facilitating & hosting

When Work and Souls Collide

I read a gem of a post on my way to facilitate with a group of leaders this week. Written by Chris Corrigan, who has one of the best Twitter profiles ever (running around hosting conversations that matter), it shared his observations on the design and challenges of running a very interesting meeting.

I loved this excerpt:

After an hour or so of milling around, and picking a few cups of berries, the hunters all headed into to the small hunting cabin.  When I went in to get some tea, I found them sitting in a circle, in deep conversation in Inuktitut.  They had begun the meeting again and we simply let them go for it.

It reminded me of my recent experience with Process Work where our teacher commented that if we make all the decisions as facilitators then what would the group do when we aren’t there? This is an aspect of facilitating that I’m passionate about: doing so in a way that helps the group’s capacity to bloom. Chris goes on to say They are doing their own work and even though I didn’t technically ‘facilitate’ anything today, I held space.  Sometimes wisdom not to intervene is what is required to keep space open.

But it was this excerpt that wrapped around my very core:

It is a dance between shallow form and deep form, between holding on to the right things and letting other things go, and all while working in a context I know next to nothing about in a language I can’t speak.  What is serving to guide me is the deep architecture of the gathering, my constant private checking in with the flow of the U which I know will bring us to some emergent learning.  So far, the meeting is going as we planned it – at a deep level.  On the surface everything is changing all the time.

This is the work that my soul collides with – the joyful “yes!” felt deep inside. I’m in awe of how poetically Chris captured the dynamic potential of people who gather around a common purpose and hosts that create the space for magic to happen.

Where do you feel that joyful “yes”? With what does your soul collide?