facilitating & hosting

A Community That Practices

One of my intentions for 2012 is to nurture our local Art of Hosting community of practice, and today it was great to see everyone at our first gathering. We flowed with a check-in (including Caitlin who joined us on Skype) then moved into a round of sharing what we were learning. We paused for a break then Zack led us through some bodywork activities. After that we played with the Group Works Deck (pattern cards) then closed with a check-out.

I practiced some visual note-taking throughout the afternoon’s conversation and took photos of my sketch notes and uploaded them here (apologies – I should have used a different notebook as the colourful background makes these hard to read). Here is one example…

And a summary of some of my key insights:

  • Our community of practice is a place for teaching and learning, to bring our questions.
  • To offer what we can and take what we need.
  • Exploring centres, how to co-create, the fine art of beginnings and play.
  • Exploring edges, the collectors like the edge of a sidewalk where life grows; hacking the system through a honeycomb of conversations that scale.
  • Being aware of our own projections; can we be like Atreyu who walks through the sphinx gate without a shadow of a doubt?
  • Promising to do bodywork at every gathering (thanks Zack for today’s experiences).
  • Using the pattern cards in different ways e.g Celtic Cross tarot pattern.
  • We pulled the cards one at a time around the circle, reflected on it then spoke to it in the context of what we know about the pattern and what it could mean for our future gatherings.
  • Cards we pulled: Reflection Action Cycle, Time Shift, Experts on Tap, Mode Choice, Appropriate Boundaries, Balance Process and Content, Power Shift, Challenge, and Iteration.
  • Ideas for our gatherings: time to reflect on scenarios we might bring forward or practice facilitation, using the space on the ning to share what we want to achieve and take steps to work on that, to play with different modes at our gatherings and also harvest with different modes to share back with the broader AoH community, that our gatherings are in the field of the Art of Hosting but strangers are welcome, to observe any assumptions about our experience/power, to ask for help when we need and to hold these little shoots of growth with compassion, to challenge each other with heart-intention to lift everyone up, to iterate in these gatherings.
  • We named a rhythm for our meetings: the last Sunday of every month with additional 1/2 day or day-long gatherings from time to time (a Google Doc will be created to brainstorm venue ideas).
  • Then checking out with any unspoken gratitudes. I loved the sense that we were all slowing down together; the description from Laura of having the same feeling of being in her garden – ahhhh.

My biggest insight? This gathering was seven years in the making. What did it take to move from “we should” to today? Invite help and naming a date. That simple. Yes! Can’t wait for the next one.

Where do you have ideas languishing at the sidelines? What is the smallest step you could take to bring it to life?