost lose a man too. After many days, when they finally come back to the village the head of the tribe speaks to his wife and asks: “What have you been doing? We almost lost a man, and we lost the whale for some time too.” The woman answered that her attention was divided because one of the children had been very ill. This story touched me deeply, as I realized so few men – and women too – in our Western world understand what this man and woman saw as so obvious: that the women were doing something that was vital for the success of the hunting men. Their attention, their holding the space was needed for the whole journey to be successful.


Last summer I was with a dear friend on what he called a writing retreat. I expected to share breakfast and dinner together, while having inspiring and deep conversations, as we normally have. He would then dive into his writing and I would go and do my own thing: reading, exploring the neighborhood, enjoying the beautiful nature. Soon he would announce that his writing would be best supported by fasting and that he wouldn’t show up for breakfast, or for dinner. So, I went on doing my own thing, but missing the good conversation company I was wondering: What am I doing here? I still felt good about it, but why exactly was I here? I could read and explore nature anywhere. Holding this question for some time the answer came to me: I was holding space. There was relief in my body when I realized that. After the five days, as we were driving home, I told my friend about it, and I realized what an intimate thing it is to do; even more than having sex! This made me wonder…

A few weeks later in a conversation with another friend I told him that I was holding space for him and others while they are doing big strategic, systemic work in the world, which is not always easy. I told him too that this strategic work is not mine to do, but that nonetheless I have something to do with it: I am holding space for it. Tears welled up in my eyes while telling him! I realized that this holding space work is in need of language, of words and concepts that can make it more visible in the world. Another friend called it Grandmother’s Work.

Next came an experience within a Systemic Constellation training where I realised – through a difficult experience – that holding space, for me as a woman, was essentially something that I was doing in my body. Not in the mind. This realization was very grounding for me, as if finally I arrived at my right spot. It seemed that it was not just my personal experience, but many women were resonating with it.

But still: what am I doing when holding space within my body? I have known for a long time that my sensing of what would happen in a group’s process or in a systemic constellation, was not the same as people having visions of the future. Looking back at our experiences in the gathering Women Moving the Edge, it suddenly dawned on me that we never were speaking about Spirit, but we would always use the word Source. Why was this? Source would point to depth, to something deep inside; Spirit is more related to something high above… mmm… I started drawing and realized that Source can be seen as Unmanifested Potential.

Soon my answer to the question I was holding for many months became clearer. 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.

This made a lot of sense when I spoke about it in Axladitsa, and explained that the callers of this Meaningful Place will always be and stay the ones who hold the deepest and widest container. They will always stay the callers and always form the core group. If they drop their energy the whole project will die. Others can become very active in this project, but when they leave, the project will go on. They are not in as deep a holding space.

In a sense women have a natural tendency to hold space for people, places and projects. But is has never been seen or realized or acknowledged, not even by themselves. It is time to change this, and this is my first contribution to it.

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!

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.

New evolutionary capability?

Friday, March 16th, 2007

Yesterday something new happened for me and I think it is important for the leadership of the future. Years ago, in the autumn of 2000, I initiated a women’s group, which was called the FiveStar. Later the name changed to FourStar as one of us left our circle. This women’s circle was very important for me and to all of us. We all used it as our safety net and as our mirror and deep profound feed-back opportunity. Being all trained as therapists, you can be sure that we inquired into all bits and pieces of our emotional life. At a certain point silence ‘came in’. We didn’t decide to have more silence, but as we trained ourselves in following the energy that was present, silence happened. We learned to meditate together and used this collective state of presence to ask for information regarding questions or issues that were important to us. It was in itself a learning cycle – over the years – of co-sensing, until the point of ‘the eye of the needle’ as Scharmer names it in his U-process. I, or we, didn’t know this theory, only later I could see how our journey was a kind of U-process, at least the left side of the U: the process of coming to an Open Mind, an Open Heart and an Open Will. It was so fascinating for me that I wrote an article about it.

In this article I’m talking about the CircleBeing, this collective identity, that can arise when the members of a circle can all be fully present in themselves and with one another. The final question of this article is my hunch that CircleBeings become present because they have a CircleTask. You can see it as how individuals have all their individual life-task.

In one of our collective meditations, many months ago, we saw what this CircleTask is for us. But I got frustrated over time when I didn’t see any energy to make it manifest. Part of this frustration became constructive energy in the creation of Women Moving the Edge, about which I blogged recently. So I entered yesterday’s meeting with the question: Is our circle dying or is there energy for the emergence of something new? We had a deep dialogue about it and finally got again into a collective meditation around the focus question if we were to end our circle, and if not – why not, and if yes, why so? In the information we got it was crystal clear that ‘the form’ of our gatherings had come to an end and that there is a seperate path to go for each of us before we can realise our true potential, or our CircleTask.

So we left with no new appointment in our agenda and in total peace with our new insight. No blame, no conflict, no attachment to what was before… I knew right away that this was something important: not to be attached to the form or previous content of our meetings. Being able ‘to flow’, to be present to what is needed, not only related to content but also to form!

This seems to me an ability that is needed for the right part of the U-process. Because the trap of falling back into ‘known’ procedures, meetings and organising is very tempting when related to make things manifest.

I’m curious for the future to come…

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.